Reflecting on reading finalists for book prizes

Every year at Toronto’s Word on the Street festival in Toronto, Jack Rabinovitch, the founder of the Giller Prize, introduces the Giller Prize longlist of books to readers, and encourages everyone to read–and buy–the entire longlist. After all, the books only cost the equivalent of a good dinner for two at a restaurant. Similarly, I get excited about all the fall books and often use longlists and shortlists to narrow down my reading choices from the hundreds of fall releases from Canadian publishers. But then when the shortlist whittles down to four or five books, and then the winner is announced in November, some of the initial finalists often drop off my radar if I haven’t already picked them up or heard rave reviews from friends and family.

This year I picked up two books that were announced on the Giller Prize longlist (one before the announcement and one afterwards). Neither book made the Giller shortlist (announced yesterday) and now I’m thinking how glad I picked up these books before they dropped off my radar. Different voices, different worlds, both equally shining a light on my soul and the soul of humankind.

My review of Watch How We Walk by Jennifer Lovegrove, a daring novel about growing up in a Jehovah’s Witness family where secrets the roost.

And look out soon for my review of Waiting for the Man by Arjun Basu a lyrical book about rejecting status quo and digging deeper.

Are you reading books from this fall’s slate of awards lists? What are you loving (or hating)?