Archive for the ‘National Book Award Finalist’ Category


Billy Lynn – the eponymous hero of this book – is a genuine American hero. He and his fellow Bravo Squad members decimated an insurgency – caught on film by an embedded Fox News crew — and became overnight sensations in a nation starved for good news about Iraq. They are brought home for a media-intensive “Victory Tour” – in cities that happen to lie in an electoral swing state — to reinvigorate support for the war. We meet them at the end of that tour, on a rainy Thanksgiving, hosted by America’s Team, The Dallas Cowboys.

February 27, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Drift-of-Life, Humorous, National Book Award Finalist, National Book Critic Circle (NBCC), Texas, Unique Narrative, United States, y Award Winning Author


The quote above makes Americans seem certifiably insane. And perhaps this is how many Americans appeared to French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville during his now famous visit to America’s shores in the early nineteenth century. Though not wildly popular for many years, Tocqueville’s masterpiece DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA has become standard university reading and has been heralded as the greatest, most prophetic assessment of America ever produced. Scholars have poured over its pages, and multiple biographers have attempted to capture the man who penned its eloquent insightful lines. Most recently, award-winning author Peter Carey has created an imaginative historical fiction based on the life of Tocqueville and his fruitful time in the new nation.

April 23, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Facing History, Literary, National Book Award Finalist, Reading Guide, United States, y Award Winning Author

NOTHING TO ENVY by Barbara Demick

There is much earthy wisdom in the saying: “One death is a tragedy; a thousand is a statistic.” By narrating the life stories of six North Korean defectors and their daily struggles, author Barbara Demick underscores this point beautifully. Her moving book NOTHING TO ENVY: ORDINARY LIVES IN NORTH KOREA, lets us look at the human angle behind the news headlines.

March 27, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Korea, National Book Award Finalist, Non-fiction, y Award Winning Author

SO MUCH FOR THAT by Lionel Shriver

SO MUCH FOR THAT by Lionel Shriver is a timely novel about the dire straits of our country’s healthcare system. It is also a diatribe about our country’s policies of taxation, what the average Joe gets in return for his taxes, and the government’s rip-off of average tax payers. The novel does not spare the evils of the banking industry, corporate America, or the wealthy as they are vilified for creating an environment that harms poor workers and the middle class.

March 16, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Contemporary, National Book Award Finalist, y Award Winning Author

AMERICAN SALVAGE by Bonnie Jo Campbell

The story of the slow collapse of Michigan’s economy is well known by now. Built around the automotive industry and a core base of manufacturing, the economy started a slow decline as those manufacturing jobs moved out of state. The state now has an astounding unemployment rate of 14.8%.

The characters in AMERICAN SALVAGE, a memorable set of short stories nominated for the National Book Award this year, are all victims of the state’s slow decline. The author Bonnie Jo Campbell narrates stories in which some of the characters have taken to meth or alcohol while still others cling on to jobs that don’t pay much.

December 4, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, National Book Award Finalist, Reading Guide, Short Stories, US Midwest, y Award Winning Author

FAR NORTH by Marcel Theroux

The narrator of Theroux’s post-apocalyptic novel, FAR NORTH, Makepeace Hatfield (who lives up to the name), is the last survivor of an immigrant Siberian community – a place Makepeace’s British parents had come to to escape the material world. But the rescue of a starving waif awakens Makepeace’s longing for companionship, love and civilization, spurring the road trip that drives the novel.

October 22, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Literary, National Book Award Finalist, Russia, Scifi, World Lit