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2012 National Book Awards

The 2012 National Book Award winners were recently announced with The Round House by Louise Erdich winning the award for fiction.

Established in 1936, the National Book Awards are a set of annual literary awards presented by the National Book Foundation.  Awards are given to one book in four different categories:  fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people’s literature. The National Book Foundation also presents two lifetime achievement awards each year.

Books can be nominated only by publishers.  A panel of five writers “who are known to be doing great work in their genre or field” narrow the entries down to five finalists per category. The awards recognize books written by a United States citizen and published in the US from December 1 to November 30.

Set on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota in 1988, The Round House focuses on 13-year-old Joseph. After his mother is brutally raped yet refuses to speak about the experience, Joe must not only cope with her slow physical and mental recovery but also confront his own feelings of anger and helplessness. Questions of jurisdiction and treaty law complicate matters. Doubting that justice will be served, Joe enlists his friends to help investigate the crime. (summary provided by Library Journal)


Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo was presented with the National Book Award for nonfiction. The first book by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist takes a look at the stark lives of the inhabitants of Annawadi, a slum across from Mumbai's Sahar Airport, to reveal the wrenching inequality and urban poverty still endemic in India's democracy. (summary provided by Library Journal)