I'll be a happy camper on Wednesday. That's the day they'll be announcing this year's National Book Award finalists. Author Scott Turow will be making the announcement at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago at noon sharp. Before the day is done, I'll be out and about in Boston, hoping to locate and buy the five fiction finalists. Since I'm typically on the road covering the baseball playoffs when the NBA finalists are revealed each October, I try to leave extra room in my luggage so that I can get the books back to Florida. I've had to pay the $25 penalty for overweight baggage a couple of times, though.
My goal between now and Nov. 19, when the NBA winners are announced in a black-tie ceremony in New York City, is to read the five finalists, rank them in order of preference, and see how my judging compares with the experts. I'm proud to say I've correctly forecasted two of the past three winners: Europe Central in 2005 and Tree of Smoke last year. Oftentimes, the finalists -- not necessarily the winners -- blossom into classics. The list of finalists that failed to win the big award includes To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, The Old Man and the Sea and Catch-22.
By the way. I know the book photo hasn't changed for some time below my "reading now" category off to the right. That's because that book is a long one and I don't have as much free reading time this time of year, what with the end of season and the playoffs. But keep an eye on the space in the coming weeks, as you should see a new book appear every so often while I try to beat the deadline.