Would you believe I totally blew off the Leafy Awards last year? This time honored tradition! This thoughtful analysis (ha!)! I know, I have shame over the whole thing, but I just didn't get around to it and didn't get around to it until all the sudden it felt too late, like it would be forced, and there's nothing I hate more than sounding forced.
Happily, it's not a problem this year. Reading everybody else's end of year "best" lists inspired me to great heights, so I've returned from delinquent bloggerdom with the "feature" I like best. There are no fancy pictures, no orchestras, no speeches (unless you count my own), and really no sense, rhyme, or reason. Nonetheless, I bring you the cream of this year's very small crop (let's not talk about that) of reading!
The "If I Believed in Guilty Pleasure Reads, This Would Be One" award:
Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvik - Because, you know, it's possible to notice every cheesy flaw a book has and love it anyway.
The "If every non-fiction book was this good, I'd probably read more non-fiction" award:
No Biking In the House Without a Helmet by Melissa Fay Greene - Because I can count on one hand how many non-fiction books I read this year, and on two fingers the ones that I actually enjoyed. This one I enjoyed more than most of the fiction, it's full of laughs and profundity, too!
The Random.org Best Selection Award
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale - Because sometimes you join Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, but are too lazy to even collect a pool of possible contenders for reading on that day. Then, maybe you wake up on the appointed day frantic with your lack of a plan and flee to Random.org to pick something from the, oh, thousand books you have available/listed in your LibraryThing library. And of all the books it could possibly pick (hello, War and Peace is in there somewhere...yikes!), it produces the perfect page-turning excellent middle grade/YA choice your bookshelf has to offer. Random.org, Leafing Through Life salutes you, and you too, Shannon Hale!
The Kissy, Smoochy Award for the Best Love Scene (Seriously, Megan? Love scenes? I thought you hated those!):
The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman (And you gave the award to a book about, like, a middle-aged historical midwife? Surely, you've come unhinged at last!) - But seriously, I'm not into physical love scenes. They're hard to pull off in a way that is convincing and meaningful (not to mention not cheesy), but I was struck by the one in this book, so much so that I almost wrote about it in my reviews, then chickened out. So, here's to Patricia Harman who made me loved love scenes, if only for a moment.
The Oops Award for the Best Book I Read by Mistake:
A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck - ...who is not Robert Newton Peck of A Day No Pigs Would Die fame, but can write a really great book despite that unexpected fact.
The "I Tried the Blog Tour, and I Won" for Unexpected Excellence:
Glass Boys by Nicole Lundrigan - Okay, so I'm not really into the whole book blog tour thing, though I should be. I need a little more structure in my blogging. I accepted this one for review, received it, and started reading it, all the time very worried that I would not like it, a fear the first few chapters did nothing to cure. Much to my shock, Glass Boys became the year's surprise hit and very likely my favorite read of the year. Here's to taking chances once in a while!
The "Where Have You Been All My Life? Oh, on my shelf? All this time?" award for Authorial Awesomeness:
Broken Harbor by Tana French - I loved this book, and I'm told it's not even as good as her other books that have been sitting unloved on my bookshelf for, you know, ever.
And, of course, this year's Dystopian Delight/Amazing Apocalypse (and there always is one, even if I forget to mention it):
White Horse by Alex Adams - A dark story, a fast pace, a Stephen King-esque flavor, and a fierce (formerly ordinary) heroine. Yes, please. And don't forget there are two more books to come, and the world didn't end this December, so there's a chance I could still get to enjoy them!
The Review Made Me Love You Award (Who said second thoughts were always bad?):
We Sinners by Hanna Pylvainen - It was okay when I read it. When I started digging into the review, all the things I had only noticed in passing suddenly became that much more profound.
The Self Award for...Myself:
"An award for me?? Oh, you shouldn't have! But, what is it?"
It's the "You Stood The Stand" award!
That's right, Megan, you win the award! Sure, it may have taken you all summer to slurp up those 1100+ pages, but you did it, braving every sniffle and cough that made you think the killer flu had really come and finishing that book you'd meant to finish since high school. Hurrah!
And that's another year of Leafy Awards in the bag, with only a little more talking to myself than is socially acceptable. Hope last year was a great year in reading for you, and that this year is even better!