Musing Mondays – Prizes


This week’s Musing Mondays asks:

Do you feel compelled to read prize-winning (Giller/Booker/Pulitzer etc) books? Why, or why not? Is there, perhaps, one particular award that you favour? (question courtesy of MizB)

‘Compelled’, no. ‘Inclined’, yes.

There are way too many books out there, and try as I might, I’m never going to read all of them, which is quite depressing. So, resorting to an old cliche, life’s too short to read bad books. More oft’ than not, a prize-winner is not going to be ‘bad’, so, it’s relatively safe.

That said, if I like the look of a book, award-winning or not, I will pick it up. I don’t need to see Sunday Times Best Seller or, Costa Book Awards Winner on the cover to convince me. Sometimes, these will disappoint, and sometimes they’ll be fantastic, and that’s something I’ve made my peace with. It’s not that I’ve enjoyed all the prize-winners (case in point: The Gathering) I’ve read. In fact, I tend to feel more let down when I don’t enjoy a prize-winner, than when I don’t enjoy just another book off the shelf.

I think I lean more towards the winners of the Booker Prize, but I don’t quite know why. It’s almost done subconsciously… However, last couple of years, I’ve been picking up books by authors who have won the Nobel Prize, and so far, I haven’t had a bad experience. (There you go, I’ve probably jinxed it now!)

How about you? Do you have a favorite prize? Or, a favorite prize-winner?

10 Responses to “Musing Mondays – Prizes”

  1. Although the book itself has to speak to me, I find the Booker nominees are very much in tune to my reading taste. I actually enjoyed Anne Enright’s prose but the story is not easy to like. I almost grew out of my patience reading it on my vacation!

  2. LOL I hope you haven’t jinxed it :)

    Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

    Here’s mine! Puffed Up Prize-winners?


  3. 3 judys424

    Bottomline for me is whether I like the story to read it, award winner or not.
    Knowing it won however, kinda tips the scales a bit. :)

  4. Yeah. I don’t pay attention to prizes. monday 44

  5. 5 thebluestockingguide

    I don’t pay attention to prizes. monday 44

  6. I do try to read books by Nobel Prize winners. I have like a lot from those..

    Mondays: Musings/Mailbox/whereabouts

  7. 7 uncertainprinciples

    @Matthew : I just couldn’t get into The Gathering. However, other than that, I’ve liked most Booker winners/nominees, compared to some of the other prizes. For example, I didn’t really enjoy Home or The Brief & Wondrous Life – both of which won the Pulitzer.

    @Sassy Brit : Yeah, me too :)

    @judys424 : Couldn’t agree more. However, if I’m at a bookstore, just browsing, without a book in mind, I’d probably pick up a book which says something like ‘Shortlisted for the Booker Prize’ and read its blurb. On the other hand, I’m equally likely to do the same if the title/cover looks interesting.

    @thebluestockingguide : Good for you! That’s probably a lot fairer to the books – and, if you’ve got good recommendations/eyes for a good book, prize-winners shouldn’t matter too much anyway?

    @gautami : That’s great to hear. I just picked up a Nobel Prize winner, for the first time, a couple of years back, and was quite apprehensive about it. I half-thought it would be political and heavy on that front, but was pleasantly surprised to find it very enjoyable.

  8. 8 MOG

    I’m never swayed by awards just books.

  9. I generally don’t pay attention to the awards at all because I don’t trust them to pick a really good book that I will like! Here is my Musing Monday!

  10. 10 uncertainprinciples

    @MOG : You’re right. At the end of the day, the book is going to stay with you, an award isn’t.

    @Danielle : Luckily for me, more oft’ than not, I’ve been quite happy with award-winners. There have been the odd exception, but then again, I can say that about books recommended by friends as well.

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