A short list of award-worthy books

The National Book Critics’ Circle capped off a series of West Coast events last Saturday by announcing the short list for this year’s award nominees at City Lights Books in San Francisco last Saturday. On this list are several that your friendly neighborhood critics at SN&R think are among the best of the year.

Most noteworthy, perhaps, is the prolific Joyce Carol Oates’ double nomination. She received a nod in both fiction (for The Gravedigger’s Daughter) and in autobiography (for The Journals of Joyce Carol Oates, 1973-1982).

In addition, winners were announced for the NBCC’s Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, which went to Sam Anderson, and this year’s Ivan Sandrof Life Achievement Award, who is Emilie Buchwald.

The winners of this year’s National Book Critics Circile Book Awards will be announced in New York City on Thursday, March 6, 2008, at the New School University’s Tishman Auditorium.

Below are the short lists for each category of award.

Joshua Clark, Heart Like Water: Surviving Katrina and Life in Its Disaster Zone.
Edwidge Danticat, Brother, I’m Dying (reviewed in SN&R In The Mix, October 18, 2007).
Joyce Carol Oates, The Journals of Joyce Carol Oates, 1973-1982 (reviewed in SN&R Words, December 6, 2007).
Sara Paretsky, Writing in an Age of Silence (reviewed in SN&R Words, May 17, 2007).
Anna Politkovskaya, Russian Diary: A Journalist’s Final Account of Life, Corruption and Death in Putin’s Russia.

Philip Gura, American Transcendentalism.
Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848.
Harriet Washington, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present.
Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: A History of the CIA.
Alan Weisman, The World Without Us.

Vikram Chandra, Sacred Games.
Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao.
Hisham Matar, In The Country of Men (reviewed in SN&R Words, December 6, 2007).
Joyce Carol Oates, The Gravedigger’s Daughter.
Marianne Wiggins, The Shadow Catcher.

Tim Jeal, Stanley: The Impossible Life Of Africa’s Greatest Explorer.
Hermione Lee, Edith Wharton.
Arnold Rampersad, Ralph Ellison.
John Richardson, The Life Of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932 (reviewed in SN&R Words, December 6, 2007).
Claire Tomalin, Thomas Hardy.

Mary Jo Bang, Elegy.
Matthea Harvey, Modern Life.
Michael O’Brien, Sleeping and Waking.
Tom Pickard, The Ballad of Jamie Allan.
Tadeusz Rozewicz, New Poems.

Joan Acocella, Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints.
Julia Alvarez, Once Upon a Quinceañera.
Susan Faludi, The Terror Dream.
Ben Ratliff, Coltrane: The Story of a Sound.
Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century.