Another Column at MyShelf.Com

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

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

I hope many MyShelf visitors have come to rely on my annual Noble (Not Nobel!) prize as a guide for good reading by literary authors who go unsung or are—in my estimation—under appreciated. When speaking about literature, we hear the words "human condition" a lot. I look for books that inspire or stretch readers a bit. I also like to look at books that dare to take on subjects many prefer to ignore. And, of course, because I'm a poet, I like to include books of poetry when I can. I also won't ignore nonfiction, though that genre must reach beyond helping readers in a practical way and beyond the purely "inspirational" category.

I hope you'll read books with my Noble (Not Nobel!) prize list in mind for 2014. And, of course, explore this year's choices, as a guideline for the kinds of things I select and for the sheer good reading they offer. My list appears every January in this Back to Literature column. And my columns are archived.

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 if they have questons. 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!

Authors, publishers, and readers are invited to send nominations along with the book you would like me to consider to:

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 2012 Noble List for Reading in 2013

To Christina Schwarz for All Is Vanity (Doubleday). The author takes some risks with this book. Nominated by my daughter-in-law Leigh Johnson, I fell in love with it in spite of the fact that it did not garner the attention of her bestselling Drowning Ruth. (ISBN 0385499728)

To Connie Gotsch for Belle's Star (Artemesia Publishing, LLC) , a book for grade schoolers to junior high, teaches youngsters lessons and love for animals with a style that stretches their understanding of what fiction can do. (ISBN: 9781932926019)

To CS DeWildt for Candy and Cigarettes (Vagabondage Press, LLC). DeWildt tackles a dark subject, treads where authors often fear to go. (ISBN: 9780983632924)

To Leora Skolkin-Smith for Hystera (Fiction Studio Books). Flavored with details about the ancient craft of bookbinding, this book, too, tackles the subject of insanity in todays world. Only a master craftsperson could bring it off so well. (ISBN: 9781936558186)

Winners feel free to capture a banner for your website!

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:

It's not too early to be thinking of the Valentine you might send to your literate and literary friends. Magdalena Ball, the guru behind, and I collaborated on Cherished Pulse, a chapbook of unsyrupy poetry—the kind you won't find on the racks at Rite Aid. Won't you explore the possibilities of sending it to friends and loved ones in paperback or as an e-book at .


2013 Past Columns

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