Book Awards Reading Challenge

After at least a month of hardy resistance to the temptations of online reading challenges, I have succumbed again. But who could resist this one, I ask you??

The "Book Awards" challenge that finally broke through my resolve was created by 3M, who explains the rules thus:

1. Read any 12 award-winning books from July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008. Please look on the sidebar for eligible books from the Pulitzer, Booker, etc. prize lists. Also feel free to pick non-fiction books or other prize winners not listed.

2. Books may be cross-posted with other challenges.
You can find the blog for the challenge (or join it, for that matter) here. At the blog, 3M has posted her provisional list, a longer set of challenge rules (there are prizes!), and a wonderful list of possible awards and works you can choose from.

So, on to my (provisional. VERY provisional.) choices. I have tried to choose a number of Australian works, to fit in with my Year of Down Under Challenge (indicated by an asterisk in the list below). After December, the list may change to take into account the country I will be focusing on in 2008. I have also tried to spread my list of 12 evenly through a number of prizes, choosing at most 2 works from any single prize (although some of the works won more than one prize, and I am tricksy about this). But because I can never be truly strict with myself, I have also included a list of works that can serve either as alternates for my main list (should any book prove unappealing) or as "extra credit" reads. Here is the first draft of the list:

  1. The Bone People by Keri Hulme - BOOKER
  2. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson - NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE
  3. *Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey - MILES FRANKLIN
  4. *Dirt Music by Tim Winton - MILES FRANKLIN
  5. *The Secret River by Kate Grenville - COMMONWEALTH
  6. *Gould's Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan - COMMONWEALTH
  7. Small Island by Andrea Levy - ORANGE
  8. Samuel Pepys: the Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin - WHITBREAD
  9. Citizen Vince by Jess Walter - EDGAR
  10. Hyperion by Dan Simmons - HUGO
  11. Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler - NEBULA
  12. *The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard - NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
Alternates/Extra Credit:
  1. *Cloudstreet by Tim Winton - MILES FRANKLIN
  2. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth - COMMONWEALTH
  3. *The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey - BOOKER
  4. Home Truths by Mavis Gallant - GOV. GENERAL'S
  5. Neuromancer by William Gibson - HUGO/NEBULA
  6. English Passengers by Matthew Kneale - WHITBREAD/MILES FRANKLIN
  7. The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter - NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
  8. The Known World by Edward P. Jones - NBCC/PULITZER
  9. Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald - NBCC
  10. Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem - NBCC
  11. Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin - NEBULA
  12. Waiting by Ha Jin - PEN/FAULKNER
  13. March by Geraldine Brooks - PULITZER
  14. Empire Falls by Richard Russo - PULITZER

6 Responses so far.

  1. Jeremy says:

    If you don't love "Hyperion" I'll eat my hat. For a few years in and right after high school I used to say this was my favorite recent novel. But be warned that when you read it you're really signing up for at least the first two--and likely all four--books in the series (collectively known as "The Hyperion Cantos"). There is a sort-of ending between books two and three, meaning that you *could* read only the first half of the series and get a story that in some ways feels resolved. But that's decidedly *not* the case at the end of the first book. Anyway, I'm sure you'll want to read all four: they're all superb, and the ending of the fourth book is perfect.

  2. I remember you talking about it in college, mostly in relation to our Romanticism class. It has been sitting plaintively on my shelf at least since then. So I am really excited to embark upon it. I think my parents own the other books - I would be glad to embark on another series, since I think I will be done with Earthsea by then.

  3. This is the challenge that broke my resolve too! I held steadfast through the Dystopian, Newberry, Summer Reading, Once Upon a Time, By the Decade, A-Z, Medical Mystery, but am still wavering about the Something About Me Challenge. Whew.

  4. I know - they are all so tempting! I am planning a "Unread Authors" challenge myself, to start in September and run for six months - I hope you will join me then, nyssaneala!

  5. Like Muffin says:

    I want to know what you think of Gilead. My Grown-up fiction read it, and everyone hated it, except the woman who proposed it and me. But my family loves it. It's so meditative - don't expect action!

    AND you have to tell me whenever you get to Farthest Shore. One of those curious ones, where it's not quite for YA, but not quite grown-up either.

    BTW, Never Let Me Go is a Truly-In-Love-Can-Never-Be-Together and therefore SAD book. [I think actually that category is worse than the Adultery one]. I hated it. No more Grown-up Fiction till Providence at least.

  6. I will let you know about "Gilead" - I just picked up a copy here in LA for like 90 cents, so there is no excuse not to read it this summer.

    As for "Farthest Shore" - I am really enjoying Le Guin so far (apparently I read this series in 1994, but I have absolutely no memory of this. I wouldn't be at all sure about having read it if I hadn't recorded it in my book journal then), and am trying to make "Earthsea" last as long as possible.

    I am sorry about "Never Let me Go," which I also found sad and strangely unsatisfying. Definitely not as good as "Remains of the Day," which is (I have to say, by way of disclaimer) also a Truly-In-Love-Can-Never-Be-Together.

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