Musing Mondays: Award winners


Do you feel compelled to read prize-winning (Giller/Booker/Pulitzer etc) books? Why, or why not? Is there, perhaps, one particular award that you favour?

I don’t know that compelled is the right term, although I have become somewhat more attentive to them in the past couple years.

I still make sure I have a copy of the Hugo Award novel each year, although I can’t guarantee I’ll get it read. The latter proviso stems from the fact that there’s been a few years where I thought the award went too much into fantasy than SF.

Although I’ve always at least considered the National Book Awards, the National Book Critics Circle Awards and the Pulitzers as sources for good books, I’ve also started paying a bit more attention to more international awards. Thus, I’ve started keeping an eye on the shortlists for the Man Booker Prize, the Costa , the IMPAC, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and, of course, the new Best Translated Book Award.

Moreover, it’s not necessarily the winners that I read. While I may read the winner, I love going through the shortlists to see if there’s anything there that strikes my fancy. That approach has led me to a number of books I might not otherwise have read.

(For those interested in reading award winners, C. Max has updated his scorecard for six of the major literary awards going back to 1995.)

Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you

Harold Bloom, How to Read and Why

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