"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

My Personal National Book Award Challenge

After investigating The National Book Award webpage and I realized how many of these award books I've read and how many I want to read. This caused me to decide to attempt to read at least two of the winning books per year.

Up until last year four awards were given: Fiction; Nonfiction; Poetry; Young People's Literature. In 2018 one more award was started: Translated Literature.

To not completely overwhelm myself I decided to attempt this project for the past ten years only and today I have finished my last book to complete the project.


I better get going if I am to finish the 2020 winners before they announce the 2021 winners!

Now the challenge is on-going. I am hoping to finish two books from the list each year, which I completed in 2019.

Today I finished The Friend by Nunez. I also read one of the fiction finalists, The Great Believers, which I actually liked better. I read Poet X last year. It also won the Printz Award for YA books. 

I read both Sing, Unburied, Sing (fiction) and Far From the Tree (Young People's Literature) last year in 2018.

I read The Underground Railroad (fiction) in 2017 and March, book 3 (Young People's Literature) in 2016.








I finished Between the World and Me in April 2019. It was the nonfiction winner. Challenger Deep was one of my favorite YA reads of 2015.










I did a read-along of Redeployment with another Army wife friend. It is a collection of short stories about the perils of dealing with military service. I finished it in April 2019. I read Brown Girl Dreaming in 2014. It is a memoir written in verse.










I read the poetry collection, Incarnadine in March 2019 and the Young People's Literature winner, The Thing Called Luck in April 2019.    










I read both the fiction winner, The Round House and the nonfiction winner, Behind the Beautiful Forevers for books club in 2016.
Since it is my own personal challenge I decided to read a finalist for the fiction award for this year. I completed The Buddha in the Attic in April 2019. Inside Out and Back Again was the Young People's Literature winner and I read it in 2011.

Again I decided to read a finalist for this year and finished Great House in February. I also finished Lighthead, the Poetry winner a few days later in February.









I read Let the Great World Spin in 2010, and was one of my favorite books that year. Claudette Colvin, the Young People's Literature is a nonfiction selection and I completed it in March 2019.

It feels good to have completed this project. For the most part I understand why the books were selected as winners. They may not all be personal favorites but I appreciate the excellence in writing and the compelling themes. The nine books that I completed since I commenced the challenge in February 2019 are:

  1. The Friend by Nunez (Fiction, 2018)
  2. Between the World and Me by Coates (Nonfiction, 2015)
  3. Redeployment by Klay (Fiction, 2014)
  4. Incarnadine by Szybist (Poetry, 2013)
  5. The Thing About Luck by Kahohata (Young People's Literature, 2013)
  6. The Buddha in the Attic by Otsuka (Fiction finalist, 2011)
  7. Great House by Kraus (Fiction finalist, 2010)
  8. Lighthead by Hayes (Poetry, 2010)
  9. Claudette Colvin by Hoose (Young People's Literature, 2009)


  1. Congratulations! When I complete a challenge I have mixed feelings: a sense of accomplishment and an empty feeling that I won't be keeping an eye out for those books anymore. I feel like I should read The New Negro, one of this year's winners, because the author is at our local university.


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