Hey everyone! I’m back with part 2 of my wrap up for the Goodreads Choice Awards reading challenge. If you missed part 1 where I talked about books 1-6, you can check it out here. Hope you enjoy!
*- Selected the runner up because the winner in this category was a second/third installment of a series or I read the winner already.
7. Science Fiction: Vox by Christina Dalcher*
Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed to speak more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.
This is just the beginning.
Vengeful received the most votes in this category, but I didn’t add it to my TBR because I strongly dislike V.E. Schwab’s writing. I’m not a masochist. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown came in second. I skipped that one also. It’s the 4th book in a series. So, I ended up with Vox by Christina Dalcher. This was a snoozefest. I DNF’d it at 102 pages. I have nothing else to say.
8. Humor: The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money—as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman—to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend.
This is a book I wouldn’t have picked up if it weren’t for this experiment. I like Tiffany; however, I didn’t have an interest in her reading her book. I listened to the audiobook and it truly felt like a stand up act. Tiffany’s funny, brutally honest, and overall a great storyteller, which I already knew because of this hilarious swamp tour story. That said, this lacked a cohesive narrative and there was a chapter where Tiffany talked about dating a disabled man that made me uncomfortable. I cringed a lot through that chapter. 3.5 stars.
9. Memoir: Educated by Tara Westover
Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.
I said everything I had to say about this book in my rant discussion here, but let me just say this was a wild reading experience. I borrowed the audiobook from the library and things were going pretty well until chapter 20 when I heard the narrator say n***er. I thought I misheard, but she said it again. And again. And 13 more times after that. I sat the audiobook aside and never picked it up again after that. I was uncomfortable with Tara’s use of the N-word in telling her story. DNF. Becoming by Michelle Obama should’ve won.
10. Biography: The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King
Fred Rogers (1928–2003) was an enormously influential figure in the history of television and in the lives of tens of millions of children. As the creator and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he was a champion of compassion, equality, and kindness. Rogers was fiercely devoted to children and to taking their fears, concerns, and questions about the world seriously.
I listened to the audiobook for this and as someone who grew up watching PBS programming, I thought the audiobook was dope because it’s narrated by THEE LAVAR BURTON (host of Reading Rainbow for those who are unfamiliar). I didn’t like the writing because it was too repetitive, but I learned a lot about Mr. Rogers‘ life. 3.5 stars.
11. Poetry: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace
The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.
I haven’t read many poetry collections so take whatever I say with a grain of salt, but I disliked this style of poetry. A lot. I don’t understand how this beat The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo for best poetry. I need a recount because HOW SWAY? I gave it 1/5 stars only because I liked the message behind it.
12. Debut Author: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn*
Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
Personally, I think The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang should’ve won this category, but I’m not mad about the winner: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. Because I read COBAB when it came out last year, I read the book that came in second place, The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. Not a terrible book, but definitely not second place worthy. It’s a middle-of-the-road thriller. The twists are predictable. The writing is fine, but it’s mostly dialogue and not quite as suspenseful. 3/5 stars.
P.s. According to the NYT, A.J. Finn is a fucking fraud. I didn’t know that until after I read this book. What a tool.
If you follow me on social media, then you probably know that I hate the Goodreads Awards. You probably also know that I’m very SALTY and BITTER about The Kingdom of Copper and The Dragon Republic losing to Ninth House for best fantasy this year. I knew everyone was going to vote for Ninth House because it’s Leigh Bardugo, but I wanted to be wrong. I was so disappointed when I looked at the number of votes The Kingdom of Copper and The Dragon Republic received.
Anyways, I’m glad I did this experiment because I discovered some new authors and I’ve come to the conclusion that winning a GR Awards isn’t an indicator of how great a book is. Reading is subjective so it’s impossible to cast unbiased votes, but there has to be a better way for GR to run this award.