Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Credence of Awards

I will begin by answering the very question I shall pose, later.
When it comes to books, I'm not a big follower of Awards, and definitely not a crowd-follower. In other words, I rarely succumb to that most unreliable of indicators --> SALES! Whether a book is a bestseller or not means little to me. I would just as soon read it because it had a great cover.
When it comes to Awards, I must admit that there are times when I am influenced by a book winning a prestigious Award, say the Booker or [in Canada] the Giller. The same can be said for a book being short or even long-listed for either of these. But I would not say I am a BIG follower of the Awards.
I know of one woman, an acquaintance from my current residency at a Chapters bookstore, every year when the Canada Reads nominees are selected [consisting of five novels] she promptly buys and reads all of the books.
I myself have never been so dedicated to any sort of book award competition.
In fact, it is almost a random thing -- when I happen to be reading an award-winning book.
Currently I am reading one -- the Booker Prize winner from 2004.
And truly, seeing that gold crest "Winner of the 2004 Man Booker Prize for Fiction" -- that does not hurt, as I roam through a used bookstore…
My question tonight is a simple one.
Are you a big follower of Book Awards?
Followed by:
In your experience, are award winning books noticeably "better" than other books in any significant way?
If you are a follower of book awards -- which ones are you partial to?
The Booker, The Giller, The Pulitzer, The Nobel Prize?


CJ Garwood said...


I don't especially seek out award-winning books but have read a few Booker and Pulitzer prize winners in my time. It's usually what the novel is about that attracts me more than the fact that it's won a prize. Of course often prize-winning books are very good, but sometimes they're not!

I've just finished reading Hilary Mantel's Booker-winning 'Wolf Hall', which was excellent. But I read it because of the historical period it's set in: that it had won the Booker was a bonus.

Stefanie said...

I follow the book awards but I don't necessarily read them. When I do happen to read one I mostly like them and find them to be really good. Now and then though I read one and think, think won and award? What were the judges smoking?

Alyce said...

It doesn't matter to me one way or another. I do tend to have an expectation that a book might have darker themes if it is an award winner. I don't know if it's just me, but it seems like award winners tend to have depressing plots. Some of them are great, and then some of them bore me to tears. But I don't pick them up just because an award seal.

Dorothy W. said...

I don't make a big deal out of literary awards, but what happens is that I hear the authors and titles who win them or get on the short list, and then I learn a little about them, and then I'm a little more likely to pick up their books, just from familiarity. I don't often pick up books I know absolutely nothing about, so learning about books from awards makes me much more likely to read them.