Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story

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2012 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalists Announced

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The finalists for the annual National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Award have been announced. The fiction list includes one of the biggest fiction releases of last year and a book in translation. To our eye, the five make up a well-rounded an interesting mix of titles. Here are the finalists for fiction and non-fiction with excerpts and other links where available. As a side note, the NBCC award is particularly interesting in that it is one of the few major awards that pits American books against overseas (usually British) books.

Fiction

Laurent Binet, HHhH (The missing pages of HHhH)
Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ben Fountain’s Year in Reading, The Millions interview)
Adam Johnson, The Orphan Master’s Son (excerpt)
Lydia Millet, Magnificence (Lydia Millet’s Year in Reading)
Zadie Smith, NW (Zadie Smith’s Year in Reading, our review, the first lines of NW)

Nonfiction

Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (The Millions Interview, National Book Award winner)
Steve Coll, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power (excerpt)
Jim Holt, Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story (excerpt)
David Quammen, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic (excerpt)
Andrew Solomon, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity (Staff Pick, excerpt [pdf])

For more on the NBCC Awards and the finalists in the other categories, visit the NBCC.

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