Which of the authors you’ve read this year didn’t use their delete keys enough?
One-Minute Book Reviews will announce the finalists for the 2008 Delete Key Awards for the year’s worst writing in books on February 29, 2008. So it’s not too early to nominate your candidates for these prizes, given to authors who don’t use their delete keys enough.
The Delete Key Awards recognize the worst lines or passages in hardcover or paperback books published in the United States. The grand prize winner and runners-up will be named on March 15, the date of Julius Caesar’s assassination, because all the finalists assassinate the English language with weapons such as clichés, jargon, bad grammar, dumbing down or pomposity.
All books that contain bad writing are eligible for the awards, except for those in the categories listed at the end of this post. But the prizes are intended especially for established authors who have been overpraised or granted unmerited immunity by critics. The 2007 winners were: grand prize, Danielle Steel’s Toxic Bachelors; first runner-up, Mitch Albom’s For One More Day; and second runner-up, Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children.
To inspire your nominations, here’s a complete list of last year’s finalists. You can read their offending passages by clicking on the “Delete Key Awards” tag at the top of this post or going to the “Delete Key Awards” category at right.
Finalists for the 2007 Delete Key Awards:
For One More Day by Mitch Albom
The Handmaid and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg
Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris
The Book Club Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to the Reading Group Experience by Diana Loevy
Love Smart: Find the One You Want — Fix the One You Got by Dr. Phil McGraw
The Confession by James McGreevey with David France
The Interruption of Everything by Terry McMillan
The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud
Toxic Bachelors by Danielle Steel
The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World With Kindness by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval
Janice Harayda is the sole judge of the Delete Key Awards but enthusastically considers suggestions from visitors to One-Minute Book Reviews. She is a novelist and award-winning journalist who has been the book columnist for Glamour, the book editor of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland and vice-president for awards of the National Book Critics Circle.
Jan does not accept free books from publishers and excludes from consideration for the Delete Key Awards any books that would present a conflict of interest or the appearance of such a conflict. The ineligible books include those published by her current publisher, represented by her literary agent, or written by her friends or enemies. Unfortunately, the publishing axiom is right: You don’t know who your enemies are until you review their books. Or give them a Delete Key Award.
(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.