Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Booker and Quill Winners Announced

The Booker -- probably the most important book award outside the Nobel and certainly the one most guaranteed to boost sales - was announced. Kiran Desai won for her novel The Inheritance of Loss.

Here in the US, the second annual Quills award felt growing pains: its winners are chosen online by readers and therefore are prone to block voting. (If Howard Stern had a book out and sent his minions to vote, he probably would have won.) Until they got a much bigger voting audience, this award will be very suspect. How else to explain that the Book of the Year chosen by online voters was Tyler Perry's comedy book "Don't Make A Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings." It was a brief bestseller without legs. And now it's the book of the year? Similarly suspect winners include Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job in General Fiction, beating out four books with much higher profiles: the best-sellers The March by EL Doctorow, Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen and the word-of-mouth success story of the year Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky, not to mention Black Swan Green by cult favorite David Mitchell. And the winner is Moore? Clearly he ran a good online campaign.

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