I was just thinking today about how easy it is to become obsessed with lists: booker short list, NY times bestsellers, most important, best books of...notable books...
And regarding awards I've often wondered what exactly goes into the decision.
As readers we often choose to read a book that has received some sort of award over one who has not. A lot goes into this decision: we like to read books that others recognize, and it's probably easier to discuss them with friends or acquaintances if they are well known, and last and definitely not least, books that win awards are usually cheaper because so many are sold.
Because all of this has been on my mind I really enjoyed reading Jason Cowley's "And the winner is?" article in The Guardian. Lionel Shriver's (who I have not read, and who until now I thought was a man, since Lionel is a male name in Portuguese) story was both sad and hopeful. I can't imagine writing eight books before finally being acknowledged as a "real" writer.
That said I hope to start reading Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss – The Booker winner for this year – soon. What convinced me over was not her winning though, but Pankaj Mishra’s review, in The New York Times.