So my reaction to this morning’s fiction longlist was basically, “Huh.” Because I haven’t read a single book on this list and I’ve only heard of about half of them. I like to think I keep up with these things, but apparently not! Anyway, that is not a complaint. I’m interested to see how I feel once I’ve read them.
Without further ado, here’s the longlist:
- Dark at the Crossing, Elliot Ackerman
- The King Is Always Above the People: Stories, Daniel Alarcón
- Miss Burma, Charmaine Craig
- Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan
- The Leavers, Lisa Ko
- Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
- Her Body and Other Parties: Stories, Carmen Maria Machado
- A Kind of Freedom, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
- Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward
- Barren Island, Carol Zoref
I think this is a really intriguing list. Before this morning, only Manhattan Beach, The Leavers, and Sing, Unburied, Sing had been on my radar–I’d heard of a couple of the others but I wasn’t actively planning to read them.
I’m always excited to see short stories on lists like this, because I think they’re so often under appreciated. The list is geographically and culturally diverse, which is exciting to me. And 80% women! Overall, I’m looking forward to digging into this bunch of books.
Oh, how I love longlists. Seriously, I am geeky enough to admit that I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of the non-fiction and fiction NBA longlists for at least a week, despite the fact that my TBR list is already a mile long and I already despair of ever finishing it.
So here’s the list:
- Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge, Erica Armstrong Dunbar
- The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America, Frances Fitzgerald
- Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, James Forman, Jr.
- The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, Masha Gessen
- Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, David Grann
- No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, Naomi Klein
- Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, Nancy MacLean
- The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Richard Rothstein
- The Blood of Emmett Till, Timothy B. Tyson
- Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists,
Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News, Kevin Young
Geez Louise, publishers need to dial back on the length of subtitles. Half of these titles are practically novels in and of themselves.
Race and politics are very strong themes this year, which is not remotely surprising.
I’ve read two of the books so far: Never Caught and Killers of the Flower Moon. Killers of the Flower Moon is the superior book, but I wasn’t blown away by either of them. They struck me as pretty straight-forward histories, and although they told interesting stories I didn’t feel like they left me with a lot to ponder.
Very excited to get my hands on The Evangelicals, The Future Is History, and The Color of Law. Much less excited about Democracy in Chains–I have read that there are some historiographical issues with some of MacLean’s interpretations, which I’m going to have to dig into more. And as the mother of two teenage boys I am really dreading The Blood of Emmett Till.
Happy reading! And onto the fiction longlist tomorrow.