Monday, October 17, 2011

National Book Awards: This Year Everyone Loses

The National Book Awards do not dictate the way I read. Even so, I always look forward to the lists...what books in the last year might I have missed that made these lists? I do not think that if a book isn't on the list that it's a failure or wasn't good enough, after all the the judges change every year, everyone has different tastes, having served on awards committees myself I know that difficult decisions must be made and also no awards system is perfect.

This year, though, there was a huge blunder made that has made the awards...well embarrassing. A source of hurt.

Basically the National Book Foundation made a huge error in announcing that Shine was nominated. Apparently it was not, Chime by Franny Billingsley was. They said the nomination would stand, then later apparently asked Myracle to withdraw, which she agreed to do. Everyone is enraged and rightly so. I can't even pretend to know what it would be like to go through something like this, but Lauren Myracle has no reason to feel humiliated she's been a class act through the whole thing.

I just started seeing people put down the other nominees, in particular Chime since that's the book that got confused with Shine. And I'm sad that book is now being called less worthy and not as important of a book. Books can be important in different ways to different people. So the NBA's error is now also negatively impacting their own nominees as people rush to judgement in a flurry of emotion.

Everyone loses in this situation. The nominees are now being overlooked because of this blunder. Lauren Myracle's book is no longer in consideration. The National Book Awards are further weakened which probably doesn't help book awards overall. I'm just really sorry to see it.

There's a movement on Twitter on to support Shine, #IsupportShine. Support the book itself, what it meant to you, or why you're excited to read it without putting down the other authors and nominees please! After all this isn't their fault either and in a lesser way they are also suffering because of the error. Review Shine, encourage people to buy it, talk about the issues, I support all of that one hundred percent, I just think it can all be accomplished without tearing down the other nominees.


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