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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 22, 2008 @ 6:36 pm

    Further proof that one doesn’t read as much as one might

    Fiona McCann

    Finalists for this years’ National Book Awards, presented annually to American authors and won over the years by Saul Bellow, Alice Walker, Don Delillo, Philip Roth and Alice McDermott (all of whom, thankfully, I have read) among others:


    Aleksander Hemon, The Lazarus Project (Riverhead)
    Rachel Kushner, Telex from Cuba (Scribner)
    Peter Matthiessen, Shadow Country (Modern Library)
    Marilynne Robinson, Home (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
    Salvatore Scibona, The End (Graywolf Press)


    Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Alfred A. Knopf)
    Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W.W. Norton & Company)
    Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Doubleday)
    Jim Sheeler, Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives (Penguin)
    John Wickersham, The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death in Order (Harcourt)


    Frank Bidart, Watching the Spring Festival (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
    Mark Doty, Fire to Fire: New and Collected Poems (HarperCollins)
    Richard Gibbons, Creatures of a Day (Louisiana State University Press)
    Richard Howard, Without Saying (Turtle Point Press)
    Patricia Smith, Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press)

    Young people’s literature

    Laurie Halse Anderson, Chains (Simon & Schuster)
    Kathie Appelt, The Underneath (Atheneum)
    Judy Blundell, What I Saw and How I Lied (Scholastic)
    E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (Hyperion)
    Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now (Alfred A. Knopf)

    • Aleksander Hemon is an interesting writer. I’ve read his short fiction. He’s from Sarajevo. Went to the USA in 1992, learnt English, started to write in English and is brilliant at it. Nice one.

    • Fiona says:

      Thanks WRW, I’ll be taking your recommendation on board. Interesting, though, as I thought the National Book Awards were only open to Americans . . . I must check that out.

    • Hi Fiona
      Hemon’s style is slightly bizarre from what I’ve read, but I like that.

      Not sure about your question re commenting on my blog. Google run blogger so I think you have to go through them. Hrrmmnn. I do think it’s safe though…
      What do I know? Ask your IT peeps, maybe?!

    • Fiona says:

      Fair enough – I’ll check with the IT folks. Thanks for your input though.

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