Wednesday, June 21, 2017

2016 Book of the Year: We Have a Winner!

Ah...we've finally made it to the final round. It will be nice to get this finished. However, it does mean that now I'm going to have to start thinking about what posts will be coming up next. Time to dust off the blog planner and figure this stuff out. It also could mean breaking out the sewing machine for the first time in over a year. It's exciting, but also mildly daunting.

As we get ready to settle into the heavy competition, here's a reminder of where we left off last time.

It's the Pulitzer winning The Shipping News by Annie Proulx versus the young adult fiction novel Since You've Been Gone by prior BOTY winner Morgan Matson.


I will admit, this was a rather difficult decision. It, like the competition between Since You've Been Gone and Arcadia, was very head to head. I know it seems odd to say that when the books are from two very different genres and intended for relatively different audiences, but I liked both books in different ways. (Good grief, how many times can I say "different"?)

The Shipping News took a short while to get me interested and I wasn't entirely sure if I was going to enjoy the characters at first. However, it quickly wrapped me up and I truly loved it. It was a good read from both a storyline perspective and a literary analysis standpoint. Annie Proulx is very talented. Her writing is smart and laden with impressive style and technique. Her characters are unique and well-rounded. Put very simply, the book works.

I went into Since You've Been Gone with high hopes as I had truly adored Matson's prior book, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. Any dedicated reader will recognize that this tendency is a dangerous situation. Sometimes this leads me to great disaster. In the end, it's not quite up to the status of Amy & Roger, but the book is still pretty great. I love her tendency to create playlists in her novels and I particularly enjoy her eclectic music selections. The plot is cute and smart, but the one semi-serious downfall was a fairly predictable ending.  Though I appreciate the happy, somewhat overly perfect ending approach in it's attempt to make readers happy, it sometimes just becomes...a bit boring. I tried not to let it bother me, but it did prevent the book from getting five stars.

I realize after writing the prior paragraphs that I tend to be highly critical of the books I enjoy the most. Interesting. I continue to learn things about my own reading habits the more I do this. 

I waffled back and forth on my decision quite a bit and this was one of those times, yet again, where it could have truly gone either way. Looking back at the bracket, sometimes I doubt my ultimate decision and think things should have swayed the other direction. So...clearly both books are actually winners in some grand sense of things. 

However, for the purposes of this exercise, I have to sacrifice a good read. So...I'm truly sorry to say that The Shipping News fell a bit short. I just love Matson's characters and her bubbly style too much, I guess. In the end, we end up with our first ever repeat winner. Morgan Matson takes the 2016 Book of the Year with her novel, Since You've Been Gone.

It faced some pretty good competition along the way, but Matson comes out on top again. I'm pretty stoked that we have a repeat winner. Though I will admit, I kind of like it when something of a dark horse tends to make it really far in the challenge. Let's face it though, that was something of the situation here. A children's book and a play both made it to the Final Four. Unheard of. It was a bit of a fun and surprising elimination bracket. And I suppose that's why I find this tradition so much fun. You really never can tell what will happen when you randomly pit these books against one another. A different roll of the dice for initial bracket setup and we could have had a different never know.
It was an interesting year of reads; definitely one that was unique when compared to past challenges. I look forward to seeing where my 2017 reads will take me. What was your favorite read from last year? What is your favorite thus far this year? What should I be adding to the top of my TBR that could take next year's bracket? I'm ready for some unique and interesting reads.

Interested in past winners? Check them out (and their competition) below...

2011 Book of the Year  : The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
2012 Book of the Year  : Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
2013 Book of the Year  : Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
2014 Book of the Year  : Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
2015 Book of the Year : The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins


Post a Comment

Other Posts You Might LIke

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
01 09 10 11 12
Blogging tips