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Back To Literature, Past
A Literary & Poetry Column
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Carolyn’s Annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize For Literature

I think we should read great books. Yeah. Hardcovers. Paperbacks. New ones. Used ones. E-books. But I especially think we should read Classics. Not necessarily all the time but often enough to inspire us to stretch just a bit in terms of developing our literary taste. To learn something from a theme or sample a voice we haven’t tried. Or even to develop a turn of phrase, a metaphor, or a simile we can use in our writing or in our speech. O to better our lives—our perspectives—in some other way.

I hope you'll use my Noble (Not Nobel!) prize list for reading suggestions. It appears every January in this column. And my columns are archived. The Noble is awarded for literary excellence in use of the English language and for themes or premises that might help readers recognize and curtail bigotry or explore the human condition in other important ways.

The contest is free except for the cost of the book. Authors or readers who would like to nominate a book may reach me at for instructions on where to mail it. I'm also happy to let you know in advance if a particular book fits my parameters, just in case there are doubts. Because we don't want to waste even one good book. On the other hand, I don't want to miss seeing one I might give an award to!

I also want to thank Leigh Johnson, my daughter-in-law and an avid reader of new great literature. I am pleased to receive nominations from other readers, too, but they must be willing to send me a book or to contact the publisher or author and ask them to send one.

The address is:
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
PO Box 1101
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91012-1101

Please include a short pitch, logline, or blurb about why your nomination fits the parameters for this prize. And an e-mail address—preferably two of them. One for the nominator and one for the nominee. And yes, authors may nominate their own books.

Carolyn’s 2011 Noble List
for Reading in 2012

To Joan Gelfand for her chapbook of three short stories, Here and Abroad, published by Cervená Barva Press, Somerville, Massachusetts. Gelfand’s stories are rich, thought-provoking studies of life-changing events and how they are affected by memory—and the memories affected by settings. ISBN: 9780983104100 $7.00.

To Chris Meeks for Love at Absolute Zero (White Whisker Books, Los Angeles). The tension between science and emotion has never been more keenly felt. ISBN: 9780983632917.
To David Scott Milton for Iron City (White Whisker Books, Los Angeles). George V. Higgins says “it’s about the human condition, and it’s beautiful.” ISBN: 9780983632924.
To Walter M. Brasch for Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution. (Greeley & Stone, Publishers). A lovely story about social activism and hope. ISBN: 978-0-942991-19-2
To PEN award-winning author Fred Reiss for Blind Guys Break 80, Santa Cruz’n Press
ISBN: 9780962386947 Nominated by Kim McMillon.
To Christine Candland for Topaz Woman, iUniverse. What this novel lacks in poetry, it makes up for with the inexorable determination of a young woman to follow her dreams in the face of societal pressures. ISBN: 9780595405336.
To Andrew P. Logan, Sr. for his Plugging into Real Worship, Xulon Press. Nonfiction inspiration for tapping into the power of love and prayer. ISBN: 978162660113. Also available in Spanish as Conectándose a la adoración verdadera.


Tips and Tidbits

(Each month in this box, Carolyn lists a Tidbit that will help authors write or promote better. She will also include a Tip to help readers find a treasure among long-neglected books or a sapphire among the newly-published.)

A Tip for Writers: :

Writers of all patterns and stripes will enjoy the quick tips and questions and answers format of my blog, The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor Guidelines for submitting questions are in the left column of the blog. It is inspired by The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success which won USA Book News Best Book 2007 Award, Reader Views Literary Award and was a finalist in the New Generations Indie Award. It is also available for Kindle,

A Tip for Readers' Tip:

A poetry chapbook that I coauthored with Magdalena Ball was a popular Christmas gift for many. Those who missed someone special on their list and would still like to remember them might find the $6.95 price tag of Blooming Red: Christmas Poems for the Rational just right. It is part of our award-winning Celebration Series of chapbooks.

2012 Past Columns


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