National Book Award Project

Sharon from Ex Libris is hosting this perpetual challenge (no time limit) to read from the National Book Award fiction list (winners and nominees). The National Book Award Project allows flexibility in the guidelines. Looking through the list, I’ve discovered I have already read several winners and nominees…so my goal will to keep reading through the list (good thing there is no time limit!). I don’t promise to read all the nominees, but I would like to get through all the winners – and if I do that, I will consider this challenge a success.

I’ll be keeping track of my progress at the official challenge blog; and you may also follow my overall progress on THIS PAGE (which has the complete fiction list with links to my reviews).

You may notice that there are a few DNF’s (Did not Finish). These were books which I disliked so much, I couldn’t make my way through them. I have no intention of trying them again…chalk it up to not enough time in my life to read books I hate.

My goal for 2009: 5 books (from the list below):


  • Three Junes, by Julia Glass (2002)
  • The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen (2001)
  • Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier (1997)
  • The Spectator Bird, by Wallace Stegner (1977)
  • Them, by Joyce Carol Oates (1970)


  • Fieldwork, by Mischa Berlinski (short list 2007)
  • Drop City, by T.C. Boyle (short list 2003)
  • The Known World, by Edward P. Jones (short list 2003)
  • House of Sand and Fog, by Andre Dubus III (short list 1999)
  • Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat (short list 1995)
  • Breathing Lessons, by Anne Tyler (short list 1988)
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison (short list 1987)
  • The Optimist’s Daughter, by Eudora Welty (short list 1973)

Below is my progress year by year.

Books Read Previous to the Challenge:

Winner 1952James Jones – From Here to Eternity (No review)

Finalist 1960 – Shirley Jackson – The Haunting of Hill House (no review)

Finalist 1961 – John Knowles – A Separate Place (no review)

Finalist 1962 – Joseph Heller – Catch 22 (DNF)

Finalist 1970 – Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse Five (Read December 2006; rated 4/5; no review)

Finalist 1979 – John Irving – The World According to Garp (Read multiple times; rated 5/5; no review)

Finalist 1982 – John Irving – The Hotel New Hampshire (Read multiple times; rated 5/5; no review)

Winner 1988 – Peter Dexter – Paris Trout (no review)

Winner 1993 – E. Annie Proulx – The Shipping News (no review)

Finalist 1997 – Don DeLillo – Underworld (DNF)

Books Read in 2007:

Finalist 1953 – John Steinbeck – East of Eden (Read October 15, 2007; rated 5/5; read my review)

Finalist 1961 – Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird (Read March 21, 2007; rated 5/5; read my review)

Winner 1983 – Alice Walker – The Color Purple (Read January 12, 2007; rated 4.25/5; read my review)

Finalist 1983 – Anne Tyler – Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (Read January 24, 2007; rated 4.5/5; read my review)

Finalist 1992 – Dorothy Allison – Bastard Out of Carolina (Read August 1, 2007; rated 3/5; read my review)

Winner 2003 – Shirley Hazzard – The Great Fire (Read August 9, 2007; rated 4/5; read my review)

Winner 2006 – Richard Powers – The Echo Maker (Read September 6, 2007; rated 4.5/5; read my review)

Finalist 2006 – Mark Z. Danielewski – Only Revolutions (DNF)

Finalist 2006 – Dana Spiotta – Eat the Document (Read May 22, 2007; rated 3.5/5; read my review)

Books Read in 2008:

Finalist 1968 – Joyce Carol Oates – A Garden of Earthly Delights (Read September 22, 2008; Rated 3.5/5; read my review)

Books Read in 2009:

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