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The National Book Awards: 2016

The National Book Awards: 2016

By Friendspire

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About the list

"The National Book Awards are a set of annual U.S. literary awards. At the final National Book Awards Ceremony every November, the National Book Foundation presents the National Book Awards and two lifetime achievement awards to authors. The National Book Awards were established in 1936 by the American Booksellers Association, abandoned during World War II, and re-established by three book industry organizations in 1950. Non-U.S. authors and publishers were eligible for the pre-war awards. Now ... Read more

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The Underground Railroad

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2016 | Colson Whitehead

Rated by 13 people

The Newest Oprah Book Club 2016 Selection From prize-winning, bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood--where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned--Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. In Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor--engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. Like the protagonist of Gulliver's Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey--hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

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Stamped from the Beginning

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2016 | Ibram Kendi

Rated by 2 people

The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society. Some Americans insist that we're living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America--it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit. In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis. As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation's racial inequities. In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope. Praise for Stamped from the Beginning: "We often describe a wonderful book as 'mind-blowing' or 'life-changing' but I've found this rarely to actually be the case. I found both descriptions accurate for Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning... I will never look at racial discrimination again after reading this marvellous, ambitious, and clear-sighted book." - George Saunders, Financial Times, Best Books of 2017 "Ambitious, well-researched and worth the time of anyone who wants to understand racism." --Seattle Times "A deep (and often disturbing) chronicling of how anti-black thinking has entrenched itself in the fabric of American society." --The Atlantic - Winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction - A New York Times Bestseller - A Washington Post Bestseller - On President Obama's Black History Month Recommended Reading List - Finalist for the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction - Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Review of Books, The Root, Buzzfeed, Bustle, and Entropy

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The Performance of Becoming Human

2016 | Daniel Borzutzky

Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies. 2016 National Book Award Finalist. Following in the path of his acclaimed collections THE BOOK OF INTERFERING BODIES (Nightboat, 2011) and IN THE MURMURS OF THE ROTTEN CARCASS ECONOMY (Nightboat, 2015), Daniel Borzutzky returns to confront the various ways nation-states and their bureaucracies absorb and destroy communities and economies. In THE PERFORMANCE OF BECOMING HUMAN, the bay of Valparaiso merges into the western shore of Lake Michigan, where Borzutzky continues his poetic investigation into the political and economic violence shared by Chicago and Chile, two places integral to his personal formation. To become human is to navigate borders, including the fuzzy borders of institutions, the economies of privatization, overdevelopment, and underdevelopment, under which humans endure state-sanctioned and systemic abuses in cities, villages, deserts. Borzutzky, whose writing Eileen Myles has described as violent, perverse, and tender in its portrayal of a kaleidoscopic journey of American horror and global horror, adds another chapter to a growing and important compendium of work that asks what it means to a be both a unitedstatesian and a globalized subject whose body is shared between the earth, the state, and the bank. Like any good satirist, Borzutzky considers his subjectivity with the same lens he applies to the systems he critiques, and THE PERFORMANCE OF BECOMING HUMAN is an apogee of that inquiry. Since THE BOOK OF INTERFERING BODIES, Daniel Borzutzky has been the fabulist we most need because he's unafraid to detail the truth of our oligarchy, without pedantry. In his figurative world our bodies are forced through privatized meat grinders, but funnily in the way that all dark horror stories trigger our gallows humor. I'm thrilled every time Borzutzky brings a book in the world, learn the most about reality from him.--Carmen Giménez Smith In this canticle for the age of listicles, Daniel Borzutzky performs a new political poetry in the crucible of 'overdevelopment, ' when 'The city has disappeared into the privatized cellar of humanity.' Here, the socially engaged bro-poet is mercifully broken, relieved of his epic monumentality, and with it of a range of foundational fictions (nation/family/language/subject), leaving behind these gut-cantos (songs/fragments), detestimonios of a spectral self, at once buzz-fed and cankerously/cantankerously embodied. (You can't spell 'Neruda' without 'nerd' and Canto General never rocked 'The Gross and Borderless Body.') The ugly majesty of these prose blocks echoes the windswept expanses of neoliberal Chile and Chicago, their dead and their debt, their surrender and struggle. To read 'this book that is a country deposited not in your heart but in your mouth' is to confront becoming human as speech act, as language game, and to know the freedom and the terror of doing so. The painbeauty of Borzutzky's virtuoso, multi- register flow (abject punchlines included) is also a counter-flow to the death drive of capital, sentences for a radical sentience.--Urayoán Noel

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