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Lame Nonfiction Books Nominated for 2020 National Book Awards

September 21, 2020

Oprah has promoted this book, so it’s probably a scam.

People complain about how bad 2020 has been, and book publishing this year might be a part of that.  Books published in 2020 have been so lame that I’ve stopped reviewing them.

Even so, 2020 needs book awards, no matter how lame this year’s crop has been.  So here is the list of nonfiction books up for the 2020 National Book Award (complete list can be found at Here Are The 50 Books Nominated for 2020 National Book Awards ):

  • Is Rape a Crime?: A Memoir, an Investigation, and a Manifesto by Michelle Bowdler  (Is rape a crime?  Yes…  This should have been a very short book.)
  • The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio. (This book should have been called Some Undocumented Americans because the book probably doesn’t talk about every single undocumented American.)
  •  If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future by Jill Lepore. (This book title is nonsense.  The future was invented way before Simulmatics came around)
  • The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne and Tamara Payne (First of all, Les Payne is a fake name.  Second of all, just read The Autobiography of Malcolm X.  Nobody knew more about Malcolm X than Malcolm X)
  • Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory by Claudio Saunt (At least the title used the word Republic instead of Democracy, but then the publishers used the word Indian.  Aaaarrrgh!  Sensitivity readers, where were you?)
  • My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland (Haha! The author doesn’t understand what an autobiography is)
  • Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathon C. Slaght (If the world’s largest owl wanted to be found, it would let you know.  LEAVE THE OWL ALONE!!)
  • How to Make a Slave and Other Essays by Jerald Walker (In today’s tense political climate, teaching people how to make a slave is a really bad idea.)
  • Afropessimism by Frank B. Wilderson (Aw, quit being pessimistic!  At least you got a book deal and an award nomination.)
  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (The caste system the author refers to doesn’t seem to apply to the publishing business.)

As you can tell, 2020 was a lame year of carelessness in the publishing industry.  And these are the books that are up for awards!  Just think how lame the books NOT nominated are.  I should know; I tried to read a few of them.


What do you think? Have you read any of these books nominated for the 2020 National Book Award?   Have mainstream nonfiction books always been this lame, or am I just now noticing it?

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