The year in books 2012

21:07, Dec 20 2012

This is the last post of the year for Reading is Bliss, and what a wonderful ride writing this blog has been so far.

It has been an honour to see how many well-read, intelligent, witty and literary folk are lurking all around the country, and my hope is that the blog will continue to serve as a discussion forum for all of you to air your opinions about books and reading. 

Christmas is just around the corner by the time you read this, and then the blogs will go on hiatus for a couple of weeks. So as a fitting swan song to 2012, and looking ahead to another exciting blogging year in 2013 for Reading is Bliss - I thought I'd celebrate with an impromptu literary awards ceremony.

Best Author Interview
I've had the privilege of talking to some extremely cool writers this year and it was a very tough decision, but "Best Author Interview" would have to go to fellow cat fiend Joanne Harris. That's because she gave me the line that I think should govern everyone's romantic lives: "I don't think being a romantic is unrealistic. It's dangerous, of course - but it's dangerous to be alive. We need not worry about things being dangerous."

Best Literary Lesson
Salman Rushdie, for reminding us all that memoirs should never be written in the third person. It a) defeats the purpose of an autobiography, and b) makes him sound like a d-bag. Have a read of Joseph Anton if you want to know what I'm talking about. It's a big doorstop of a book though, so set aside at least a few days.

Favourite Life Lesson from Books
That would have to go to Cheryl Strayed's excellent Tiny Beautiful Things, which will make you weep in parts, and giggle uncontrollably at some fundamental truths in others. Here is a line from it that I think is apt for the New Year: "I'll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don't choose. We'll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn't carry us. There's nothing to do but salute it from the shore."


Best Literary Romantic Hero
Rhett Butler. Not only by my admission, but that of other blog readers. Why is he the ultimate literary male lead? Let me counteth the ways! Rhett is devoted to one woman, but not in a limpid, pining-away, Keats way. He loves Scarlett despite her flaws, and he loves her like a man, not a boy. No hearts and flowers shite to see here.

Saddest Author Death
Bryce Courtenay. The Power of One was a fantastic book that will continue to influence readers for decades after his death. Who can ever forget that magical line: "first with the head, then with the heart"? It doesn't just apply to boxing! Honorary mention also goes to Han Suyin, author of A Many-Splendoured Thing.

Worst Book 2012
Fifty Shades of Grey. No comments on how easy it is to put down this book, please. Yes, it is easy to put down - but that's because it truly is awful, and also testament to the fact that getting published is a crapshoot. This is one over-hyped book that's proof of the sway marketing departments have over books. I feel comfortable panning Fifty Shades because let's face it, E.L. James is laughing at all her critics while sitting on her big pile of money in west London.

Best Book 2012
Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This is after some serious internal debate, as I really wanted The Twelve (the sequel to The Passage), to take this honour. Sadly, it didn't quite live up to the first book. The writing is fresh, lively and the storyline is fast-paced and interesting.

What literary awards would you give out for 2012?

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