Thoughts On The 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards

1.

The winners of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards were announced on Monday, and you can view the results here. (There’s also a cute post showing the winning authors expressing their gratitude!)

2.

 

Not a single one of my top choices was voted a winner. In any category. But I’m OK with that. Really.

(On the other hand… well, I’m kind of happy that one of the books that I was desperately hoping wouldn’t win DIDN’T. I thought it would – that’s why I was worried. So, yeah. That was a thing that happened.)

3.

I joined Goodreads back in October 2012, but only started using the site regularly in late 2013 – so I haven’t experienced many Goodreads Choice Awards. Still, each time they take place, I’m always reminded of how few new books I read. I didn’t recognize many of the books, and had only read a handful of them.

4.

This is partially due to just not being all that interested in certain genres: I rarely read literary fiction, self-help books, horror, et cetera.

5.

Buuuuut… it’s ALSO related to my apathy towards reading the latest books as soon as they come out! I read SOME books as soon as they come out, or shortly thereafter, but most of the time I’m content to read them “whenever.” Staying up-to-date in the bookish world just isn’t my priority.

6.

For the record, here are the nominated books I’ve read. (Note that there are LOADS of genres missing here, because I just didn’t read anything from those categories.) My nominations are marked with an asterisk.

Graphic Novels & Comics

  • Saga, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • Nimona by Noelle Stevenson*
  • Thor, Vol. 1: The Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron
  • Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson

Young Adult Fiction

  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Middle Grade & Children’s

  • The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
  • George by Alex Gino

Picture Books

  • The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton*

7.

Now let’s examine that list, shall we?! OK, beginning from the top – yeah, I read a lot of graphic novels and comic books this year. (I did last year, as well!) This genre was the most fun to vote for because I had the most choices! I love that I’ve gotten more into to graphic novels and comic books over the past few years.

8.

That’s not a typo under Young Adult Fiction. No asterisk is missing – I didn’t vote for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I refuse to vote for the only book I’ve read from any particular genre if I didn’t like it. (I had the same policy in 2013 and 2014 as well.) There were a bunch of things I disliked about that book – I rated it 2 or maaaaaaybe 2.5 out of 5 stars – and I just don’t see the point in supporting something I didn’t like.

9.

(If you were wondering – yes, that’s the book I didn’t want to win in the Young Adult Fiction category. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven won instead.)

10. 

On a less bitter note, I am honestly REALLY PROUD of BOTH of the authors (and their books!) from the Middle Grade & Children’s category. It was VERY difficult for me to decide between George by Alex Gino and The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan. Both books are so lovely and well written!

I grew up reading Riordan’s books, and binge-read his Heroes of Olympus series in 2014, so his stories are pretty near and dear to my heart. On the other hand, for all of Rick’s diversity… George focuses on diversity more directly, and it’s just SO important to have positive, light-hearted children’s stories with transgender characters so that little trans kids know they’re not alone!

In the end I chose George, but I love both of them SO MUCH.

11.

I am not-so-secretly a child and you should all go read The Princess and the Pony because A) the artwork is adorable and B) the pony burps and farts. SORRY I CAN’T HELP IT THAT I’M SO IMMATURE.

12.

I could write an ENTIRE POST about this (and I probably will at some point), but: I love the Goodreads Choice Awards. Even when I don’t agree with the people who voted for Divergent back in 2012 the top choices, I love the idea of these awards – the process behind it. I think it would be cool to be a book critic some day, but I also realize that there is often a disconnect between what the critics are reading (and enjoying!) and what the vast majority of people are reading (and enjoying!).

To be honest, I rarely pay attention to book awards – Caldecott and Newbery nominations notwithstanding. There may be a few other awards that I care about, but… yeah, that’s all I can think of off the top of my head.

I’m not interested in committees deciding which books are “worthy.” It’s important to take a look at what ordinary people are reading. Critical acclaim? Meh. I’m into that kind of thing like maybe 10% of the time – the rest of the time, I want to know what everyone and their mother is reading. What has received public acclaim? Sometimes books that are adored by critics fail to achieve widespread popularity, and vice versa. And that’s OK.

13. 

Why is YA fiction split into two categories? I know it’s been like this for a while in the Goodreads Choice Awards, but still. If you’re going to divide YA fiction into specific subgenres – which I am 100% for, by the way – why not go all the way and add multiple genres? Why stop at “YA Fiction” and “YA Fantasy & Science Fiction”? How about “YA Contemporary” and “YA Nonfiction” and “YA Romance” and so on and so forth?

(For that matter, why are fantasy and science fiction lumped together? I’ve never understood that… they don’t really have much in common.)

It just makes me frustrated that books aimed at adults are placed in their very own genres, but YA/middle grade/children’s books don’t receive the same treatment.

14. 

Can we please have three LGBTQ+ genre categories, one for YA and one for adult stuff and one for nonfiction? I mean, honestly. If “Science & Technology” gets separated from general “Nonfiction,” and “Food & Cookbooks” and “Debut Goodreads Author” are legitimate categories, why can’t we have these?

15.

I requested Winter by Marissa Meyer and it’s finally finally FINALLY waiting for me at the library and I’m SO FREAKING EXCITED TO READ IT, but… I’m not OK with its inclusion on the list of nominations for YA Fantasy & Science Fiction. It hadn’t even been published when the award process began – it was published on November 10th, and the awards started on the third! I mean, it was published on the day the semifinal round began!

I’m sure it’s a lovely book, and Marissa Meyer is one of my favorite writers, but I ALSO strongly believe that books that haven’t even been published should not be considered in ANY award process. I know some people received ARCs of Winter, but… yeah, that still doesn’t mean the vast majority of people had access to that book yet.

It didn’t win or anything – it came in fourth, I believe – but I still don’t understand why it was included. How are you supposed to vote for a book you haven’t read yet? Why would you vote for a book you haven’t read yet?

-~-

Tell me YOUR thoughts about the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards! What books did you nominate? Did any of the winning titles surprise you? Did any of your nominations win?!

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
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13 Responses to Thoughts On The 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards

  1. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    I was kind of annoyed with them this year too…>_> I read a LOT of books and a LOT of popular ones…but seriously, I’d hardly read any on the nomination list! IT WAS EMBARRASSING. And I highly agree that Winter shouldn’t have been there. I’d basically read 2 in the fantasy category and none in the debut. I think I voted for Simon’s without reading it (and then felt immensely guilty, hehe, but I’m reading it now and I really like it so PHEW) I refused to vote for Queen of Shadows. I’m still furious at it. -_- Only Magnus Chase won out of what I’d voted for!! OH WAIT. I think I voted for All the Bright Places!?! Idek. I can’t remember. XD hehe. I’m going to write up my own post of books I “award” hehe.

  2. I voted for Lumberjanes and then Nimona in the Graphic Novels section, then Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in YA, and then the Sword of Summer in MG. I’m glad Sword of Summer won, but not really about All the Bright Places. That wasn’t really a book I found to be that good…it reminded me too much of tFioS, just with different deaths, I suppose. Ah, well.

  3. Miriam Joy says:

    Huh, I liked Simon Vs The Homo-Sapiens Agenda, I thought it was cute. Each to their own, but I’m surprised you dislike it so strongly.
    I think Fantasy and SF are usually combined because sometimes it can be hard to decide which one is which. A lot of SF books have Fantasy elements (though fewer Fantasy books have SF elements). It’s easier to combine them, as people would always dispute some of the divisions.
    The only category I found hard was the YA SF/F one, as I’d read six or so of the books and really liked four of them. Problematic!

  4. Micha says:

    it’s interesting to me that you mention LGBTQ+ fiction deserving/falling into multiple categories, because the whole time i was reading this i was thinking about making a comment vaguely related to that — specifically the idea of books with LGBTQ+ characters that qualify more generally as genre fiction.

    i don’t have a goodreads account, but i was actually somewhat following the choice awards this year due to some buzz on the LGBTQ+ star wars blog i’m a co-moderator for. specifically, we were trying to get the word out that “aftermath” (by chuck wendig) was one of the books up for an award, and that if people had read and liked it it would be worth supporting. not because we’re all huge star wars fans though (even if that’s true…) — but because it’s the first book in the history of the franchise to feature three canonically gay characters, including the protagonist.

    in looking over the list further though, i’m realizing “aftermath” wasn’t the only book in the sci-fi category to have distinction of that kind. i haven’t read either of them yet, but i’ve heard the “welcome to night vale novel” features mentions and appearance(s?) by the podcast’s narrator and his boyfriend, and i also know from several other bloggers i follow that “ancillary mercy” by anne leckie has a non-binary protagonist. (they’ve also mentioned a character that’s apparently really, really easily read as ace, but as far as i know that hasn’t been confirmed by the author. then again, this is all coming from someone who hasn’t read the book!)

    in any case, i just thought that was interesting. i don’t think i’m about to advocate for an “LGBTQ+ sci-fi” category — i’d rather see queer characters normalized in sci-fi (and other genres, i suppose, but. guess what i mostly read….) in general, first. we’ve got a long enough way to go there — i know the backlash after “aftermath” came out was pretty vicious, which was why we were trying to get the word out that people could support it. which while frustrating did still manage to make me laugh more than i should have when someone’s negative review of the book complained it had “too many women and too much gay”. (i personally think this is a terrible overstatement, and that it had a fairly average number of both women and gay. although that did include combining the two and having gay women, which i approve of.)

    i mean, as far as i know, those are the only ones in the category to feature any LGBTQ+ characters at all, and that leaves us with 3/20 hitting the mark, and one of them being marginal in the first place. but while i’m annoyed that i have to have such low expectations for getting representation at all, i will admit that i do in fact have them and got excited in spite of myself

    • nevillegirl says:

      Yeah, I don’t agree with splitting LGBTQ+ books into genre categories either, but I think sorting it according to demographics (adult, YA, etc) would be helpful. At the very least, I want a category for LGBTQ+ books. Or just a category for diverse books in general? That would be amazing, and I think it would really raise awareness about the push for diverse books.

      I need to read Aftermath!

      Omgggg I should make “too many women and too much gay” the new tagline for this blog! 😛

      Same, though? I get really happy about, IDK, finding middle grade books with LGBTQ+ protagonists, and I gush about how much more accepting writers are becoming, and then I realize that there’s still only a handful of middle grade books like that. So I have complicated feelings about that.

  5. orphu44 says:

    Did you join for the TCWT Book Club because I also have an October 2012 Goodreads account that I didn’t start to use until much later … although in my case I only started using it in the past few months. I didn’t vote for anything, though, since I’d only read two of the books out of the entire thing (Furiously Happy and Carry On). But I love looking at all of the nominations even if I’d never picked them up.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Yeah, I did! 🙂 Ehehe, that’s weird that we both joined because of that… what’s your Goodreads user name? I’ll send you a friend request. ❤

      What did you think of Furiously Happy and Carry On? I still haven't read them.

  6. Pingback: Thoughts On The 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards (Kind Of) | Musings From Neville's Navel

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