For the past couple of days, all of us have seen various discussions about the first round of nominations for the Goodreads Choice Awards 2019 – how unfair it is to include books that released on the day the voting started, the complete invisibility of indie published titles, the very minimal representation of LGBT+ or POC authors/books and can we even do anything about it. I don’t think I have anything additional to add to the conversation because many amazing bloggers have articulated their thoughts in a very detailed manner.
In the previous years, I have always found that I had very very few books that I had read (let alone loved) or knew about in the award nominations, and I used to end up voting for something randomly. I also never had a lot of nominees that I wanted to put on my TBR. This used to bum me out a bit because I thought I was reading the popular books, but I guess they are popular in my bubble and I also stuck to my YA fantasy and contemporary genre more often than not.
This year however, I have tried to read a bit more outside my comfort zone while also sticking to my conviction that I will only read those which interest me (no succumbing to the hype if it’s not my kinda book). And very surprisingly, I apparently have quite a few books I know this time on the nominations list, and this makes me really happy.
So, I wanted to share with you all the details of the books on the list which I have read, which I plan to read and what I ultimately chose to vote for. Let’s get started…
I have actually only read The Testaments among the complete list of fiction nominees, which is par for the course, and most of the time I don’t have any interest in these books. But I ended up voting for Red at the Bone because it’s on my highly anticipated TBR and I have heard great reviews about it from my friends…. and I also didn’t like Testaments much (not that my vote matters because it’s a Man Booker Prize winner and might as well win this easily).
MYSTERY & THRILLER
Not so surprisingly, I have read nothing on this list of nominees and I have no interest either. This is not a genre I read even infrequently, so I don’t really feel bad for not knowing most of these books.
It’s very rare that I read anything historical which is not a romance (even that is rare) and that’s why I just have one book on the list which I read – The Huntress – which I thought was brilliantly written and had amazing characters and voted for it very happily.
As a fantasy lover, it makes me happy that I have so many books on the fantasy list that I read or want to read. This usually doesn’t happen to me in the adult fantasy category because I’m more of a YA reader but looks like I surprised myself again.
While Gods of Jade and Shadow had a great mythology and interesting characters, I thought it was a little boring. I really enjoyed both Priory of an Orange Tree and Red Scrolls of Magic. The Dragon Republic is still on my TBR because I just couldn’t stomach reading it so soon after the first book. I had no interest in The Starless Sea until I saw reviews which call it “an ode to storytellers”, but I’m still skeptical if I’ll actually like it.
Despite so many choices available, I decided to write in Steel Crow Saga because I completely fell in love with the way the author discussed the themes of colonization, consequences of war and the amazing relationships we form in life.
As a self-proclaimed romance genre lover, you would think I would have many books on the nominees list but my romance favorites usually aren’t the popular ones. However, four is not a bad number. And while I liked Ayesha at Last and The Unhoneymooners, didn’t enjoy Things You Save in a Fire at all (and I completely object to this book being on the romance list because the love story is just a subplot), it’s undeniable and I have been shouting this all over my blog since January that my favorite book of the year is Red, White and Royal Blue – so the voting choice for this category was the easiest.
I’m not a sci-fi reader; I just find all the sciency stuff too complicated for me. But I have decided to try to read more, particularly due to encouragement from my dear friend Nandini, so I do have some very recently added books on my TBR. Imagine my surprise when all of them showed up on the nominations list – A Memory Called Empire, This is How You Lose the Time War and The Future of Another Timeline. However, the biggest surprise was finding the novella The Test on the list, because I read it just because I wanted something small and ended up marveling at how brilliant and brutal it was. So, obviously The Test got my vote.
Nah… I would never willingly read a horror novel.
I guess I’m just not that into humor books. I have never even heard of most of the books on this list.
I have been on quite a nonfiction kick for the past couple of months, so I ended up with more than a couple favorites on this list and had a hard time choosing my vote. The Witches are Coming is my latest read and I thought it was passionately written and narrated. She Said and Catch and Kill both deal with the investigation and reporting of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal and the impact of the #MeToo movement, and they are brilliant while also dealing with many other important themes. I have only heart great things about Trick Mirror but haven’t read it yet because there is a 12 week waitlist at the library. So… that was tough… But I ended up voting for Catch and Kill because along with being a great investigative journalism piece, it’s written in a very enjoyable manner.
MEMOIR & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
I actually have read a few memoirs this year but none made the list. The ones that did, like Over the Top and How We Fight for Our Lives are on my TBR. So, I ended up choosing How We Fight for our Lives because I have heard some wonderful things about it.
HISTORY & BIOGRAPHY
I never would have thought that there would be a single nominee here that I even know…. but voila…. the book that I’m currently reading, How to Hide an Empire is here and while I’ve only read about 15% of it, I like it enough that I voted for it.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Another category where I would never expect to know any book – but Invisible Women has been on my TBR for a while and I’m very very excited to read it soon and I hope it wins.
FOOD & COOKBOOKS
I do cook basics but it’s not a particularly enjoyable activity for me. And while I do enjoy binging the Great British Baking show, cookbooks have never been my thing. However, for unknown reasons, Indian-ish has been on my wishlist for a while and I guess it just feels interesting. So, I voted for it even though tbh I don’t know if it’s actually very good.
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMICS
Book Love was an adotable little comic about all the quirks of us booklovers and I resonated with it so much. Bloom was a nice teen love story too, but I guess I found it to be just okay in terms of story (great artwork though). Heartstopper vol 2 is on my TBR and I hope I’ll get to read it soon. But undoubtedly, my vote goes for Good Talk because it’s one of my favorite books of the year and it really personally resonated with me a lot.
I have exactly one read poetry book on the nominees list and I voted for Shout immediately because it’s a very well written, powerful and thought provoking memoir-in-verse and it totally deserves the accolades.
I have a huge list (in my notebook) of my favorite debuts of the year but apparently none were popular enough to make the list except Red, White and Royal Blue. And I guess that’s okay because I would choose it anyway.
YOUNG ADULT FICTION
I’ve only read two of the books which surprised me (I guess I’m reading less YA contemporary this year) – Frankly in Love was beautiful and I kinda hated American Royals. But I decided to vote for Internment which is on my TBR because I feel it’s an important book and deserves more accolades.
YOUNG ADULT FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION
I had three 5-star reads in the list – which I should have expected – I loved Queen of Air and Darkness, King of Scars and the absolutely delightful Sorcery of Thorns. The Wicked King is also here but it was just an okay read for me. A Curse So Dark and Lonely is on my TBR. But I still decided to write in A House of Rage and Sorrow because I love that book with all my heart and it always saddens me that it’s not more popular.
MIDDLE GRADE & CHILDREN’S
Another category where I wouldn’t have expected to know any book but I read Aru Shah and the Song of Death and really loved it a lot, so I was very happy to be able to vote for it.
Picture books are definitely not for me, so no voting here.
What do you think of my choices? Do we have any favorites in common? What books would you love to see win? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below…