It Has Come to My Attention; Book Prizes and Finalists, 2015. Part A
Rain; A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett. Crown, 2015. Gainesville’s Cynthia Barnett begins four billion years ago and marches us through our always tenuous relationship with this natural phenomenon. National Book Award. Florida Book Award.
Between the World & Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Spiegel & Grau, 2015. Letters to a teenaged son who grew up in a tough Baltimore neighborhood, from there to Howard
University, then New York and Paris. National Book Award.
Mourning Lincoln by Martha Hodes. Yale University Press, 2015. His death and the deep national mourning that followed was complicated by the end of the Civil War and the possibility of Southern complicity. National Book Award.
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. Easy enough to observe the intelligence of crows, dogs, and chimpanzees, but Octopi. National Book Award.
Love and Other Ways of Dying by Michael Paterni. Dial Press, 2015. Essays about interesting people he meets from Ukraine to Dodge City, Kansas. National Book Award.
Paradise in the Pacific; Approaching Hawaii by Susanna Moore. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015. Many arrivals from the early Polynesians to the flotsam of Europe. National Book Award.
If the Oceans Were Ink; An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran by Carla Powers. Holt, 2015 paper. Friendship with a Moslem helped her confront stereotypes and misperceptions that too often inform attitudes toward their communities. National Book Award.
Ordinary Light: a Memoir by Tracy Smith. Knopf, 2015. Coming of age in a world of uncertainties. National Book Award.
Travels in Vermeer; A Memoir by Michael White. Persea Books, 2015.Decides to drown his miseries by a pilgrimage to six world cities to see a Vermeer painting. National Book Award.
Hold Still; A Memoir by Sally Mann. Little, Brown, 2015. When sorting through family papers, you can sometimes find more than you bargained for, and that is particularly true if the family is Southern. National Book Award.
Rebel Music; Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture by Hirham Aidi. Vintage, 2015, paper. The musical subcultures that have emerged among Muslim youth around the world and over the last decade: hip-hop, reggae, and rock, among others. American Book Award
An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Beacon Press, 2015 paper. Euro-Americans have convinced themselves that we have been divinely chosen to impose free-market capitalism on the rest of the world, dumping the detritus of that industrial cultural on the land they once cared for. American Book Award
Forbidden City, USA; Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936 to 1970 by Arthur Dong. Deep Focus Productions, 2014, paper. Asian-American performers who defied racial and cultural barriers to reveal a sassy, daring and vibrant popular culture in the nightclub scene in San Francisco. American Book Award.