Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Booker and Other Prizes- Do You Pay Attention to Awards?

Yesterday the Booker Prize committee announced this year's shortlist for their very prestigious award; I treat it as my shopping list and try to read the winner, eventually if not right away. Last year's winner, Damon Galgut's The Promise, was already in my TBR pile and depending on which book wins this year that might again be the case since I have a couple of the nominated books. But even if I don't already own the winner I will soon.

And there are so many awards; there are the mainstream ones like the Pulitzer and the National Book Award; there are awards from the National Book Critics' Circle, and the Booker people introduced a new one- an International prize for translations- a few years ago. There is the Nobel for literature, which is like a lifetime achievement award and meant to draw attention to an author's entire opus. There are other awards for translations, and specialized awards like the Hugo and the Nebula. Library associations like ALA and the Association of Jewish Libraries offer their own awards, as does the Jewish Book Council and Lambda Literary, and many other organizations. A search on Wikipedia for literary awards yields an overwhelming list. Never mind all those childrens' awards- the Newbury, Caldicott, Sydney Taylor- on and on.

So how to choose? Are there awards you follow? Do awards drive your reading choices? I remember a few years ago there was no Pulitzer awarded and the bookstore community was upset because awards definitely drive sales. And I don't just mean a one-time bump.  Once an author has won an award like the Pulitzer or the Booker, that goes on their book covers for the rest of their lives and they are forever known (and marketed) as "X prize winner". Big prizes change peoples' lives.

Then there is collecting. First editions and galleys of award winners become instantly collectible. I have a small collection of first editions of Booker Prize winners. Do you collect award winners?

What about you? Do you have a favorite book award? Do you follow awards at all? In the genre you read, what are the important awards and what impact do they have on your choices?

1 comment:

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I keep a list of perpetual challenges. Among these are many awards lists. I like to refer to it when I'm trying to decide what to read next.