Literary Novels from my Stacks: A Personal Challenge

I love the literary prizes and I own a ton of books which have either won or been nominated for those prizes…but which I have yet to read. I track many of the prizes on this page of my blog. I also have joined some individual challenges which are perpetual and encourage reading from certain prize lists. That said…I have been sorely lacking in those challenges, primarily because I read a lot of new fiction and forget to check the lists and read from my own stacks. Beginning in 2012, I am going to make a more concerted effort to read from certain prize lists. It will be a personal challenge of sorts. My goal will be to read AT LEAST ONE book from the list for that particular month – because I am trying to get a little more flexibility in my life, I may decide to read a book from one of the lists in a month when it is not highlighted – and if I do, I will count it!  Some books are on multiple lists, but I am going to try to read one unique book for each category. Make sense?

If anyone wants to join me, I’d love the company – but this is a very loose kind of challenge – no sign ups required. If you give me a link to your list, I’ll try to cheer you on!

Below I have divided up the months of the year and I’ve listed the books I currently own which would count for that particular award. As I read books, I’ll highlight them in blue and give links to my reviews.

January 2012 – Orange January (Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction AND Orange Broadband Award for New Authors)

  • Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell (long list Fiction 2011) – read my review
  • Scottsboro, by Ellen Feldman (short list Fiction 2009) – read my review

February 2012Man Booker Prize

  • Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (short list 2011) – read my review

March 20125 Under 35 Awards

  • One More Year: Stories, by Sana Krasikov (won in 2008) – read my review

April 2012 – Edgar Award

  • A Beautiful Place to Die, by Malla Nunn (2010 nominee) – read my review

May 2012Costa Whitbread Award

  • The Elephant Keeper, by Christopher Nicholson (short list Novel Award 2009) – read my review

June 2012Commonwealth Writers Prize

  • The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (Sierra Leone) – Winner Best Book Africa 2011 – read my review

July 2012 – Orange July (Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction AND Orange Broadband Award for New Writers)

  • The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, by Ann Weisgarber (short list New Writers Award 2009) – read my review

August 2012National Book Award

  • The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway (1953 nominee)
  • Them, by Joyce Carol Oates (1970 winner)
  • Wonderland, by Joyce Carol Oates (1972 nominee)
  • The Optimist’s Daughter, by Eudora Welty (1973 nominee)
  • The Spectator Bird, by Wallace Stegner (1977 winner)
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison (1987 nominee)
  • Breathing Lessons, by Anne Tyler(1988 nominee)
  • All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy (1992 winner)
  • Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat(1995 nominee)
  • The House of Sand and Fog, by Andre Dubus III (1999 nominee)
  • The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen (2001 winner)
  • The Known World, by Edward P. Jones (2003 nominee)
  • Fieldwork, by Mischa Berlinski (2007 nominee)
  • Shadow Country, by Peter Matthiessen (2008)
  • Lark and Termite, by Jayne Anne Phillips (2009 nominee)

September 2012Pulitzer Prize

  • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (winner 2011)
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (winner 2008)
  • The Known World – Edward P. Jones (winner 2004)
  • Empire Falls – Richard Russo (winner 2002)
  • Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri (winner 2000)
  • American Pastoral – Philip Roth (winner 1998)
  • Independence Day – Richard Ford (winner 1996)
  • The Stone Diaries – Carol Shields (winner 1995)
  • A Thousand Acres – Jan Smiley (winner 1992)
  • Breathing Lessons – Anne Tyler (winner 1989)
  • Beloved – Toni Morrison (winner 1988)
  • The Optimist’s Daughter – Eudora Welty (winner 1973)
  • The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway (winner 1953)
  • All the King’s Men – Robert Penn Warren (winner 1947)
  • The Magnificent Ambersons – Booth Tarkington (winner 1919)

October 2012International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

  • The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (short list 2011)
  • The Vagrants by Yiyun Li (short list 2011)
  • Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates (short list 2011)
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz (short list 2009)
  • A Long Long Way, by Sebastian Barry (short list 2007)
  • Graceland, by Chris Abani (short list 2006)
  • Maps for Lost Lovers, by Nadeem Aslam (short list 2006)
  • The Known World, by Edward P. Jones (winner 2005)
  • The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen (short list 2003)
  • Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett (short list 2003)
  • True History of the Kelly Gang, by Peter Carey (short list 2002)
  • The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Marakumi (short list 1999)

November 2012The Giller Prize

  • Half-Blood Blues, by Esi  Edugyan (winner 2011)
  • Annabel, by Kathleen Winter (short list 2010)
  • The Disappeared, by Kim Echlin (short list 2009)
  • Through Black Spruce, by Joseph Boyden (winner 2008)
  • Late Nights on Air, by Elizabeth Hay (winner 2007)
  • Divisadero, by Michael Ondaatje (short list 2007)
  • The Assassin’s Song, by M.G. Vassanji (short list 2007)
  • The In-Between World of Vikram Lall, by M.G. Vassanji  (winner 2003)
  • The Way the Crow Flies, by Ann-Marie MacDonald (short list 2003)
  • Unless, by Carol Shields (short list 2002)
  • Mercy Among the Children, by David Adams Richards (winner 2000)
  • Anil’s Ghost, by Michael Ondaatje (winner 2000)
  • Fugitive Pieces, by Anne Michaels (short list 1996)

December 2012Governor General’s Literary Awards

  • Half-Blood Blues, by Esi Edugyan (short list 2011)
  • Annabel, by Kathleen Winter (short list 2010)
  • Vanishing and Other Stories, by Deborah Willis (short list 2009)
  • Divisadero, by Michael Ondaatje (winner 2007)
  • The Assassin’s Song, by M.G. Vassanji (short list 2007)
  • Unless, by Carol Shields (short list 2002)
  • Anil’s Ghost, by Michael Ondaatje (winner 2000)
  • Mercy Among The Children, by David Adams Richards (short list 2000)
  • The Stone Diaries, by Carol Shields (winner 1993)
  • Friend of my Youth, by Alice Monro (short list 1990)
Please follow and like the blue thistle


Skip to comment form

  1. I own many of these same books, so I suspect I’ll be referring back to this page as I’m choosing from my own stacks. Straight off, I’d like to read CAse Histories since I downloaded it on the cheap and it looks great!

  2. Great idea Wendy! And what great lists of books you have.

    You will have such a great time crossing off the books that are on more than one list – how good will that feel?
    You must read Unless near the top of your list. I read it last year at this time, and have started on a ‘must read all Carol Shields’ after that.

    And look at you going with the Canadian lists! We may have to make you an honourary Canuck. (note spelling of honourary)

    • Vasilly on December 12, 2011 at 15:13

    Your list is bringing a smile to my face! There are so many books on this list that I want to read and already own, so count me in!

  3. I looked over your entire list, for myself plus to tell you which ones I recommend. These really stuck with me:

    The Namesake ~ by Jhumpa Lahiri, 2003, fiction, 8/10

    Five Quarters of the Orange ~ by Joanne Harris, 9/10
    I can still remember the smell of the oranges, even from my pre-blogging days. “As a child Framboise deliberately torments her mother with the scent of the orange which brings on her migraines — food here is used as a weapon.”

    A Thousand Acres ~ by Jane Smiley, 9/10
    This is a re-telling of Shakespeare’s King Lear, but these three are daughters of a farmer.

    The House of Sand and Fog ~ by Andre Dubus III, 9/10
    How can things go so wrong, when nobody on either “side” intended it?

    The Lacuna ~ by Barbara Kingsolver, 2009, fiction, 8/10

    • Aths on December 12, 2011 at 18:06

    So many of those books are on my to read list too, but never get to! I should also try something like this. Good luck!

    • Laura on December 12, 2011 at 18:27

    You OWN all those books?! Oh my goodness. This personal challenge is a great idea! I’m really excited about your choices, you have some great reading ahead. I’ll be cheering you on, Wendy!

    • Amused on December 12, 2011 at 19:36

    Now that’s a list! I can’t wait to see what you think of these books. Good luck!

    • Jill on December 13, 2011 at 04:56

    Glad to see Orange January and July among your list! =) So glad you can participate. Enjoy your reading!

  4. Great lists! I’ve only read a few from them – Amateur Marriage by Ann Tyler is pretty good – I enjoyed it. Possession by A.S. Byatt is one that I really love, but I’ve heard of many others who don’t like it at all. I didn’t really like The Lovely Bones all that much, but many people rave about it. Beloved is, of course, fantastic.

    Good luck with your challenge. You’re in for a great reading year in 2012!

    • zibilee on December 13, 2011 at 06:37

    This is a great challenge, and I might go ahead and read a few books off your list, as I have a few here as well. I can’t wait to see how you progress over the months. It seems like this will be a rather exciting challenge for you!

    • Wendy on December 13, 2011 at 08:17

    Andi: There are SO many good books on these lists – it is hard to know how to choose!

    Elizabeth: I am looking forward to the Shields book – I have heard so many great things about it. LOL re: being an honorary Canuck – my Nana was a Canadian…so I guess I have it in my blood!!!

    Vasilly: Glad to see you’ll be joining me!

    Bonnie: All great recommendations – oh, how to pick, how to pick?

    Aths: Oh yes, join me in this venture…it will be fun!

    Laura: You see – I was not kidding when I said I would have enough books to last me 8 to 10 years! LOL. Yes, I own all of these and it is a mere drop in the bucket. I am either going to have to start reading faster, or quit my day job and stay home to read!

    Leah: LOL!

    Jill: I would not miss the Orange months! And you can see – that is where the majority of my TBR books exist.

    Julie: I really am looking forward to Possession after reading Byatt’s The Children’s Book last year.

    Heather: I am really looking forward to it – hope you WILL read some from my list so we can compare notes!

    • Kailana on December 14, 2011 at 09:36

    My reading tends to slow down near the end of the year, but should I be able to sustain it next year I think I might join in for November and December. Living in Canada that is where most of my TBR pile comes from!

    (PS Did you read Middlesex? Annabel so dulled in comparison for me that I couldn’t get into it…)

    • gavin on December 14, 2011 at 17:22

    This is a great idea, Wendy. I’m joining in for Orange January with Scottsboro and The Night Watch and will try and follow along with you for the other months. The books I don’t own I will get from my library (after the TBR Double Dare)!

  5. What a list! I love the idea of themed reading, and I’m thinking of how to best experiment with it in 2012. I’m also thinking of spending more time on backlist titles. I’ll be eager to see which books you choose first!

    • Wendy on December 17, 2011 at 08:58

    Kailana: Yes, I read Middlesex and loved it – I am looking forward to Annabel – I’ll be interested to see how it compares.

    Gavin: Yay – glad you’ll be joining me! SO many great books!!

    Carrie: It is hard to pick which books to read – they all look so good (which is why they are sitting on my shelf because I scooped them up – LOL)

  6. Wow…there are just soooo many great books here; I don’t see how you could possibly go wrong! I haven’t made any firm reading plans for next year yet, but I’ve been thinking about it for awhile now, and I know it’s just around the corner….that decision-making-ness!

    • Wendy on December 28, 2011 at 08:24

    Buried in Print: LOL – now you see why I HAD to develop a challenge for myself!!

Comments have been disabled.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)