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Reading With the Awards

Posted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:24 pm
by Aurelia West
How do you all find new books to read? Usually I just go to libraries and pick up whatever stands out to me, but lately I've been trying to keep up with a few book awards such as the Man Booker Prize and the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction. I've got at least half of the books from the longlist of each from 2017 on my to read list, though I haven't yet tackled them, and I'd love to know of more awards that I can follow to find new things to read.

I've also found quite a few things to read from looking at the nominees for the Goodreads Choice Awards, and one of these books was a poetry collection entitled When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen, and I really enjoyed it because of Chen's unique perspective as a gay Asian American immigrant. Though it didn't end up winning the award, I really enjoyed looking through nominees in all the categories and picking out ones that seemed interesting to me.

Any thoughts on book awards, whether decided by a panel of judges or by the population? Have you read any books that have won such prizes that you would recommend? I'd love to hear any thoughts!

Re: Reading With the Awards

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:58 am
by Bull J. Johnson
No I don't really look at awards. Right now I am trying to finish the book bingo thing, which I have one more book to read, which needs to be a book from 1982. However, I have just finished another book that I just looked one the library shelf and found. This book was called, The Story of Silk and it was all about how silk was made. I really enjoyed the book. The only problem was that it was really hard for me to find anything that features art in it. So I went with something close to art which was weaving.

Re: Reading With the Awards

Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:41 am
by Shiloh Adlar
I love reading award winning books, but they aren't how I choose my books to read unless I'm looking for something that I know is going to be good. And even then, I usually pick books that I have heard good things about and have been told they are must reads. One of these such books is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. I'm sad that I had waited this long to read it as it is definitely considered a classic in modern literature.

The novel is written through pivotal points in Maya's life from a young girl being raised by her grandmother after being "sent away" by both her parents, to a major event that changes the way she sees the world and people around her, to living life as a person of color in the deep south and in the United States in general. It definitely helps me, not coming from this background, understand even a little more, what it's like to not have the privileges I know I've been given, though full understanding will never be possible. However, there are places in the book where I did understand and could empathize with Maya, and these were matters of the soul and broken spirits and confusion and anger and fear.

While this book does touch on some heavier subjects, there are moments of laughter and moments where I was cheering her on. And it's definitely made my list of favorites.

So yes, reading books that have won awards, or better yet, writers who have won awards such as Maya Angelou being a Nobel Prize recipient, tend to grab at me. I like to know what it is about them that makes them so great.

Re: Reading With the Awards

Posted: Fri May 04, 2018 7:29 pm
by Maxim Trevelyan
Being on an award list or something similar, like a bestsellers list does not matter to me if I want to read a book or not, although I did read a lot of bestsellers or award winning books, mostly due to school or because they get recommended a lot by my family or friends.

The only time I did specifically read a book that was on a bestseller list was when I read Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. I only read it a few months ago, despite it being released twelve years ago. I recommend it to anyone that is a lover of fantasy-like elements and does not mind lose to lose themselves in 360 pages.

Book belongs to a “backyard fantasy” genre, meaning that there is a fantastical world right by our houses, an old element of fantasy that is slowly coming back. The book itself talks about the siblings, Seth and Kendra, which go to stay with their grandfather so their parents can go on a vacation. They are warned not to go into the woods behind their house but Seth does so regardless, discovering a fantastical world that can sometimes have grave consequences.

I personally liked the book (the first in the series of five), it certainly had an appeal, but sometimes, it relies a bit too much on writing clichés, such as disobedient child and absentee parents. However, it is a good read for a rainy afternoon and I heard that the author’s writing improves with each book.

Re: Reading With the Awards

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 12:40 am
by Shiloh Adlar
I picked up another book to read while on my trip that I found out about from an awards list. It is called Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. The story started off a little slow for me, and I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. However, it began to pick up pace and it brought about a lot of excitement, especially near the end when a certain discovery is made. Bud's mother has passed away a few years before, and after an incident with a family he is living with, he decides to take off to find the man he believes to be his father, a very well known musician with his own band.

The story takes place during The Great Depression in the US.The reader gets a history lesson in that time from the view of a young African-American boy. We learn about how people hopped trains and created little make shift towns. We learn about big band music and also about the redcaps. The story, while fictional, has at least two characters based off of people in the author's life and their stories are brought to life by his words. I ended up really enjoying it, but I tend to like most historical fiction novels.

Re: Reading With the Awards

Posted: Wed May 16, 2018 5:11 pm
by Kathren Johnsun
The only time I remember reading books simply because of the awards was for Battle of the Books in high school. All of the books on the Need-to-Know list are award winners either at the local (statewide) level or national/international (Alex, Newberry, CS King, etc.). Other than that, if a book has an award, good for the book, but it won't mean that I'm going to read it.

Re: Reading With the Awards

Posted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:42 pm
by Maxim Trevelyan
As I mentioned in my post before, my reading of the books is not dependent if they get an award or not. However, from time to time, I do glance at a recent book awards lists to get some fresh idea on what to read next. While I already heard it came out, when I saw it on Goodreads award list, I had to get Harper Lee’s sequel to the To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman.

I was really disappointed with the book. I think the Watchman really did not do justice to some returning characters and had completely underdeveloped new ones, sometimes even those that we met in the first book. That, together with at times, horrifying dialogue, really killed my enjoyment of the book.

Some of the reviews said that Go Set a Watchman reads like a draft of the Mockingbird and I tend to agree. Lee was already up in the years when Watchman was released and I think that the theory that she was taken advantaged in her old age rings true.

It is too bad that the book ever came out. I think it ruined a legacy of To Kill a Mockingbird and I see why Lee never really wanted to write a sequel anyway.