- Uncategorized

Discussing the National Book Award Nominees, in which I Show Extreme Bias and Very Little Class

The National Book Awards nominations were announced the other day, and here’s how it breaks down for fiction:

American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin

Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips

Far North by Marcel Theroux

To be incredibly honest I’ve only read or heard of one of these, and that’s American Salvage. It’s an amazing collection of stories. To be even more honest, Bonnie Jo is awesome. She teaches in the MFA program I recently graduated from and I was lucky enough to be workshopped by her and to have a lot of fun times hanging out with her as well. And yes, I’m biased. But I also know that her book deserves it. Read THIS story that was in Diagram, and is collected in AS. If that doesn’t convince you, nothing will.

The titles alone make this one clear to me. I mean, maybe if Lark and Termite was Termite Wreckage or something it’d be close. Nope American Salvage is the way to go NBA people. And not just so I can say things like, “This one time when I was hanging out with National Book Award winner, Bonnie Jo Campbell,” although that’d be a cool perk.

Okay, so I’m being a smartass. I’m sure the other nominees are just as worthy. But seriously, I’m repping for Bonnie Jo until I can rep no more!
  • Ryan W. Bradley has pumped gas, changed oil, painted houses, swept the floor of a mechanic's shop, worked on a construction crew in the Arctic Circle, fronted a punk band, and managed an independent children's bookstore. He now works in marketing. His latest book is Nothing but the Dead and Dying, a collection of stories set in Alaska. He lives in southern Oregon with his wife and two sons.

2 thoughts on “Discussing the National Book Award Nominees, in which I Show Extreme Bias and Very Little Class

  1. I’m with you, Ryan — who are these people and what are these books and how are they indicative of the very best our nation has most recently produced?

    I had not heard of any of them except Jayne Anne Phillips, and only because Barry Graham not long ago tried to convince me to read her work. I checked it out and had to pass. I simply have no interest in conventional realism.

    Also, now there’s a “Marcel” Theroux? Man, that whole family has a monopoly on the publishing industry!

  2. i thought the same thing when i saw Theroux. i was like “seriously?!”

    i read a lot of books, and working in a book store (even if its a kids one) and i read all the publications like publishers weekly, etc, and i still hadn’t heard of any of the other noms. that can’t be a good sign… no offense to them.

    but, bias aside, American Salvage is more than worth the read. it’s one of a few books that has come out this year that i wish i could afford to buy for everybody i know.

Leave a Reply