Who Will Win the National Book Award for Fiction, According to My Dad
The only prediction you really need is the opinion of a man who has not read any of the books yet
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These are some important things to know about my dad: every Halloween he dresses up in a different inflatable costume to hand out candy, he’s seen Bigfoot, he watches John Wick about once a month, he wanted to name me Elvis, and when I was younger he read all my favorite books along with me. My dad did a lot to instill a love of reading in me, so I thought it would be appropriate to ask him his thoughts on the 2019 National Book Awards finalists for fiction, even though he doesn’t know anything about these books. Here, we have his guesses at what each book is about based on their cover and title, along with his odds on who will win tomorrow. Please place your bets accordingly.
Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
A demanding psychological fitness book aimed at helping people overcome their fears about pumping iron. The green chairs on the cover symbolize the twiggy losers who are envious of a swole slab of beef like me. While I’m obviously not afraid of exercise, I’d still give this one a read just to kick my confidence up to 11.
Sadly, I doubt the creampuff award judges will have enough sand in their colon to vote this the winner. Odds at taking home the title: 1000:1
Sabrina and Corina: Stories by Kali Farjado-Anstine
The cover art makes it look like this teenage witch has grown into a woman with the heart of a plant. I don’t know how Corina fits into the plot, but this botanical-human hybrid looks like a fresh departure from the dystopian cyborgs that plague literature these days. I’ll read it just to see if Round Up can handle this weedy witch.
The odds of winning are unclear, but I’m hoping Corina scorches the earth to keep competition at bay. 3:1 odds to win.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
I believe this book is printed with blood and testosterone instead of ink. This author must have read the manifesto for my fifth grade Kickass Skull Club and then channeled the fire in a Redbull-and-whiskey fueled writing rampage. Sounds like it’s a must read for supersecret ninja spy assassins and their victims.
I’m not betting on red or black this time. Like any good secret agent novel, the odds to win are a million to one.
The Other Americans by Laila Lalami
I think this book looks like a smart response to Trump’s wall. By saying, “Native, Central, and South Americans are Americans too,” the author is confronting the divisive dualistic assumption of ethnic isolationism by using historical, economic and genetic evidence to repudiate the arguments of racist jerks. Will read—aloud.
While this book may earn the popular vote for best book, I expect the College will deny the honor. Odd to win 500:1.
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
This one has me confused. The cover has a huge mountain—which is the part of earth I’d expect to disappear last. Then the people are running away from the mountain. If Waterworld taught me anything, it’s to head for the high ground before Kevin Costner comes for you. I’ll wait for the movie reviews.
Odds of this Smoker taking home the Oscar: 300:1
Projected winner: Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine, a novel about a vengeful plant-woman