My Favorite Award-Winners From 2011

When the Quirky Girls blog was first created I knew  right away I would concentrate on reading books that won awards. I’ve always shied away from them, telling myself they were too literary and, thus, too hard.

But, reading a couple of award winners every month has been both a challenge and a delightful adventure. I eased myself into it by reading some amazing Children’s literature. I thought Young Adult (YA) literature might be easy too, so I set out to read a few of them.

I discovered that YA is not necessarily easy. I found them demanding – in a good way.  They made me stretch my biases and opinions.

All the award-winners, YA and Adult, made me think and feel. I’ve learned that books that win awards do so because they are filled with subject matter that is interesting and sometimes controversial. Each one of the winners I read this year made for spirited discussion. They also made me laugh or cry or feel empathetic. For me, that’s my favorite test of a good book. I prefer to feel the connection with the characters.

Out of the eighteen books I read and reviewed on this blog since February, I picked my Top Five Favorite Books. I wanted to highlight them and recommend them to you. You can’t go wrond with any of them.

Here they are in alphabetical order. (Click on the title to read my complete review.)

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Three Junes by Julia Glass

Tinkers by Paul Harding

Looking back at all the books I read last year was comforting. It has also made me excited about reading more award winners in 2012. If Olive Kitteridge and Tinkers are examples of the Pulitzer Prize and Three Junes is an example of the National Book Awards, I’m eager to read more. By the way, did you know there are several books that have won both of those big awards? I plan to read at least one in 2012. I’m also going to cross the Atlantic Ocean and read some British award winners. I hope you’ll join me.


About Margot

I'm also known as Joyfully Retired. I love to talk. I love to talk about books I've read, movies I've seen, places I've traveled to, people (especially my children and grandchildren), and Food. On the Quirky Girls Read blog I'm trying to read all the books that have won the major awards and then, of course, talk about them.
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16 Responses to My Favorite Award-Winners From 2011

  1. Kaye says:

    Okay, I found you by clicking on your sidebar. Glad to see your loved Olive Kittredge.

    • Margot says:

      I did love Olive Kitteridge – the book. I was slow loving the character. She’s a complex person and, seeing her first through her husband’s eyes, made me hesitant about her. She redeemed herself by the mid-point of the book.

      Thanks, Kaye, for tipping me off to my defective button. It’s fixed now.

  2. BermudaOnion says:

    I have three of those books but haven’t read any of them. These best of lists are making my reading list grow longer and longer.

    • Margot says:

      I know what you mean by the growing list. This is the time of the year when I wish I had servants who would do everything for me. Then I could do nothing but read all those lovely books everyone is recommending. I try but at some point reality clicks in and I realize we need to eat and wear clean clothes. I still cling to the dream however.

  3. It’s such a great idea to have a focus on award-winning books. I want to do more of that!

    • Margot says:

      Looking back, I’m glad I made that decision. It’s taught me a lot. I’d love to see the award winners on Rhapsody In Books, although I’ve learned of many from you. I’ll always be grateful to you for A Northern Light. Ship Breakers is another one of your recommendations, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few others.

  4. kaye says:

    I’m not signing up for reading challenges this year but I do have a few self-challenges. One of them is to read 4 from your awards list. I’m bookmarking this post and I’ll read your 5 favorites. Thanks for a great year.

  5. Margot says:

    Wow, Kaye, you blew me away with your comment. I’m so glad we are going to share the experience of these books. I look forward to what you think.

  6. JoAnn says:

    Your post reminded me that I’ve been meaning to give Tinkers another try. The writing was beautiful, but the timing was all wrong when I first picked it up. Olive Kitteridge is a favorite and I really enjoyed Three Junes, too.

  7. Ti says:

    I loved Tinkers… this version of the cover is so much prettier than the copy I own. I saw Paul Harding right after he had won the Pulitzer and he was really funny and very humble over his win.

    • Margot says:

      Hi Ti. I’m so glad to hear you also loved Tinkers. Not everyone agrees, but the way the author’s mind was at work in this novel was amazing. I’m envious of getting to meet him, and glad to hear he was humble.

  8. harvee says:

    I have heard of Tinkers as a good book. It should be on my reading list!

  9. I haven’t read any from your list (yet) – but I have Olive Kitteridge to read this month for my book club. And I plan to read a bunch more – that’s why I’m hosting the “reading the 2011 award winners challenge.” Check it out 🙂

  10. Heather says:

    A Northern Light! Yes! I loved it! I read that in two days last month. One of my favorites all-time now. Also picked up Olive Kitteridge a bit ago and have heard good things. I’ll move that one up on my read-my-own books pile!

  11. Louise says:

    Margot, yours is the second post loving Olive Kitteridge that I’ve read today. It’s definitely on the TBR now!

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