Wednesday, July 29, 2009

List: National Book Award

The National Book Foundation awards annual prizes to American authors in the following categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature.

I am working on the Fiction winners. Those I have finished are in red; those sitting on my TBR shelf are in blue. I will get to them all eventually.

2015 Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

2014 Redeployment by Phil Klay

2013 The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

2012 The Round House by Louise Erdrich

2011 Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

2010 Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (reviewed here)

2009 Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (reviewed here)

2008 Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen

2007 Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson

2006 The Echo Maker by Richard Powers

2005 Europe Central by William T. Vollmann

2004 The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck

2003 The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard

2002 Three Junes by Julia Glass

2001 The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

2000 In America by Susan Sontag

1999 Waiting by Ha Jin

1998 Charming Billy by Alice McDermott

1997 Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (reviewed here)

1996 Ship Fever and Other Stories by Andrea Barrett

1995 Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth

1994 A Frolic of His Own by William Gaddis

1993 The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx

1992 All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (reviewed here)

1991 Mating by Norman Rush

1990 Middle Passage by Charles Johnson (reviewed here)

1989 Spartina by John Casey

1988 Paris Trout by Pete Dexter

1987 Paco's Story by Larry Heinemann

1986 World's Fair by E.L. Doctorow

1985 White Noise by Don Delillo

1984 Victory Over Japan by Ellen Gilchrist

1983 The Color Purple by Alice Walker

1982 Rabbit is Rich by John Updike

1981 Plains Song by Wright Morris

1980 Sophie's Choice by William Styron (reviewed here)

1979 Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien

1978 Blood Tie by Mary Lee Settle

1977 The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner (reviewed here)

1976 JR by William Gaddis

1975 The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams (reviewed here)

1975 Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone

1974 Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

1974 A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer

1973 Augustus by John Williams

1973 Chimera by John Barth

1972 The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor

1971 Mr. Sammler's Planet by Saul Bellow (reviewed here)

1970 Them by Joyce Carol Oates

1969 Steps by Jerzy Kosinski

1968 The Eighth Day by Thornton Wilder

1967 The Fixer by Bernard Malamud (reviewed here)

1966 The Collected Stories by Katherine Anne Porter

1965 Herzog by Saul Bellow

1964 The Centaur by John Updike (reviewed here)

1963 Morte d'Urban by J.F. Powers

1962 The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

1961 The Waters of Kronos by Conrad Richter

1960 Goodbye Columbus by Philip Roth (reviewed here)

1959 The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud

1958 Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever

1957 The Field of Vision by Wright Morris

1956 Ten North Frederick by John O'Hara

1955 A Fable by William Faulkner

1954 The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (reviewed here)

1953 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

1952 From Here to Eternity by James Jones

1951 The Collected Stories by William Faulkner

1950 The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren (reviewed here)


Last updated on July 16, 2016.


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Review: Judgment Calls

Judgment Calls is a pretty good first effort from the daughter of legendary mystery writer James Lee Burke. Like her heroine, Samantha Kincaid, Alafair Burke was a Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon. Her book is packed with colorful details of life in a DA's office, although their inclusion sometimes interrupts the flow of the story. The book has a decent plot with enough complications to keep it moving along at a good pace. The conclusion is a little far fetched, but Burke builds up to it reasonably well so it did not come completely out of the blue.

Proving that someone can be smart, well educated, and loaded with material but still not produce great mystery novel, Burke's writing is second rate. The narrative is clunky, the dialog is stilted, and the jokes are flat. The writing seemed better in the second half, but that impression may be the result of reader tolerance rather than actual improvement.

As a lawyer who would like nothing better than to write mystery books, I admire any fellow member of the bar who has achieved such an accomplishment. As a Portlander, I like to find a series set in my city. So I will probably give Burke a second chance. She now has two other books in the series: Missing Justice and Close Case. But now that Burke has moved to New York and started a new series, I will probably call it quits with those two.

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