Thursday, August 13, 2009

Who Am I To Judge?

I need to read nineteen mysteries and six short stories in three months. Why? Because I registered to attend the Bouchercon Convention in October, where I will have the privilege of voting on the 2009 Anthony Awards. Which means I have to read all of the nominees’ works.

I know some of you are thinking “What, you didn’t read them already?” Four. I’ve read four. Death of a Cozy Writer (already an award-winner—go, Gin!!), State of the Onion, Pushing Up Daisies, and Stalking Susan. I’m humbled, and so behind on 2008.

If you thought, “Well, you don’t have to read all their works”, shame on you! I do have to read them. I will even make a list of criteria and rate each work on a scale of one to five.

I jumped on the Internet to check availability at my local library. The good news is we have a great library; the bad news is two of the critical nonfiction works were not purchased by any of the thirty-four libraries in my county. I’ll have to see if I can remedy this oversight.

I know some of you are thinking “Why aren’t you buying these books?” Did I mention I was flying to the convention?

Seven of the books were available the day I searched the online catalog, and I raced over to check them out. My arm muscles got quite the workout carrying my book bag to the car. For that reason alone, I may deduct points for all books over three hundred and fifty words.

Bless the Internet. I didn’t even have to leave home to see each of the nominated covers. But what rating criteria to use? The most artistically appealing? The cover most related to the book’s content? The cover that entices me to pick up it up, read the blurb on the back, and maybe the first page or two? Hmmm.

I narrowed my decision down to two covers. I belong to the same online mystery group as one of the two authors. Guess which cover I’ll choose.

Nineteen books in three months are roughly six books per month or a book and a half per week. I’m also going to have to read my book club book—all 580 pages of it (not a mystery, no)—during this same time period and the complimentary Rex Stout book the Bouchercon organizers sent as well. Good news is I read fast. Really fast.

I thought about recruiting my children to help select the best children’s/young adult novel. My daughter would be thrilled to help out. Not so much my son. He’s lost to the video game monster, and he has summer reading from school. I will read the books myself and decide, but my daughter will get a kick out of rating the books and comparing our ratings. Maybe I can snag her a signed copy of her favorite at the convention. My kids love autographs…and souvenirs.

I’d say more, but right now I have to read.


Alan Orloff said...

You are a very conscientious voter. This country needs more of you!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Wow. I can't even imagine reading that much in that amount of time! Good for you for being so responsible.

Jess Lourey said...

I didn't spend that much time choosing a house. I am humbled by your thoroughness, Lisa. If more of us were like you, we'd all be better read, and the awards would have even more meaning. On behalf of the mystery community, thank you!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Good lord!!! And you're writing on your own stuff during this time, too?

I bow to you...

Julia Buckley said...

Good for you, Lisa. You'll read great books and make an informed decision.

Keith Raffel said...

Lisa, You are certainly thorough. How long did you date your husband before getting married? What kind of application form did you have him fill out? Or did you just live together 40 years before deciding he was the one?

G.M. Malliet said...

All I can say is, God bless you. You are indeed an asset to the mystery community.

Shell Shearer said...

Wow! You have been busy. Recommend some favorites - I'm always looking for more books to try. :)