My Votes For the Goodreads Choice Awards 2012

The first round of voting for the Goodreads Choice Awards is now open! These awards allow Goodreads users to nominate and vote for their favourite books of 2012. To be eligible for this year’s award, books must have been published for the first time in the United States in English between November 29, 2011, and November 25, 2012. 

To start off, 15 nominees in 20 categories are chosen by the site administrators using user stats based on the number of ratings and the average rating for each book. Books must have a minimum average rating of 3.5 to become one of these initial opening round nominees. However, users are free to nominate and vote for their own choices as well, as long as the book is eligible.

As in previous years, these awards made me feel like I haven’t read nearly enough of the latest books this year. I think I’ve only read three of the initial nominees, and I could only come up with one book to nominate and vote for in each of the genres that I read regularly. Voting for books wasn’t a matter of choosing the best from a list but identifying the only eligible book I’d read in that category that I thought deserved the award.

But I imagine it’s the same for most users. I’m sure this award is horribly biased towards popular fiction – it’s not about the best books so much as the ones that got the most readers. And from my experience with bestsellers, ‘good’ and ‘popular’ don’t often co-exist. But hey, popularity is an interesting thing to consider, and a few new books have caught my eye. Also, it’s nice to vote for stuff. Here are my choices:

Best Mystery and Thriller: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The obvious choice. When I saw that nominations had opened, this was the first thing I thought of. It was one of the few opening nominees I’d read, but even if I’d read the others, I can’t imagine that I’d be voting for anything but Gone Girl. It might also get my nomination in the Best Fiction category, where I haven’t selected anything yet.
Read my review here.

 

Best Historical Fiction: John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk

OK, so I don’t exactly read a lot of historical fiction, but I thought this was lovely. It wasn’t on the list, so I nominated it.
Read my review here.

 

Best Fantasy and Best Paranormal FantasyThe Rook by Daniel O’Malley

The Rook was the next thing on my mind after Gone Girl when the nominations opened. It was such a good mystery/thriller that it would have had to compete with Gone Girl if it didn’t fall into the fantasy category as well. I was a quite disappointed with myself to find that I hadn’t read any other fantasy novels worth voting for, except perhaps for the one that got my YA vote. Oh well, I’ll try harder next year.  I only looked at the Paranormal Fantasy list out of curiosity, since this typically features paranormal romance, and I was surprised to find The Rook on the list of initial nominees. I was quite happy to give it votes on both lists. It’s an amazing book, and I really hope it wins something.
Read my review here.

 

Best Science Fiction: Existence by David Brin

And once again I hang my head in shame for not having read any of the opening nominees. Although in this case I’m wondering why the hell Existence didn’t make it onto that list.

Science fiction was the only category where I actually debated my choice, albeit briefly. My second option was Enormity by W.G. Marshall. In terms of sheer entertainment, I’d have chosen Enormity, but when it came down to it, Existence has more to offer on the whole. It’s got an immense scope, with more ideas and philosophies than i can believe is packed into that book. It was damn hard to read, and a  bit boring at times, but well worth the effort. Also, Enormity is weird and obscure, and sadly doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning.
Read my reviewof Existence and Enormity.

 

Best Horror: Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale

Yes! Another initial nominee I’d read. On the downside, I was less enthusiastic about this choice than the others. It was a good book,  but I don’t know if I feel that strongly about it. If it wasn’t only the opening list, I might not have voted for it. I might still change my mind. Other books I could nominate are The Devil in Silver  by Victor LaValle and Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone by Stefan Kiesbye, which I have yet to review.
Read my review of Edge of Dark Water here.

 

Best Young Adult Fiction and Best Young Adult FantasyRailsea by China Miéville

It’s no surprise that China Miéville gets my vote. Last year, I voted for Embassytown as best sci fi. I’d say Railsea is steampunk rather than fantasy, but I had nothing I wanted to vote for in that category, so I nominated it in both. Sad that I had to nominate it because it wasn’t on the list, but then again I can understand why Miéville might not be popular with the YA crowd, which seems to prefer the conventional to the inventive.
Read my review here.

 

Best Poetry: Lies, Knives and Girls In Red Dresses by Ron Koertge

I have no business voting for a poetry collection, since I don’t actually read any of them, ever. I’m not even sure this Koertge collection counts, because it’s composed of pieces that are stories first and poems second. But it was brilliant and I wanted to include it somewhere.
Read my review here.

 

Looking over my list, I think Gone Girl is the only novel that stands a real chance of winning, but I’m still hopeful about the others. It’d be nice to see some of my nominations at least appearing in the top 15, not because I voted for them but because I think they deserve it.

The opening round closes on November 10, followed by two more rounds, with voting ending on 27 November. Perhaps I can squeeze a nominee or two into my schedule before then.

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