Thursday, October 7, 2010
First, a few notes:
1) The nominations are being announced by Pat Conroy. That's funny. That'd be like Keanu Reeves presenting the nomination for the film that wins the Oscar for Best Picture. What? That happened this year? The world's going to hell in a hand basket, I tell ya. (You kids get off my lawn!)
2) Lady T over at the terrific pop culture blog Living Read Girl posted about her NBA noms earlier this week. Check it out — it's a good read! (Preview: The Passage is one of her picks!)
3) Last year's five nominations, more so than any other year I can remember, were really obscure novels not many people had read, or even heard of. The prize ultimately went Let The Great World Spin, by Colum McCann — a book that once I got around to reading, became one of my favorites of the last few years. But if the trend toward obscurity continues, trying to guess at the nominations is really an exercise in futility.
That said, here's who I'd nominate:
1. Bloodroot, by Amy Greene — When I reviewed this book back in April, I predicted it'd show up on this list, so I'm hoping Conroy proves me a prophet.
2. Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen — Yeah, it'll most likely be there.
3. Matterhorn, by Karl Marlantes — I haven't read this huge Vietnam War novel yet (it's on my shelf), but even people who don't normally like war novels have raved about it. Here's a well-written review by the Reading Ape. And another by Patrick at The Literate Man. The novel has 311 reviews on Amazon, 235 of which are five-star. (This is my guess for the winner.)
4. Nemesis, by Philip Roth — Just out this week, the novel has been pretty well-reviewed. Finally, Roth's back! So after a publishing a few so-so novels in a row, maybe Nemesis will earn Roth his 453rd (or so) literary prize.
5. The Instructions, by Adam Levin — A long-shot, to be sure, but I'm guessing this 1,024-page novel may get a nod because it's long, obscure and no one's read it — sort of like any William T. Vollmann tome, one of which actually won in 2005 (Europe Central).
So, what books would you nominate? Anything totally off the beaten path you've read and loved in 2010 that you think has an Obscurity Factor chance?
(By the way, the American-less Nobel streak is officially at 17 years. Some Peruvian guy I've only vaguely heard of but never read won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Congrats to you, Peru!)
Posted by Greg Zimmerman at 11:38 AM