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Arts and Entertainment

LAT Announces Book Award Nominees

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The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is always kicked off by a ceremony that awards one book in each key category with a Book Prize. The nominees in each category were just announced and we're both thrilled and a tad flummoxed by some of their picks, listed below.

We're mostly pleased to see that the usual suspects, who have made up every other book awards list this year, are noticeably absent. This list doesn't feel quite as safe as other lists and so, for that, bravo LAT. The prizes will be awarded on April 25th and the Festival of Books will be held April 26th - 27th.

As we did last year, we'll be covering each category in depth over the next two months. We'll tell you who we're glad to see on the list and who should have made the cut and didn't. Who are you rooting for?

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Fiction
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Be Near Me by Andrew O’Hagan
Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan
Out Stealing Horses: A Novel by Per Petterson
The Shadow Catcher: A Novel by Marianne Wiggins

First Fiction
Skylark Farm by Antonia Arslan
Twenty Grand: And Other Tales of Love and Money by Rebecca Curtis
The Understory by Pamela Erens
The Last Chicken in America: A Novel in Stories by Ellen Litman
The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu

Current Interest
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam by Tom Bissell
The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America by Ronald Brownstein
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein
Soldier's Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point by Elisabeth D. Samet

Mystery/Thriller
Christine Falls: A Novel by Benjamin Black
Frozen Tracks: An Inspector Erik Winter Novel by Ake Edwardson
The Indian Bride by Karin Fossum
In the Woods by Tana French
Ice Moon by Jan Costin Wagner

Biography
Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr by Nancy Isenberg
Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer by Tim Jeal
Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Boone: A Biography by Robert Morgan
Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War by Michael J. Neufeld

History
The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It by David A. Bell
Nixon and Mao: The Week that Changed the World by Margaret Macmillan
Stalin, Hitler, and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow that Changed the Course of World War II by Andrew Nagorski
Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England by Lynne Olson
Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner

Poetry
Mars Being Red by Marvin Bell
Ripple Effect: New and Selected Poems by Elaine Equi
The Kitchen Sink: New and Selected Poems, 1972-2007 by Albert Goldbarth
Old Heart: Poems by Stanley Plumly
Little Boat by Jean Valentine

Science & Technology
Animal Architects: Building and the Evolution of Intelligence by James L. and Carol Grant Gould
I Am A Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter
The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language by Christine Kenneally
On Deep History and the Brain by Daniel Lord Smail
Faust in Copenhagen: A Struggle for the Soul of Physics by Gino Segrè

Young Adult Fiction
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean
What They Found: Love on 145th Street by Walter Dean Myers
Darkwing by Kenneth Oppel
A Darkling Plain (The Hungry City Chronicles) by Philip Reeve