Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Best of 2007

Wow, I read a lot of really great books this year, but I've already beat the "best of" list thing to death, so I've decided to go the awards route. What better way to honor more good reads without having to make any more decisions than absolutely necessary?

And now, without further ado, I present to you in no particular order and with no set categories 2007's Leafy Awards!

(For the record, my name on LibraryThing is yourotherleft since the permalinks to my reviews seem to be rejecting me for some reason.)

The Good...

Best Fiction That I Read at the Beginning of the Year that Has Stuck With Me

Black & White by Dani Shapiro

Best General Non-Fiction

There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene (for so skillfully combining a heartwarming story with a well-researched expose of big African problems)

Best Memoir

Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett (for honoring a real friendship with all its highs and lows honestly)

Best Historical Fiction

Small Island by Andrea Levy (for capturing four voices distinctly and bringing each of their experiences to life)

Best Young Adult

Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger (for capturing the "I'm a normal guy" narrator)

Best Historical Fiction written for Young Adults

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (for creating a brilliant narrator and successfully keeping the narrative in character and in the time period)

Best Re-Read

The Reluctant God by Pamela F. Service (Because if you're a big history nerd like me, you'd sure like the events of this book to be long as nobody got hurt...too badly)

Most Powerful Descriptions

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (Because I could taste the strawberries, feel the snow in the air, sense the start of the rainstorm. Wow.)

Best Pageturners

Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz (Dear old Dean makes a recovery from his overuse of the wildly awkward metaphor!)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (well, obviously)
Shout Down the Moon by Lisa Turner (a new author for me, I devoured this book)

Best Tearjerkers (and this is quite an honor considering how few books actually make me shed tears)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (Come on, I've "known" these characters for seven books...who can help but cry at some of the stuff in here?)
After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell (For achieving that same aim in six fewer books)

Best Love Story in a book not categorized as "romance" in your local book store

After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell
The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers (also taking the more obscure categories of "Best Use of Art" and "Engaging Use of a Biblical Passage")

Surprise Hits

The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty (for being a book that I didn't like when I read it, but found that I couldn't stop thinking about)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Cbosky (because it's written in letters, and I usually hate that, but I loved this!)
Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot (because it takes an extra-special touch to help me forget I'm reading chick lit and actually enjoy it)

Most Likely to Help Me Start Liking Short Stories

The Circus in Winter by Cathy Day (And they are interconnected, which I like...a lot)

Best Use of Animals

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (This could also fall under "best stunningly realistic account of living in a nursing home by a nursing home resident")

Best Depiction of People of Irish or Scottish Descent living in Canada

No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod (So different yet so much the same in their new land)
Away by Jane Urquhart (Both these books were beautifully written...this one gets some awesome points for its nifty mystical qualities and for *gasp* actually managing to include a little humor to lighten the mood of the typically depressing Irish immigrant story)

And the Not So Good...

Most Depressing

The Law of Dreams by Peter Behrens (Wherein the writing was good, but I had to put it down every page or so because it seemed like absolutely nothing good ever happened to the poor narrator...unfortunately, may also take "Most Realistic Depiction of the Irish Immigrant Experience")

Biggest Disappointment

When Madeleine Was Young by Jane Hamilton (So, I felt like a victim of false advertising. Maybe I would have liked it had it been about what it was supposed to be about or described on the cover as what it actually was.)

The Notable DNFs (did not finish)

The Alienist by Caleb Carr (I just kept waiting to get excited about what was happening...and waiting, and waiting, and waiting)
Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali (I just kept waiting for it to start seeming like maybe it had a plot of some sort...before it did, the nastiest description of something unpleasant won this a place in the DNF pile)

Well, that's all for this year. Hope you had a great year of reading, too! Here's to many more!


  1. I love how you categorized your awards! Great thinking! I may have to go that route next year. This year I'm kind of stuck with my top 10. Haha It looks like you had an enjoyable reading year. Here's to another one in 2008!

  2. Great categories...that was a fun list to read. :-)

  3. Excellent organization, Megan. I'm glad to hear you loved "Perks of Being a Wallflower". I'm going to read that next. :)

  4. Wow - what a list! great post, wonderful idea. I might steal this for the end of 2008 - I've already stopped thinking abt 07...

  5. Thanks for the compliments everybody! I really enjoyed doing it this way. I'm virtually incapable of making decisions so I can't narrow down the really really good books from the really really great books as they're all worthy reads - so this worked out perfectly!

  6. I love your unconventional categories! I vaguely remember enjoying The Alienist, but not enough that the story has stuck with me.

  7. I'm so glad I stopped by your blog. I've only read three books on your list and need to check out the others. Because I don't have enough books listed to read already?

  8. Dear Megan,

    I won a Leafy Award -- hurray, hurray! I'd like to thank my editor, my publisher...! Oh, no! The music's starting!

    Thanks so much for honoring A Northern Light, I really appreciate it. And I love the categories. Have found some very interesting titles to check out.

    Thank you again, best wishes for a wonderful new year, and I'm already looking forward to the 2009Leafies!

    With best wishes,

    Jennifer Donnelly

  9. Dewey, thanks. I made so many lists when I started my blog, that I wanted to break free of the list thing, so I had great fun making up some new categories!

    Framed, I'm glad you stopped by, too! Hope you read some of the books on my list (and that you enjoy them as much as I did)!

    Jennifer, thanks for stopping by. My blog's still so new and so unknown that you can't imagine my surprise at seeing your comment. It was my pleasure to honor A Northern Light, and I look forward to reading more of your writing!

  10. Very cool! I did something similar for the Bookworm Carnival.