My Friend Amy, who brought us Book Blogger Appreciation Week has a new carnival in the works, the Faith 'n Fiction Saturday.
Each week she will post a blogging prompt, which participating bloggers will answer on their own blogs. Then they head back to the original post and sign Mister Linky! This way we can all come to know each other more closely.
Today's Question: Did you know that Christian fiction has their own award? It's called the Christy Award. Here's some information about The Christy Award from the website:
The Christy Award is designed to:
* Nurture and encourage creativity and quality in the writing and publishing of fiction written from a Christian worldview.
* Bring a new awareness of the breadth and depth of fiction choices available, helping to broaden the readership.
* Provide opportunity to recognize novelists whose work may not have reached bestseller status
The 2009 Christy Award Nominees were recently announced. Today's assignment is to look at the list of nominees and share with us whether or not you have read any of them. If you haven't read that particular novel, have you read anything by that author? Have you read all of the books in any category? What are your favorite books on the list? Are there any books you haven't heard of?
And, I'm just throwing this out there, but I think one year there was a Christy challenge. A reading challenge is basically when you choose books off a pre-set list or around a theme to read within a certain time frame. Does anyone know if this is still going on? If it's not, would anyone be interested in joining in on one? I'd be willing to host it. And lastly, I'm working on Faith 'n Fiction Saturday having our own awards for books!
The Christy Nominees:
Beyond the Night by Marlo Schalesky • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Finding Stefanie by Susan May Warren • Tyndale House Publishers
Zora and Nicky: A Novel in Black and White by Claudia Mair Burney • David C. Cook
CONTEMPORARY SERIES, SEQUELS, AND NOVELLAS
Sisterchicks Go Brit! by Robin Jones Gunn • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Summer Snow by Nicole Baart • Tyndale House Publishers
You Had Me at Good-bye by Tracey Bateman • FaithWords
Dogwood by Chris Fabry • Tyndale House Publishers
Embrace Me by Lisa Samson • Thomas Nelson
Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon by Debbie Fuller Thomas • Moody Publishers
Blue Hole Back Home by Joy Jordan-Lake • David C. Cook
Rain Song by Alice J. Wisler • Bethany House Publishers
Safe at Home by Richard Doster • David C. Cook
Shadow of Colossus by T.L. Higley • B&H Publishing Group
Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin • Bethany House Publishers
Washington’s Lady by Nancy Moser • Bethany House Publishers
Calico Canyon by Mary Connealy • Barbour Publishers
From a Distance by Tamera Alexander • Bethany House Publishers
The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen • B&H Publishing Group
By Reason of Insanity by Randy Singer • Tyndale House Publishers
The Rook by Steven James • Revell
Winter Haven by Athol Dickson • Bethany House Publishers
The Battle for Vast Dominion by George Bryan Polivka • Harvest House Publishers
Shade by John B. Olson • B&H Publishing Group
Vanish by Tom Pawlik • Tyndale House Publishers
The Fruit of My Lipstick by Shelley Adina • FaithWords
I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires by Cathy Gohlke • Moody Publishers
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
My Answer: Since I read a lot of popular Christian Fiction authors, there's always a good chance that when the Christy Awards roll around I usually have read at least one book in each category. This year is no different. I've read 11 of the books and I own 22 of them. And the only two I had never heard of before were Blue Hole Back Home by Joy Jordan-Lake and Safe at Home by Richard Doster.
These are the ones I've read and then the ones I want to win.
Contemporary: Finding Stefanie and Zora and Nicky/ Zora and Nicky - this would be SO edgy cool if this book won, seriously read it, it is super edgy for a Christian romance novel, and interracial dating to boot! and has an African American writer won before?
Contemporary Series: Read them All/ really do I have to choose one? they are all great. seriously I can't pick, who ever wins yay!!
Contemporary Standalone: Embrace Me/ haven't read the other 2 so can't judge, but I really liked Lisa's book, it was an edgy book so I'd be happy if this one won.
First Novel: Rain Song/ haven't read the other 2 so can't judge, but I did like this book
Historical: Washington's Lady/ haven't read the other 2 but I ADORED Nancy's book. As a historical fiction novel, it was wonderful. Would love it it won.
Historical Romance: The Moon in the Mango Tree/ haven't read the other 2 but I really want this book to win. It was such a good book, so epic.
Suspense: The Rook/ I don't need to read the other two. The Rook is one of the best suspense novels I have ever read, Christian or secular. If this book does not win, I will be very angry and refuse to read the winning book. (ok j/k about not reading the winning book, but I will be angry)
Visionary: Oh i take it back I haven't read any of the three but I do own all of them in my TBR pile/ yeah I really can't choose but I would love if Battle for Vast Dominion wins b/c I've read the other two books in the Trophy Chase series and I loved them! (They are about pirates!!)
Young Adult: The Fruit of My Lipstick/ Haven't read the other two but I Loved loved loved this book! It's like Gossip Girl for the Christian girl! It has everything a teen girl wants. And the main character is Asian American. I WANT THIS BOOK TO WIN! Sorry Amy!
I think it is quite interesting that not a single Zondervan book wasn't nominated. I believe they and Steeple Hill (but Zondervan more so) were the only BIG publishers not be nominated. It's nice to see a lot of new authors and familiar ones as well.
Is there anyone who I felt should have been nominated? Sure of course. I can't give you a explicit category rundown but possible names: Melody Carlson (YA and Contemporary anything), Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt (YA), Julie Lessman (Historical romance), Susan Meissner (really?? why is she not nominated at all, yet she wins the ECPA award? makes no sense), Brandilynn Collins (suspense), Christa Ann Banister (Contemporary series), Sandra Byrd (Contemporary Series), Golden Keyes Parsons (either First Novel or Historical), and Angela Hunt (Contemporary). That's all I can think of at the top of my head. I think they should make the field have at least 5 nominees, like the Oscars. I mean there are TONS of Christian fiction books that get published every year, the least you can do is nominate 5 in each category.
But for the readers, I have to ask this. Do we really care about awards? I know it's a huge honor for the authors. And rightly deserved. But does something winning an award make you want to go out and read it more? Do you purposely go out and look for those that are Christy Awards winners/nominees so you can see if their inclusion was justified? Who are the people that pick the winners?
From the Christy Award website it says:
Each category of novels is then read and evaluated against a ten-point criteria by a panel of seven judges composed of librarians, reviewers, academicians, literary critics, and other qualified readers, none of whom have a direct affiliation with a publishing company.
It says nothing at all about readers. Why aren't regular readers invited to be on the judging panel? I know there are some contests from RWA chapters where readers are invited to be part of the judging process but those are few and far between. If books are intended to be for the reader, then shouldn't they get a say in what's best of the year?
Yes you could throw out an argument that the Grammys and Oscars don't allow listeners or viewers to be part of their judging. But then every year, someone always says that awards shows are where everyone is just congratulating each other.
My point is, (and sorry b/c I've rambled on and on!) I think there should be one category where there is a fan vote. Have the readers pick who they think is the best book of the year. Granted this might get skewed as some of the big authors will have built in fan bases (can you see the Karen Kingsbury vote count? BTW did you know KK has never been nominated for a Christy Award? the "Queen of Christian fiction" has 0 nominations). Still though I think it would be nice.