2003 Twain Book Awards



1)    Waiting (Ha Jin)

2)    Seabiscuit (Laura Hillenbrand)

3)    Oryx and Crake (Margaret Atwood)

4)    A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Dave Eggers)

5)    North Country (Howard Frank Mosher)


Waiting – A beautifully written book about life in modern day China.  The story centers on Lin Kong, a doctor in the Chinese army, who is in a loveless marriage and is forced to wait 18 years till he is granted a divorce.  He then struggles with his new wife Manna Wu.  No one is a villain in this book except perhaps the stagnant culture of Communist China.  This book allowed me to smell, taste and feel what it would be like to live in China.  After finishing the book I kept thinking about it for days.


Seabiscuit – The book was not written very poetically, but what a story.  Hillenbrand is clearly a journalist who has done her research in bringing to life the lives of Seabiscuit, his owner, his trainer and his jockey.  I found myself rooting for all four of them.  It’s a real feel-good story.


Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood has once again written a chilling account of a future gone completely wrong.  I’m always a sucker for good science fiction, and this is one of the best I’ve read in the past ten years.  It really made me think about the dangers of genetic engineering, and a future that may involve many genetically altered creatures.  Very scary!


A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers, the twenty-something narrator, has written a wonderful memoir about his struggles in raising his seven-year-old brother after the deaths of both of his parents within 30 days of each other.  I loved the humor in the book, his love of Frisbee, and his struggles in growing up and at the same time trying to be a parent to his brother.  His writing was filled with irreverence and poetry.


North Country – I absolutely love travel books, and this one followed Howard Frank Mosher as he traveled the United States and Canadian border from Maine to Washington.  He meets fascinating people along the way and he clearly loves the North Country and the people who inhabit that area.  A must read book especially if you’re traveling in that area.







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