We’ve now come to that time of the year when we normally pick the books/authors that we have read during the year and which we feel deserve awards. So here go our awards for 2019:
1. For us it’s turned out to be a year of bumping into ghostly books. We haven’t minded, rather that than actual things that go bump in the night. We’ve read a number of them, from Victoria Schwab’s City of Ghosts and Tunnel of Bones in her Cassidy Blake series to Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo and a few in between. But somehow none could provide the sheer fun of Lockwood. So we are giving our first award to the Lockwood series by Jonathan Stroud. Even though we didn’t read those books this year, they get the award for the most satisfying ghost stories and ensuring that all other ghost stories invariably get compared with Lockwood.
2. Maggie Stiefvater for consistently writing the most poetic prose, as read in The Scorpio Races and Call down the Hawk.
3. Margaret Atwood gets our next award for proving that ‘it can be done’ with Testament, as in, one can write a satisfying sequel even after thirty odd years and win a Booker for it.
4. The standing ovation award goes to Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez. An eye opener of a book about the gender data gap. According to us this book deserves to win every award that may be there in the non fiction category for this year.
5. The most down to earth award goes to Michelle Obama for Becoming, for an honest and grounded recollection of a life that became different and difficult.
6.The award for a great genre switch from fantasy to science fiction goes to Brandon Sanderson. After coming out with tomes of epic fantasy in the form of The Stormlight Archives and finishing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, he did a turn around and started a very enjoyable science fiction series with Skyward.
7. Katherine Arden gets the award for the most satisfying conclusion of a trilogy with Winter of the Witch. A book that one wants to go back to again and again.
8. The miss-able author of the year award goes to John Grisham. After the fiasco of his last few books, crowned with the disaster that was The Rooster Bar, we did not bother to even look at his new book this year. We can’t even remember what it is called.
9. Find of the year award goes to Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. A gem of a book.
10. Food novel of the year award goes to Sourdough by Robin Sloan. It managed to get (one of us) baking bread and deserves an award for actually making the microbial culture of sourdough starters sound wondrously exciting.
11. The relief of the year award goes to Donna Leon’s Unto Us a Son is Given. Leon is back in form with this book which was such a relief and a joy to read with Brunetti and his family digging into delicious meals.
12. The book of the Year for us was definitely Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow. A charming, touching and graceful book about the remnants of a time gone by, adapting to and surviving in a new world.
A lot of people are mentioning their books for the decade since this one is coming to an end. We are old and cannot remember enough to make a list going back ten years. Besides, it’s late in the year to be racking our brains, so let’s just say – we are happy with what we read this year. Wishing everyone reading this a happy reading New Year with enough wonderful books to satisfy the heart, mind and imagination.