Thursday, December 29, 2016

Robbie Awards

This year I published a book. But also, so far this year, I have read 127 of them - including several audiobooks and approximately 3 books I had read before. The total may yet go up before midnight on New Year's Eve. But I don't want to wait any longer to post this - especially with a Friday newspaper deadline looming tomorrow and no way to be sure I'll feel like writing anything Saturday. So, subject to amendment, here is My Year in Books for 2017:
  1. The Sunday Philosophy Club (Alexander McCall Smith)
  2. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (Alexander McCall Smith)
  3. Friends, Lovers, Chocolate (Alexander McCall Smith)
  4. The Iron Trial (Holly Black & Cassandra Clare)
  5. The Copper Gauntlet (Holly Black & Cassandra Clare)
  6. The Miracle at Speedy Motors (Alexander McCall Smith)
  7. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (Alexander McCall Smith)
  8. The Pigman (Paul Zindel)
  9. Kit's Wilderness (David Almond)
  10. Skellig (David Almond)
  11. The Right Attitude to Rain (Alexander McCall Smith)
  12. The Careful Use of Compliments (Alexander McCall Smith)
  13. The Double Comfort Safari Club (Alexander McCall Smith)
  14. Farewell, My Lovely (Raymond Chandler)
  15. The War of the Dwarves (Markus Heitz)
  16. The High Window (Raymond Chandler)
  17. The Night Tourist (Katherine Marsh)
  18. Demons of the Ocean (Justin Somper)
  19. The Greyfriar (Clay & Susan Griffith)
  20. The Rest Is Noise (Alex Ross)
  21. Ruby Holler (Sharon Creech)
  22. Alex and the Ironic Gentleman (Adrienne Kress)
  23. The Dulcimer Boy (Tor Seidler)
  24. Brothers Below Zero (Tor Seidler)
  25. Wild Robert (Diana Wynne Jones)
  26. The Gawgon and the Boy (Lloyd Alexander)
  27. Magician (Raymond E. Feist)
  28. Count Karlstein (Philip Pullman)
  29. The Hollow Hills (Mary Stewart)
  30. Mandy (Julie Andrews Edwards)
  31. Briar Rose (Jane Yolen)
  32. Mariah Mundi (G.P. Taylor)
  33. The Young Merlin Trilogy (Jane Yolen)
  34. The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha (Lloyd Alexander)
  35. The Teacher's Funeral (Richard Peck)
  36. Mr. Kafka (Bohumil Hrabal)
  37. Is Underground (Joan Aiken)
  38. Cold Shoulder Road (Joan Aiken)
  39. The Witch of Clatteringshaws (Joan Aiken)
  40. The Prisoner's Apprentice (Stephen Elboz)
  41. The Tower at Moonville (Stephen Elboz)
  42. Ghostlands (Stephen Elboz)
  43. The Byzantium Bazaar (Stephen Elboz)
  44. Out of the Dust (Karen Hesse)
  45. Witness (Karen Hesse)
  46. Lucinda's Magnificent Secret (H. Ellison Fethke)
  47. The Amulet (Alison Pensy)
  48. The Avion My Uncle Flew (Cyrus Fisher)
  49. Intellectuals (Paul Johnson)
  50. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
  51. The Little Book (Selden Edwards)
  52. Dream of Little Angels (Michael Hiebert)
  53. Career of Evil (Robert Galbraith [J.K. Rowling])
  54. The Lady in the Lake (Raymond Chandler)
  55. The Word Becoming Flesh (Horace D. Hummel)
  56. The Word of the Lord Grows (Martin H. Franzmann)
  57. The Emerald Staff (Alison Pensy)
  58. All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)
  59. The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man (W. Bruce Cameron)
  60. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J.K. Rowling)
  61. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling)
  62. The Great Zoo of China (Matthew Reilly)
  63. Ready Player One (Ernest Cline)
  64. The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (Alexander McCall Smith)
  65. I Have a Bad Feeling About This (Jeff Strand)
  66. What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World (Henry Clark)
  67. The Blackthorn Key (Kevin Sands)
  68. The Island of Dr. Libris (Chris Grabenstein)
  69. The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (Alexander McCall Smith)
  70. Pennyroyal Academy (M.A. Larson)
  71. The Long Goodbye (Raymond Chandler)
  72. The League of Beastly Dreadfuls (Holly Grant)
  73. Anyone but Ivy Pocket (Caleb Krisp)
  74. The Last Enchantment (Mary Stewart)
  75. The Eye of the World (Robert Jordan)
  76. Sidekicked (John David Anderson)
  77. Downside Up (Richard Scrimger)
  78. Gears of Revolution (J. Scott Savage)
  79. Minion (John David Anderson)
  80. The Liszts (Kyo Maclear)
  81. Benjamin Dove (Fridrik Erlings)
  82. The Wishing World (Todd Fahnestock)
  83. The Evil Wizard Smallbone (Delia Sherman)
  84. Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of the Missing Goop (N. Griffin)
  85. Everton Miles Is Stranger Than Me (Philippa Dowding)
  86. Memoirs of a Sidekick (David Skuy)
  87. The Cartographer's Daughter (Kiran Millwood Hargrave)
  88. Helen and Troy's Epic Road Quest (A. Lee Martinez)
  89. Kappa (Ryunosuke Akutagawa)
  90. Pawn of Prophecy (David Eddings)
  91. Hercufleas (Sam Gayton)
  92. Chasing the Prophecy (Brandon Mull)
  93. When the Moon was Ours (Anna-Marie McLemore)
  94. The Crossover (Kwame Alexander)
  95. School Ship Tobermory (Alexander McCall Smith)
  96. Gypsy Rizka (Lloyd Alexander)
  97. Crenshaw (Katherine Applegate)
  98. Al Capone Does My Homework (Gennifer Choldenko)
  99. Hold Fast (Blue Balliett)
  100. School of Fear (Gitty Daneshvari)
  101. Bitterblue (Kristin Cashore)
  102. Etiquette & Espionage (Gail Carriger)
  103. The Boy Who Knew Too Much (Commander S.T. Bolivar III)
  104. Class Is Not Dismissed! (Gitty Daneshvari)
  105. The Final Exam (Gitty Daneshvari)
  106. Lilliput (Sam Gayton)
  107. The Diabolic (S.J. Kincaid)
  108. The Celestial Globe (Marie Rutkoski)
  109. The Jewel of the Kalderash (Marie Rutkoski)
  110. The Saturdays (Elizabeth Enright)
  111. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette (Jeanne Birdsall)
  112. Armada (Ernest Cline)
  113. The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  114. Temperament (Stuart Isacoff)
  115. A Grimm Warning (Chris Colfer)
  116. Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard (Jonathan Auxier)
  117. Nine Lives (Wendy Corsi Staub)
  118. Deeper Than the Dead (Tami Hoag)
  119. A Dog's Purpose (W. Bruce Cameron)
  120. The Lighthouse War (Adrian McKinty)
  121. Squashed (Joan Bauer)
  122. Secrets to the Grave (Tami Hoag)
  123. Repo Madness (W. Bruce Cameron)
  124. School for Sidekicks (Kelly McCullough)
  125. Hollow City (Ransom Riggs)
  126. Darkling Green (Kim Thompson)
  127. Silverthorn (Raymond E. Feist)
And now, just for fun, I present the inaugural Robbie Awards!

Critic's Choice
I'm a critic, kind of. And in my critical opinion, the best book on the above list, in terms of literary merit, is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

People's Choice
I'm people, too. And my favorite book on the above list, by dint of pure fun and popular appeal, is What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World by Henry Clark.

Best Newcomer
Some of my book reviews this year were based on pre-publication proofs. Of the ones I read shortly before they were released, I think the best was The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman.

Best Comeback
I don't limit my reading to new releases, however. In a tough decision, I reckon the "oldie" I most enjoyed rediscovering was Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler.

Best Audiobook
Again, this is a tough category, but I think I have to give it to Wil Wheaton's performance of Armada by Ernest Cline.

Best Documentary
This was not a very big year for me in terms of non-fiction reading. But out of the small group of competitors, the one that really stood out was The Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross.

Best Book Translated from a Foreign Language
This wasn't a very competitive category, but out of approximately three candidates, I'm going with The War of the Dwarves by Markus Heitz.

Best Short Subject
Again, the choices in this category are extremely limited. I read maybe two books all year that don't quite measure up to novel length. I guess the winner is The Liszts by Kyo Maclear.

Razzie Award (not!)
I'm not going to do this. But believe me, if I was going to honor the worst book I read this year, in the spirit of the Golden Raspberry Awards, I would have no trouble naming the winner.

It's all part of the fun of being a book addict. And now, to conclude my slightly premature, end-of-year wrap-up, I just ordered five books from Amazon as my New Year's gift to myself. I stopped at five because, apart from the one I ordered on Kindle, I wanted to go just over the $25 minimum to get free shipping. So, as a final clue to which books impressed me the most this year, here is what I ordered:

For Kindle: The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler, a book I've had a hard time finding in stores and libraries.

In mass-market paperback, with free shipping:
  • Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings - Book 2 of "The Belgariad." I shopped for it at two different bookstores during my last visit to St. Louis. In one store, I could have gotten it as part of an omnibus volume; but I hate omnibus volumes. The other store had every book in the series except Book 2.
  • The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan, Book 2 of "The Wheel of Time."
  • A Darkness at Sethanon by Raymond E. Feist, Book 4 of "The Riftwar Saga."
  • The Book That Proves Time Travel Happens by Henry Clark, author of the People's Choice Award winner above.
I thank you for reading with me. Won't you read with me again next year?

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