National Book Awards 2020

Printer Friendly Display

Enjoy the finalists and winners  of the National Book Awards for 2020, as voted by the National  Book Foundation. 


Lydia Millet
Description: "Lydia Millet's multilayered new novel follows a group of children and their families on summer vacation at a lakeside mansion. The teenage narrator Eve and the other children are contemptuous of their parents, who spend the days and nights in drunken stupor. This tension heightens when a great storm arrives and throws the house and its residents into chaos. Named for a picture Bible given to Eve's little brother Jack, A Children's Bible is loosely structured around events and characters that often appear in collections of Bible stories intended for young readers. These narrative touchstones are imbedded in a backdrop of environmental and psychological distress as the children reject the parents for their emotional and moral failures--in part as normal teenagers must, and in part for their generation's passivity and denial in the face of cataclysmic change. In A Children's Bible, Millet offers brilliant commentary on the environment and human weakness and a vision of what awaits us on the other side of Revelations" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Mil
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 29, 2020
Randall Kenan
Description: "If I Had Two Wings, riffs on the human relationship with the transcendent. Rooted in Kenan's fictional territory of Tims Creek, NC, this book also travels to more "sophisticated" places, as these ten stories chronicle ineffable events in ordinary lives: a retired North Carolinian on a church trip to Manhattan, taking in life with gentle curiosity, who is befriended by Billy Idol in "When We All Get to Heaven"; the woman whose cooking sparked an eternal hunger in Howard Hughes, in "The Eternal Glory that is Ham Hocks"; a gay man returns from a glamorous life in DC to cope with an ornery uncle in a nursing home in "I Thought I Heard the Shuffle of an Angel's Feed"; and in "The Acts of Velmajean Swearington Hoyt and the New City of God," an elderly woman turned miracle worker, through a grace either divine or diabolical. A rich chorus of voices marked by grit, humor, suffering, and joie de vivre, If I Had Two Wings is a fully satisfying provocation and delight"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Ken
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 29, 2020
Charles Yu
Description: Every day Willis Wu leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He's a bit player here too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy-- and he sees his life as a script. After stumbling into the spotlight, Willis finds himself launched into a wider world than he has ever known, discovering not only the secret history of Chinatown, but the buried legacy of his own family, and what that means for him in today's America. -- adapted from jacket and perusal of book
Call Number: FIC Yu
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 29, 2020
Rumaan Alam
Description: "A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong"-- Provided by publisher.
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 29, 2020
Douglas Stuart
Description: "Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh "Shuggie" Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher's war on heavy industry has put husbands and sons out of work, and the city's notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. Shuggie's mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie's guiding light but a burden for his artistic brother and practical sister. She dreams of a house with its own front door while she flicks through the pages of the Freemans catalogue, ordering a little happiness on credit, anything to brighten up her grey life. Married to a "whoremaster" of a husband, Agnes keeps her pride by looking good -- her beehive, make-up, and pearly-white false teeth offer a glamourous image of a Glaswegian Elizabeth Taylor. But under the surface, Agnes finds increasing solace in drink, and she drains away the lion's share of each week's benefits -- all the family has to live on -- on cans of extra-strong lager hidden in handbags and poured into tea mugs. Agnes's older children find their own ways to get a safe distance from their mother, abandoning Shuggie to look after her as she swings between alcoholic binges and sobriety. He is meanwhile doing all he can to somehow become the normal boy he desperately longs to be, but everyone has realized that Shuggie is "no right," and now Agnes's addiction has the power to eclipse everyone close to her -- even and especially her beloved Shuggie." -- From publisher's description.
Call Number: FIC Stu
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 29, 2020
Vanessa Veselka
Description: "On the day of their estranged father's wedding, half-sisters Cheyenne and Livy set off to claim their inheritance. It's been years since the two have seen each other. Cheyenne is newly back in Seattle, crashing with Livy after a failed marriage and a series of dead ends. Livy works refinishing boats, her resentment against her free-loading sister growing as she tamps down dreams of fishing off the coast of Alaska. But the promise of a shot at financial security brings the two together to claim what's theirs. Except: instead of money, their father gives them information--a name--that both reveals a stunning secret and compels them to come to grips with it. Parallel and individually, the sisters and their adopted brother set out on journeys that will test their faith in each other, as well as their definitions of freedom. Moving from Seattle's underground to the docks of the Far North, from the hideaways of the southern swamps to the storied reaches of the Great Offshore Grounds, Veselka spins a tale with boundless verve and linguistic vitality, a deep interrogation of American greed and mythology, and an undeniable tenderness--it is the first great post-capitalist novel of the 21st century" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Ves
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 29, 2020
Christopher. Beha
Description: "The day Sam Waxworth arrives in New York to write for The Interviewer, a street-corner preacher declares that the world is coming to an end. A sports statistician, data journalist, and newly minted media celebrity who correctly forecasted every outcome of the 2008 election, Sam's familiar with predicting the future. But when projection meets reality, things turn complicated. Sam's editor sends him to profile disgraced political columnist Frank Doyle. To most readers, Doyle is a liberal lion turned neocon Iraq war apologist, but to Sam he is above all the author of the great works of baseball lore that sparked Sam's childhood love of the game--books he now views as childish myth-making to be crushed with his empirical hammer. But Doyle proves something else in person: charming, intelligent, and more convincing than Sam could have expected. Then there is his daughter, Margo, to whom Sam becomes desperately attracted--just as his wife, Lucy, arrives from Wisconsin. The lives of these characters are entwined with those of the rest of the Doyle family--Frank's wife, Kit, whose investment bank collapsed during the financial crisis; his son, Eddie, an Army veteran just returned from his second combat tour; and Eddie's best childhood friend, hedge funder Justin Price. While the end of the world might not be arriving, Beha's characters are each headed for apocalypses of their own making" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Beh
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 29, 2020
Deesha Philyaw
Description: "The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church's double standards and their own needs and passions. There is fourteen-year-old Jael, who has a crush on the preacher’s wife. At forty-two, Lyra realizes that her discomfort with her own body stands between her and a new love. As Y2K looms, Caroletta’s 'same time next year' arrangement with her childhood best friend is tenuous. A serial mistress lays down the ground rules for her married lovers. In the dark shadows of a hospice parking lot, grieving strangers find comfort in each other. With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Phi
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 29, 2020
Brit Bennett
Description: "The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect? Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Ben
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 29, 2020
Subscribe to New Best Fun List: National Book Awards 2020
A Children's Bible : A Novel
Lydia Millet
FIC Mil
The Great Offshore Grounds
Vanessa Veselka
FIC Ves
If I Had Two Wings : Stories
Randall Kenan
FIC Ken
The Index Of Self-destructive Acts
Christopher. Beha
FIC Beh
Interior Chinatown
Charles Yu
FIC Yu
The Secret Lives Of Church Ladies
Deesha Philyaw
FIC Phi
Leave The World Behind : A Novel
Rumaan Alam
The Vanishing Half
Brit Bennett
FIC Ben
Shuggie Bain
Douglas Stuart
FIC Stu