Monday, January 5, 2009

The 2008 Leafy Awards

Come one, come all to the second annual Leafy Awards wherein I make up some bogus categories and bizarre commentary in order to honor every book I found worthy (or unworthy as the case may be) this past year and be entertaining all at once. Now if I weren't the laziest blogger on the Earth (Hello, I'm Megan, and I'm the Laziest Blogger on the Whole EARTH!), I would make a cute little graphic with, you know, a leaf or something on it, to commemorate this tradition and make this post more visually appealing. Instead, I'll consider my great feat in doing this simply being able to spell the word "commemorate" (or did the spell checker do it? You'll never know, will you?). Without further ado, here are the honors. Of the severely feeble 42 books I managed to read this year (hey you, quit pointing and laughing), these are the ones that most grabbed my attention both good and bad.

Surprise Hits

Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff (Why, this is a novel in verse. As an admitted loather of all things poetry related, I shouldn't have liked this at all, and yet, it was the first book of the year that I really really liked. And if I'd reprised the category of "Best Tearjerker" this year, it would have won in that category, too.)
A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs (Because it's so depressing that no one could very well like it, and yet, it was really good.)

Best Memoir

Tears of the Desert by Halima Bashir (Why are you even waiting for my justification? You should be out reading this!)

Best Laugh out Loud Funny Travel Memoirs

The Cactus Eaters by Dan White (What this guy did is just insane...and hilarious!)
Queen of the Road by Doreen Orion (A part of me wishes it had been me touring the U.S. in a sweet converted bus, but since I couldn't, this was definitely the next best thing.)

Best Historical Fiction

Sweetsmoke by David Fuller (also voted "Most Likely To Make Me Miss Historic Election Coverage" because I couldn't put it down on election night)

Best Pageturner

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (I heart angsty vampire love stories...mmkay? There it is. My secret shame out on the table for all to see. Also voted "Most Likely to Make Me Forget To Christmas Shop/Pay My Bills/Feed the Dog/Get Out of Bed")

Best YA Fiction

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (What a realistic narrator! What a spot on depiction of high school life!)
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (What incredible atmosphere! What brilliant plotting! Also voted "Best Book to Distract Me from Being Dreadfully Ill during my much anticipated Long Weekend Off From Work")

Most Unique

When We Were Romans by Matthew Kneale (It's like a book written by my 9 year old cousin except without being terrible and featuring lots of fart jokes. Oh and he's not British. Really, maybe you should just click on the link and read the review because I'm not quite getting the commentary right here...)
Ellington Boulevard by Adam Langer (It's a novel about a musical based on the characters of a novel buying a flat in New York City in a musical in real life...and it's not half so confusing as this sentence! As a matter of fact, it's quite awesome.)

Best Women's Fiction

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton (Because it's a heartwarming sort of story without being too...fluffy. Also voted "Book the Most Women In My Family Read this Year as a direct result of my shameless evangelizing")

Best Re-Read

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Because I've tried to like Dickens, but don't. And yet, I like this book. Enough to read it twice.)

The Christmas Heartwrencher

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (This is a new category born of my unintentional tendency to read a really emotionally grueling yet incredibly awesome book on or very near Christmas Day. Last year it was After You'd Gone. This year, this. Also born of the fact that I find it impossible to categorize but loved it irrationally.)

The Best Story Ever Told Really Poorly

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin (Greg Mortensen seems like about the most awesome guy going with all the very incredible things he is doing with education in Pakistan, and his story is powerful and captivating. However, this book took me nearly an eon to read and was you say...clunky.)

Most Depressing
(It should be noted that I like depressing books. An unhealthy percentage of the books I read tend toward the depressing. This Leafy is awarded for merciless, unrelenting depression taking place through 90% of the book in question. It should also be noted that both of these books were actually really good.)

Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally (This book just smacks you in the face again and again with the unbearable cruelty of the Holocaust, but then in the other 10 percent of the book here's this Nazi Party member using his evil for good, so to speak, to save more people than any other one person saved during the Holocaust.)
A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs (You may have noticed this listed under "Surprise hits," too. So depressing it's good.)

Book That Probably Got My Blog the Most Hits

Black Wave by Jean and John Silverwood (Hey, I didn't even really like it, but I guess maybe I owe it a debt of gratitude or some sort of recognition or something. Or whatever.)

The Mehs (AKA Books Everybody Else Loved that I just felt...meh AKA books that put me in the book blogger leper colony)

Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan (Great writing, but, uh...not really a mystery. Ooops. My bad.)
Aberrations by Penelope Przekop
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

There it is, everybody! Another year of reading in the books (hah! I didn't even mean to say that!). Onward, to another year of great reading!


  1. Hey there. Just recently started reading your blog. That was a very humorous recap of your reading year. Thanks for the suggestions and I look forward to reading your blog through 2009.

  2. Let me just tell you how much I enjoyed reading this post! was great :p I'm a big fan of depressing books too...why we do this to ourselves, I don't know. Needless to say, I've had A Wolf at the Table on my list for a long time! I just got his brother's book "Look me in the Eye" about him growing up with Asperger's. Tears of the Desert and How I live Now are also on my wishlist! Great post!

  3. Fun post! Though, unlike you and Chris, I am NOT a fan of depressing lit at all. I think that's why I like classics so much, and run away screaming from contemporary American lit, lol.

    Speak impressed me bunches too..I guess it was kind of depressing, come to think of it.

  4. You can joke all you like, but I am MOST honored to have been bestowed a Leafy Award. (And, remember, as royalty, it takes a lot to make me feel honored.)

  5. Hey, I'm in no position to point and laugh at anyone's number of books read, especially with my own meager 37 books completed. Meanwhile, my TBR list has increased tenfold and this fun recap hasn't helped things any! =)

  6. lol! Love the Leafy Awards.

    I haven't read many of your picks, but both of your favourite YA books and currently waiting on my towering tbr pile. You made me want to get to them sooner!

  7. This post cracked me up; what a wonderful sense of humour you have! If you want depressing, pick up Mercy Among The Children. Which there wasn't. Ever. In the whole book. Still, it was fascinating. If you like depressing books, you'll love this one. ;)

  8. Oh Megan, this post rocked! Seriously, the best reading year recap I've ever read! And it was amazing how many books on there are on my wish list from reading your original reviews!

  9. Great recap! I, too, love the Libba Bray series - they are SO LONG, and yet I always want to read the whole thing in one day.

  10. Callista - Thanks for reading! It's always nice to see a new "face" around here! =)

    Chris - Glad you enjoyed! Typing up the same old boring list just seems too...not fun. Glad to see another depressing book lover, too! =)

    Eva - Speak is kind of a neat book because it's really very depressing subject matter, but then, it's told in such away that it doesn't wrap you up in all that depression like some of my other more depressing reads.

    Your Highness, it is, as ever, my great pleasure to honor you! ;-D

    J.S. - Hey, it's quality over quantity for us, right? ;-)

    Nymeth - Hope you do get to those awesome YA reads - they definitely don't disappoint!

    Bellezza - I looked up Mercy Among the Children and have to say that it looks just like the sort of wildly depressing book I might like. Onto the wishlist it goes!

    Debi - Thanks! I had a great time writing it! Glad to hear I've been so hard on your wish list - that's a great compliment! =D

    Elizabeth - I love books that have lots of pages but are so compulsively readable that you would read even *more* pages even faster. I'm definitely going to have to get ahold of the second book in the series this year!

  11. Megan -

    You truly crack me up. That's a very good thing to be able to do. I loved your list.


  12. I gave you a blog award today - wanted to say thanks for having a great blog, and being a great lady, as well.

  13. I really enjoyed Sweetsmoke as well. I liked the slave as detective aspect of it, and the suspense. We Were Romans is on my list of books to acquire. I love the awards!

    Three Cups of Tea has been on my shelf for over a year and sadly I have yet to read it.

  14. CJ - Glad I cracked you up! Cracking people up is one of my great pleasures in life! ;-D

    Elizabeth - Why thank you! I'm quite honored! And to you as well! =D

    Nicole - Definitely grab a copy of When We Were Romans - it's awesome. As for Three Cups of Tea - wait until you're really in the mood for it. It's a good story, but it took me forever to read because I kind of forced it on myself and it didn't really work out so well.

  15. I love your Leafy Awards post!

    We have very similar taste (when we've read the same books), and I'm encouraged to read more that you've given good reviews to.

    You are right on with *Three Cups of Tea* ... great story, poorly written :(