But even as speculation about the future of the Post's venerable Book World continues, the paper's fiction critic, Ron Charles, was awarded the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, the most prestigious award for book criticism in the country, by the National Book Critics Circle.
That's especially heartening news to us at the Monitor because Ron was book editor here and we know how fully he deserves the award. For seven years his fiction reviews appeared weekly in our pages. We occasionally still reprint them under the heading of "classic reviews" and even years later the humor and acuity of his writing elicits attention and response.
Ron's award was announced at a dinner in New York City last night, where the NBCC also listed the finalists for its 2008 awards. (Winners will be announced on March 12.)
The NBCC finalists included:
Roberto Bolaño, for "2666"
Aleksandar Hemon, for "The Lazarus Project"
Paula J. Giddings, for "Ida, A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching"
Patrick. French, for "The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul"
Rick Bass, for "Why I Came West" (Monitor review, 71/5/08)
Helene Cooper, for "The House on Sugar Beach" (Monitor review, 9/2/08)
Honor Moore, for "The Bishop’s Daughter"
Andrew X. Pham, for "The Eaves of Heaven"
Dexter Filkins, for "The Forever War" (Monitor review, 10/10/08)
Jane Mayer, for "The Dark Side"
Allan Lichtman, for "White Protestant Nation"