The shortlist for the National Book Critics Circle awards — which Amazon’s blog calls one of the “three big U.S. book awards” and in which I actually participate — were announced yesterday. The impact of my votes is about as I suspected.
None of my votes in nonfiction, autobiography or biography made the shortlist. In fact, I haven’t read any of them, although one of the biography nominees has been on my “I should read that” list nonfiction votes made the shortlist. The only place my vote seems relevant is in the fiction category, where one of the books I voted for made the shortlist. That was Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which I previously said was one of the best of the year.
Wholly unrelated but also just announced is the shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, which goes to the best science fiction novel first published in Great Britain during the previous calendar year. As is not uncommon because it is a British award, I have not read any of the books on the shortlist.
Perhaps it is, that high achievements demand some other unusual qualification besides an unusual desire for high prizes[.]
George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss