Like many a good English student, I love assigned reading. I know it’s strange and often gets an eye roll from friends, but the lifelong learner in me enjoys being introduced to books I have to read. Mandatory.
I’m sort of a flippant reader. Since I started write meg! and began reviewing books in a more organized fashion, I think nothing of casting aside stories that just aren’t working for me. I generally give it the 50- or 100-page test: if it hasn’t gripped me by that point, to the donation pile it goes.
I know this isn’t always the best method — and that, if I’d just stick with them, some books would yield fabulous results. Sometimes a book just doesn’t click with me . . . and not because it’s a terrible book. It could be my mood, my emotional state, my general level of boredom. Anything, really.
That’s what makes being a panelist in the Indie Lit Awards so much fun: my reading is all picked out for me. In these blogger-sponsored and blogger-run honors, I’m introduced to a myriad of new-to-me authors as a fiction panelist. While serving last year, I discovered Peter Geye’s Safe From The Sea (reviewed a year ago today!) — and that turned out to be one of the best books I read in 2011. Would I have discovered it without the Indie Lit Awards? Maybe. But I doubt it.
Nominations closed in December, and we have our short list:
2011 Fiction Nominees
• Dance Lessons by Aine Greaney (Syracuse University Press)
• Cross Currents by John Shors (Penguin Group: NAL Trade)
• The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Knopf/Doubleday Publishing Group)
• Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)
• The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene (Penguin Group)
Check out the nominees in other categories, too, like biography/memoir, GLBTQ, poetry and more. Feel free to read along as we gobble up these stories, begin lengthy discussions and announce our winners in mid-March.
Any early favorites here? Anything you’re excited to read yourself?