Wednesday, September 17, 2014

first thoughts: 2014 National Book Award (fiction) longlist

Thanks to Twitter, I learned the National Book Foundation announced their Fiction longlist twelve hours earlier than expected (thanks for letting me sleep in, National Book Foundation!) Here are this year's ten longlisted titles:



  • An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
  • The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol (my review)
  • Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • Redeployment by Phil Klay
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Thunderstruck and Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken
  • Orfeo by Richard Powers
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson
  • Some Luck by Jane Smiley
My first thoughts: 
  • The judges seem to like short stories more than I do. This year's longlist has three story collections, and two are by debut authors (Antopol and Klay). If all three make the shortlist, I'll be surprised.
  • Cheers to the Iowa Writer's Workshop...and Iowa! Four authors have strong Iowa ties: McCracken, Robinson, Smiley and Darnielle. (John Darnielle has lived in Iowa.) 
  • The longlist is a nice cross-section of young talent and established talent, including one former winner (Powers) and two former shortlisted authors (Smiely and McCracken). I'm curious how the shortlist will look.
  • Richard Powers made the Booker Prize longlist but not the shortlist. Will he fare better here?
I doubt I'll be reading all ten, although I've already read one (hooray!) I do hope to make time Station Eleven and Some Luck soon, as I intended to read both before their longlist honors. I will attempt to read all five shortlisted titles. The shortlist will be announced October 15th.

Now tell me: what are your first thoughts about the longlist?

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4 comments:

  1. I always read award lists and find myself wondering where some of these books came from! I read and enjoyed Orfeo and All the Light We Cannot See. I plan to read Lila, Station Eleven, and An Unnecessary Woman. But this is my first time seeing Redeployment and Wolf in White Van! What kind of special book list do these people have?!?

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  2. I bought Station Eleven as soon as it came out and started reading it, even though I was supposed to be reading something else. Very good so far!

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  3. I can't keep up with award shortlists, much less longlists, but I was very impressed by Emily St. Mandel's first book, so hope to read Station Eleven. I've been meaning to read All the Light We Cannot See and Orfeo. I somehow missed knowing about Thunderstruck, and didn't order it for the library! Redeployment has been a shelf-sitter, so maybe it'll get more attention now. I keep meaning to read books by Jane Smiley, but never have!

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  4. I'm really happy to see All the Light We Cannot See on the list. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since reading it in the spring.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!