I mentioned when they were announced that I hadn’t read any of the finalists for the National Book Award. Lucky timing is going to help me out with reading one of the winners.
Taking a look at some of the “best of” lists for this year that have been appearing in the last week or so, I frequently came across Let the Great World Spin. Colum McCann’s novel was also one of the finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction. As a result, I put it on hold earlier this week, even though it was listed as “Coming Soon.” I was already fifth on the list but with the book winning the fiction award Wednesday night I’m guessing a lot more people will be adding their names to the list today.
The NBA citation did cause one concern, though. It begins by referring to the “funambulist” at the heart of the novel. Now I think I have a pretty good grasp of language but that’s a word with which I am totally unfamiliar. Having looked in up, in retrospect “funambulist” sounds far more interesting than the common term most people use.
T.J. Stiles won the award for nonfiction for The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt and Flannery O’Connor’s The Complete Stories, which won in 1972, was named The Best of the National Book Awards Fiction.
Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose