02/17/16

Why Awards Don’t Affect What I Read

award winners don't mean anything

I’ve never been someone who focused on awards, especially in the book world. Sure, I was always happy when a book I loved won an award, but I never looked at lists of award winners and thought, “this is an award winner, so I’m going to read it.”

Recently, one of my friends told me she plans to read every Pulitzer Prize-Winning book, and I thought to myself, why have I never been motivated to do something like this?

The answer I came up with is that, because of book blogging, what I read is focused on what the book is about. My interests and my book cravings guide what I read. Sometimes that involves an award winner, but most times I read just about anything and everything.

Honestly, I prefer that. There isn’t this pressure to love the book because it’s an award winner, but rather the excitement of learning if it’s a good book or not. Over the years, my senses have sharpened, and I’m now pretty darn good and knowing when a book will strike my fancy. This is all because I’ve chosen what I read based on what I WANT to read, and not what other people think I should read.

Also, I have a bit of an issue with the concept of award-giving and I’ve been like this since I was a kid. When it would come time to pick a stellar student from the class in elementary school, and I would always have someone in my head that I thought deserved it, but rarely did that person win the award. I always wondered my teacher didn’t see how incredible some students were, and why they didn’t get awarded like other people in the class.

This translates to books, movies, TV shows, songs – everything. Who chooses award winners? Commonly, it’s a panel of “experts” or people who “know a lot” about the category. Sometimes awards are given based on the public’s vote, but this commonly leads to the most popular thing winning, rather than the best one. And these panels of experts sometimes make choices that I just go “WHATT??!!” to because I don’t know how they liked something.

For me, awards don’t signify how incredible something is. In fact, it has absolutely no effect.

Instead, I tell everyone I know about the books I treasure, and if other people agree, then great! But I don’t need my opinion to be validated by an award.


What’s your opinion? Do awards influence your reading habits?

  • Helen Deng

    I agree! I’ve never really looked at awards, even if I do get excited if a book I like gets picked, or if Taylor Swift wins a Grammy or something. Awards are generally pretty good judges of content, but I like having a say in what I watch or listen to or read; also, there’s so many songs/movies/TV shows/books that there will always be the ones that are obscure and undiscovered – leaving them not even considered for awards!

  • Rebecca

    Great post and I agree with everything you said. Awards don’t affect my TBR, but I’m happy when a book I love gets the attention it deserves 🙂 I also think they matter more to authors (to be recognised & to celebrate their peers), librarians and bookstore (helps them decide which books to order in maybe?). At least I think that’s who the awards are for!

  • Honestly, awards don’t affect my TBR either! Like Rebecca says below, I really love when a book I’ve already read and loved does get an award. But in terms of me choosing what I read? I generally go with what I’m in the mood for and what interests me 🙂