Last week, the winners were announced for the National Book Critics Circle Awards (click here). I think critics pride themselves on finding that one book that hasn't received all the hype, the title that slid under the radar. This year's winners definitely fit that description.
In the Fiction category, the winner was Edith Pearlman for Binocular Vision, a short-story collection. For Nonfiction, the winner was Maya Jasanoff for Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World.For Biography, the award went to John Lewis Gaddis for George F. Kennan: An American Life (I've never heard of him, either). The Autobiography award was presented to Mira Bartok for The Memory Palace: A Memoir. And in Poetry, the winner was Laura Kasischke for Space, in Chains.
And, of course, there were awards for the critics themselves, with one honoring Geoff Dyer for his critical essays.
So, how many of those books have you read? Probably just as many as I have. In fact, I'm on hundreds of book sites every week and I've only heard of one those titles.
That isn't a bad thing, I think it's refreshing. The overhyped books tend to let me down.
Speaking of hype, let's check our Tournament of Books bracket, brought to you by The Morning News.
On March 9, Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt took the lead over Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward.
And today, 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami beat out The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah.
Tomorrow, The Stranger's Child is pitted against The Tiger's Wife (which sounds a bit one-sided just from the titles).
We'll keep an eye on the competition as we head into the Great Eight and then the Final Four.