"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. I began this project in February 2019 and I hope on a personal level to read at least two winners each year going forward.


  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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