> Queer Books Please: Lammy award madness!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lammy award madness!

Next week the 25th annual Lambda Literary Awards will be announced! We've had the nominees for a month or two, and I've been thinking about doing my own take on some of the categories. The "Lammy" awards are awesome. They provide exposure to many worthy LGBT books in a wide range of categories from lesbian romance to general fiction to poetry to YA and children's books. I could probably spend an entire year reading nominated books.

That being said, sometimes awards--especially when it comes time to declare one winner among many nominees--can irk me somewhat, because it all seems so arbitrary. Do you choose the book that's the most innovative, or the one that affected you personally, or the one that had the strongest plotting? According to the LLA website: Lambda Literary Awards are based principally on literary merit and on significant content relevant to Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) lives. Okay, but how much content is significant, and what is literary merit, and, well, it's complicated, and subjective!

So of course I decided, hey, I want a piece of the complicated subjective action! It started out as nothing more than a few crazy scribbles... but after some careful calculations. 

Behold! QBP presents: LAMMY AWARD MADNESS.

That's right. I'm breaking down the YA / Children's lit category, sport tournament style.  First, seeding, through a complicated (and subjective!) forumla. Then I go through the bracket,  match up by match up, through three rounds, until I crown a winner!

First let's talk about seeding. The final ranking of each book was calculated with two numbers.  The first being the book's Goodreads rating. The second a number determined by me using five different factors. Author Prestige, How Much Gay, Important Messages, Originality/Innovation, and the Mary Prerogative. Keep in mind that I wanted this number to be predictive rather than an indication of how much I personally liked it.

I added those two numbers together to get the final ranking/seeding for the bracket. Here's what I got. The first number is the Goodreads rating, the second is the total for my formula, the third the total.

1. PERSONAL EFFECTS by E. M. Kokie (4.06, 4.0) 8.06
2. THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST by emily m. danforth (3.98, 3.65) 7.63
3. ASK THE PASSENGERS by A. S. King (3.99, 3.6) 7.59
5. BEAUTIFUL MUSIC FOR UGLY CHILDREN by Kiristin Cronn-Mills (3.87, 3.3) 7.17
6. EVERY DAY by David Levithan  (4.01, 3.0) 7.01
7. ADAPTATION by Malinda Lo (3.56, 3.3) 6.86
8. SILHOUETTE OF A SPARROW by Molly Beth Griffin (3.7, 3.1) 6.8
9. KISS THE MORNING STAR by Elissa Janine Hoole (3.67, 2.35) 6.02

Okay, a couple things about these numbers.

First, an apology. THE ADVENTURES OF TULIP, BIRTHDAY WISH FAIRY by S Bear Bergman and Suzy Malik is not on the list. I haven't been able to locate a copy yet so I wasn't able to assess it. It's also really the only book on here for younger readers, and I wasn't sure if if it would make for a fun matchup in this format. BUT in atonement I am trying to get a hold of a copy so I can review it for the podcast. 

Second, when you're seeding for a tournament, the idea is to give the best competitors a good chance to get to the end, so that means I wanted to match up books that had a stronger case to be the winner of this award with books that might be seen as underdogs. PERSONAL EFFECTS pulled off a surprised #1 seed on the strength of a high Goodreads rating, a topical, important message, and the fact that it's a strong work from a debut author (new authors often generate excitement!) ADAPTATION may be my favorite read on this listen, but it's Goodreads rating was not as high (what the heck, people, ADAPTATION rocks!) and because it was mostly an adventure thriller it didn't get high marks for message-yness.

Third, notice that there's an odd number of books on this list. How's that going to work? Well, the first matchup is going to be a "play in" matchup. SILHOUETTE OF A SPARROW and KISS THE MORNING STAR will go head to head for a chance to get into the bracket against PERSONAL EFFECTS.

Okay, enough blabbering. BRACKET TIME.

 Aww yeah just look at those match ups. And here's when all the matchups will go up.

WEDNESDAY:  The "play in" round.  MISEDUCATION (2) versus ADAPTATION (7).  ASK THE PASSENGERS (3) versus EVER DAY (6). 

THURSDAY: PERSONAL EFFECTS (1) versus the winner of the "play in" round. ARISTOTLE AND DANTE  (4) versus BEAUTIFUL MUSIC.

FRIDAY/SATURDAY:  The final two rounds I'll "broadcast" on the podcast. And I'll provide write ups by the end of the weekend for those of you who rather read than listen.

Folks, this is going to be fun. Stay tuned over the next couple days!

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