Skip navigation
Have a gift or promo code? Get started
Skip content

National Book Critics Circle Finalists

National Book Critics Circle Awards finalists for the publishing year 2020.

Playlist Tags: awards: national book critics circle

View all playlists

Minor Feelings

An Asian American Reckoning

By Cathy Park Hong
Narrated by: Cathy Park Hong
Length: 6 hours 52 minutes

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER • A ruthlessly honest, emotionally charged, and utterly original exploration of Asian American consciousness

“Brilliant . . . To read this book is to become more human.”—Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen

In development as a television series starring and adapted by Greta Lee... Read more »

Audiobook details

This Is Major

Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope

By Shayla Lawson
Narrated by: Shayla Lawson
Length: 8 hours 48 minutes

From a fierce and humorous new voice comes a relevant, insightful, and riveting collection of personal essays on the richness and resilience of black girl culture—for readers of Samantha Irby, Roxane Gay, Morgan Jerkins, and Lindy West. 

Shayla Lawson is major. You don’t know who she is. Yet. But that’s okay. She is on a mission to move black... Read more »

Audiobook details

Golem Girl

A Memoir

By Riva Lehrer
Narrated by: Riva Lehrer & Cassandra Campbell
Length: 14 hours

The vividly told, gloriously illustrated memoir of an artist born with disabilities who searches for freedom and connection in a society afraid of strange bodies

Golem Girl is luminous; a profound portrait of the artist as a young—and mature—woman; an unflinching social history of disability over the last six decades; and a hymn to life, love,... Read more »

Audiobook details

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women

A Memoir

By Wayétu Moore
Narrated by: Tovah Ott
Length: 7 hours 48 minutes

An engrossing memoir of escaping the First Liberian Civil War and building a life in the United States

When Wayétu Moore turns five years old, her father and grandmother throw her a big birthday party at their home in Monrovia, Liberia, but all she can think about is how much she misses her mother, who is working and studying in faraway New York.... Read more »

Audiobook details

Home Baked

My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco

By Alia Volz
Narrated by: Alia Volz
Length: 28 hours 15 minutes

Home Baked

“When an advance copy of Home Baked arrived at the store, I took it home hoping merely to escape into the iconic 1970s San Francisco setting. I never anticipated that this memoir would give me an in-depth education on both the history of the era and the politics surrounding marijuana. Home Baked tells the story of the underground, and extremely illegal at the time, first known pot brownie business, Sticky Fingers. The author’s mother, Meridy, known to many simply as “The Brownie Lady,” and her friends expanded the operation through the swinging ‘70s and into the AIDS epidemic of the ‘80s and ‘90s, when marijuana went from a recreational drug to one that could mean life or death to many of their friends suffering from the disease. This book is about so much more than a homespun "magic brownie" business and the people whose lives it touched. It’s the story of a 20th century family, a movement, and an era. Whether you’re a square like me or an experienced pothead, I "highly" recommend Home Baked!”

Phinney Books image Haley, Phinney Books
Audiobook details

Stranger in the Shogun's City

A Japanese Woman and Her World

By Amy Stanley
Narrated by: Joy Osmanski
Length: 10 hours 1 minutes

*Winner of the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Award*
*Winner of the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography*

A vivid, deeply researched work of history that explores the life of an unconventional woman during the first half of the 19th century in Edo—the city that would become Tokyo—and a portrait of a great city on the brink of a... Read more »

Audiobook details

The Price of Peace

Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes

By Zachary D. Carter
Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
Length: 22 hours 50 minutes

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An “outstanding new intellectual biography of John Maynard Keynes [that moves] swiftly along currents of lucidity and wit” (The New York Times), illuminating the world of the influential economist and his transformative ideas

“A timely, lucid and compelling portrait of a man whose enduring relevance is always...
Read more »

Audiobook details

Red Comet

The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath

By Heather Clark
Narrated by: Laura Jennings
Length: 45 hours 26 minutes

“Finally, the biography that Sylvia Plath deserves . . . A spectacular achievement.” —Ruth Franklin, author of Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life

The highly anticipated new biography of Sylvia Plath that focuses on her remarkable literary and intellectual achievements, while restoring the woman behind the long-held myths about her life and...
Read more »

Audiobook details

The Dead are Arising

The Life of Malcolm X

By Les Payne & Tamara Payne
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 18 hours 6 minutes

Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prizewinning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm Xall living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders... Read more »

Audiobook details

The Equivalents

A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the 1960s

By Maggie Doherty
Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
Length: 13 hours 3 minutes

The timely, never-before-told story of five brilliant, passionate women who, in the early 1960s, converged at the newly founded Radcliffe Institute for Independent Study and became friends as well as artistic collaborators, and who went on to shape the course of feminism in ways that are still felt today.

In 1960, Harvard's sister college,... Read more »

Audiobook details

Unfinished Business

Notes of a Chronic Re-reader

By Vivian Gornick
Length: 4 hours 27 minutes

Unfinished Business

“Striking a balance in my reading these days is a challenge, like so much else. I want reading with feeling, but not too much; reading with truth, but not too much; reading with poignancy, but certainly not too much. Unfinished Business hit this slippery target beautifully. I was ready for this book, ready in the way Gornick defines it: "responsible for every successful connection ever made between a book and a reader—no less than between people—is that deepest of all human mysteries, emotional readiness.” It is with that stark perceptiveness that Gornick revisits her life’s reading and re-reading of a handful of favorite authors. Her connection to the characters, plots, and themes shifts with each reading, so all the while she is crafting beautiful reflections on her own life’s unfolding. It’s a book I wish I could read for the first time again and again to capture its magic, though I suppose I will have to be content to simply re-read it.”

Phinney Books image Kim, Phinney Books
Audiobook details


A novel

By Maggie O'Farrell
Narrated by: Ell Potter
Length: 12 hours 42 minutes


“Fans of A. S. Byatt, Penelope Fitzgerald, or Barbara Gowdy... are probably really tired of retellings of Shakespeare's life. Why read another? Because it so breathtakingly captures emotion. Because the opening sequence is one of the best expositions and descriptions of Shakespeare's Stratford you'll ever hear. Because the reimagining of Shakespeare's wife as a half-wild greenwitch sounds absurd, but in fact is compelling and captivating. Because it is not a charming puzzle box of references to multiple plays: it's the history of Shakespeare's depth of feeling, renewed in a story every strong and imaginative woman will find core-shaking and inspiring.”

The Haunted Bookshop image Nialle, The Haunted Bookshop
Audiobook details

How to Pronounce Knife


By Souvankham Thammavongsa
Narrated by: James Tang & Kulap Vilaysack
Length: 2 hours 58 minutes


Named one of Time Magazine's Must-Read Books of 2020, and featuring stories that have appeared in Harper's, Granta, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review, this...
Read more »

Audiobook details


A Novel

By Bryan Washington
Narrated by: Bryan Washington & Akie Kotabe
Length: 8 hours 19 minutes


“Maybe it's because I listened to this book on and the author was the narrator, but this novel felt so personal a story, that I kept thinking it was a memoir. The story follows two men, Benson and Mike, who live together and are in a tense, emotionally distant relationship. While Mike's mom is arriving from Japan for a long stay and visit in their home, Mike is getting on a flight to Japan to care for his father, with no plans to return anytime soon. We follow Benson, the boyfriend left behind, as he meets Mike's mother for the first time and struggles to welcome her into their home while her son leaves her behind with a stranger. The awkwardness of the characters ring so true in this story. I loved Washington's writing that allows us to peek into their very private lives, some stories they won't even tell each other. As Benson's story gets more complicated, dealing with his own family and his loyalty to Mike, the story pivots and we get to see Mike in Japan, awkwardly trying to rekindle a very strained relationship with his stoic father who is slowly dying of cancer. Both characters are nuanced, with plenty of learning and change throughout their stories, we also get glimpses into life in Japan, life as immigrants, and the lives of gay men in modern times.”

BookBar image Jessica, BookBar
Audiobook details

The Broken Heart of America

St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States

By Walter Johnson
Narrated by: Jamie Renell
Length: 15 hours 45 minutes

A searing portrait of the racial dynamics that lie inescapably at the heart of our nation, told through the turbulent history of the city of St. Louis.

From Lewis and Clark's 1804 expedition to the 2014 uprising in Ferguson, American history has been made in St. Louis. And as Walter Johnson shows in this searing book, the city exemplifies how... Read more »

Audiobook details

Shakespeare in a Divided America

What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and Future

By James Shapiro
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Length: 9 hours 11 minutes

One of the New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year  • National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist • A New York Times Notable Book 

A timely exploration of what Shakespeare’s plays reveal about our divided land.

“In this sprightly and enthralling book . . . Shapiro amply demonstrates [that] for Americans the politics of Shakespeare are not...
Read more »

Audiobook details

She Come By It Natural

Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs

By Sarah Smarsh
Narrated by: Sarah Smarsh
Length: 4 hours 33 minutes

Nominated for the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Award

The National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author of Heartland focuses her laser-sharp insights on a working-class icon and one of the most unifying figures in American culture: Dolly Parton.

Growing up amid Kansas wheat fields and airplane factories, Sarah Smarsh... Read more »

Audiobook details

Caste (Oprah's Book Club)

The Origins of Our Discontents

By Isabel Wilkerson
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 14 hours 25 minutes

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST • “An instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that... Read more »

Audiobook details



By Danez Smith
Narrated by: Danez Smith
Length: 1 hours 32 minutes


“In their third collection, Danez Smith shakes to life the parts of people that have gone to sleep waiting for this time in the world to be over. Those emotions that raise up too much anger or grief — all of them are alive again and seen and spoken for with utmost care and a tremendously welcome sense of humor. Pick this book up and carry it with you everywhere. It can be like a video game heart for you, and who doesn’t need an extra heart?”

Moon Palace Books image Luis Lopez, Moon Palace Books
Audiobook details

Mill Town

Reckoning with What Remains

By Kerri Arsenault
Narrated by: Kerri Arsenault
Length: 12 hours 22 minutes

Mill Town

“This is a beautifully written story about two small towns in Maine and the paper mill that is the foundation of their economy. It tells the much bigger story of the sacrifice of the workers, and the injustices to them and the environment. Arsenault masters the nuances of family and history, which pulled me into the story in the first few pages and kept me there. A tender and honest reveal of her own family and hometown, and a truthful history of our nation. I’ll be recommending this as a must-read to our customers.”

Arcadia Books image Todd Miller, Arcadia Books
Audiobook details