I’ve loved reading ever since I was a child. (Raise your hand if that sounds familiar!)
Most of the early books I read were from Scholastic, courtesy of the Lucky Book Club brochures that were delivered to school every few months. Mum would usually buy us a book out of the brochure. I also found many books from the brochure in the school library.
When I was about ten, I noticed that many of my favourite books had a picture of a medal on the cover—the Newbery Medal. I learned that if I was looking for a book, that medal often indicated a book I’d like.
Then I grew up, and grew out of Newbery Medal-winning books. Were there adult equivalents? My mother bought The Bone People by Keri Hulme, the first book by a New Zealand author to win the prestigious Booker Prize (back before it was sponsored by Man Group). She didn’t like The Bone People—she couldn’t get past the non-standard punctuation.
I think that put me off searching for adult equivalents to the Newberry Medal.
Now I read mostly Christian fiction, and I find there are a huge range of awards for Christian books, fiction and non-fiction. I enjoy following the fiction awards:
- The Christy Award, named for Christy by Catherine Marshall. Click here for the Christy Award finalists and winners for 2016.
- The Carol Award, run by American Christian Fiction Writers. Click here for the Carol Award finalists for 2016—the 2017 finalists are due to be announced later this month.
- The CALEB Award, run by Omega Writers, and celebrating the best Christian writing in Australia and New Zealand.
- The INSPY Awards, which are unique in that they feature a reader-nominated shortlist, and the final judges are book bloggers. Click here for the INPSY Award shortlists for 2017.
I find these four contests routinely have finalists and winners I enjoy—so if a book makes it to that coveted finalist position, I’m willing to give it a try even if I know nothing about the book or the author.
The Christy, Carol, and INSPY Awards all have several genre categories, and a first book category. I love checking out the lists of finalists in my favourite genres.
How many of the books have I read? Which did I like? Which would I pick to win?
I do find myself adding several books to my to-read pile. Sometimes I wonder how and why I missed them when they were first published.
So yes, I do read award-winning books, but only from the Christian contests I trust.