Examining the Goodreads Choice Award winners

Catherine Coles
Coles Notes

If you are a) a big reader and b) know how to use a computer, Goodreads and its annual readers’ choice awards should be high on your radar for reading inspiration.

The Goodreads Choice Awards, as they are called, are the bookish version of the People’s Choice Awards. The winners are entirely based on votes by readers, spanning multiple genre categories. The winners are usually the most-read, most-popular and otherwise most-newsworthy titles of the year – and a good place to start if you are looking to brush up on what are currently the buzziest books.

The winner for fiction (the big winner – think ‘best picture’) is Celeste Ng for Little Fires Everywhere, a tale of family dysfunction in the suburban utopia of Shaker Heights. Frederik Backman’s Beartown came in a close second with approximately 1,000 fewer votes.

Paula Hawkins, author of super-bestseller The Girl on the Train, took home a second win for her sophomore novel titled Into the Water. The runner up in the mystery/thriller category was Dan Brown’s Origin, a bestseller in its own right. Like Paul Hawkins, Andy Weir also took home his second prize for his second novel with his latest book Artemis. He also won the top prize in science fiction a few years ago thanks to his popular debut-turned-movie, The Martian.

It’s probably not much of a surprise that perennial favourite Stephen King won in horror for his new book written with son Owen King, Sleeping Beauties. This massive tome (it is 700-plus  pages!) completely annihilated the competition. Others eligible for the category were well-established authors such as Neil Gaiman and Anne Rice – but with the resurgence of King popularity, likely thanks to the release of the new adaptation of It, Gaiman and Rice couldn’t even come within 40,000 votes of Sleeping Beauties.

Hillary Clinton took the top spot in the category of memoir and autobiography for her account of what happened (or failed to happen) during last year’s American election, aptly titled What Happened.

Another big winner was Angie Thomas and her smash young adult hit, The Hate U Give. This novel not only won “Best Young Adult Fiction” over John Green (long hailed the king of young adult) and his new novel Turtles All the Way Down by a significant margin, but it also won the Debut Goodreads Author prize in a complete landslide. The Hate U Give is a very timely book that has resonance with the Black Lives Matter movement. Plus, there is a movie adaptation in the works so I don’t expect that it will wane in popularity anytime soon. If you are looking for the current must-read teen book to gift for Christmas, this is it.

To view the full list of winners, head on over to goodreads.com. Next, visit www.countylibrary.ca to place a hold on the winners that interest you most. Happy reading!

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