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2017 National Book Awards

National Book Award Winner sticker

The National Book Awards were announced November 14, and the winners are-----







Sing, Unburied, Sing book cover

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

This is the second National Book Award for Fiction win for Jesmyn Ward; her first being The Salvage the Bones in 2011. Both novels are set in the fictional town of Bois Sauvage (wild or savage woods), Mississippi. Sing, Unburied, Sing begins with the slaughter of a goat, which sets the tone for the novel. Much of the story is narrated through the voice of Jojo, who lives with his addict mother Leonie, his baby sister Kayla, and his grandparents, Mam and Pop. His white father, Michael, is in prison for drug offenses, but on Jojo's 13th birthday the family gets a call to let them know Michael is getting out. Their quest begins when Jojo and Kayla drive to the prison to pick up Michael. It is a sad, but all too common story, and Jesmyn West shares it in an interesting, lyrical way. In her acceptance speech, Ward said, “To those who asked what they they could possibly have in common with her characters, "you answered, 'Plenty,' “she told the other authors, editors and booksellers assembled in the room. "You looked at me, at the people I love and write about, you looked at my poor, my black, my Southern children, women and men — and you saw yourself. You saw your grief, your love, your losses, your regrets, your joy, your hope."


Young People's Literature
Far From the Tree book cover

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

This is the winner of the young people's literature prize of the National Book Award. It is the story of an adoptee teenage girl who has given up her own child for adoption, then begins the search for her biological siblings. “Benway’s beautiful interweaving story of three very different teenagers connected by blood explores the meaning of family in all its forms—how to find it, how to keep it, and how to love it.” Although her first nomination for the National Book Award, Benway has written several YA novels, including Emmy & Oliver (2015).


The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia book cover

The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen

I was a little disappointed that the nonfiction award didn’t go to Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann. The publisher states “award-winning journalist Masha Gessen is unparalleled in her understanding of the events and forces that have wracked her native country in recent times. In The Future Is History, she follows the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Each of them came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children and grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own—as entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers, and writers, sexual and social beings. “

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