The Late Movies: Book Trailers, This Year's Winners and Losers

Chris Higgins

The same week I enjoyed Ransom's beautiful book trailer, I heard about the Moby Awards -- which, in addition to recognizing great book trailers, points out awful book trailers. Below, I've collected some winners...and losers. I'll be curious to see whether Ransom gets a nod next year!

Worst Performance By An Author

Jonathan Franzen: "This might be a good place for me to register my profound discomfort at having to make videos like this, since, to me, the point of a novel is to take you to a still place." This trailer is nominally promoting Freedom: A Novel, but it's primarily Franzen decrying the medium he's using and clearly feeling uncomfortable while doing it. Awkward, smart, and clearly done to satisfy a contractual obligation. I think this is a win for Franzen.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Ron Charles of Washington Post Book World: "Of all the Lifetime Achievement Awards I've won in my lifetime, this is the most recent." Again, this is a fundamental criticism of the notion of book trailers and video reviews of books.

Best Big House

A funny LOST-style retro-futuristic look at Mary Roach's Packing for Mars. I strongly encourage you to read this book and enjoy this interview with Roach on The Sound of Young America. I basically want to be Mary Roach's best friend after hearing that interview and picking up the book. Hey Mary, call me!

Worst Big House

For Savages, by Don Winslow. I can only hope that this was a parody.

Best Small House

For Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer. Now here's a book trailer that takes you to Franzen's "still place."

Worst Small/No House

For Pirates: The Midnight Passage by James R. Hannibal. It's like The Room in crappy book trailer form!

Grand Jury/We're Giving You This Award Because Otherwise You'd Win Too Many Other Awards

For Gary Shteyngart's third novel, Super Sad True Love Story. Genuinely funny, probably funnier for authors and nerds than for everybody else. Wait for the Jeffrey Eugenides interview around 3:15.

The Rest

Check 'em out here. Includes the very NSFW "Most Monkey Sex" one.