The Compulsive Reader: I Support Shine

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Support Shine

You've probably seen this all over Twitter and the news, but Lauren Myracle was asked to withdraw from consideration for the National Book Award with her novel Shine because of a mistake on the part of the National Book Foundation.

Don't worry, you read that right.

When I heard, I was incredulous. Surely I was missing some piece of the story, because I couldn't believe that a respected organization would be so tactless. But, it's true.

Here's the Reader's Digest version: Shine and four other novels were announced as finalists, then two hours later, Chime by Franny Billingsly was announced as a sixth finalist. There have never been six finalists before. Then, it later came out that Shine was a mistake, and Chime was supposed to have been the fifth book.

(This is something to do with telephone-only communications on the part of the people picking the finalists and mishearing Chime for Shine. Whatever. I don't know hardly anything about how the NBF operates, but I pictured something a bit more upscale than a bunch of paranoid people whispering titles into the phone and not even bothering to confirm ISBN numbers, or even AUTHORS. Come on. The Cybils could teach ya'll a thing or two.)

So, now there is this really awkward situation. I can't even imagine how Lauren Myracle must have felt. But, whatever, mistakes happen and awkwardness is a part of life and we just DEAL with it.

You don't go making it even worse by demanding that innocent victims of your mistake fix it for you. Which is just what NBF oh so graciously decided to do when they asked Lauren to pull out to preserve the integrity of the award. Which, in my opinion, preserved nothing. It diminished integrity. But, Lauren Myracle is one classy lady, and she agreed...but not before she asked the NBF to make a hefty donation to a foundation that supports the causes she talks about in her books. I knew I liked her for more besides her writing!

What. A. Disaster.

My opinion on this is that everyone makes mistakes...the NBF made a big one. What they should have done was owned up to it immediately, apologized profusely, and then carried on, dealing with the ramifications. By asking an innocent author to fix it, and in such a tactless manner, disgusts me, and has hurt them more than just keeping Shine on as a finalist would have. I have a lot of respect for Lauren Myracle right now, and not a lot for the NBF.

What do you think about the situation? If you want to read a less sarcastic article about the issue, check out the NY Times coverage here. And if you want more snark and outrage and awesomeness, read Libba Bray's blog post about the debacle.


GABY said...

I can't believe they actually asked her to pull out....like it's her fault.

Beth S. said...

I'm not saying this to be cynical, but rather in support of Lauren Myracle, she is now classin' it up all the way to the bank. She probably knew that by withdrawing her nomination it would make her look like the good guy and the NBF peeps like bumbling idiots. And guess what? Now people are buying her book in droves. Not only was she classy, but she was smart.

I completely agree that the NBF did the exact opposite of restoring the integrity of the award. They made it a mockery.

Megan said...

How ludicrous to even think that asking her to withdraw would maintain the integrity of the award. After this debacle, it's safe to say if it's integrity they're aiming for, the NBF missed by a mile by *not* including a class act like Lauren Myracle.

Jessica Secret said...

This is the first time I've read the whole story about this, and I'm shocked disgusted by the award-people, and VERY impressed by Lauren Myracle. I wouldn't have withdrawn. But seriously, WTF NBF?

Alexis Ladig said...

Wow. Lauren Myracle deserves an award for having to deal with that mistake even though it wasn't her fault. Like the feeling she got when she knew her book hadn't made the cut wasn't enough?

the book bunny said...

They actually asked her to pull out? It wasn't her fault. I'm not sure that I could have withdrawn if I was her. I'm impressed with her. =]

Lissette Martinez said...

WHAT THE ....!!! OK! I know we make mistakes, but.. but!! OMG! I'm speechless.. I applaud her attitude, she's awesome! They shouldn't have asked her to do that..