The winners of the 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards have been announced, and I thought it would be interesting to see how many of the nominated books I read.
I do agree that these awards are partially a popularity contest and partially subjective. A popularity contest because a lot of people will just vote for a book based on the author, and subjective because most people (including me), will vote for the one book they read and liked in a section. Nonetheless, I am curious to see what people chose as the best books of the year.
I am also considering doing a challenge, as BookswithEmilyFox does, where I go through all the nominations to see which one I liked best, and where they ranked on my list and the official list. As such, in this post I will react to the entries, see how many books I read in each category, and see what books I plan to (or not to), read for the challenge.
Here we go!
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
Fiction is something that I generally don't gravitate towards, as I find the normal settings and stories, as a fantasy reader, to be kind of boring. And that can be seen here seeing as I have not read any of the nominations. I do know about Sally Rooney's works, but never felt the need to read them.
The only authors on the list that I read from was, firstly, Anthony Doerr, who wrote All the Light We Cannot See, which I didn't enjoy very much so I didn't see myself picking Cloud Cuckoo Land up either, even though I found the cover visually appealing. Nicholas Sparks was the other authors, because most people have read at least one of his books, but I am past my days of reading his work.
The only book on this list that looks remotely interesting to me is Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy. This is set in the Scottish Highlands, and just the title is enticing enough for me to give it a shot.
Mystery and Thriller
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
I do love a good mystery thriller when I am in the mood for one, and most of the titles I am familiar with, but I have not read the winner. I have heard good things about the book though, and am planning on reading it for the challenge.
Now, I may have heard of most of the books, but I haven't read any of them which surprised me a bit. Guess I will have plenty to read for this challenge. One, or two books, that I can definitely take off the list would be The Maidens and Billy Summers.
I read The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides and didn't hate it, but didn't think it was anything spectacular. His new book receiving the number two spot I feel is because because recognize the author but not the work seeing as I have seen that many people who read The Maidens, didn't enjoy it. Billy Summers is a Stephen King book, and I have found that I just don't really get along with his books, so I have no intention really to pick up this book.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Is it surprising that this book won, absolutely not? While historical fiction is not my favourite genre ever, I have read both Daisy Jones & The Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and enjoyed them. Needless to say, odds are I will also enjoy this book as well (hopefully).
As for the other nominations, I have only read one which was The Lost Apothecary which won the 3rd spot. The only thing I really liked about that book was the pretty cover, as I didn't end up liking the direction the story went in. Coming in at the number two spot is The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. I have, of course, heard about this book, but I think that her work is something I generally stay away from as they tend to occur around the time of the World Wars which is not for me.
There are other nominations on the list that look interesting though, and I may end up giving them a shot to see how they stand.
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
Now, we are getting to the good stuff here, as the fantasy category is where I read the most books. Again, to no surprise, a popular author won the top spot here. Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of SJM and did enjoy reading A Court of Silver Flames, but she wasn't who I voted for. I ended up voting for She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker, which ended up 4th on the list.
While I found it hard to read because of the main character, the story was unbelievable and I thought it deserved the top spot because the story had more depth than A Court of Silver Flames. In the number two spot we have Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune, which I also read. While I didn't mind the book, I thought that it was underwhelming for me after loving The House in the Cerulean Sea.
As for the rest of the nominations, I read three more books on the list while several more are on my TBR. I found that there were a lot of sequels on the list which makes reading the nominations a bit more complicated as I am not going to start a new series that I don't necessarily want to read just to get to the sequel.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
I don't tend to read a lot of romances, but surprisingly I did read one book on the list which ended up in the number three spot. One Last Stop I thought was an okay book, but wasn't something I pictured winning the best romance of the year. I have heard of the winner before, but again, I don't read a lot of romance so I didn't particularly gravitate towards the book.
I have also heard of the runner-up, Love Hypothesis, but I haven't really heard good things about it, so I will be skipping it for my challenge. In all honesty, I don't know how many books in this category I will get to, since I am not often in the mood for a straight-up romance book.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Coming in at number one is a book that I ended up DNFing, not because it was bad or anything, I just wasn't feeling it. My pick for this section would have been The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes, as I though it was a solid sci-fi novel even though it ended up way down in this list.
As for the rest of the nominations, I read A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers and Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor. Both books I felt overwhelmingly 'meh' about. There are still plenty of books on this list to read though for the challenge.
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
There are a lot of promising books in the horror category, several of them are on my TBR and I have yet to read, and two of them I DNFed. I have heard of the winning author before, having read Horrorstor previously and giving it a bit of a lower rating, but I am willing to give it a shot.
Again though, lots of interesting books on this list that I am looking forward to reading, aside from Stephen King who won the number two spot.
Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo
To no ones surprise, Leigh Bardugo won for this category as I expected. Now, as the second book in a duology from a series that wasn't my favourite, I don't plan on reading this anytime in the future, or at all really. The same can be said for several books in this category actually. In second place we have a Cassandra Clare book, and I have no desire to dive into her books.
In fourth place we have a Rainbow Rowell book, which is an instant no for me because Carry On almost bored me to tears. We also have a Cruel Prince side story, which doesn't matter to me as I quickly DNFed the series, same as the Serpent & Dove series which is also on here. I also did not finish An Ember in the Ashes, so needless to say I will not be reading A Sky in the Storm as well.
Besides all of the books I will not read for my challenge, we do have some interesting books on the list that are either on my TBR or I have already read. I did end up reading, House of Hollows, Lost in the Neverwoods, and The Ones We're Meant to Find. I didn't have much luck with these books though, so I am hoping that something on this list leaves a good impression on me.
Now, as you can see, I didn't cover all of the categories as I do not plan on reading anything from certain genres. Humour, memoirs, poetry, and YA fiction are genres that I really don't gravitate towards, so instead of forcing myself to read some for the sake of the challenge, I am just going to skip those categories.
Some repeat the same books, such as debut novel, so there is no real reason to read anything from that category if nothing else appeals to me. Other categories (nonfiction, history, graphic novels, MG) interest me, but I don't have much to talk about them so I will leave it for the challenge.
Here's hoping that there are some good reads among all the nominations. If needed I may also dive outside of the top ones listed if they interest me, or if I had read them before.