Color Me Surprised!

The National Book Award Finalists have been announced.


  • Mark Z. Danielewski, Only Revolutions (Pantheon)
  • Ken Kalfus, A Disorder Peculiar to the Country (Ecco/HarperCollins)
  • Richard Powers, The Echo Maker (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document (Scribner/Simon & Schuster)
  • Jess Walter, The Zero (Judith Regan Books/HarperCollins)


  • Taylor Branch, At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68 (Simon & Schuster)
  • Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone (Alfred A. Knopf)
  • Timothy Egan, The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Peter Hessler, Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present (HarperCollins)
  • Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Alfred A. Knopf)


  • Louise Glück, Averno (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • H.L. Hix, Chromatic (Etruscan Press)
  • Ben Lerner, Angle of Yaw (Copper Canyon Press)
  • Nathaniel Mackey, Splay Anthem (New Directions)
  • James McMichael, Capacity (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Young People’s Literature

  • M.T. Anderson, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party (Candlewick Press)
  • Martine Leavitt, Keturah and Lord Death (Front Street Books/Boyds Mills Press)
  • Patricia McCormick, Sold (Hyperion Books for Children)
  • Nancy Werlin, The Rules of Survival (Dial/Penguin)
  • Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese (First Second/Roaring Brook Press/Holtzbrinck)