The votes are in, and this weekend the National Book Critics Circle announces the Spring 2008 NBCC Good Reads list:Recommendations From NBCC members, award winners and finalists.
The NBCC Good Reads List was created in fall 2007 as an alternative to the many best sellers lists available, instead offering books being avidly read and discussed by America’s leading critics and the world’s most celebrated writers.
Now the NBCC returns with its third seasonal list, assembled by polling the 825 members of the National Book Critics Circle as well as former finalists and winners of NBCC book awards. I think of it as is a freeze frame on book culture today, what critics and authors have been impressed by at this point in the year.
NBCC award winning and finalist authors who contributed to this list included finalists Diane Ackerman, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mary Jo Bang, Kate Christensen, Louise Erdrich, Gary Giddins, Maureen Howard, Troy Jollimore, David Leavitt, Julie Phillips, Richard Price, Norman Rush, Ron Slate, Susan Stewart, Jean Strouse, and Anne Tyler.
NBCC member contributors included book editors and critics for Time, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Bloomberg News, the Believer, Slate, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Hartford Courant, the Seattle Times, the Kansas City Star, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Newark Star-Ledger, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, American Book Review, Bookforum, Pleiades, Brooklyn Rail, and the New Republic.
Following is a list of the top vote getters in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Asterisks indicate a tie. Further details, including other top vote getters in fiction and nonfiction and individual poetry recommendations, will be posted here during the coming weeks.
1. Richard Price, LUSH LIFE, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
2. Jhumpa Lahiri, UNACCUSTOMED EARTH, Knopf
3. Steven Millhauser, DANGEROUS LAUGHTER, Knopf
*4. Charles Baxter, THE SOUL THIEF, Pantheon
*4. Peter Carey, HIS ILLEGAL SELF, Knopf
*4. J. M. Coetzee, DIARY OF A BAD YEAR, Viking
*4. James Collins, BEGINNNER’S GREEK, Little, Brown
*4. Brian Hall, FALL OF FROST, Viking
*4. Roxana Robinson, COST, Sarah Crichton Books:Farrar, Straus & Giroux
*4. Owen Sheers, RESISTANCE, Nan A. Talese: Doubleday
1. Nicholson Baker, HUMAN SMOKE: THE BEGINNING OF WORLD WAR II, THE END OF CIVILIZATION, S. & S.
2. Drew Gilpin Faust, THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING: DEATH AND THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, Knopf
3. Mark Harris, PICTURES AT THE REVOLUTION: FIVE MOVIES AND THE BIRTH OF THE NEW HOLLYWOOD, Penguin Press
4. Honor Moore, THE BISHOP’S DAUGHTER: A MEMOIR, Norton
5. Susan Jacoby, THE AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON, Pantheon
1. Grace Paley, FIDELITY, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
2. Frank Bidart, WATCHING THE SPRING FESTIVAL, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
3. Eric Gansworth, A HALF-LIFE OF CARDIO-PULMONARY FUNCTION, Syracuse University Press
4. Marie Howe, THE KINGDOM OF ORDINARY TIME, Norton
5. Robert Pinsky, GULF MUSIC, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
PS Yes, the NBCC membership is up from 575 in April 2007 to more than 825 a year later, and adding new members each week.