Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

You Say Reader’s Choice, I Say Independent Literary Awards

Wallace Yovetich

Staff Writer

Wallace Yovetich grew up in a home where reading was preferred to TV, playing outside was actually fun, and she was thrilled when her older brothers weren’t home so she could have a turn on the Atari. Now-a-days she watches a bit more TV, and considers sitting on the porch swing (with her laptop) “playing outside”. She still thinks reading is preferable to most things, though she’d really like to find out where her mom put that old Atari (Frogger addicts die hard). She runs a series of Read-a-Longs throughout the year (as well as posting fun bookish tidbits throughout the week) on her blog, Unputdownables. After teaching for seven years, Wallace is now an aspiring writer. Blog: Unputdownables Twitter: @WallaceYovetich

Have you ever seen the winners list of certain book awards and wondered how in the world some of those titles wormed their way onto it? I have, and I’m not the only one. Time and time again I hear readers complaining about books that were given prestigious awards only to be very UN-loved by actual readers.

What if I told you that last year, that changed? There are now awards that allow readers to be in charge of which books are considered to be the best of the year. And once those readers give their two cents (or five, or fifteen), book bloggers read the short lists and then vote on their very favorites! These awards are called the Independent Literary Awards (independent because they are in no way affiliated with any organization, publisher, store, etc.), aka the Indie Lit Awards.

Last year, there was an overwhelming welcome from authors who were shortlisted (see the 2010 winners and their interviews here), and each one wrote to me saying how much it meant to them that readers and book bloggers were considering their books as some of the best of the year (and some of these people went on to win very important literary awards).

I’m inviting you to be part of this. If you are a reader (which you obviously are if you are reading articles on this website), I call on you to nominate your favorites that were published this year, 2011. Let’s give some recognition to those authors and books that we, the readers, actually loved and raved about.

This year the awards have expanded and now include seven genres: Biography/Memoir, GLBTQ, Fiction, Mystery, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Speculative Fiction.

A reader may nominate up to five titles within each genre (i.e. five titles in Fiction, five titles in Poetry, etc.). You may not be affiliated in anyway with the making of the book to nominate it (that does not include selling the book, it means no authors, publishers, publicists, etc.).

So, what’s stopping you? Go start nominating now!

(Nominations are open until December 31st. For more information about the awards, please visit the awards website.)