Friday, April 26, 2013

The Maine Readers Choice Award - Tutu's latest project

well...let's talk for a bit about the Maine Readers Choice Award program. I was invited to serve on this panel late last year, and we are now entering into the next phase. The participants are finishing their reading of the short list (listed below)  and now must rank these from one to ten. We then "vote" no later than May 1st. The top choices will be announced shortly thereafter and promoted to the readers of Maine.

We are going to be promoting these books all summer, encouraging adults to read some really good stuff. The Readers themselves will then vote for their Choice as the best of the best, and the winner will be announced in the fall. We hope to have the award presented at the Bangor Book Festival in October.

So Tutu has finished reading the shortlist, and several from the long list too. I haven't quite finished the final ranking, but I have pretty much separated them into two tiers: 1-5, and 6-10. All of tier 1 are solid ★★★★★ reads. These are going to stay in my permanent library for a long time, and they will stay in my psyche for just as long. They are incredible tributes to the art of good writing.

The second tier are excellent, but not quite as earth-shaking. So here's my list by tier. I'll be writing reviews for the next several days. I don't think you can go wrong reading any of the top 5. My comments about a couple of the others will be in my individual posts. The links are to reviews I've already posted.

Top Tier
Billy Lynn's Long Half-time Walk by Ben Fountain.
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
The Light Between the Oceans  by M.L. Stedman
Canada by Richard Ford
A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash

Second Tier:
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Mr. Penumbra's 24 hr Bookstore by Robin Sloan  

I'm going to be honest and say that when I voted for the first cut, none of the 2nd tier books were on my top 10 list, even though I had already read three of them. I am looking forward to getting to some of those books that were on the long list, but will not be reading them in such a compact time frame. These are all books that deserve to be read slowly and carefully. The top five are definitely going to be re-read because I can't help but think I didn't get everything there was to get.

It's been an interesting project. I'm hoping to be asked to have another go for next year, and I'm already starting my 'long list' for 2013 books to suggest to the committee.

Now I'm going to settle back, read a couple good mysteries and a good old southern fiction Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble so I can clear my brain before the final vote in a few days.

For the original long-list, be sure to visit the Maine Reader's Choice Award page.

1 comment:

  1. I have A Land More Kind Than Home moving up my TBR list right now! I have been waiting so long to read it!

    I just started the new Miss Julia over the weekend! Fun, as usual!


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