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NBCC Announcement

Posted: November 30, 2007 in National Book Critics Circle

National Book Critics Circle Launches Monthly Best Recommended List
Posted at 8:28AM Friday 30 Nov 2007

WHAT IF A BEST SELLER’S LIST was made up of books people read rather than books they simply bought? What if it was a list of books you just had to read rather than books that were just good reads. And what if the people recommending those books weren’t sales clerks and publicists but award-winning poets and readers?
These are the utopian ideas that prompted the National Book Critics Circle to create a monthly Best Recommended List. Polling our 800 members, as well as the former finalists and winners of our book prize, we asked, What 2007 books have you read that you have truly loved? Nearly 500 voters—from John Updike and Robert Hass to Carolyn Forche, Anne Tyler, and Cynthia Ozick—answered the call.

Starting in 2008, we plan to offer our Best Recommended List every month. Here is our inaugural list, with the five top vote getters in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry listed in order of votes received.


1. Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead)

2. Denis Johnson, Tree of Smoke (Farrar Straus & Giroux)

3. Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union (HarperCollins)

4. Philip Roth, Exit Ghost (Houghton Mifflin)

5. Per Petterson, Out Stealing Horses (Graywolf)


1. Edwidge Danticat, Brother, I’m Dying (Knopf)

2. Alan Weisman, The World Without Us (St. Martin’s)

3. Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine (Metropolitan Books)

4. David Michaelis, Schulz and Peanuts (HarperCollins)

5. Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes (Doubleday)


1. Robert Hass, Time and Materials: Poems 1997–2005* (HarperCollins)

2. Zbigniew Herbert, Collected Poems: 1956-1998 (Ecco)*

3. Robert Pinsky, Gulf Music (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)*

4. Rae Armantrout, Next Life (Wesleyan University Press)

5. Mary Jo Bang, Elegy (Graywolf)

*There was a three-way tie for first place in poetry.

Click over to the NBCC blog, Critical Mass, for a complete set of lists, a complete list of voters, comments from voters, and recommendations from the recommended. For further information, please contact NBCC President John Freeman at or 646-246-8565.

After a day spent cooped up in a NY hotel room, arguing, discussing and probably ordering an awful lot of take out, the members of the board of the NBCC chose the winners of this year’s awards.

Visit theNBCC’s blog (Critical Mass) for more info.

The Award for Fiction Goes To:


The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

The Award for Autobiography Goes To:


The Lost: a Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn

The Award for General NonFiction Goes To:


Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution by Simon Schama

The Winner for Biography Goes To:


James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Phillips

The Award for Poetry Goes To:


Tom Thompson in Purgatory by Troy Jollimore

The Award for Criticism Goes To:


Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences by Lawrence Weschler

Congratulations to all the winners!