March 31, 2009

Bold Prediction: A Mercy Wins the Pulitzer 0


By now you’ve read the result, Toni Morrison’s A Mercy edged out Tom Piazza’s City of Refuge to win The Tournament of Books. Now, if I were a betting man, and it were possible to bet on the Pulitzer winner, I’d bet on A Mercy. Why? The Tournament of Books has called the Pulitzer winner […]

March 31, 2009

And the Winner Is… 0


The final judgments are in and The Tournament of Books winner has been crowned. It was a close match, 11-6, and my vote ended up going to the winner. Go check it out. (And read both of these books, they’re great.)

March 26, 2009

The Rooster: A Judge’s Notes 5


My moment in the Tournament of Books spotlight has come and gone, but I’ve enjoyed following the series throughout. It’s been particularly interesting, from the perspective of a “judge,” to see how the other judges have responded to the books I read. The Lazarus Project got surprisingly little ink during its run. I suspect that […]

March 12, 2009

2008 NBCC Winners: 2666 Takes Home the Prize 0


Even though it was undoubtedly the work of literary fiction that engendered the most excitement during 2008, by dint of its South American pedigree Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 wasn’t eligible for most of the English-speaking world’s literary awards. However, the National Book Critics Circle, which doesn’t place many limits on who is eligible for its annual […]

March 9, 2009

The Tournament of Books Tips Off 0


Don’t miss out on the start of the 2009 Tournament of Books, perhaps the highlight of the competitive reading circuit. As might be expected, 2666 easily vanquishes its underdog opponent, Steer Toward Rock, though the color commentary suggests perhaps that not everyone will be so enamored with Bolaño’s masterpiece. (And indeed, I suggest that anyone […]

January 25, 2009

2008 National Book Critics Circle Finalists Announced 0


The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) are worth paying attention to both because they are not limited to American (or British) writers like some of the other awards and because they sometimes include single out less well-known books for praise. Looking at the fiction finalists this year, both of those elements are certainly in play. […]

November 20, 2008

Matthiessen, Gordon-Reed Win National Book Awards 1


81-year-old Peter Matthiessen has taken home the National Book Award for fiction in something of an upset. His book, Shadow Country (excerpt), as the Bloomberg notes, came about after he “rewrote and compressed portions of his novels about the murderous Florida sugar-cane farmer Edgar J. Watson — Killing Mister Watson, Lost Man’s River and Bone […]

November 11, 2008

Digging into the IMPAC Longlist 0


The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award has unveiled its voluminous 2009 longlist. Recall that libraries around the world can nominate books for the prize, and these nominations, taken together, comprise the longlist. This year there are 146 novels on the list, nominated by 157 libraries in 41 countries. All of the books must have been […]

October 15, 2008

2008 National Book Award Finalists Announced 2


Award season is hitting a its stride, and this year’s National Book Award finalists have been announced. Looking at our speculative post of a couple weeks ago, we pegged Marilynne Robinson and Aleksandar Hemon as likely fiction finalists (kudos to Garth on guessing both). Joining them is 81-year-old Peter Matthiessen for a book that, as […]

October 14, 2008

The Booker Has Landed 0


Aravind Adiga of India has won the Booker Prize for his debut novel The White Tiger. In the official announcement, head judge Michael Portillo said “In the end, The White Tiger prevailed because the judges felt that it shocked and entertained in equal measure. The novel undertakes the extraordinarily difficult task of gaining and holding […]