And now it is time for the Longlist for 2016. It was announced this morning. Here are the 10 titles:
Narrowing down this list of 10 to 5 and ultimately to 1 will involve much rereading and critical discussion. It is a process that few will have the chance to experience if they have not served on a selection committee. It is tough work. It is not always appreciated. There are tons of armchair quarterbacks who will analyze the lists and the winners and try to make of them something they are not. I have seen proposed articles analyzing past lists of the NBA and other awards for all manner of data. The fact is that each year and each list is idiosyncratic. It is a reflection of the books submitted, the individual members of the committee, and other factors that cannot be pinned down and defined. The same is true, I believe, for any selection committee. It was true for my stints on various committees.
This award is given for literary excellence alongside awards to adult fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. It is not for popularity or other factors. Here is its mission:
The mission of the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.
More info about the history of the award is here:
I have added a few of the longest to my TBR stack. I look forward to the shortlist and the announcement of the winning title as well. I celebrate the hard work of the committee and cannot wait to read the other titles as I find time.