The Mission of the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America.
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  • The Good Lord Bird

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By James McBride
    • Narrated By Michael Boatman
    Overall
    (258)
    Performance
    (229)
    Story
    (229)

    Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry’s master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town - with Brown, who believes he’s a girl. Over the ensuing months, Henry - whom Brown nicknames Little Onion - conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859 - one of the great catalysts for the Civil War.

    Melinda says: "An Interesting Re-Telling of a Little Known Man"
    National Book Award Winner, Fiction, 2013
  • The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By George Packer
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (259)
    Performance
    (219)
    Story
    (225)

    In The Unwinding, George Packer, author of The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, tells the story of the United States over the past three decades in an utterly original way, with his characteristically sharp eye for detail and gift for weaving together complex narratives. The Unwinding portrays a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer working, its ordinary people left to improvise their own schemes for success and salvation.

    Janet Pittman Henley says: "Can't understand the low ratings!"
    National Book Award Winner, Nonfiction, 2013
  • The Round House: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Louise Erdrich
    • Narrated By Gary Farmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (999)
    Performance
    (849)
    Story
    (848)

    One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and 13-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe's life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.

    Melinda says: "Heavy in My Heart"
    National Book Award Winner, Fiction, 2012
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Katherine Boo
    • Narrated By Sunil Malhotra
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (619)
    Performance
    (532)
    Story
    (540)

    Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption.

    Dr. says: "An Antidote for Shantaram"
    National Book Award Winner, Nonfiction, 2012
  • Salvage the Bones: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jesmyn Ward
    • Narrated By Cherise Boothe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (117)
    Performance
    (98)
    Story
    (102)

    Best-selling author Jesmyn Ward won the National Book Award for this poignant and poetic novel. Unfolding over 12 days, the story follows a poor family living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. With Hurricane Katrina bearing down on them, the Batistes struggle to maintain their community and familial bonds amid the storm and the stark poverty surrounding them.

    Gillian says: "Beautiful With No Holds Barred"
    National Book Award Winner, Fiction, 2011
  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen Greenblatt
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (847)
    Performance
    (725)
    Story
    (721)

    Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late 30s took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic by Lucretius—a beautiful poem containing the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles.

    Ethan M. says: "Very compelling history, a less compelling thesis"
    National Book Award Winner, Nonfiction, 2011
  • Lord of Misrule

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Jaimy Gordon
    • Narrated By Myra Lucretia Taylor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (35)

    At the rock-bottom end of the sport of kings sits the ruthless and often violent world of cheap horse racing, where trainers and jockeys, grooms and hotwalkers, loan sharks and touts are all struggling to take an edge, or prove their luck, or just survive. Equal parts Nathanael West, Damon Runyon and Eudora Welty, Lord of Misrule follows five characters -- scarred and lonely dreamers in the American grain -- through a year and four races at Indian Mound Downs, downriver from Wheeling, West Virginia.

    Fran says: "Worthy of the National Book Award"
    National Book Award Winner, Fiction, 2010
  • Just Kids

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Patti Smith
    • Narrated By Patti Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (719)
    Performance
    (621)
    Story
    (614)

    Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late 60s and 70s and to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions. A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists' ascent, a prelude to fame.

    Rick says: "Exceptional. Deeply honest and thoughtful."
    National Book Award Winner, Nonfiction, 2010
  • Mockingbird

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Kathryn Erskine
    • Narrated By Angela Jayne Rogers
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (40)

    In Mockingbird—a poignant gem by acclaimed author Kathryn Erskine—a talented young artist struggles to overcome a disability. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, 10-year-old Caitlin faces a range of social and emotional challenges. The unexpected death of her caring brother makes matters even worse, but will the memory of his words of wisdom and the help of a compassionate counselor be enough to enable her to connect with others?

    L. says: "Wonderful story of Healing"
    National Book Award Winner, Young People's Literature, 2010
  • Let the Great World Spin

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Colum McCann
    • Narrated By Richard Poe, Gerard Doyle, Carol Monda, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1166)
    Performance
    (500)
    Story
    (511)

    A Pushcart Prize-winning author and contributor to the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, and GQ, Colum McCann is renowned for his carefully constructed character studies. No exception, Let the Great World Spin follows the fortunes of a menagerie of New Yorkers through a day in 1974 - the day of Philippe Petit's death defying tightrope walk between the newly built Twin Towers.

    Robert says: "An essential addition to your Audible library."
    National Book Award Winner, Fiction, 2009
  • The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By T. J. Stiles
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (252)
    Performance
    (160)
    Story
    (157)

    In The First Tycoon, Stiles offers the first complete, authoritative biography of this titan, and the first comprehensive account of the Commodore's personal life. It is a sweeping, fast-moving epic, and a complex portrait of the great man. Vanderbilt, Stiles shows, embraced the philosophy of the Jacksonian Democrats and withstood attacks by his conservative enemies for being too competitive. He was a visionary who pioneered business models.

    john says: "Great! If you can get through it..."
    National Book Award Winner, Nonfiction, 2009
  • Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Phillip Hoose
    • Narrated By Channie Waites
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    On March 2, 1955, a slim, bespectacled teenager refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Mont-gomery, Alabama. Shouting "It's my constitutional right!" as police dragged her off to jail, Claudette Colvin decided she'd had enough of the Jim Crow segregation laws that had angered and puzzled her since she was a young child.

    Talia says: "The funny yet touching story of women leders!"
    National Book Award Winner, Young People's Literature, 2009
  • Shadow Country: A New Rendering of the Watson Legend

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Peter Matthiessen
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (386)
    Performance
    (154)
    Story
    (155)

    Inspired by a near-mythic event on the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the 20th century, Shadow Country re-imagines the legend of the inspired Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw E. J. Watson, who drives himself relentlessly toward his own violent end at the hands of neighbors who mostly admired him, in a killing that obsessed his favorite son.

    John says: "Engrossing, Rich and Powerful"
    National Book Award Winner, Fiction, 2008
  • The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Annette Gordon-Reed
    • Narrated By Karen White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (263)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (116)

    This epic work tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family's dispersal after Jefferson's death in 1826. It brings to life not only Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson but also their children and Hemings's siblings, who shared a father with Jefferson's wife, Martha.

    Dianne says: "Fascinating"
    National Book Award Winner, Nonfiction, 2008
  • Tree of Smoke: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Denis Johnson
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (381)
    Performance
    (115)
    Story
    (118)

    This is the story of William "Skip" Sands, CIA, engaged in Psychological Operations against the Vietcong, and the disasters that befall him. This is also the story of the Houston brothers, Bill and James, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert and into a war in which the line between disinformation and delusion has blurred away. In its vision of human folly, this is a story like nothing in our literature.

    MadMadeleine says: "Moby Redux"
    National Book Award Winner, Fiction, 2007
  • Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Tim Weiner
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (1975)
    Performance
    (576)
    Story
    (575)

    This is the book the CIA does not want you to read. For the last 60 years, the CIA has maintained a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, never disclosing its blunders to the American public. It spun its own truth to the nation while reality lay buried in classified archives. Now, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Tim Weiner offers a stunning indictment of the CIA, a deeply flawed organization that has never deserved America's confidence.

    Michael says: "Flawed but Important"
    National Book Award Winner, Nonfiction, 2007
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Sherman Alexie
    • Narrated By Sherman Alexie
    Overall
    (1222)
    Performance
    (706)
    Story
    (710)

    Born poor and hydrocephalic, Arnold Spirit survives brain surgery. But his enormous skull, lopsided eyes, profound stuttering, and frequent seizures target him for abuse on his Indian reservation. Protected by a formidable friend, the book-loving artist survives childhood. And then - convinced his future lies off the rez - the bright 14-year-old enrolls in an all-white high school 22 miles away.

    FanB14 says: "Absolutely Entertaining Memoir"
    National Book Award Winner, Young People's Literature, 2007
  • The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Timothy Egan
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor, Ken Burns
    Overall
    (1277)
    Performance
    (701)
    Story
    (712)

    The dust storms that terrorized America's High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since, and the stories of the people that held on have never been fully told. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan follows a half-dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region.

    Laurie says: "more than grapes of wrath"
    National Book Award Winner, Nonfiction, 2006
  • The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By M.T. Anderson
    • Narrated By Peter Francis James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (28)

    He is a boy dressed in silks and white wigs and given the finest of classical educations. Raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers, the boy and his mother, a princess in exile from a faraway land, are the only people in their household assigned names. As the boy's regal mother, Cassiopeia, entertains the house scholars with her beauty and wit, young Octavian begins to question the purpose behind his guardians' fanatical studies.

    Shelly M. Felton says: "Compelling"
    National Book Award Winner, Young People's Literature, 2006
  • Europe Central

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By William T. Vollmann
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (17)

    Assembling a composite portrait of these two warring leviathans and the terrible age they defined, the narrative intertwines experiences both real and fictional: a young German who joins the SS to expose its crimes, two generals who collaborate with the enemy for different reasons, the Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich laboring under Stalinist oppression.

    Armen says: "A Must Listen"
    National Book Award Winner, Fiction, 2005
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