Tuesday Thingers: Book awards

As inspiration/motivation to post a bit more in the book field, I’m going to try a series of regular memes that circulate in the bookblog community. They may not appear each and every week but simply as they strike my fancy.

The first is Tuesday Thingers, a kind of a round robin of Library Thing early reviewers on a different theme or question each week created by The Boston Bibliophile. So here’s this week’s question:

Awards. Do you follow any particular book awards? Do you ever choose books based on awards? What award-winning books do you have? (Off the top of your head only- no need to look this up- it would take all day!) What’s your favorite award-winning book?

The book award I probably follow most closely is the Hugo Award for Best Novel. In fact, quite some time ago I made it a practice to buy a copy of that year’s winner if I did not already have it. While a couple have fallen through the gap, I have all but two or three of the 55 winners thus far.

Other awards I follow but not as closely in SF include the Nebula Award, the Locus Awards, the Sidewise Awards and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. For more mainstream awards, I also at least look at the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Book Award and, naturally, the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize. In the last year or so, I’ve also started watching the Booker Prize and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

The book awards do occasionally prompt me to read a book. In fact, this year I bought and read Paul Verhaeghen’s Omega Minor simply because it won the 2008 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. And, as noted in prior posts, I am trying to read some of the books on the Booker Prize shortlist. It is rare, though, that I will read a book simply because it won this or that award. Equally as important is whether summaries of the book generate my interest.

My favorite award-winner to date probably would be Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow. It won a number of SF awards in 1997 and 1998 but not the Hugo. It is, of course, a Desert Island Book.

An award does not change the quality of a book.

Chris Van Allsburg, 1986 Caldecott Medal acceptance speech

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