Sunday, December 8, 2013

2013 Goodreads Choice Awards

So it happened again. The 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards were announced this past week, and once again I haven't read most of the books that were nominated. Worse, I haven't read a single one of the winners. Sadly, it wasn't an unusual experience. I've been a member of Goodreads for a few years now, and since I joined I've voted on a few of the categories every year. My book choices have never been in contention. They usually don't even make the final round.

I suppose it's not the end of the world. I mean, if I'm being honest, the books I read usually aren't eligible to win the awards anyway. I'm so far behind on my to-read list that, most of the time, I don't read books until they've been out for a couple of years already. Books that qualified to win in 2013 had to have been published since late November of 2012, so you can see my dilemma. Most of the time, I don't know if my favorite reads from the past year were published in the past year. I don't expend much energy examining copyright dates. I certainly don't remember that information after I've finished reading.

In essence, my reading habits make me a lousy judge of the best books from a given year. Not that I'm discounting my opinion or advocating for the value of "highly-qualified" judges, but simply reading a lot doesn't turn someone into the ideal candidate to adjudicate which book deserves an award. If you've read my other posts on book awards, you already know I'm not a huge fan of the award concept to begin with. This is just for fun though, and a lot of people shared their opinion, so I'm willing to give the finalists and winning books a bit of respect. When I haven't read any of the books from my favorite categories though, it seems dishonest to state that I hold the honored books in high regard.

However, this year I've concocted a plan to do the Goodreads honorees some retroactive justice. It won't mean that my voting will be any better in the year to come, but it will mean I gave the books from this year's list a chance to impress me. I've decided to read all the finalist books from the picture book category and the winner and first runner up from the middle grade category in the coming months. I'm not going to create a timeline on when I'll finish, because all that invites is stress and disaster, but I plan to read House of Hades by Rick Riordan, Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, and twenty picture books that I'm not going to bother listing here. I mean no disrespect to the picture book category, but twenty books is a lot for me to write and a lot for my few readers to read. I will say congratulations to picture book category winners Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffries for The Day the Crayons Quit. My father tells me that your book is wonderful, and I can't wait to read it as soon as I can nab his copy when he's not looking.

Picture book category winner
Well, I have a lot of reading ahead, but I'm up for it. I'll keep voting for the Goodreads Choice Awards in the years to come and if you've never heard of them, I encourage you to give them a look. Your opinion is as valuable as mine. If you find that you don't recognize any of the titles, don't be discouraged. You could always do what I'm doing. The way I see it, if I can't control the direction the ship is taking, at least I can analyze the resulting wreckage. There's my analogy for this issue. If you don't like it, feel free to substitute in something that you do like, and throw it in the comment section down below. Happy reading and enjoy your December everybody.

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