Discussion: Book Awards

First, Happy Mother’s Day to all you mother’s out there. Because I have a ton of family stuff planned today,  I’m going to keep this week’s discussion short and sweet. 
I don’t generally pay much attention to book awards (Gemmell Award and many others, for example). There really isn’t any specific reason why, but I’ll never be the person who says something like, “I always try to make sure I read all the books that win ____ award.” I guess part of me tends to think that everyone has such individual and diverse reactions to books, that awards are nice, and prestigious, but how can they act as a real gauge to judge the quality of a book when we all have such individual reactions toward what we read? Furthermore, I feel as though there are many very deserving books that have never been recognized, or awarded in the manner that I feel they should have been.
That being said, I know many people pay very close attention to book awards, and what book wins what award. I also realize that my take on many things tends to venture toward the cynical side, awards notwithstanding. 
So, here are this weeks discussion questions:

  1. Do you pay close attention to book awards? Why/why not?
  2. Are you generally happy with the books that win awards each year? Why/why not? 

5 Responses

  • Erik Lundqvist

    Can't say that I do. When I by coincidence looked at the nominated books I often feel that there are better books out there. I'm perfectly capable of forming my own opinion, just normal book reviews on Amazon are better.

  • Heloise

    I don't pay much attention to who actually gets the awards, but as I'm always on the lookout for recommendations of new books and authors, I tend to scour longlists and shortlists for anything that sounds interesting. Generally, this seems to be more successful with literary fiction than with genre fiction awards.

  • James

    I pay attention to the World Fantasy Awards and, to a lesser extent, the British Fantasy Awards. Their nominations tend to be either those that I have read or those that I am interested in reading.

    I don't pay much attention to the Hugo and Gemmell awards because their nominations are largely books that I haven't read and have no interest in reading. I might comment on them when the noms are announced, but that is because I just like to complain.

    As for whether or not I am happy about the books that win… yes and no. There are times when I would be happier if this book won over that one, but mostly, I am just happy that the books are getting nominated at all. That is why I prefer the WFA. There are so many books that deserve to be nominated, awarded, or even just recognized that are largely ignored by the community and will never find themselves on the Hugo or Gemmell ballots. But, of course, the books that I read would not be the sort that'd be right for the Gemmell awards.

    And I left out the Nebula, which seems a bit of a middle ground award that features the selections likely to turn up on for the Hugo and those likely to turn up for the WFA. Unfortunately, I tend to just overlook this award.

  • Lokidude

    I try to keep up to speed on the Hugos, and since I have a friend up for a Campbell this year, I'm definitely watching those.

  • Bibliotropic

    I've never paid that much attention to book awards, really. While it's cool to know if a book got an award, or even was just nominated for one, I've never had much interest in keeping track of them during the time they're being voted on, or anything like that. Maybe it's because I've rarely read all of the books that are on the lists so I can't vote impartially, or maybe it's because I have a dim view of the voting process in general (all a popularity contest), but I can never manage to get enough interest in them.

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