Years ago, when I was just a couple years out of college, and missing the experience of intensive community reading , I decided to read all of the National Book Award Finalists in Fiction before the winner was announced. I thought it would be fun to understand how the panel was thinking about contemporary literature — and to see whether I agreed with their choice of winner. But most of all I wanted to challenge myself with that kind of deep, engaged reading again. And the books I read that year opened me during a time when I was just starting to understand myself as a reader and a writer in our contemporary canon.
Tonight I loved getting to live stream the National Book Awards, which felt like such an electrifying experience.
And then, to top off the night, there was this:
So thanks to my love for engaging with me in vocal couch-side cheering tonight, and to everyone who does the difficult, arduous, empathic, and euphoric work of writing new books.
I’m halfway through Ta-Nehisi Coates’s exceptional Between the World and Me, but I haven’t read the other NBA winners yet. Have you read any of them? What did you think?