National Book Award, not National Basketball Association, just so we're clear! All of the nominees this year are phenomenal and deserve all the attention they're getting, but we do have a few of our very favorites. 💕
  1. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    This epistolary book is written from Coates to his young son about the dangers, pressures, frustrations, fears, and hopes that will shape his young, black life. A timely and much needed meditation on race in America, Toni Morrison has referred to Coates's writing as filling a void not satisfied since James Baldwin.
  2. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
    Fates and Furies is rooted deeply in mythology to explore the complexities of marriage and creative partnership with astounding character development. Our marketing director cries every time she sees Lauren. Plus, look how cute she is signing books at BKBF!
  3. A Little Life by Hanya Yanigihara
    This was an arc we couldn't wait to get our hands on. We first read Hanya's work in The People in the Trees and were blown away by her intensely emotional & complex characters, and A Little Life only expands on this talent. But readers beware, this book is sad with a capital S.
  4. Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith
    Tracy K. Smith is a poet by trade. Her memoir Ordinary Light is prose, but recounts in piercing detail her childhood and the development of her craft, touching deftly on racism, class, religion, science, and education in the process.
  5. The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
    Besides the fact that The Turner House is so ambitious in scope and depth and is receiving phenomenal praise around the literary world, this is also Angela's debut novel. Centered around a family with 13 children from the Detroit area, she explores the city's history from the 1940s and 50s through the stories of their family house.
  6. How to be Drawn by Terrance Hayes
    This is Terrance's fifth collection of poetry, and his second time in the NBA finals (his book Lighthead won in 2010). Drawing on his background in the visual arts, these poems strive to inhabit instead of describe art.
  7. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
    This brilliant graphic novel, based on Noelle's web comic, is as subversive as it is sharp and irreverent. The untraditional heroine, Nimona, who as a shape-shifting villainous sidekick, seeks to expose who we revere as heroes in the first place.
  8. Hold Still by Sally Mann
    Sally Mann, famed black and white photographer of the South, delves into her personal family history for her memoir. But instead of packaging her story neatly for us readers, she analyzes her rich and varied life in-progress with us in elegant prose and striking photos.