1955 -- Fable

An allegorical tale set during WWI, Faulkner’s A Fable occasioned another skirmish in a different, personal war. Faulkner’s Nobel had come six years earlier, and the publication of any new book by him was a major event, cause for another invasion of literary journalists... Read more...

1954 -- The Adventures of Augie March

"I am an American, Chicago born—Chicago, that somber city—and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent. " -- The opening sentence of The Adventures of Augie March Read more...

1953 -- Invisible Man

"In my hole in the basement there are exactly 1,369 lights. I’ve wired the entire ceiling, every inch of it. And not with fluorescent bulbs, but with the older, more-expensive-to-operate kind, the filament type. An act of sabotage, you know. I’ve already begun to wire the wall. A junk man I know, a man of vision, has supplied me with wire and sockets. Nothing, storm or flood, must get in the way of our need for light and ever more and brighter light..." Read more...

1952 -- From Here to Eternity

The spine of the first edition of From Here to Eternity has a black star -- moved from the front cover, where James Jones wanted and expected to see it. He tells the story in his October 3, 1950 letter to his brother, Jeff, the letter written after five or six weeks of working on cuts and compromises to the sex and swearing in the manuscript with Scribner’s editor Burroughs Mitchell and the firm’s nervous lawyer, Howard Manges... Read more...

1951 -- William Faulkner's Collected Stories

Eudora Welty was one of the NBA judges who selected Faulkner as the 1951 winner. If Welty thought that "I can never be better than second best in my home state of Mississippi," she was also a declared "Yoknapatawphanatic." Not counting a glancing encounter six years earlier — an apparently drunken Faulkner sending Welty a postcard from Hollywood in which he congratulates her on The Robber Bridegroom and on a book that Zora Neale Hurston wrote — the two first met in 1949 at an Oxford dinner party. Read more...

1950 -- The Man with the Golden Arm

"War's over, war's over, war's over for Frankie—drives like he deals, deals like he lives 'n he lives all the time—war's over, war's over…."

Nelson Algren's Doubleday editors talked him out of his preferred title, "Night Without Mercy." Ex-GI Francis Majcinek, known as Frankie Machine for the card magic in his titular Golden Arm, sings the above refrain on one of the novel's most unmerciful nights, after drinking too many A-Bomb Specials at the Tug &Maul with Sophie, before driving his car around a corner that isn't there, putting Sophie through a billboard and into a wheelchair for life. Read more...

VIDEO: Faulkner's Collected Stories

Jim Mustich, editor of the B&N Review, talks with Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, about one of the six books shortlisted in the Best of the NBA Fiction contest (Click "Read More" to see the video). Read more...

The Best of the National Book Awards

Vote for the Best of the National Award Fiction!

Back in July, to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the National Book Awards, the National Book Foundation announced a campaign to select the Best of the National Book Awards Fiction. Writers connected to the Foundation were sent ballots with all 77 past winners listed and ask to select three. Read more...

April 17: "In less than three years, both GM and Chrysler would be bankrupt, and a resurgent Ford would wow Wall Street..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.