The first rule of being an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award judge is: you’re not supposed to talk about being an ABNA judge. The second rule…
So, I’m a week removed from finishing my five assigned manuscripts and sending in my five reviews to PW – I still can’t share anything about what I’ve read or what the process entailed, but I can direct anyone who’s interested to Amazon’s ABNA site, where all 500 quarterfinalists in the competition have excerpts available to read online. Fascinating, overwhelming, and rather enlightening, I found.
Since finishing the…wonderful books I was assigned to review, I have been reading (ie: resetting my brain) the forthcoming book from The Shadow of the Wind author, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Angel’s Game. As enticement, since it is a fantastic book so far, here’s the first paragraph, as it is fairly relevant:
“A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood, and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets the most: his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that will surely outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price.”
And just to prove that I certainly have not lost any of my well-known cynicism or bitterness in my weeks away from this blog – in fact, I feel that my cynicism is all the more stronger after reading those manuscripts – I want everyone to know that I am fully aware that Marley the dog (Marley & Me) rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. What better way to acknowledge the fact that millions of us have lost the majority of our meager savings during the last seven months than by having a dog – no, sorry, a fucking dog – ring in the close of trading on the stock exchange floor?
“Bong! I’m the world’s richest dog! Now buy my DVD, assholes!”