No Jonathan Franzen? That seems to be the first reaction throughout the book world. The National Book Award finalists were announced this morning at the Savannah, Ga., childhood home of Flannery O'Connor, and there was no mention of Franzen's bestselling novel "Freedom."
But there was a fiction nomination for Peter Carey's "Parrot and Olivier in America" (which failed last night to snag a Man Booker Prize) and also two nonfiction nominations for Los Angeles Times staffers (Barbara Demick, author of "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea," is the paper's Beijing bureau chief and Megan K. Stack, author of "Every Man in This Village Is a Liar: An Education in War," is the Moscow bureau chief.)
Last year's National Book Award winners included Colum McCann in fiction for "Let the Great World Spin,", T. J. Stiles in nonfiction for "The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt," Keith Waldrop in poetry for "Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy," and Phillip Hoose in young people's literature for "Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice."
The 2010 National Book Award winners will be announced at a ceremony in New York on Nov. 17.
Here's the complete list of finalists:
Barbara Demick, "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea"
John W. Dower, "Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, Iraq"
Patti Smith, "Just Kids"
Justin Spring, "Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward"
Megan K. Stack, "Every Man in This Village Is a Liar: An Education in War"
Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.