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Oct. 9, 2023 – The finalists for the National Book Award were announced last week, and we have the adult fiction and nonfiction selections in the Metro Library Network collection, either available to borrow now or on-order and coming soon.

Publishers submitted a total of 1,931 books for this year’s National Book Awards, including 496 in Fiction and 638 in Nonfiction. In 2017, the New York Times counted the National Book Awards, together with the Man Booker Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature, as “the world’s most prestigious literary prizes.”

Scroll through the list and put these titles on hold by clicking on their covers below. Book descriptions are from the award announcement.


"Chain-Gang All-Stars" by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s dystopian novel "Chain-Gang All-Stars" simulates a private for-profit prison system where prisoners compete for freedom in live-broadcast gladiator-inspired death matches. 

"Temple Folk" by Aaliyah Bilal
Aaliyah Bilal’s debut short story collection, Temple Folk, examines the diversity of the Black Muslim experience in America.

"This Other Eden" by Paul Harding

 Paul Harding’s novel "This Other Eden" traces the legacy of a mixed-race fishing community living on a secluded island off the coast of Maine from 1792 to the early 20th century.

"The End of Drum-Time" by Hanna Pylväinen

In Hanna Pylväinen’s "The End of Drum-Time," a Lutheran minister’s daughter falls in love with a native Sámi reindeer herder and joins the herders on their annual migration to the sea in 1850s Scandinavia.

"Blackouts" by Justin Torres

Justin Torres’s "Blackouts" considers the multigenerational gaps in personal and collective queer histories through the real-life inspiration of "Sex Variants: A Study of Homosexual Patterns."


"The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History" by Ned Blackhawk
Historian Ned Blackhawk’s "The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History" recontextualizes five centuries of US, Native, and non-native histories to argue that Indigenous peoples have played – and continue to play – an essential role in the development of American democracy.

"Liliana’s Invincible Summer: A Sister’s Search for Justice" by Cristina Rivera Garza
In Liliana’s "Invincible Summer: A Sister’s Search for Justice," Cristina Rivera Garza travels to Mexico City to recover her sister’s unresolved case file nearly 30 years after her murder, simultaneously honoring her sister’s life and examining how violence against women affects everyone.

"Ordinary Notes" by Christina Sharpe
Across 248 notes, Christina Sharpe’s Ordinary Notes investigates the legacy of white supremacy and slavery, and presents a kaleidoscopic narrative that celebrates the Black American experience.

"We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I: A Palestinian Memoir" by Raja Shehadeh
In "We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I: A Palestinian Memoir," attorney and activist Raja Shehadeh explores his complicated relationship with his father – a lawyer and Palestinian human rights activist who was assassinated in 1985 – alongside histories of oppression.

"Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World" by John Vaillant

In "Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World," journalist John Vaillant studies the May 2016 wildfire that devastated a small city in central Canada to make the case that the catastrophic Fort McMurray fire was a foreboding window into what the future holds.