The 2009 National Book Award nominees are out. You can see the full list below, but for now I'm simply going to quote blogger Laura Nathan who notes, "I recognize the names of far more National Book Award judges than I do book titles and authors."
Some, however, were obvious – and excellent – choices and I'm going to quote from several cases where Monitor reviewers shared the judges' enthusiasm.
Of Colum McCann's "Let the Great World Spin," Monitor reviewer Yvonne Zipp wrote that, "In terms of sheer lyricism, McCann pulls out all the stops. My review copy was an absolute mess of Post-its and marked passages by the time I was halfway through." From multiple points of view, the novel tells the story of Aug. 7, 1974, the day that French high-wire artist Philippe Petit spent 45 minutes walking, hopping, and lying on a wire stretched 110 stories up between New York's World Trade Center towers. (It was a time, as Zipp notes, that, "New Yorkers gazed up at the towers in amazement, rather than horror.")