Goodreads Book Awards Winners (and my challenge)

In case you haven’t noticed, the delightful website of bookish glory has announced their winners to the 2013 Book Awards. I’ve read a few of them, which is always lovely, but not the vast majority of them.

So here is the plan. My challenge (to myself) for 2014 is to read (re-read) the books that the good users of Goodreads chose as their top books of 2013. And to also read various other books that won awards this year (Costa, Waterstones, Man Booker, National etc. If you think of another one let me know and I’ll tackle the winner!)

I’ll have to come up with a list and post it here to keep myself honest.

But! Here are the winners of this year’s Goodreads book awards:

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Goodreads Is Doing It Again!

The delightful Goodreads is holding their very own “Best Book of 2013” vote-athon!! This I love. I really REALLY do. Because, while I have great respect for book awards, very often they are not always the books that everyone reads over the year.

Goodreads Candidates

They’re generally books we all pick up after it wins or is put on the short list, but I don’t know that we all generally

go out and pick up some of these books before they make it on to  that list.

So, to have Goodreads hold an annual “Best of” for it’s members to vote in makes me all ten kinds of happy. Voting is going to last all month, with three rounds of voting:

  • Opening Round – Nov. 4-9
  • Semifinals- Nov. 11-16
  • Finals- Nov. 18-25

Now, the initial 15 books in each category were chosen by Goodreads, but after that, we the readers! Get to pick the winners in each of the 20 categories, which is just all ten kinds of cool!

If you are a Goodreads member you should definitely go vote for your favorite. You only get to vote once in each round, but it’s so worth it to be able to be apart of choosing a book award.

Happy Voting!

❤ Alissa

Romance Novels, A Study

Now, this isn’t so much a book review as it is a thought on a book genre. So, most of what I’ve read this year has been young adult novels, which are generally fantastic and I love them. But over the course of the  year I’ve found that I have sporadic bursts of romance novels. Where in I read anywhere between three and six romance novels in a row. And clearly I’m having one of the bursts now, I’m on book 3.

This isn’t a bad thing per say, but it does put me in a rather awkward position of desperately wanting someone to share my life with in a relationship-y kind of way. So, it doesn’t help when Army-Dude shows up and is moderately fantastic in the knee weakening kind of way.

BUT, this is not for my own personal feelings.

Over the summer, I posted a list of 10 things I’d learned about romance novels after a 5-book binge. I originally posted them on my tumblr, but here they are for easy reads:

1. They are decidedly unfair.
2. They give you unrealistic expectations in life.
3. Men are never how they are in the books.
4. They are extraordinarily addicting.
5. You fall in love every time.
6. There is always a moment of heartbreak, but they always manage to fix it.
7. A meddling family member/friend is always on hand to help them realize their love.
8. Happily ever afters are the norm.
9. That moment when you realize ‘love at first glance’ isn’t a thing in real life and your heart breaks a little.
10. You read, safe in the knowledge that the pairing you want will always happen no matter what and that restores, at least somewhat, your faith in love.

The thing about romance is you really get sucked into them and, well, the romance of the situation. And I for one, find it difficult to come out of it, which is why I probably spend a week binging on regency romances or cowboy heros.

Honestly, the list pretty much says everything I need to about romance novels, but I feel the need to defend them as well.

The tendency to dismiss the Harlequin novels as drivel and ridiculousness is moderately insulting, because regardless of what you think of them, someone put the time into writing them and coming up with a plot, no matter how… lacking they might seem. I imagine it’s similar to how I feel about “50 Shades of Grey” – which yes, I’ve read under my own volition.

To me, romance novels are an escape when I feel like I’m alone. Reading in general is always an escape, but when it comes to romance novels I can find love and feel in love and I just love that.

It’s a weak argument for sure, but there it is. I love feeling loved and romance novels make it happen for me as I continue my adventures in single-hood.

So, there you are. My study into romance novels. Any more thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

❤ Alissa

Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2013

Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2013

Some of these are fairly interesting picks. I like looking at Publisher’s Weekly every so often to see what they’re thinking. I don’t always agree with them, but I like reading them.

Have you read any of these so far this year? Anything you really enjoyed thats not on the list?

❤ Alissa

An Open Letter to Rainbow Rowell

Dear Ms Rowell,

Was it your goal to rip my heart out and make me pain when writing ‘Eleanor and Park’? Did you intend to make me want to read a series that could never possibly hope to exist except in ‘Fangirl’?

I hope you realize Ms Rowell that you have successfully scared me with your written emotions and feels. I’m fangirl_eleanor and parkbattered and bruised from the reading of your stories and I hope you can handle knowing that. And yet, I find that my life would have been very much not the same had I not endeavored to read your books.

Because regardless of the pain and suffering that occurred while reading ‘Eleanor and Park’, I was able remember what it felt like to be in high school love. I felt awful for Park and even worse for Eleanor and desperately wanted there to be an epilogue to tell me that they’d found each other again somewhere. Because mostly, Eleanor deserved it.

Park deserved it too, since he put as much of his emotion into the relationship as she did, but OMG does Eleanor need to be loved better than she was. I want to know what happens to her evil Stepfather and her siblings and mother.

Beyond that, my heart ached with every page and I loved it. Beyond words

As for ‘Fangirl’. WHY CAN’T I READ SIMON SNOW IN REAL LIFE? I’d have devoured his world like I did this book. I read this book in minutes practically. I loved it beyond words.

You, Ms. Rowell, are clearly one of us. You captured our fangirl-ness to a T and I found it hilarious to relive my own freshman year through Cath.

I mean, I didn’t have an older man wanting me or a twin sister or a father clearly in the throws of depression, but I lived that life of freshman not knowing how to live in college and make new friends.

So thank you, Ms Rowell, for reminding me of my high school love and helping me to remember what it was like being on the outside of a group and unsure how or even if I wanted to be a part of it.

Yours, emotionally scarred and loving it,

Alissa ❤

It’s Banned Books Week!

It’s that time of year again when the American Library Association gets together and celebrates the books that were banned over the last year.

This is the 31st year of celebrating the reasons people think banning a book is okay. BBW12_ForbiddenPoster_close

Here is the top 10 most banned books in 2012 according to the Office for Intellectual Freedom:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey.
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
    Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence

In a panel Sunday morning at the Brooklyn Book Festival, frequently banned young adult author David Levithan told the group sitting in front of him that for ever group attempting to ban a book, there is a community of readers that back the book and fight for it to stay on the shelves.

Most libraries and bookstores around the country are celebrating Banned Books Week in their own special ways, so make sure you check out your local and support their efforts to keep all kinds of books on the shelves.

Because reading, even if its a view point you don’t agree with or understand, is ALWAYS important.

Keep reading!