Awards, B&N Reads

National Book Awards Finalists 2022

[Drumroll, please!] The National Book Foundation has announced the five finalists in each of five categories for the 2022 National Book Awards, and there is some GREAT reading on this list, starting with two of our own Discover Prize finalists. Winners will be announced live in New York on November 16, 2022, but until then… Ready, set… READ! 

Fiction

We say start here, with these exceptional new writers: Tess Gunty and Sarah Thankam Mathews. The Rabbit Hutch and All This Could Be Different make a perfect box set of smart, sharp stories centered on young women who know that the world can—and should—be a different place. Always gimlet-eyed and often very funny, both of these debuts subvert the classic coming age narrative, and we know you won’t forget Rabbit Hutch’s Blandine or All This Could Be Different’s Sneha anytime soon. You can listen to Tess on our Poured Over podcast here, and Sarah here

Toni Morrison discovered Gayl Jones; years later, Kiese Laymon and Tayari Jones introduced us to Jones’s stunning novel Corregidora. We’re delighted to see The Birdcatcher shortlisted for a National Book Award. Fellow nominee (albeit for nonfiction), Imani Perry says: “Gayl Jones’s work represents a watershed in American literature.” 

We didn’t want Jamil Jan Kochai’s The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories to end, and we’re not the only ones. Tommy Orange, bestselling author of There, There, writes: “…Beyond brilliant….There is so much range and breadth and depth in this collection. Here we have humor and rage and style in spades, with storytelling as inventive as it is enthralling. One of the best books I’ve read in a long time.” 

Broken hearts, aging parents and a second coming-of-age: The Town of Babylon by Alejandro Varela is thoughtful and charming, honest and compassionate—a story of finding home and one’s self.  

All This Could Be Different

All This Could Be Different

Sarah Thankam Mathews

Hardcover $23.99 $27.00

The Birdcatcher

The Birdcatcher

Gayl Jones

Hardcover $24.95

The Town of Babylon: A Novel

The Town of Babylon: A Novel

Alejandro Varela

Hardcover $27.00

Nonfiction

Meghan O’Rourke, poet and editor of The Yale Review, follows her seminal story of grief, The Long Goodbye, with The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness, a revelatory investigation into disease (including her own), which Esquire describes perfectly as being “at once a rigorous work of scholarship and a radical act of empathy.” 

We’ve been fans of Imani Perry since we read her acclaimed biography, Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry; South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation is part memoir, part history, part cultural investigation and we did not want to put it down. You can listen to Imani on our Poured Over podcast here. 

Bestselling author David Quammen makes the fast-evolving hard science the decipher the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 accessible for the rest of us in his latest, Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus. 

The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir by Ingrid Rojas Contreras is an extraordinary true, story of mothers and daughters, memory and reality, family legacies and history that cuts between Columbia and the United States. 

Where were you on May 25, 2020? Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa deliver a landmark portrait of a man and the country that made him in His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice, “an essential work of history I hope everyone will read.” 
(Henry Louis Gates, Jr., author of The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song

Poetry

We stan for Mary Oliver and Ada Limón and Joy Harjo and Saeed Jones and Jericho Brown and Ross Gay and Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Lucille Clifton and Gwendolyn Brooks and so many other poets around here, but the National Book Awards shortlist always introduces us to new favorites every year. We’re looking forward to diving in to: 

Look at This Blue by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke 
Punks: New & Selected Poems by John Keene 
Balladz by Sharon Olds  
Best Barbarian by Roger Reeves 
The Rupture Tense by Jenny Xie 

Look at This Blue

Look at This Blue

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

Paperback $16.95

Balladz

Balladz

Sharon Olds

Paperback $20.00

Best Barbarian: Poems

Best Barbarian: Poems

Roger Reeves

Hardcover $26.95

The Rupture Tense: Poems

The Rupture Tense: Poems

Jenny Xie

Paperback $17.00

Translated Literature

There’s a lot of wonderful literature in translation out in the world, from the Russians (George Saunders has a fun way to look Russian short stories in A Swim in a Pond in the Rain) to Lydia Davis’s sublime translation of Madame Bovary to Haruki Murakami’s wild body of work—and that’s just a very small start. As with poetry, the National Book Awards shortlist introduces us to new favorites every year. 

A New Name: Septology VI-VII by Jon Fosse, translated from the Norwegian by Damion Searls 
Kibogo by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti 
Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda, Jawbone, translated from the Spanish by Sarah Booker 
Seven Empty Houses by Samanta Schweblin, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell 
Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada, translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani 

A New Name: Septology VI-VII

A New Name: Septology VI-VII

Jon Fosse , Damion Searls

Paperback $17.95

Kibogo

Kibogo

Scholastique Mukasonga , Mark Polizzotti

Paperback $17.00

Jawbone

Jawbone

Mónica Ojeda , Sarah Booker

Paperback $16.95

Young People’s Literature

Jaqueline Woodson. Elizabeth Acevedo. Robin Benway. Kacen Callendar. Cynthia Kadohata. Louis Sachar. Neil Shusterman. Lots of younger readers already know those names, but their grownups really should know these modern classics too. The books in this category provide readers with books to relate to, books to build their empathy for others, and books that challenge them, and we’re looking forward to seeing who wins the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature this year!  

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill 
The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes, 
Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice by Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes, and Dawud Anyabwile 
All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir 
Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee

The Ogress and the Orphans

The Ogress and the Orphans

Kelly Barnhill

Paperback $9.95

The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School

The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School

Sonora Reyes

Hardcover $18.99

All My Rage (National Book Award Winner)

All My Rage (National Book Award Winner)

Sabaa Tahir

Hardcover $15.99 $19.99

Maizy Chen's Last Chance

Maizy Chen's Last Chance

Lisa Yee

Hardcover $16.99

So what are you waiting for? Build your TBR with these amazing books from the 2022 National Book Awards Finalists!