Tuesday, September 1, 2009

You owe it to yourself #3: Award Winners

All my life I've watched movies - tons of them. So when I got a job at a video store at the age of 20 I got to watch eight hours of them a night, five nights a week, for almost a year.If you asked my twenty-year-old self if I was a movie buff, the answer would definitely have been yes. But unfortunately, I had a secret shame; even though I had seen hundreds of movies, there were some large gaps in my repertoire.

I had never seen Rocky - Rocky II, III, IV, yes, but never the original.

I had never seen Cassablanca.

And yes, to my incredible shame as a young man in Canada, I had never seen Porky's (which by the way was the top grossing Canadian film from 1982 to 2006). For those of you in the States, this is like saying I had never seen Revenge of the Nerds, which as we all know, for a guy who grew up in the '80s, is entirely unacceptable.

So one day I went online and found a list of all the movies that had ever won a Best Picture Oscar, and over the course of 2 years, watched them all. (It actually was my wife who ensured that I watched Porky's - thanks Hon). And you know what - in addition to seeing a lot of really great movies, I started getting a LOT more of the jokes in episodes of The Simpsons.

Inspired by my success, I then decided to try the same thing with my reading, and found genre books have awards too!

For Fantasy books - The World Fantasy Awards (since 1975)

For Horror - The Bram Stoker Awards (since 1987)

For Science Fiction - The Hugo Awards (since 1955)

Although I'm completely up-to-date with the Bram Stoker awards, I'm still working my way through the Hugo's and the World Fantasy's, and let me tell you this - these books let you check out the classics, the innovative, and the current best books in these three genres. And for those of you who aren't into any of these, there are awards for westerns, romances, and even literature out there as well, just waiting for you to check them out.

If you visit these award websites you are going to find one of three things. 1) You've already read all the winners, and deserve to treat yourself to some cake! 2) You've read a bunch of the winners and now have a list of other books to check out, or 3) You've read none of these books, and believe me, an awards list is a great place to start.

Take the time to read the award winners, even if they are just a popularity contest, you owe it to yourself to be familiar with the big books in the genres you love.

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