Of award nominations and votes

I cast my votes 10 days ago for nominees for the National Book Critics Circle Awards. (The phrase “cast my votes” must be liberally construed. Here’s how the nominees are actually selected.) Anyway, the finalists were announced Saturday and while I did better than last year, I either don’t read the same books as or don’t agree with those who really decide the nominees.

Two books I voted for made the finalist list — both in the category of criticism. They are Susan Faludi’s The Terror Dream and Ben Ratiliff’s Coltrane: The Story of a Sound (brief review here), which I voted for in the biography category even though I wondered about putting it under criticism. Not only did none of my picks in fiction, nonfiction and biography not make it anywhere, I haven’t read any of the finalists in those categories.

Ah, the life of an illiterati.

[C]ritics and reviewers … cannot give what the author, the artist so foolishly looks for — imaginative and original judgment.

Doris Lessing, Introduction, The Golden Notebook

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