The 2011 Book Polygamist Awards!

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to the 1st Annual Book Polygamist Awards! (insert applause and cheering here)

Every year I look back at the books I have read and assign awards to those that have stood out in some way. Before now that acknowledgement has been for my eyes only in my treasured reading journals so I am happy to make them public for the first time!

The awards will be in two parts: the Annual Awards which are ones that I have given to books every year and will likely continue to do so; and the Special Awards which are awards that I have created especially for this years contenders.

I hope you enjoy 🙂

Annual Awards

Shortest Read:

The Bro Code by Barney Stinson with Matt Kuhn, at around an hour

Honorable Mentions:

Coraline by Neil Gaiman, at 1 day

Eddie Dickens Trilogy (Awful End; Dreadful Acts and Terrible Times) at 2 days for all three.

Longest Read:

Monster Blood Tattoo Book Two: Lamplighter by D M Cornish, at 27 weeks and 3 days! O.o

Honorable Mentions:

Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker, at 25 weeks, 3 days!

The Books of Blood: vol 1-3 by Clive Barker at 30 weeks and counting!!

Most Books Read by a Single Author:

 

4 by Kerry Greenwood (Urn Burial; Heavenly Pleasures; Devil’s Food; Trick or Treat)

Honorable Mentions:

3 by Charlaine Harris (Definitely Dead; All Together Dead; From Dead to Worse)

3 by Philip Ardagh (Awful End; Dreadful Acts;Terrible Times)

Best “New” Author Award:

Every year I make a list of authors I have discovered and who I want to read more of, so this year I thought I’d give an award to the author that I was the most impressed with and have since researched several other books of theirs that I’m interested in as well as a few other authors that get honorable mentions.

William Gay (Twilight)

Honorable Mentions:

Marianne de Pierres (Nylon Angel – Book 1 Parrish Plessis series)

Andrew Nicoll (The Good Mayor)

Kathryn Lasky (Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Capture)

Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)

Catherine Webb (The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle)

Special Awards

The Best End to a Series Award:

Destiny (Trinity trilogy) by Fiona McIntosh

Honorable Mention:

The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials) by Philip Pullman

The Best Start to a Series Award:

The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle (Horatio Lyle series) by Catherine Webb

Honorable Mention:

The Capture (Guardians of Ga’Hoole series) by Kathryn Lasky

The Longest and Strangest Title Award:

The Travelling Death and Resurrection Show by Ariel Gore

Honorable Mention:

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

The “Graphic Novels are a Legitimate Genre” Award:

This is the first year I have read Graphic Novels and actually treated them like real books (i.e. included them in my book journal; wrote reviews etc.) so I thought the two fabulous Graphic Novels deserve their very own award 🙂

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons AND V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

The Short but Sweet Award:

This year has included a few short-story anthologies, a format I don’t generally read a lot so I have chosen the best short-story collection as well as the best individual stories.

Zombie: an Anthology of the Undead by Various

Best stories: Family Business by Jonathan Maberry; The Zombie Who Fell from the Sky by M. B. Homler; The Storm Door by Tad Williams; Second Wind by Mike Carey; Weaponized by David Wellington.

The BRAAIINNS! Award:

This year stood out as the year I started to love zombie stories! It wasn’t the first time I read anything with zombies (in 2010 I read Nekropolis by Tim Waggoner which is about a zombie detective; the first Anita Blake book by Laurell K Hamilton, Guilty Pleasures, which involves zombie raising, and right before the dawn of 2011 I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan which is set in a zombie-apocalyptic world) but after Zombie: an Anthology of the Undead  I was hooked so the BRAAIINNS Award goes to:

Zombie: an Anthology of the Undead by Various

with an honorable mention to Alice in Zombieland by Lewis Carrol and Nickolas Cook 😛

The Revisited Award:

This is a new award I came up with, given to a book I re-read and still loved in 2011:

Mister God, This is Anna by Fynn

The About Time! Award:

This award goes to a book that I had been meaning to read for a long time:

Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker

Honorable Mention:

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

The Best Cover Art Award:

The Secrets of the Chess Machine by Robert Löhr

Honorable Mentions:

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

The Good Mayor by Andrew Nicoll

The Misleading Cover Award:

Yearn: Tales of Lust and Longing by Tobsha Learner

(to find out why this cover is misleading see my review)

The “They’ve Still Got It!” Award:

This is another new one that I created purely to highlight two of my favourite authors whose newest releases I read this year and loved just as much (if not more) than previous favourites:

Joanne Harris for Blueeyedboy AND Tracy Chevalier for Remarkable Creatures

2011 has been a fabulous year for me, not just for reading but in many aspects of my life, and I hope for even more great reads and wonderful events now that its 2012!

I hope you all also read some novels in 2011 that deserve awards and you have an amazing 2012 🙂

Advertisements

Top 10 Books I’ve Read That No One Seems to Have Heard of

Hiya Bookbaggers and welcome to the second Top 10 theme voted by you!
I agonised over this list because I have read some strange titles in my time, but I wanted to include the ones that people are least likely to have heard of and/or read so that I can offer something new and unusual to my readers out there 🙂

You get a point for each book you’ve heard of (outside of this blog of course!) and two points for every book you’ve read so feel free to share your score in the comments or tell me bout your own bizarre reads that none of your friends have heard of!

1. Dim by Carolin Window

This book was a random find, most likely from an op-shop, book sale or a hand-me-down from my mum who often is involved with clothes swap parties and the like. I received it and read it when I was about 11 or 12 (which in hindsight was way too young an age to read a book that contains very adult themes such as sexual and physical abuse) and since then I have not found a single person who has heard of the book or the author. About 10 years ago Dim disappeared from my possession, possibly when a friend of the family borrowed it for holiday-in-Italy-reading (‘tho she claims she never borrowed it) and so for a while I wondered whether I had just dreamt the whole thing up, especially because It was such a bizarre book. So, understandably this was the first book that sprung to mind when I first thought of this theme. While researching for this post I did find a vague Dim fingerprint on the ‘net, so I knew I had not been a crazy tween (especially because that buzz word did not exist when a was a pre-teen in the late 90’s) who imagined a disturbing book out of thin air, ‘tho it was hard to research when I couldn’t remember the author’s name and I no longer have a copy to consult. Dim‘s entries in GoodReads, LibraryThing and Shelfari are sparse at best, with a maximum of 4 people vouching for its existence BUT! It does exist on Amazon.com and other online bookshops so perhaps I will replace my lost copy, read the craziness again and share with you all 🙂

Fabulous but also possibly the strangest book I've ever read....and I have read some strange ones!

2. April Witch by  Majgull Axelsson

This book certainly isn’t as unknown as Dim (125 members have in on their Shelfari shelves) and I’m sure it is somewhat known in Sweden where the author is from, but it gets a mention in this list because I had never heard or it and when I was reading it and mentioned it to friends or family I received a clear “huh?” expression. I found the book at my local library when I decided to try a new tack of choosing new books – working my way from A to Z picking books that interested me. At AXE this strange little tale of a girl who is imprisoned in her own body but has an amazing intellectual mind and clairvoyant/omniscient abilities, really stood out to me and it was certainly an interesting and unique read.

An interesting blend of psychological thriller, supernatural fiction and family epic

3 The Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor

This book was one of my reading highlights of last year and also one of the most distressing and earth-shattering reads of the last few. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale that may or may not actually occur after an apocalypse but certainly highlights some destructive human traits – religious extremism, rebellion against consumerism (as well as the consumerism itself) and an obsession with control – which could theoretically lead to apocalypse. As it was published in 2009 I wasn’t expecting many people to have read it but I was surprised by only 40 Shelfari members having it, and I certainly received some odd and curious looks from fellow students or commuters while I was reading it.

Very creepy but absolutly riviting

4. The Secrets of the Chess Machine by Robert Löhr

Regular readers of the blog will know that this is a quite recent read (in fact it was the last review I did as I have been super slack with my reviewing duties) but it was an unusual and fabulous read with a title and subject matter that confused and intrigued many a person. A mere 20 individuals on Shelfari have The Secrets of the Chess Machine which is a shame as it was a riot! I am sometimes blessed to have a judge-a-book-by-its-cover attitude because it was the cover of this little gem that drew me to it in the first place out of the sea of book spines at the library. If you enjoy clockwork machinery, the seedy underbelly of aristocrats and some tasty murder mystery-ness thrown in for spice then track this one down 🙂

Chess and Dandys and Automaton oh my! 🙂

5. The Travelling Death and Resurrection Show by Ariel Gore

This was another fairly recent unique read, but it just missed out on being immortalised on these hallowed (ha!) pages as I finished it just before it was founded. I was drawn to the strangeness of the title (I love long and confusing titles :)) and the book certainly delivered as it was about a travelling Catholic-themed circus whose headliner can do the Stigmata on command. Only 64 members on Shelfari have it, and the author is not on Fantastic Fiction, my usual fountain of book-based knowledge so it certainly qualifies for this list, as just like several of the others it has received its fair share of confuzzled looks.

I'm a sucker for bizarro Catholic hijinks 🙂

6. The Sensualist by Barbara Hodgson

My mum brought this book home from a school fĂȘte at my little bro’s primary school that she was volunteering at, but I promptly pilfered it when I flicked through and saw that it was a multi sensory novel filled with old-fashioned anatomy diagrams, some multi-layered and one which included braille. I can barely remember the plot besides that it was a sort of mystery that spanned a couple of european countries, but I do remember that it was a great read and the accompanying elements elevated the story to a new level. Only 73 Shelfari have this book and I am proud to be one of them 🙂

I love a book with hidden surprises in the form of eyeball diagrams 🙂

7. Shadowsbite by Stephen Dedman

I wasn’t completely surprised that when I first went to add this book to my shelf on Shelfari it was absent and since I added it only one person (besides myself) has contributed to its record, as the author is a relatively unknown sci-fi/horror writer from Perth (my hometown and the most isolated capital city in Australia). I was however kind of disappointed as it’s a great Vampire novel that explores the mythology behind vamps better than any I’ve read. I got the book at Swancon, an annual Science Fiction and writers convention held in Perth, and I was lucky enough to hear Stephen Dedman read an excerpt and meet him. The friend that I went with also loved the book as did our other close friend (the third musketeer :D) so they at least have heard of it, as have the other people who attended his reading but in the grand scheme of things it is pretty unknown and hopefully I’ve done my part to rectify that 🙂

In this current time of Twihards an honest, gory, mythologically accurate vamp tale like this is a wonderful antidote!

8.  The Cats by Joan Phipson

To readers that grew up in the 60s or 70s this book or this author may not be that unknown as Joan Phipson wrote a string of novels for kids from 1953-1988 with The Cats being published in 76. However, as a proud 90’s kid I had never heard of it when I picked it up at another school fĂȘte and bought it purely because I wanted to know why a book about cats had such a sinister cover! It turns out lovable fluffy kitty cats can be terrifying, especially with the right setting and some suspense, and that if there are Baby Boomers out there who loved this odd thriller in their youth, they certainly aren’t on Shelfari where my shelf is the only one it rests on.

Here sinister kitty!

9.  The Floating Island by Anna Ralph

This novel came into my hand when a family friend (ironically the same one who may or may not have lost Dim) dropped off a stack of proof copy paperbacks to me, her friends book-crazed daughter, that came from a friend of hers in publishing (somewhat naughty I know but I did nothing to encourage her I promise!). The book was a touching tale of a teenage boy’s psychological and physical recovery from a tragic accident that left him seemingly paralysed and killed his younger brother, as well as an interweaving of character relationships. A grand total of 3 people including myself have The Floating Island on their Shelfari shelf – not exactly overwhelming but better than zero 🙂

I love getting free books 🙂

10. Harlequin Vintage Collection

(Kiss Your Elbow by Alan Handley; Virgin with Butterflies by Tom Powers; Pardon My Body by Dale Bogard; You Never Know with Women by James Hadley Chase)

This is cheating a bit, but I couldn’t decide which of these obscure retro paperbacks to choose as collectively not many Shelfari members have them (the most is 26 for You Never Know with Women which I’m guessing is highest because James Hadley Chase is the most well-known author of the four) and they were all wonderfully pulpy and odd. The set also includes No Nice Girl by Perry Lindsay and I’ll Bury my Dead also by James Hadley Chase, but I am yet to read those two.

Gotta love some genuine vintage pulp fiction filled to the brim with dames and guns 🙂

Stay tuned in the near future (hopefully) for the other half of this Top 10 – Top 10 Books I Think Everyone Should Read – and then I will not be posting the new poll as the Top 10s for December will be on my best 2011 reads 🙂 I also hope to get all the lost reviews done before the year’s end – cross your collective fingers for me?

Cheers and Happy Reading!