Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thoughts on Award Week

Alas, I am once again behind the curve, as I haven't read any of the major award winners! Newbery, Caldecott, Prinz, King, Belpre - nothing makes me feel how completely out of the loop I am in my own profession like award announcements! It's also a little embarrassing because I know some of the authors. Not till you get down to the awards for audios do I start knowing the books involved, and that's because the audio version is done a year or more after publication. Oh, and I have read one of the Stonewall honor books. I reckon that's something.

I've read a lot of books I enjoyed, all the same; though 2010 was the first year in a long time I didn't crack 200 read. My final total was 179. I blame the combination of driving and computer games. I've done a lot of reading on buses over the years, and if I'm at a computer I'm not reading a book. Even a lot of my reading time doesn't count toward the total, as I only count books I read all the way through. If I mine two or three chapters of seven or eight books for research, that's a fair number of books that I read intently but can't put on my tally. Magazines and comics don't count unless they're bound collections. And no online reading counts.

The trouble is - there's always more good books published in a year than anybody, even someone on an awards committee, can read. Probably when I do read this year's award winners - and I will read a lot of them eventually - I'll think that this or that other book that never got any buzz probably deserved an award more than this or that winner, whether by some objective standard or by dint of my taste diverging from the judges. I might even think that its failure to win proves the judges hadn't read it. And I might be right, or I might be wrong.

The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong. Even with recent proliferation of awards, there's more good books than there are awards to give to them. Society has worse troubles than that!

No comments:

Post a Comment