Carolyn Offers Up her Seventh Annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize For Literature
Some of us who love to read were English majors.
Some not. Some of us thrived on Shakespeare. Some
said phooey. All of us have heard that we should
read. It's good for our careers and good for our
I'm going to take it a step farther than that.
I think we should also read great books. Classics,
if you will. Yes, fiction, too. Not necessarily
all the time but often enough to inspire us to
stretch just a bit in terms of developing our
literary taste. To learn something from a theme
or sample a voice we haven't tried. Or even to
develop a turn of phrase, a metaphor, or a simile
we can use in our writing or in our speech.
Newsweek ran a list in 2009 of the
greatest books ever written. Their choices
may be arguable, but one can not argue with their
intent. I thought it might be fun for you to see
how many you've read. Gauge your relative success
on your age. If you're a senior you may have read
more than if you are fifteen.
Actually, how many you've read is not nearly
as important as how many you're going to read.
Or your motivation to set a goal. For the ambitious,
how about a resolution to reread one you've already
read and a pledge to read three more in the next
I hope you'll use my Noble (Not Nobel!) prize
list for suggestions, too. It appears every January
in this column. And my columns are archived.
The Noble is awarded for literary excellence in
use of the English language. Winners should present
themes or premises that might help readers recognize
and curtail bigotry or explore the human condition
in other important ways.
The contest is free except for the cost of the
book. Authors or readers who would like to nominate
a book may reach me at HoJoNews@aol.com
for instructions on where to mail it. I'm also
happy to let you know in advance if a particular
book fits my parameters, just in case there are
doubts. Because we don't want to waste even one
good book. On the other hand, I don't want to
miss seeing one I might give an award to!
I also want to thank Leigh Johnson, my daughter-in-law
and an avid reader of new great literature. I
am pleased to receive nominations from other readers,
too, but they must be willing to send me a book
or to contact the publisher or author and ask
them to send one.
The address is:
PO Box 1101
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91012-1101
Back to those reading goals. For most of us—we
busy ones—how about a commitment to read
just one great book in 2010. C'mon. Just one.
Choose from this list or choose from Newsweek's.
But do choose! Now let's enjoy the 2009 winners
of my Noble Prize for Literature. That's "Noble,"
not "Nobel." Here they are:
Carolyn's 2009 Noble List for
Reading in 2010
These books are in no particular
by Randall Platt
A young adult novel about a tough kid, a story
that softens the heart.
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
by Wells Tower
Farrar Straus Giroux
A collection of short stories nominated by
Leigh Johnson for its high literary
Marrying George Clooney: Confessions from
a Midlife Crisis
by Amy Ferris
Simply the finest new voice in decades.
The White Tiger
by Aravind Adiga
The New Yorker says
the book has an "appealingly sardonic voice
and acute observations of the (Indian) social
order. And though I usually try to find books
that haven't already won major awards this
one was nominated by Leigh Johnson, a reader
extraordinaire. There are times we shouldn't
discriminate against the already famous.
Speed-B-B-B-Bumps and Other Poems for Kids
by Darrell House
This is the first time I've honored writing
for children but House's work is professional,
tender and has so many gently-presented (so
kids won't know they're being taught) lessons,
I couldn't resist. Find him at SonicBids.com.
From the Ruins
A Daughter, A Refugee and an American Soldier
by Aida Osmani
Book and Writing, LLC
Author Geraldine Ahearn calls it a "chilling
The Brightest Moon of the Century
by Chrisopher Meeks
White Whisker Books
If the world is just Christopher Meeks is
destined to be widely read.
by Lenora Smalley
Hazel Street Productions
Sampler, Hazel Street Productions, is
a lovely little book of poetry that is available
from the poet. It was originally published
by Hazel Street Productions.
Sleep Before Evening
by Magdalena Ball
Sleep Before Evening
by Aussie Magdalena Ball, Bewrite Books, is
a novel that defines a different kind of courage.
MyShelf.Com. All Rights Reserved.