I buy and read more books than anyone I know, and I also keep up with the major book reviews (other than Publishers' Weekly
). I am thus at a loss to explain how I did not know that the National Book Awards
were last night and--worse--that I am familiar with so few of the books that won or were finalists. In fiction I have Marilynne Robinson's Home
, though I haven't yet read it. I also have 2/3 of the books that were re-written or condensed into Peter Matthiessen's The Shadow Country
, which won the award for fiction. I read Killing Mr. Watson
(1990), the first in the series, but in the interim between buying Lost Man's River
(1997)--the second in the trilogy--and reading it, I met Matthiessen and swore off reading any more of his books. Proir to this morning's paper, I had not even heard of the other finalists in fiction.
Among the finalists in poetry, I have (and have read) only Frank Bidart's Watching the Spring Festival
. I did not know that winner Mark Doty had a New and Collected
out. I do have most--if not all--of his earlier work. I will buy Reginald Gibbons' Creatures of a Day
, both because I like him and because he's on the faculty at Warren Wilson.
heard of all of the nonfiction finalists, but haven't read any of them.
It seems I am more "out of it" than I'd like to admit.