Thursday, January 29, 2009

ALA Notable Books & National Book Critics Circle Finalists

Award lists are great ways to find that next good book you would like to read. The Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) have just issued awards winners you may like to request from the library.
Some of the titles you will find on the ALA Notable books list for 2009 are:


Aslam, Nadeem. The Wasted Vigil. Knopf Publishing Group.
A new novel--at once lyrical and blistering--about war in modern times, told through the lives of five people who come together in post-9/11 Afghanistan.

Benioff, David. City of Thieves. Viking Books
A writer visits his retired grandparents in Florida to document their experience during the infamous siege of Leningrad. His grandmother won't talk about it, but his grandfather reluctantly consents. The result is the captivating odyssey of two young men trying to survive against desperate odds.

Erdrich, Louise. The Plague of Doves. Harper. The unsolved murder of a farm family haunts the small, white, off-reservation town of Pluto, North Dakota. The vengeance exacted for this crime and the subsequent distortions of truth transform the lives of Ojibwe living on the nearby reservation and shape the passions of both communities for the next generation.
Strout, Elizabeth. Olive Kitteridge. Random House At the edge of the continent, in the small town of Crosby, Maine, lives Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher who deplores the changes in her town and in the world at large but doesn't always recognize the changes in those around her.


Coll, Steve. The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century. Penguin Press. Steve Coll tells the story of the rise of the Bin Laden family and of the wildly diverse lifestyles of the generation to which Osama bin Laden belongs, and against whom he rebelled. Starting with the family's escape from famine at the beginning of the twentieth century, through its jet-set era in America after the 1970s oil boom, and finally to the family's attempts to recover from September 11, this book unearths extensive new material about the family and its relationship with the United States,
Filkins, Dexter. The Forever War. Knopf Publishing Group.
A prizewinning New York Times correspondent chronicles a remarkable chain of events that begins with the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, continues with the attacks of 9/11, and moves on to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mayer, Jane. The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals.
THE DARK SIDE is a dramatic, riveting, and definitive narrative account of how the United States made terrible decisions in the pursuit of terrorists around the world-- decisions that not only violated the Constitution to which White House officials took an oath to uphold, but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda. In gripping detail, acclaimed New Yorker writer and bestselling author, Jane Mayer, relates the impact of these decisions—U.S.-held prisoners, some of them completely innocent, were subjected to treatment more reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition than the twenty-first century.

Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. Penguin Press.
From the author of the bestselling The Omnivores Dilemma comes this bracing and eloquent manifesto that shows readers how they might start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich their lives and enlarge their sense of what it means to be healthy.

Some of the titles found on the NBCC Finalists list are:

Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project, Riverhead Ben joins his ex-con brother in a robbery and faces a punishment of lethal injection. But his death sentence isn't quite what it seems. and he regains consciousness near an eerie psychiatric ward, where he's told he's been hired as the groundskeeper. With the state of his soul in question, and the love for his wife and daughter all the more real and powerful, Ben must figure out if he's truly cheated death, or if he's become part of something far more sinister.

Marilynne Robinson, Home, Farrar, Straus. Glory Boughton, aged thirty-eight, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon her brother, Jack--the prodigal son of the family, gone for twenty years--comes home too, looking for refuge and trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain.
Paula J. Giddings, Ida, A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching. Amistad. Traces the life and legacy of the nineteenth-century activist and pioneer, documenting her birth into slavery, her career as a journalist and a pioneer for civil rights and suffrage, and her determination to counter lynching.
Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family. Norton Historian and legal scholar Gordon-Reed presents this epic work that tells the story of the Hemingses, an American slave family, and their close blood ties to Thomas Jefferson.

Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the Civil War, Knopf
During the Civil War 620,000 soldiers lost their lives. The equivalent proportion of todays population would be six million. This Republic of Suffering explores the impact of the enormous death toll from every angle: material, political, intellectual, and spiritual.

Allan Lichtman, White Protestant Nation, Atlantic
Spanning nearly 100 years of American political history, and abounding with outsized characters--from Lindbergh to Goldwater to Gingrich to Abramoff--this work offers a penetrating look at the origins, evolution, and triumph (at times) of modern conservatism. SH

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