Chast Is a Great Pick for the NBA Nonfiction List

by Meredith Turits

On Wednesday, we got to see the 2014 National Book Awards Longlist for Nonfiction, and... well... it's mostly a boys' club. Judges Robert Atwan, Gretel Ehrlich, Tom Reiss, Ruth J. Simmons, and Alan Taylor picked the top nonfiction of the year, which included books primarily about science and history, and war from heavy-hitters like Walter Isaacson and Evan Osnos.

The book I'm most excited to see on the list, however, is New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast's No. 1 New York Times best-selling Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, a graphic memoir about aging parents. She takes on a stark subject in a hilarious way that's touching and moving — and beautifully done. It's also nice to see the judges paying homage to mixed media.

Check out the full list of nominees below:

  • Roz Chast, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (Bloomsbury)
  • John Demos, The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic(Alfred A. Knopf/ Random House)
  • Anand Gopal, No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes(Metropolitan Books/ Henry Holt and Company)
  • Nigel Hamilton, The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941 - 1942 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Walter Isaacson, The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (Simon & Schuster)
  • John Lahr, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Evan Osnos, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Ronald C. Rosbottom, When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944 (Little, Brown and Company/ Hachette Book Group)
  • Matthew Stewart, Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Edward O. Wilson, The Meaning of Human Existence (Liveright Publishing Corporation/ W.W. Norton & Company)

Here's a panel from More Pleasant, just because. (I don't have to tell you whom I rooting for, do I?)

P.S. Um. I'm just going to say it once, but... The Empathy Exams, anyone? Judges?

Image: Bill Franzen