Award winning books of 2019

Award winning books of 2019
Award winning books of 2019

Often, it gets extremely difficult to pick your next book to read with a wide range of novels to choose from. Afterall, not all bestsellers are equally liked by all readers. But a great way of selecting good novels to read is by browsing through books which have won prestigious awards, as they are handpicked by judges who are well read and have different tastes. So, to help you kick-start your New Year reading resolutions right, here are some popular books which won the major awards in 2019. Add these books to your reading list, in case you haven't read them already.

'Normal People' by Sally Rooney

Irish novelist Sally Rooney's second book 'Normal People' won the Costa Book Awards 2019, the Encore Award 2019 and the book of the year title at the British Book Awards in 2019. 'Normal People' is a coming-of-age love story. The story follows the lives of Connell and Marianne, who grow up together in a small town in the West of Ireland. While Connell is popular amongst everyone in school, Marianne is a loner. But when the two come together, their life changes. From high-school to college, they have an on-again off-again relationship which is filled with misunderstandings. This modern-day love story explores the idea of how, sometimes, it is so difficult to express our feelings to others.

'An Era of Darkness' by Shashi Tharoor

Politician and author Dr Shashi Tharoor won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award 2019 in the English category for his 2016 book 'An Era of Darkness'. In this book, Tharoor highlights how disastrous the British rule was for India. While he examines the various ways in which the country was exploited by the colonizers, Tharoor also demolishes the arguments by some Western and Indian supporters of the Empire about the benefits of the British rule-- such as democracy, the rule of law, and the railways. He explains that some of the things which we inherited from the Britishers-- for instance the English language, tea, and cricket— they were only introduced for the interests of the colonizers and not the Indians. This well-researched book is a must-read for anyone who is interested
to know about the British Raj and its impact on India.

'Fear: Trump in the White House' by Bob Woodward

American journalist and author Bob Woodward won the PEN America Literary Service Award 2019 for his book 'Fear: Trump in the White House'. As the title suggests, the book tells the inside story of the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. In this book, Woodward reveals the life inside President Trump’s White House and exactly how his decisions on major foreign and domestic policies are made. The author's writing is based on in-depth research-- including interviews with first-hand sources, meeting notes, personal diary entries, files and documents.

‘The Farthest Field’ by Raghu Karnad

Journalist and writer Raghu Karnad won the 2019 Windham-Campbell Prize, which is one of the richest literary awards worldwide. Karnad won the award in the non-fiction category for his debut book 'The Farthest Field: An Indian Story of the Second World War' which was published in 2015. 'Farthest Field narrates the lost epic of India’s war, in which the largest volunteer army in history fought for the British Empire, even as its countrymen fought to be free of it. It carries us from Madras to Peshawar, Egypt to Burma—unfolding the saga of a young family amazed by their swiftly changing world and swept up in its violence,' reads the book's blurb.

'Golden Child' by Claire Adam

Claire Adam's debut book 'Golden Child' won him the 2019 Desmond Elliott Prize. Set in Trinidad, 'Golden Child' is a story about Clyde and his twin sons Peter and Paul, who are vastly different in their personalities. While Peter is academically bright, Paul is considered a 'misfit' in the family. But when Paul goes missing, Clyde needs to do whatever he can to save his son whom he never understood.

'Half The Night Is Gone' by Amitabha Bagchi

Amitabha Bagchi won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature in 2019 for his novel 'Half The Night Is Gone'. The story unfolds over three generations and explores human relationships, destinies and cultures through three parallel stories which are set in India. When celebrated Hindi novelist Vishwanath loses his son in an accident, he is left heartbroken. In order to deal with the sudden tragedy, he begins to write a story set in the household of Lala Motichand. The wealthy Lala has three sons: while one of them is self-confident, the second son is uninterested in the family business; while the third son, who is also an illegitimate child, is a schoolteacher who is kept at the periphery of his father’s life. Vishwanath, who himself is the son of a cook, then also writes the story of the
Lala’s servant and his son. As everyone awaits the Lala's death, the story questions the true meaning of fatherhood, brotherhood love and loyalty.

'The Overstory' by Richard Powers

Richard Powers' novel 'The Overstory' won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2019. 'The Overstory' is an epic nature novel about trees and people, which will make the readers ponder about trees and their magnificent powers. From an Air Force loadmaster, who is shot out of the sky and saved by falling into a banyan tree during the Vietnam War to a hearing- and speech-impaired scientist who discovers trees communicating with each other-- 'The Overstory' tells various fascinating and unheard tales of trees and forests.

'Murmur' by Will Eaves

Will Eaves won the Wellcome Book Prize for 2019 for his novel 'Murmur'. The book is inspired by Alan Turing's life; he was considered the father of the modern computer. But when it was discovered that he was homosexual, Turing was made to endure a chemical castration in order to 'cure' him. He died two years later-- while some believe he committed suicide or others think it was due to accidental poisoning. The book doesn't name him though, and the protagonist is named Alec Pryor.

'The Wife’s Tale' by Aida Edemariam

Journalist and writer Aida Edemariam won the Royal Society of Literature (RSL) Ondaatje prize in 2019 for her book 'The Wife’s Tale: A Personal History'. As the title suggests, the book follows the life of Edemariam's paternal grandmother Yetemegnu. Born over a 100 years ago in Ethiopia, Yetemegnu was married to a cleric-poet at the age of eight and she died at the age of 97 in 2013. The author reveals her life story with the fascist occupation, Haile Selassie's rule and the civil war as the backdrops which makes it an interesting read.

'Celestial Bodies' by Jokha Alharthi

Jokha Alharthi became the first Arabic-language writer to win the prestigious Man Booker International Prize in 2019 for her novel 'Celestial Bodies'. Originally written in Arabic, 'Celestial Bodies' is translated into English by Marilyn Booth. The story revolves around three sisters who are living in a rapidly changing Oman. While one of the three sisters marries for duty, the other one marries into a wealthy family after having her heart broken and the third sister saves herself for love. While following their lives, the readers notice Oman change as well-- the country shakes off its colonial shackles and steps into the modern era

'An American Marriage' by Tayari Jones
'An American Marriage' by Tayari Jones won the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019. Published in 2018, 'An American Marriage' follows the story of a newly married African-American couple. The couple, unfortunately gets separated when the husband is wrongfully imprisoned; it is during this time apart that the wife starts getting closer to an old friend André. But when her husband is released, he finds his wife and his marriage to have changed. This book beautifully explores class, racism and America's flawed justice system.

'Milkman' by Anna Burns

Anna Burns' Man Booker 2018-winning novel, 'Milkman', also won the Orwell Prize 2019 in the Political Fiction category. 'Milkman 'is set during the Troubles in an unnamed small town in Northern Ireland. The story is about an 18-year-old girl who is harassed by a married man called the "milkman" and soon their illicit affair becomes public knowledge. The book brings out the small-town mindset of people and it highlights how, sometimes, gossip can be damning and inaction deadly.

'Firefly' by Henry Porter

'Firefly' by Henry Porter won Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize in 2019. This thrilling adventure book is about Paul Samson, an ex-MI6 agent who is on the case of a 13-year-old boy codenamed Firefly. The young boy is a refugee, who is on his way to Greece with the information on an ISIS terror cell and their plans. Meanwhile, both-- the terrorists and the MI6-- are on his trail.

'The Testaments' by Margaret Atwood

'The Testaments' is the much-awaited sequel to Margaret Atwood's 1985 classic 'The Handmaid's Tale', a dystopian fiction. 'The Testaments' takes the story ahead and tells us the inside story of Gilead, how it became what it was and it's subsequent down-fall. Atwood's 'The Testaments' won her the prestigious Booker Prize 2019. This was the second Booker of her career.

 'Girl, Woman, Other' by Bernadine Evaristo

Bernadine Evaristo shared her 2019 Booker Prize with Margaret Atwood. Evaristo won the prestigious award for her eighth novel 'Girl, Woman, Other', which explores the lives and struggles of various black women living in the modern-day UK. While the 12 chapters in the book tells the story of each character, they are all intertwined in some way. Evaristo, 60, became the first black woman to win the Booker Prize.

'Trust Exercise' by Susan Choi

Susan Choi won the National Book Award for fiction in 2019 for her novel 'Trust Exercise'. The book is a high school romance which is spun out into a web of memories and opinions. 'Susan Choi's 'Trust Exercise' will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, and about friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults,' reads the book's blurb.

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Award winning books of 2019 Award winning books of 2019 Reviewed by streakoggi on December 31, 2019 Rating: 5
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