Book Awards: Where Readers and Writers Connect to Thrive


Goodreads Choice Awards 2022 (Courtesy Goodreads)

By Whit Fuller, Arts Writer


Awards season is in full swing with the Oscars concluding earlier in March, but there are literary counterparts to these star-studded accolades to be considered.

Book Awards

It’s likely that red carpets, the best dressed and a host of speeches are what come to mind when thinking of awards season. But not every awards show is as concerned with glitz and glamor as it is with fantasy, imagination and a sweeping collection of pages that take readers to worlds far beyond their own.  There are two heavy hitters when it comes to book awards season — the Goodreads Choice Awards and the Barnes & Noble Book Awards.

The Barnes & Noble Book Awards have been around for nearly 30 years, with a Young Adult and Children’s book of the year category being added in 2019. The awards are chosen by Barnes & Noble booksellers for a variety of categories including fiction, speculative fiction, romance, fantasy, memoir and more. This year’s big winners were Bonnie Garmus’ “Lessons in Chemistry” for fiction, R.F. Kuang’s “Babel: Or, The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History” for speculative fiction and Jennette McCurdy’s “I’m Glad My Mom Died” for memoir. These expansive awards are largely driven by the company’s employees based on a selection of the staff’s favorite releases of the year.

Looking for something a little more reader-focused? Look no further than the Goodreads Choice Awards. These annual awards are chosen by readers via the reading platform’s questionnaire. It features categories such as fiction, fantasy, science fiction, nonfiction and mystery/thriller, among others. Awards are announced in December and offer a chance for authors to shine in the eyes of readers instead of competing for accolades or stars from literary critics. Best of all, they bring new books to readers and provide an opportunity to revitalize the ever-changing dynamics of the publishing and literary industries. These awards draw buzz on social media, in stores and bring awareness to books that might otherwise be unsung heroes of the shelf.

To Book or Not to Book? 

With all the types of media vying for viewers’ and audiences’ attention — television, music, theater, art and of course, books — it makes sense to bestow awards to the artists and creatives who make these entertaining art forms available to enjoy. Not only do awards help promote creators or their art, but they add buzz to creative industries that can be the difference between a difficult pursuit of art and a flourishing career in a creative scene on both local and national scales. 

Books like Goodreads’ Best Middle Grade and Children’s book, “I Am Quiet: A Story for the Introvert in All of Us” written by Andie Powers and illustrated by Betsy Petersen, get a chance to be discovered. The book follows a boy named Emile and his imagination.

“Shy people may be quiet, but quiet people are not necessarily shy,” reads the book’s tagline. Whether something wins an award or not, it is arguably a life-changing piece of art for someone — like the books that we read and loved as children or those that bring us together for discussion. 

The award is a formality at the heart of which are the readers who vouch for incredible books.


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