The 3rd Annual Aaron Book Awards

30 12 2014

Welcome once again to the 3rd Annual Aaron Book Awards! I will start off with some disappointing news: the total number of books I read this year is 23, down from 35 from last year. And I don’t really have an excuse, since I graduated from university earlier this year and should have had time to read lots… although I was working two jobs for a while. And writing (or procrastinating and pretending to write). And I did read a lot more novels this year than last year, so maybe I actually read more in quantity… anyway! I’m sure you’re not dying to know who won what, so I’ll just get to it.

Without further ado…

Best Play

Winner: The Normal Heart — Larry Kramer

Well, yet again, I only read one play this year, but it was a fucking awesome one. I had been wanting to read it for a while and it was only after watching Ryan Murphy’s film adaptation earlier this year — which left me in a giant puddle of tears — that I was finally able to get a copy from the library.

Can’t recommend this play enough.

Best Children’s Book

Sort of winner? A Pussycat’s Christmas — Margaret Wise Brown

I have to explain.

This book was not on my list of books to read (obviously. Really!). I happened to come upon it while working at the library one day, and took a picture of it to send to someone who looooooves cats. One thing lead to another, and I borrowed the book. But I couldn’t just not read it, so I did.

And honestly, it wasn’t very good. Yeah, the pictures are great because, well, there’s a fluffy cat in them, but the writing itself meanders and is, for a picture book, kind of underwhelming. But I didn’t read any other children’s book this year, and I don’t think this book deserves it. So… I’ll just leave it like that.

Best YA Novel:

Winner:  Openly Straight — Bill Konigsberg

First of all, this was a tough decision. I really enjoyed both Openly Straight and Just Between Us; they both had wonderful protagonists and dealt with a lot of topical gay issues. I have to hand it to Mr. Konigsberg for his fantastic characterization of not just his main characters, but to all of his characters. It’s a skillful technique that has definitely made me think about with my own writing. Plus, the witty humour throughout is simply irresistible.

Nominees: Just Between Us — J.H. Trumble
Openly Straight — Bill Konigsberg

Best Non-Fiction Book

Winner: Toxin, Toxout — Bruce Lourie, Rick Smith

I think this is a difficult category to judge because these books are all so different in their own right. I included It Gets Better because although it is made up of creative non-fiction narratives, its purpose is to educate and provide support to people, the way many self-help and sociological books do.

Ultimately, Toxin, Toxout, the follow-up to last year’s winning Slow Death by Rubber Duck, is our winner this year! Another informative, alarming, and Canadian (!) book about everyday invisible toxins in our lives. If Slow Death by Rubber Duck sounded the alarm on toxins, this book is the therapy session that provides us hope.

Nominees: Toxin, Toxout — Bruce Lourie, Rick Smith

Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities — Patrick Condon

It Gets Better — eds. Dan Savage and Terry Miller

Best Graphic novel/Manga

Winner: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (vols. 5-7) — Hayao Miyazaki

This might be unfair because I picked Nausicaa last year and I hadn’t even finished reading the series… but too bad.

Nominees: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (vols. 5-7) — Hayao Miyazaki

Artifice — Alex Woolfson

Persepolis — Marjane Satrapi

Scott Pilgrim (vols. 4-5) — Bryan Lee O’Malley

Best Memoir/Autobiography

Winner: Nothing to Envy — Barbara Demick

A sobering, devastating, horrific, shocking, and moving piece of journalism. Thanks to David Sedaris for recommending it. I think it’s one of the creative non-fiction books I’ve read.

Nominees: The Bucolic Plague — Josh Kilmer Purcell

Nothing to Envy — Barbara Demick

Persepolis — Marjane Satrapi

Bossypants — Tina Fey

It Gets Better — eds. Dan Savage and Terry Miller

Best Novel (Fiction)

Winner: The Year of the Flood — Margaret Atwood

This was the year of Margaret Atwood. Gotta hand it to her for creating such a frightening depiction of the future. This is what speculative fiction is all about.

I also want to give a shout-out to The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet for being ambitious in language and style. I’d argue that most writers today care more about characters or story or other aspects of writing, and less about language. Mitchell is all about language in this one. It’s not a book for everyone, for sure, but you do have to admire his dedication to words you’ve probably never heard of before.

Nominees: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet — David Mitchell

Oryx and Crake — Margaret Atwood

Fahrenheit 451 — Ray Bradbury

The Year of the Flood — Margaret Atwood

Maddaddam — Margaret Atwood

And the final category: Best Book of 2014

Winner: Nothing to Envy — Barbara Demick
Honorable mention: The Year of the Flood — Margaret Atwood

Goals for next year: read more plays and children’s books!

IMG_2065

Advertisements

Actions

Information

2 responses

30 12 2014
Kev

I also read 23 this year according to Goodreads. I am currently reading Jacob De Zoet and really struggling with it.

30 12 2014
weirdduck88

I’d be surprised if you didn’t struggle through it. It took me nearly nine weeks to finish it. It does get easier as you go on because things actually happen and there’s a bit of a plot, but the first chunk is definitely difficult to get into because not a lot seems to be happening and it’s all this description with old words. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: