Bono is still the undisputed savior of the Earth, Paul is not dead and Kanye rolled out yet another performance of ‘Golddigger’ … that must mean the Grammys are over. But before we put away our red carpets and martini glasses, there are still plenty of book awards flying around and coming up. Take ol’ Zadie Smith, for instance. Her On Beauty recently picked up another accolade. If that weren’t enough, the 2006 Caldecott and Newberry Medals have been awarded. Those are all nice and respectable awards of course, but one particular set of awards I find to be especially nice are the Minnesota Book Awards. Ok, so they don’t have a State Poet Laureate — but they still find time to honor and encourage their many fine local authors. Out of 250 nominees, a total of 57 finalists are up for awards in 13 categories in the 18th Annual Minnesota Book Awards. One title I’m very curious about is the poetry collection Real Karaoke People by Ed-Bok Lee, published by New Rivers Press. Not only does it have just a great title, it looks to be a fascinating and fresh collection of verse. Take a look at some of the other finalists listed and you may just discover a new must-read. Better yet, check around and see if your state or city hosts literary awards and get involved. The Minnesota Book Award winners will be announced on April 29, 2006.