OK, so the National Book Award folks (the National Book Foundation) have short-listed the finalists. Here’s a link from my favorite GalleyCat to give you a free sampling of the titles. And of course, there’s controversy, I love controversy over a subject that very few people know about or ever give a second thought.
First, Laura Miller at Salon.com calls the entire list irrelevant. Go Laura! Here’s a good quote from the piece, “Although the judges for the NBAs change every year, the sense that the fiction jury is locked in a frustrating impasse with the press and the public is eternal.” And for the sports fans reading this blog, no we don’t mean the National Basketball Association. It seems to be the National Book Award folks aren’t interested in anything popular. So if it’s smart and literary and has a large group of reader fans then it looks like you can just forget the big prize.
Said very well by Ms. Miller, “If you categorically rule out books that a lot of people like, you shouldn’t be surprised when a lot of people don’t like the books you end up with.” Why is the literary community and the reading public so different? Don’t authors want to have readers? and does it say something negative about a book when a lot of people enjoy it.
Controversy, number two. If having a list of titles that people aren’t exactly cheering about isn’t bad enough, they announced the wrong young adult writer as a finalist! Graciously Lauren Myracle and her book Shine, took her name off the list after being mistaken for Franny Billingsley‘s Chime.
NBF is blaming it on a communication problem. Judges say Chime and it sounds like Shine. What? No doubt they handled it badly, first putting her on by mistake, then saying she can stay and then taking her off for good.
What do you think about this NBA debacle?