Most of the winners of major book awards are selected by members of the groups that give the award – much like the film industry’s Academy Awards are selected each year. Mystery writers vote on the major mystery awards; romance writers vote on the Rita Award, etc. Goodreads, the popular readers/authors site, has a slightly different model for the Goodreads Choice Awards – 2016.
During the year, readers chat about books they’re reading and make lists of their favorites for their friends and followers to see. They also rank books they’ve read with stars, indicating how much they liked (or disliked) the titles published that year. There are thousands of books listed on the site, with thousands of comments, giving anyone who’s interested a way to see how a book (published in the U.S. in English) is viewed by the Goodreads group. Amazon acquired Goodreads, so these reviews and stars probably have an impact on book sales.
During October, the Goodreads staff looks at the stats and does the math, then nominates 15 books for each of 20 categories that have an average rating of 3.5 stars or more.
The members of the Goodreads community vote in elimination rounds. They are allowed to vote in all twenty categories, giving a broader view of a book’s popularity. If you sign up to become a member of Goodreads, you can vote as well. (It's free)
Semifinal Round now closed: Nov. 8th thru Nov. 13th (voting on the original 15 along with the top 5 write-ins in each category – voters can change their minds about the original vote)
Final Round is closed: Nov. 15th thru Nov. 27th (voting on final top 10 books in each category) Results were announced December 6th.
Here are the 2016 voting links for eight of the categories (once there, the other twelve categories are an easy click away):
The 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards went to:
Fiction: Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman”
Mystery & Thriller: Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train”
Historical Fiction: Kristin Hannah’s “The Nightingale”
Fantasy: Neil Gaiman’s “Trigger Warning”
Romance: Colleen Hoover’s “Confess”
Science Fiction: Pierce Brown’s “Golden Son”
Fourteen other categories included horror, non-fiction, memoir, humor, and more.
Did you read any of the winning choices from 2015? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comment section.
The 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards went to:
Fiction: Rainbow Rowell's "Landline"
Mystery & Thriller: Stephen King's "Mr. Mercedes"
Historical Fiction: Anthony Doerr's "All the Light We Cannot See"
History & Biography: Helen Rappaport's The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra"
Romance: Diana Gabaldon's "Written in My Own Heart's Blood"
Science Fiction: Andy Weir's "The Martian"
The 14 additional categories included cookbooks, horror, non-fiction, children’s books and more.
The 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards went to these 6 categories & more:
Fiction: Khaled Hosseini’s “And the Mountains Echoed”
Mystery & Thriller: Dan Brown’s “Inferno”
Historical Fiction: Kate Atkinson’s “Life After Life”
History & Biography: Brian Jay Jones’ “Jim Henson”
Romance: J.R. Ward’s “Lover at Last”
Science Fiction: Margaret Atwood’s “MaddAddam”
It’s interesting to note that in 2013, 1,953,770 total votes were cast for the Goodreads Choice Awards.
At the end of voting in 2014, there were 3,317,504 votes.
The final tabulation for the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2015 was 3,007,748 votes.
Votes as of 7pm EST 12/6/16? 3,564,071
Happy reading & thanks for voting!
…and the prize goes to…
Readers all over the world choose their next book based on the award winners announced by various organizations during the recent year. Here is a list of ten popular awards for recent novels in the adult category to receive applause and/or rave reviews from colleagues in the genre or from readers who loved the books.
Have you read any books on the list? If so, let us know what you enjoyed about them in the comment section.
Agatha Award given to mystery and crime writers, in 2015 cozy subgenre:
“Long Upon the Land” by Margaret Maron
Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction 2016:
“The Five Times I Met Myself” by James L. Rubart
Edgar Allen Poe Award awarded by the Mystery Writers of America 2016:
“Let Me Die in His Footsteps” by Lori Roy
Goodreads Choice Awards chosen by readers 2015:
“Go Set A Watchman” by Harper Lee
Hugo Awards awarded for the best Science Fiction or Fantasy 2016:
“The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin
Macavity Award given to favorite 2015 mystery by Mystery Readers International:
“The Killer Next Door” by Alex Marwood
Man Booker Prize literary prize for best 2015 novel translated to English language: “The Vegetarian” by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith
National Book Award for fiction given to U.S. authors 2015:
“Fortune Smiles: Stories” by Adam Johnson
Nebula Awards presented by Science Fiction Writers for 2015 work:
“Uprooted” by Naomi Novik
Pulitzer Prize in Literature administered by Columbia University 2016:
“The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Congratulations to all the winners!
In a rush to pick out your summer vacation ‘beach-reads’? This may help with the ‘run-in-and-grab’ non-thought process. Categories are listed in no particular order of favoritism or warning…
“Brisinger” by Christopher Paolini.
More complex than the previous two books in the trilogy. Eragon is more developed as a character, but this has resulted in less time spent on adventures/conversations with Saphira, his dragon. Still great fun for dragon/fantasy fans.
Rated PG-13 for war and violence.
“Night Light” by Terri Blackstock.
A world-wide power outage has kicked the earth back into 19th century technology. No cell phones, no computers, no AC and people have to ride bikes and grow their own food. Fascinating look at how one Christian family chooses to deal with the challenges of a more primitive life, including digging a well to obtain potable water. The young children in the book have dialogue that is developmentally inaccurate, but the overall story made me wonder how I would cope – and what kinds of vegetables I would be able to grow so that I could barter with someone who raised chickens.
Rated PG-13 for a murder, a kidnapping and scenes of drug usage.
“I am Number Four” by Pitticus Lore.
An alien teenager, who has been hiding out on Earth with his protector, must deal with saving the world from nasty beings from his home planet that aim to wipe out his species. Made into a movie, but the book is MUCH better. There are sequels, but “I am Number Four” is the best. Filled with teen bits like first love, outsiders that don’t quite fit in, but are smarter than the ‘cool kids,’ blowing up the high school, etc. Written for teens that are into intense action stories.
Rated PG-13 for alien invasion, intensity, and violence. Adults should look this over to assess its appropriateness for their teen.
Do you have a favorite summer vacation book? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out three quite different Beach Reads from last summer's list here.
Whatever you decide to read, enjoy!
Marnie Calvert, FBI agent in Patrick Lee’s “Signal,” smells the bodies before she sees them. A trailer is burned to a crisp, with not much left except a cage holding the corpses of four children. The owner of the trailer is missing.
Sam Dryden’s background includes special ops training with the military. He has left that life behind and now flips houses. His ordinary, peaceful evening is interrupted by a call from trusted former colleague in the military, Claire Dunham. She makes an urgent request of Sam: get in the car immediately and meet her in a spot that is two hours away. Once together, they drive to the trailer at breakneck speed and keep the owner from burning it and everyone in it. When Sam and Claire leave the area, the only corpse is the owner’s.
Yes, you read that correctly. Calvert, Dryden and Dunham have arrived at the same crime scene – just not at the same time and with very different results. The race against, through, and with time, begins.
Patrick Lee’s paradigms of time travel/time shifting are intriguing and part of what compels me to return to his books. Not every book uses time as a plot device, but I love the way Lee’s mind works. In his Travis Chase series, people traveled through a doorway in time to the future and back again. In “Signal,” Lee’s main characters listen to a radio frequency on a device that streams what is reported on the airwaves from the future – a very specific period of time in the future. In this world, time is fluid and actions can be changed before they happen.
Imagine if that power was held by people with decades to plan and reshape the future for their own agendas? Nothing good could come of it. Murder, kidnapping, torture? They’ll do anything to get the device that led Claire to the trailer.
In “Signal,” Lee deftly handles the time paradox challenges of adjusting actions in response to hearing the consequences. Any modification in events affects everyone in the timeline continuum for all time, and Lee uses that effectively to keep us absorbed. He gives us just enough information about how it all works without too much science-speak or theory that might take us out of the story.
Whose reality will control the tale? Can this knowledge ever be used for good? If your “enemy knows your mistakes before you make them,” how can you survive the battle? The answers will keep you turning the pages all night long, because “Signal” is flat out stay-awake reading. And not just because of the time-travel component or the pulse-pounding action. Lee’s characters have depth, a back story, and believable reasons for what they do, be it for good or very questionable motives.
Clear your schedule, turn off the computer and the phone (gasp), and be prepared to read straight through to the perfect finish.
I was lucky enough to meet Patrick Lee at a recent writer’s conference and he graciously signed my copy of “Signal.” He signed “Ghost Country,” from the Travis Chase series as well and you can read that review here.
For information about Patrick Lee, the terrific first Sam Dryden book, “Runner,” and his other series, please visit www.patrickleefiction.com