The 2010 National Book Award Finalists have been announced. What surprises many is that Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom is not among the fiction finalists. What surprises me is that Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squadis not among the fiction finalists. I’m pleased, though, that Nicole Krauss’s Great House is there. I haven’t read it yet, but the selection published in The New Yorker earlier this year was fantastic. I have the book on hand and will be reading it soon. I’m a bit surprised that Parrot and Olivier in America is there. I liked it okay, but I didn’t think it was that great. I haven’t read much about the other three fiction finalists. As for the Young People’s Literature finalists, usually, thanks to my wife, I know a few of those. She may have told me about some of these earlier this year, but none of them stuck with me so they are all new to me.

The winner will be announced November 17 (usually quite late in the evening).


  • Peter Carey: Parrot and Olivier in America
  • Jaimy Gordon: Lord of Misrule
  • Nicole Krauss: Great House
  • Lionel Shriver: So Much for That
  • Karen Tei Yamashita: I Hotel


  • Barbara Demick: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
  • John W. Dower: Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, Iraq
  • Patti Smith: Just Kids
  • Justin Spring: Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward
  • Megan K. Stack: Every Man in This Village Is a Liar: An Education in War


  • Kathleen Graber: The Eternal City
  • Terrance Hayes: Lighthead
  • James Richardson: By the Numbers
  • C.D. Wright: One with Others
  • Monica Youn: Ignatz

Young People’s Literature

  • Paolo Bacigalupi: Ship Breaker
  • Kathryn Erskine: Mockingbird
  • Laura McNeal: Dark Water
  • Walter Dean Myers: Lockdown
  • Rita Williams-Garcia: One Crazy Summer
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