Welcome to the second edition of Fast Five!
Fast Five is a new feature modeled on the Wall Street Journal’s book column “Five Best” and the website Five Books. Fast Five will highlight five similarly themed titles available in Saunders Family Library. You can check out the first edition of the series here. Feedback and recommendations are always welcome. Thanks for reading!
Today’s Fast Five: 2018 National Book Award Nominees, Finalists, and Winners
The “Oscars of the book world” took place last Wednesday night – the National Book Foundation announced the 2018 National Book Award winners. Five winning titles in five categories, each from a longlist of ten works winnowed to five finalists. You can see all the titles at the National Book Foundation’s website and will likely encounter them again on one of the “best books” lists that close out the year. Vox also has a nice survey of the 25 finalists.
Here are five nominees and winners in SFL’s collection.
From the publisher: “Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds will fall hard for this astonishing New York Times-bestselling novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth.”
Readers looking to explore the novels-in-verse genre might start with Book Riot’s list of “100 Must-Read YA Books in Verse.” It’s two years old but a great survey of this popular genre. This list from Epic Reads is more recent and features The Poet X as well as titles from genre stalwarts Jason Reynolds and Kwame Alexander.
From the publisher: “Elegiac and searching, The Friend is both a meditation on loss and a celebration of human-canine devotion.”
Read more about The Friend at the author’s website. Watch Sigrid Nunez discuss her life and writing process in a short video interview for the New York Foundation for the Arts. Listen to an interview with the author on WBUR Boston’s Here & Now.
3. Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (FINALIST – Young People’s Literature)
From the publisher: “Hey, Kiddo is a profoundly important memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, and finding the art that helps you survive.”
Jarrett J. Krosoczka is the author of the immensely popular Jedi Academy and Lunch Lady series of books. Visit his website. Krosoczka discusses Hey, Kiddo with Terry Gross on this recent episode of Fresh Air and in this interview at Comics Beat.
4. Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh (FINALIST – Non-Fiction)
From the publisher: “An essential read for our times: an eye-opening memoir of working-class poverty in America that will deepen our understanding of the ways in which class shapes our country.”
5. The Boatbuilder by Daniel Gumbiner (LONGLIST – Fiction)
From the publisher: “Written in gleaming prose, this is a story about resilience, community, and what it takes to win back your soul.”