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What I Learned Reading an Awards Longlist for the

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Until recently, when I started spending more time on Bookstagram, it was unusual that I even knew

Literary awards, as far as I’m concerned, are fairly arbitrary

There’s an active community of readers on Bookstagram who read various awards longlists and shortlists every

I considered reading a few different longlists — the Booker Prize, the International Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller

I’m all for reading outside my comfort zone, and yes, I love a checklist, but gone

I considered reading a longlist-minus-one, but I’m a completist, and that doesn’t have the same

So I told myself that if I ever encountered an awards longlist that contained only books I

I hadn’t heard of most of the others, but, after looking them all up, I was

I was ready to discover more brilliance on par with All This Could Be Different and The

If I hadn’t committed to the project, I would have DNFed them

What’s more: I knew after about 30 pages that they weren’t going to do it for

Conversely, regarding those three books I loved: I loved them immediately

I read If I Survive You in a day because I didn’t want to put it

I’d already been excited about When We Were Sisters, but it exceeded all my expectations

Let me be clear: I am not criticizing any of the books on this longlist

There are people who didn’t love All This Could Be Different, and I don’t understand

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I went into the project with an open mind, ready to discover new books

And this, it turns out, is the biggest gift the project gave me

No: what I learned from this project is that it’s possible to do all of those

I was lying in bed, and it was past my bedtime, but I decided to read the

Then I just walked around my house in circles for a while, pondering, feeling, because wow is

I never would have read this book if not for the NBA longlist

I like short story collections, but I don’t gravitate toward them

I still think literary awards are arbitrary, and this experience only confirmed that belief for me

Picking up books by debut authors I’ve never heard of because they’re longlisted for an

Picking up books there’s a chance I’ll like even if the structure/theme/plot isn’