Mission accomplished. Despite traveling to Philadelphia and New York to work the World Series, I finished reading the five fiction finalists for the National Book Award before the Nov. 18 winners announcement.
Some years it comes down to the wire, and I end up burning the midnight oil to read every last word before my self-imposed deadline. But a couple of factors worked in my favor this time around. One, there were no tomes in this year's final five. The thickest book of the bunch was 349 pages. Two, I brought a souvenir back from the Series, a nasty head cold that refuses to give up the ship. As a result, I've had little else to do but read.
So what's the purpose, you ask? Well, I like to handicap the field and predict a winner. I'll post it in writing a day or two before next Wednesday's announcement. But mainly it's the snob element. When they say "And the winner is _________", I get to shrug and reply, "Read that one already" while everyone else is running out to buy it.
Cheap thrill, I know.