National Book Critics Circle Award
Every year, the National Book Critics Circle of over 700 book reviewers from all parts of the country present awards for the
finest books published in English. Categories include: Fiction, General Nonfiction, Biography/Autobiography, Poetry, and
by Paul Beatty
A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the
Supreme Court, Paul Beatty's The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred
tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy
grail of racial equality — the black Chinese restaurant. Born in the "agrarian ghetto" of Dickens — on the southern outskirts
of Los Angeles — the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: "I'd
die in the same bedroom I'd grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that've been there since 68 quake."
Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged
psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father's pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his
family's financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All
that's left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.
by Sam Quinones
In fascinating detail, Sam Quinones chronicles how, over the past 15 years, enterprising sugar
cane farmers in a small county on the west coast of Mexico created a unique distribution system that brought black tar heroin
— the cheapest, most addictive form of the opiate, 2 to 3 times purer than its white powder cousin — to the veins of people
across the United States. Communities where heroin had never been seen before — from Charlotte, NC and Huntington, WVA, to
Salt Lake City and Portland, OR — were overrun with it. Local police and residents were stunned. How could heroin, long
considered a drug found only in the dense, urban environments along the East Coast, and trafficked into the United States by
enormous Colombian drug cartels, be so incredibly ubiquitous in the American heartland? Who was bringing it here, and perhaps
more importantly, why were so many townspeople suddenly eager for the comparatively cheap high it offered?
Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
by Ross Gay
Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude is a sustained meditation on that which goes away—loved
ones, the seasons, the earth as we know it—that tries to find solace in the processes of the garden and the orchard. That is,
this is a book that studies the wisdom of the garden and orchard, those places where all—death, sorrow, loss—is converted
into what might, with patience, nourish us.
by Maggie Nelson
Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory"
offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and
language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author’s relationship with artist Harry Dodge. This story, which
includes the author's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a
pregnancy, is an intimate portrayal of the complexities and joys of (queer) family making.
by Margo Jefferson
At once incendiary and icy, mischievous and provocative, celebratory and elegiac -- here is a
deeply felt meditation on race, sex, and American culture through the prism of the author’s rarefied upbringing and education
among a black elite concerned with distancing itself from whites and the black generality while tirelessly measuring itself