National Book Critics Circle Announces 2014 Finalists

Your TBR pile just got bigger. You're welcome.

The NBCC (National Book Critics Circle) announced its 30 finalists in six categories – autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, general nonfiction, and poetry – for the best books of 2014.

Considered by many the most prestigious of literary prizes, NBCC awards are juried by working critics and book-review editors.

We love checking out the NBCC lists because they invariably include books we haven’t read yet – or even heard of before. These are the critics’ darlings, and there’s always a little-known gem to discover.

This year is no exception. Here are all 30 finalists. Yes, your TBR pile just got bigger. You’re welcome.

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RIFers in the tristate area, the NBCC ceremony is free and open to the public! The awards will be presented on March 12, 2015 at the New School in New York City. How fun it would be if you attended and then told us all about it!

FICTION

Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman (Grove Press)

Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings (Riverhead Books)

Lily King, Euphoria (Atlantic Monthly Press)

Chang-rae Lee, On Such a Full Sea (Riverhead Books)

Marilynne Robinson, Lila (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Blake Bailey, The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait (W.W. Norton & Co.)

Roz Chast, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (Bloomsbury)

Lacy M. Johnson, The Other Side (Tin House)

Gary Shteyngart, Little Failure (Random House)

Meline Toumani, There Was and There Was Not (Metropolitan Books)

BIOGRAPHY

Ezra Greenspan, William Wells Brown: An African American Life (W.W. Norton & Co.)

S.C. Gwynne, Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson (Scribner)

John Lahr, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh (W.W. Norton & Co.)

Ian S. MacNiven, “Literchoor Is My Beat”: A Life of James Laughlin, Publisher of New Directions (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Miriam Pawel, The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography (Bloomsbury)

CRITICISM

Eula Biss, On Immunity: An Innoculation (Graywolf Press)

Vikram Chandra, Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty (Graywolf Press)

Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press)

Lynne Tillman, What Would Lynne Tillman Do? (Red Lemonade)

Ellen Willis, The Essential Ellen Willis, edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz (University of Minnesota Press)

GENERAL NONFICTION

David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation (Alfred A. Knopf)

Peter Finn and Petra Couvee, The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle over a Forbidden Book (Pantheon)

Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (Henry Holt & Co.)

Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, translated from the French by Arthur Goldhammer (Belknap Press/Harvard University Press)

Hector Tobar, Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle that Set Them Free (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

POETRY

Saeed Jones, Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press)

Willie Perdomo, The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (Penguin Books)

Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press)

Christian Wiman, Once in the West (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Jake Adam York, Abide (Southern Illinois University Press)

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RIFers! Is there one literary award that you really pay attention to? Share in the comments!

About Kira Walton

Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

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