Monday, April 12, 2010

Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced - Thoughts on Awards?

Well, the 2010 Pulitzer Prizes have come out. And I haven't read any of them.

I'm definitely not among the literary elite. I try to read a few books a month and, while I enjoy the pulp fiction and best seller shelves, I try to keep my reading varied and eclectic. Still, I haven't ever really gotten into the Pulitzer Prize much. I'll sometimes take a look at the National Book Award but even then, I tend to put more credence in more genre specialized awards (like the Poe and Hugo Awards or the Newberry or Caldecott Medals).

The New York Times lists the fiction prize winner Tinkers as 'The One That Got Away' because that NYT editor didn't read/review it...but now plans to.

I think awards can be a great way to help get some well deserving books the attention they deserve. But how do you decide which awards to care about? And even if a book wins an award you care about, how does that suggest you're going to like the book? I thought once about setting a goal to read all the books that won a particular award. I had similar thoughts once about trying to watch all the movies that won the "best picture" Oscar. Then I realized, that there were a lot of winners that I had no desire to read/watch.

Reading is often a very personal thing. While awards or "best seller" lists may help bring some titles to my attention, it takes reading synopsis or book flap info or reviews or even skimming a few pages to decide whether I want to invest in a book.

What about you? What do you think about book awards? How much do they influence your decision to seek out a book to read.


logankstewart said...

I try to vary the styles of books I read on occasion, in order to diversify and experience the whole of the written word. Typically this means I read acclaimed books or classics, but rarely is it the Pulitzer winners. However, I do want to try a few some day and see what I think.

I have a good friend that has been reading through the Pulitzer winners and he's really enjoying the journey.

Nice post.

Phoenix said...

Sometimes the books that win the awards can be overrated (just like the movies that win the awards) so I always check out the synopsis of a book first, regardless of how many accolades its won. If I don't like the sound of a book, no matter how many people gushed over it (Oprah included), I ain't gonna read it. I have too many other books to read!

Okie said...

I definitely prefer to rely on my own judgement rather than some public accolade, but sometimes I want to read it just to see what all the hype was about. I ought to go back through the Pulitzer (and other) lists and see if I've already read any winners.

Eventually I'll likely read one or more book "because" it won an award, but when the time comes, I'm sure I'll cull down the selections based on personal preference.