The 2012 Book Polygamist Awards!

Welcome one and all; ladies and gentlemen, and those in between; Bookbaggers of all shapes, sizes and reading patterns, to the 2nd Annual Book Polygamist Awards!

Last year the awards graduated from a simple jotting in my book journal, or list on Facebook, to its inaugural seat on Book Polygamist, and here they will stay for the foreseeable future 🙂

As with last years Awards there are the Annual Awards, which are the same each year, and the Special Awards, which reflect the uniqueness of the books that year (with a few which may also be repeated annually depending on what I read)

So without further ado I present The 2012 Book Polygamist Awards!!!

Annual Awards

Shortest Read:curses and blessings

Curses and Blessings for All Occasions by Bradley Trevor Greive – approximately 20 minutes

Honorable Mentions:

The Bippolo Seed and other Lost Stories by Dr Seuss – Approximately 1 hour off and on

Blue by Pat Grant – Approximately 2 hours

Longest Read:

Blood, Guts and Whiskey

Blood, Guts & Whiskey (Anthology) by Various – 40 weeks and 3 days!! O.O

Honorable Mentions:

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen – 25 weeks

Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe – 41 weeks, 4 days and counting!!! -.-

Most Books Read by a Single Author:

cassandra-claresuzanne collins

Cassandra Clare & Suzanne Collins – 3 books each
(Cassandra Clare: City of BonesCity of Ashes; and City of Glass.
Suzanne Collins: The Hunger GamesCatching Fire; and Mockingjay)

Best “New” Author Award:

Each year I try to discover new authors (that is authors that are new to me) and then at the end of the year I compile a list of ones that I want to read more of, and choose one “winner” from that list. This year was a tricky one because I read quite a few debut authors, authors I had never discovered before, and starts to a series, but in the end I went with the author I was the most excited to discover, and one who had a significant backlog of works for me to feast on in the near future 🙂

tom-robbins

Tom Robbins (Still Life With Woodpecker)

Honorable Mentions:

Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)

Cassandra Clare (the Mortal Instruments series)

Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games series)

Lauren Groff (the Monsters of Templeton)

Gail Carriger (Soulless)

Special Awards

The Best End to a Series Award:

Unusually this year I only came to the end of one series, but it was such a good one I thought it deserved a reward. Unfortunately it is on its lonesome without any honorable mentions, but hopefully I will finish a series or two this year 🙂

MOCKINGJAY-jacket

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The Best Start to a Series Award:Soulless_by_Gail_Carriger

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate, Book 1) by Gail Carriger

Honorable Mentions:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

The Longest and Strangest Title Award:still life with woodpecker

Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins

Honorable Mention:

The Bippolo Seed and other Lost Stories by Dr Seuss

The You’ve Gained Another Fangirl! Award:

As I said in my Top 10 Reads of 2012 this past year will go down in my own personal history as the year I was initiated into the Hunger Games Fandom, which definitely warrants a Special Award 😀

The-Hunger-Games-Trilogy-Classic-Box-Set

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

The Tick That Off The Bucket List Award:

2012 will also be memorable because I finally read one of the books from my Top 10 Classics I Want to Read list. Since just recently I started reading Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, which was second on the list, reading all 10 may actually happen! Huzzah!

To Kill a Mockingbird

 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Blue Award:

Another highlight of the year was my Blue Period which was both an amusing coincidental reading pattern, and a shock out of my reading rut, leading me to some of my top reads of the year. Because of this I must acknowledge the book/graphic novel that started it all, as well as the other blue covered darlings that made the pattern possible.

blue_cover_lg

Blue by Pat Grant

Honorable Mentions:

Curses and Blessings for All Occasions by Bradley Trevor Greive

The Bippolo Seed and other Lost Stories by Dr Seuss

The Templeton Twins: Have An Idea by Ellis Weiner

Best Cover Art:The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus front cover. Image used with permission of Aleksandra @ Aleksandra's Corner

The Night Circus front cover. Images used with permission of Aleksandra @ Aleksandra’s Corner

The Night Circus back cover. Seriously go check out Aleksandra's Corner http://my-book-obsession.blogspot.com.au/

The Night Circus back cover. Seriously go check out Aleksandra’s Corner: my-book-obsession.blogspot.com.au

Honorable Mentions:

to-kill-a-mockingbird-by-harper-lee

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

sense of an ending cover

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

monstersoftempleton

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

2012 has had its ups and downs, and while I may not have read the quantity of books I have come to expect, the quality of most of the books has been excellent. This has also been a year which sparked wonderfully fun new features such as the (now sadly deceased) Save The Words Saturdays; Notable Quotables; and Micro Reviews from Planet Procrastination, as well as the subsequent rise in followers, comments and likes these features have caused. For this I am grateful and I say a sincere thank you to all of my delicious, hilarious and loyal Bookbaggers, both new and old who have supported me in 2012 and beyond 🙂

Now almost 2 months into 2013 I already have high hopes for this year and cannot wait to see how it unfolds.

I hope you all read some wonderful, award-worthy books in 2012 and the remainder of your 2013 is fantabulous (or your own made up adjective for wonderfulness 🙂 )!

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Even a Book Polygamist gets the Blues

For most of this past year my books and I have had polygamist marriage difficulties.

Perhaps its my fault – studying and working more and spending the rest of my spare time hanging out with my mates and playing video games (because don’t I deserve some down time?) that I barely have the time or energy to dote on one book let alone four or five.

But do they not have some part in the drifting apart also? Perhaps they’ve lost the spark that kept me interested – I don’t see them making an effort to pull us out of the rut!

However, despite the disconnect I still held hope. I continued to carry a book or two in my bag, hoping that I would reach for them rather than my iPod or Nintendo 3DS mistresses on my commute. I tidied the pile next to my bed so they would look more alluring, but alas, I was usually sleep-bound before I could even glance their way.

And then came the Blue Book Affair which shocked me out of my reading rut and got me on track. I returned once more to a book I had been neglecting and pussy footing around for months – Freedom by Jonathan Franzen – filled with a new determination to finish it and finally have room for a new read. After a few days of dedicated reading I got through the last few chapters and was left with a dilemma that I am rarely faced with when reaching the end of a novel – I didn’t like it.

Despite having a wide range of interests when it comes to what i read, I pick my books carefully and usually will only start something if I’m fairly certain that I’ll enjoy it (whats the point otherwise?), so a book that fails to engage me is a surprising and distressing experience. I was especially surprised when it came to Freedom. Objectively it looked like it would be a quality read – a family epic spanning decades, which I usually love; it has won, and been nominated for several awards; the author has been highly praised; when the book came out in 2010 it was a hit; and it was even on Oprah’s book club (hmmmm maybe that should’ve been a warning – me and the Ms O don’t always agree) – but as much as I tried to like it I ended the experience with a feeling of relief rather than the usual mix of satisfaction and sadness I get when reaching the end of a good book.

I will elaborate in a future review (which will be one of the only negative ones I have written since the inception of Book Polygamist) but in short while Franzen is obviously a talented writer, and several plot points and subject matters had me interested , I just did not engage or empathize with the primary (or secondary) characters in any way. If I had identified with or even just liked even one or two of the half-a-dozen or more central characters (or even felt a satisfying loathing), this book could’ve been a winner, and as with the general book-reader marital problems my isolation from the characters could’ve been my own fault – perhaps I was not the target audience, perhaps if I lived in America I would’ve connected with their political beliefs etc etc – but whatever the problem was i just wasn’t feeling the love.

Since I finished Freedom I have read quite a few reviews online and have found amongst the waves of praise many people who were left with a similar disappointment, so at least I don’t feel like I’m being unfair but I still wanted to shake it off, so to speak and jump right back on the horse (ah! mixed metaphors! they’re like a squeaky wheel that kills two birds in a bush…that are catching worms early…or something).

I did this by first picking a book from my small Library-Books-To-Read pile (using my usual process) which was The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff (which I was excited about because I have borrowed it a few times in the past but had to return it and I also like the coincidence of reading another book with Templeton in the title so soon after The Templeton Twins: have an Idea)

And then I amped up the Cleansing-Bad-Book-Experience-With-Better-Books by starting The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 😀

and putting another one of my reads – The Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian in my bag to read on the bus (a strategy that actually worked this time as I had finished the remaining 3/4 of the book over three days of commuting).

By the end of last week I had finished The Secrets of Eden and The Hunger Games, plus I have gotten more into The Monsters of Templeton and two of my other current reads: Pyramids by Terry Pratchett and the Neo-Noir anthology, Blood, Guts & Whiskey which I have been meandering through since May, so perhaps in the world of book polygamy, a few short affairs can salvage a rocky relationship 🙂

I hope all my Bookbaggers have enjoyable reads on the go, and as always I bid you:

Happy Reading!

From the Land of the Free to simply Freedom; and move over Lee, here comes Poe!

On Friday on my way home from work I finally finished American Gods by Neil Gaiman, a book I have been slowly enjoying over 16 weeks. This may seem like a while for a book that I was enjoying and not struggling through, but besides being so busy and unable to read most of the time, I was purposefully taking my sweet time with  American Gods because it was such a wonderfully rambling, intricate, epic tale that every bit I devoured deserved a good rumination and digestion 🙂
I will get to reviewing it eventually (probably along with a flood of  backlogged reviews once I gain my diploma in June – yay!)

The only problem with finishing American Gods (despite the fact that it was one of those novels I wished would never end) was that I had no books on my library book pile to choose from! Of course I still had four other books on the go so it wasn’t really a disaster, but there were so many books at the library (or libraries really) that I have borrowed and had to return before I could even get to them that to have zero to choose from was just sad. Luckily I could just jump on the Maylands Library catalogue over the weekend and request a bunch of “lost” library books to borrow come Monday and as soon as my class finished midday today I checked my account and saw that 5 of my requested books (out of 8) were already waiting for me 🙂
Once I got home I went through my usual process and ended up with a novel I have heard a lot of positive hype about: Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.

Meanwhile, during the Mother’s Day weekend when I wasn’t spoiling my mum with flowers, a home cooked brekkie (breakfast in Australian :P) and a scrumptious dinner at her favourite local restaurant/cafe Picco’s Kitchen, I was reading the last few chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The raving for this classic is virtually bottomless so I won’t add to it now, but I will get to an appropriately raving review soon 🙂 Once I finished and wrote my thoughts in my Book Lover’s Journal I waded through the mountainous Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read pile and ended up with Tales of Mystery and Imagination, a collection of stories by Edgar Allan Poe that I received for Xmas last year. I’ve never actually read Poe’s stories, though I’m a fan his poem/short story The Raven, so I’m quite excited to get into some classic Gothic creepiness 😀

As always Happy Reading to you all, especially all those mothers out there, other loved ones that are surrogate mothers and women like myself who choose not to be mothers 🙂