The most wonderful time of the year

No, not Christmas – it’s the end of the year, which means it’s best books and literary fiction prizes season! (BBOYLFPivus?) I always discover new titles that sound absolutely intriguing when I browse others’ picks for award recognition or “best of 2011” status.

The classic New York Times list pares it down to ten candidates, while the Guardian newspaper’s long & sprawling list includes everything from picture books to poetry. The Globe and Mail chooses an even hundred titles, divided into Canadian & international fiction, non-fiction, and more.

Librarians love best of lists as much as anyone, and Library Journal goes all out with annual top ten lists for everything from Cooking to YA Lit for Adults. If you just want to know what other voracious readers are enjoying, members of the Goodreads social media website voted on Goodreads Choice Awards in multiple genres.

One of my favourite book-related websites, The Millions, chooses to do a Year in Reading feature instead; they ask various contributors such as Jennifer Egan “to name, from all the books they read this year, the one(s) that meant the most to them, regardless of publication date.”

If you’re like me and just can’t get enough lists, check out the blog Largehearted Boy which keeps a running collection of every “best books of 2011” list they find.

The Scotiabank Giller Prize bills itself as “Canada’s most distinguished literary prize ” even though it was only established in 1994. This year’s winner, announced on November 8, was Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan.

The Governor General’s Literary Awards have a longer pedigree, having been around since 1937.  This year the award for fiction in English went to The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt.

In international prize news, the UK’s Man Booker Prize went to The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, and Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward won the American National Book Award.

Other Canadian books on the shortlists for this year’s literary prizes (several of which were nominated more than once):

The Free World, David Bezmozgis
The Antagonist, Lynn Coady
The Little Shadows, Marina Endicott
Better Living Through Plastic Explosives, Zsuzsi Gartner
The Cat’s Table, Michael Ondaatje
Touch, Alexi Zentner

One response to “The most wonderful time of the year

  1. Pingback: Best of the best | Readers' Salon

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