Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Thursday, October 13, 2005

And the winner is....

Autumn is not only a great time to admire the changing leaves,it's also book award season. The Man Booker Prize(personally,I prefer the old name of just Booker but,hey,gotta please those
sponsors!)was given to The Sea by John Banville,the National Book Award nominees were
announced yesterday(with E.L. Doctorow and Joan Didion taking the lead in the Fiction/Nonfiction
catagories)and this morning,the Nobel lit prize went to playwright Harold Pinter. Whew,Jane
stop this crazy thing!

Also,the winners of the Quills were announced at a ceremony that will be broadcast on NBC(Sat,
Oct 22). What are the Quills? It's a new book award that will hopefully become the Golden Globes
of the book world. Basically,there are many more catagories than your average book award group
gives,such as Romance,Sports,History,etc. The children's lit is divided by age range(toddler to
teen) and certain genres that most literacy groups overlook get attention(graphic novels,humor,
audio books)and some respect.

The nominees were chosen by librarians and booksellers across the country(yours truly being one of them)and people were given the chance to vote online for the winners. It's very People's
Choice Awards in that respect but frankly,I was pleased as punch to be a small part of this. For
too long,most major book awards have been very inhouse and non connecting to the average
reader. Particularly,the National Book awards which usually have novels nominated that most
avid readers have never heard of and alot of times,the commitee that nominates pick their friends or like minded authors so you can look at the list and go"Who the hell is that? I never
heard of that book."

Just look at the novel list this year-Doctorow is the only one on the list anyone on the street might know and he's pretty much a shoo-in. I have heard of Trance by Christopher Sorrentino
(Publishers Weekly did an article on his book tour-didn't see any reviews)and Veronica by
Mary Gaitskill but otherwise,I'm not impressed. Don't get me wrong-not saying that only
bestsellers should be honored but I feel that there needs to be a healthy mix of popular and
arthouse titles to be recognised for their achievements.

The Quills are just beginning and I'm sure many will be quick to jump on the negativity bandwagon with comments like"They only pick bestsellers and celebs like Jon Stewart and
J.K. Rowling." "What kind of a name is Quills?" "What junky catagories-Romance? Cooking?"
My comeback is simple-"You can stay in the ivory tower all you want but some of us would
like to do what E.M. Forster strove for-only connect." I look forward to the day where the
Quills will be as highly anticpated as the Oscars are. For now,I'll just settle for being there
at the beginning. If you want to check out the Quills winners,just click the title link.

Meanwhile,I will enjoy this very rainy day with some good books(just started The Great Stink by Clare Clark and boy,is it twisted!) and some just for fun(rereading Incubus Dreams by
Laurell K. Hamilton,for the Halloween spirit). Now,where's my bookmark?

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