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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Thursday, February 21, 2013 3:44 pm
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalists
Posted by: Sarah Hunter

L.A. is where it isn’t 10 degrees, right? In case you haven’t guessed, we’ve passed the happily tramping-through-the-snow phase in Chicago’s winter to the point where any place warmer than the temperature at which moisture from your breath freezes your scarf to your glasses starts to look mighty appealing. The mythical land of “Los Angeles” promises temperatures warm enough that you only need to wear one pair of pants and definitely no gloves, or so I’ve heard. L.A.’s appeal isn’t all weather-related, though: a well-respected book prize doesn’t hurt either! Here’s the shortlist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, with links to Booklist reviews when available.

Difficult WomanBiography

The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace, by H.W. Brands
The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, by Robert Caro
A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman, by Alice Kessler-Harris
The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy, by David Nasaw
The One: The Life and Music of James Brown, by R.J. Smith

Behind the Beautiful ForeversCurrent Interest

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, by Katherine Boo
Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power, by Steve Coll
On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines – and Future, by Karen Elliott House
Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds, by Jim Sterba
The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, by Jake Tapper

Billy Lynns Long Halftime WalkFiction

The Middlesteins: A Novel, by Jami Attenberg
Telegraph Avenue, by Michael Chabon
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain
Arcadia, by Lauren Groff
Magnificence, by Lydia Millet

Building StoriesGraphic Novel/Comics

Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama, by Alison Bechdel
Unterzakhn, by Leela Corman
Everything Together: Collected Stories, by Sammy Harkham
Cruisin’ With the Hound: The Life and Times of Fred Toote, by Spain Rodriguez
Building Stories, by Chris Ware

Wicked WarHistory

Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty, by John Barry
Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone, by George Black
America’s Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise That Preserved the Union, by Fergus M. Bordewich
A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico, by Amy S. Greenberg
Rule & Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party from Eisenhower to the Tea Party, by Geoffrey Kabaservice

AngelmakerMystery / Thriller

Broken Harbor, by Tana French
Angelmaker, by Nick Harkaway
The Thief, by Fuminori Nakamura
The Expats, by Chris Pavone
The Twenty-Year Death, by Ariel S. Winter

BreastsScience & Technology

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain
Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe, by George Dyson
The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, by Jonathan Gottschall
The Signal and the Noise: Why so Many Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t, by Nate Silver
Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, by Florence Williams

Drowned CitiesYoung Adult Literature

The Drowned Cities, by Paolo Bacigalupi
Ask the Passengers, by A.S. King
My Book of Life by Angel, by Martine Leavitt
Boy 21, by Matthew Quick
Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein


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