It's back. The opening round of the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards has begun. This is the only book award decided on purely by the votes of readers. With 20 categories, and each filled with 15 books to choose from, plus the option to write in your own personal choice, readers may end up having to make some tough decisions. So let's see which books made it that have appeared, or will appear, in this blog.
I have read two books from the Best Fiction category, and of course there are at least three more that have been nominated that I would like to read, but I'll deal with that on my own time. Both Rainbow Rowell's Landline, and Haruki Murakami's Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (blog post coming up later this month) have been nominated, and of the two, I have to go with Rowell's Landline. I have read multiple books by both of these writers before, and while I adore them both, Rowell just comes out as my top choice.
There is only one book from the Best Historical Fiction category that I was able to pick up, but it was a good one. Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention of Wings tells the story of Sarah Grimke and her slave, Handful. It's one of those books that you read knowing that awards are just going to be thrown at it because it is so good and well done. It faces some stiff competition from the incredibly popular All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, but I think it can hold its own.
For the second year in a row I have nothing for Best Science Fiction. Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter's The Long Mars did not make the cut apparently, so I think I'll actually try to write it in. The Long War managed to make it into the second round of last year's voting, but failed to make the final cut.
And just for fun, since I don't have anything for Best Horror, I'm going to write in The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero. I don't even know if it really qualifies as horror, but I am going for it anyway.
It looks to me that the Best Humor category is going to be a tough call. Christopher Moore's The Serpent of Venice has been nominated, but so has Amy Poehler's recent publication, Yes Please (blog post coming at the end of this week). Both books are incredibly funny, and they will each have to contend with other popular nominees such as One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak, and Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris. After some consideration, I think I will go with Poehler's Yes Please. If you haven't had a chance to pick it up yet, I highly recommend it.
Looks like I'll be doing another write-in vote, but this time for the Best Nonfiction category. I honestly thought that This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl was going to make this category for sure, especially since it is about the girl whom John Green based the character of Hazel from his The Fault in Our Stars.
But it turns out that Esther's story did make it into the Best Memoir & Autobiography Category, so I will certainly be voting for it there too.
I've only read one of the 15 books nominated for Best Young Adult Fiction, but fortunately I enjoyed it immensely. E. Lockhart's We Were Liars has been nominated alongside two other books I hope to read in the near future, The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira. The young adult category is always a fun one for me, and this year will prove no different.
For the first time in the three years I have been doing this, I have actually read and covered a book from the Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction category. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton is exactly as its title suggests, strange and beautiful. And it is the kind of fantasy novel I enjoy because it is just accessible enough in its weirdness for me to read it without feeling lost.
So there you have it. The first round of voting is open today through this Saturday, November 8th, and the semifinal round will begin on Monday, November 10th. The semifinal round will be when readers can see is their write-ins made the cut while getting a chance to vote again for their favorites to move on to the final round. You can vote here, and possibly get ideas for other books you would like to read in the future (The Bone Clocks, I am looking in your direction).