The First Salon Book Awards

Who made the cut? How were they judged?

Published March 2, 2016 11:11PM (EST)

In December 1996, Salon published its first Book Awards, a list of the top fiction and nonfiction titles that year, compiled and judged by Laura Miller and Dwight Garner. The feature quickly became an annual Salon staple, a key fixture during our early years. Compiled below are links and the list of winners from the first Salon Book Awards, part of our SalonAt20 celebration.

In their introduction, “Books of the Year,” Laura Miller and Dwight Garner explain how they picked the winners and what qualities they fell in love with.

Laura Miller interviewed James Ellroy, 1996’s Best Books Winner for My Dark Places, in “Oedipus Wreck.”

For full summaries by Laura Miller and Dwight Garner's of the 1996 winners, please visit our old archived page, Salon's First Book Awards.



The Family Markowitz by Allegra Goodman

Reader’s Block by David Markson

The Giant’s House by Elizabeth McCracken

The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace



My Dark Places by James Ellroy

The Shadow Man by Mary Gordon

The Temple Bombing by Melissa Fay Greene

The Living and the Dead by Paul Hendrickson

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

Salon Book Awards 1996 2

By Salon Staff

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