I mentioned in my Reading Goals for 2020 that I wanted to attempt to reading at least 1 book from several different GoodReads Choice Awards categories in order to help me branch out a little.
I specifically didn’t say the winners of said categories since I might not want to read the winner, it might not be something I’m able to read or (this is unlikely) I might have already read it.
I did set myself a small goal of attempting to pick books that weren’t already on my TBR or on my radar unless there were no others that appealed to me. At the end of the day, I’m not going to force myself to read something I suspect I’ll have no interest in and that I haven’t heard anything about from someone whose taste I know and am similar to.
So, with that said I did start by looking at the categories I enjoy the most (that were not Young Adult, though I did look at those too) and then move to genres I know I enjoy but don’t always gravitate to and then to genres I’m cautiously optimistic about. I didn’t look at genres I have no interest in, so no horror, thriller, poetry etc.
Lastly, I ended up creating two different shelves over on GoodReads. The first one has the same books on it as you’ll find in this post and they’re my initial pick. The other is a runner up shelf of books I can add as I get to the ones below (whether I finish or DNF). In some cases there are several from one genre because there were several that interested me, but other genres might just have the one book.
So, with that said, here are my initial pick of books I’d like to try that were nominated, and possibly won, the GoodReads Choice Awards.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.Read full blurb on GoodReads.
It seems like I’ve chosen a lot of books that either deal with time directly as in time travel, that happen in the past or that deal with events of the past affecting the present.
This one is no different. I liked the sound of this one, and it was one that I only came across because of the awards. I do have some other options in this genre as well, but a lot of them I’d already heard of and I figured my first item for the genre should be one that I hadn’t since it was actually possible this time around.
It sounds a little different to what I’m typically picking up, which makes me excited!
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Two time-traveling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters—and fall in love in this thrilling and romantic book from award-winning authors Amal-El Mohtar and Max Gladstone.Read full blurb on GoodReads.
I’m not the biggest lover of time travel, even if I do enjoy books set in the past. I’m not sure why that is, I don’t really have a specific reason I just know I’m not hugely into it as a theme.
That said, the premise of this one, two agents fighting to create the best future for their faction sound really interesting. Add to that the hint of romance and you’ve got me interested.
This was another genre where I had another option that I was already aware of (I don’t read much Sci-Fi so if you feel like I must be living under a rock for not having heard of it, you’re not wrong) as well as some that I hadn’t, but this got me most interested right now.
The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
What if you had a second chance at first love?Read full blurb on GoodReads.
Annika Rose likes being alone.
She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can’t read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn’t seen him for ten years. Until now that is. And she’s not sure he’ll want to see her again after what happened all those years ago.
I had a bit of a hard time choosing which one to add for this category. Both of the runner’s up in this category are books I think I’d really enjoy so this one I chose in part because it sounds a little bit different to what I’d typically go for.
The main character also sounds a little bit like me, which was another aspect that made me curious about it and made me want to read it and see what I think.
I’m not sure how this will read, somehow the cover and the blurb makes me think it’s more on the literary side, but that certainly doesn’t have to be the case.
I’m curious to see what it’s like when I pick it up.
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.Read full blurb on GoodReads.
I won’t lie, I did in part pick this up because it seemed like the less involved and heavy of the books in this category. It also features a main character that shares a similar interest to me which doesn’t hurt.
While there were other books in this category that seemed interesting, I’m trying my best to avoid books that deal with too heavy topics, are heartwrenchingly sad or just very literary in style.
Right now I’m not in a mental space to deal with the two former and I generally don’t enjoy the latter.
That said, I’m really looking forward to this one!
History & Biography
The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold
Miscast in the media for nearly 130 years, the victims of Jack the Ripper finally get their full stories told in this eye-opening and chilling reminder that life for middle-class women in Victorian London could be full of social pitfalls and peril.Read full blurb on GoodReads.
Back in junior high school and high school I was really fascinated by Jack the Ripper and I even wrote a paper on it for my English class in junior high (I might’ve been a bit of a morbid kid in school).
I still find it all very fascinating and it’s also were my love and interest in the Victorian era beyond crime comes from. While in university I wrote a paper on tourism in the Victorian era and I love learning new things about it.
Anyway, all of this is to say that this really speaks to the history lover in me AND the part of me that quite likes crime. The fact that I’m already familiar with the events means that I know I’m not going to be too surprised by gory details (and this seems more concerned with the victims pre-murder anyway) which is nice.
Science & Techonology
Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty
Every day, funeral director Caitlin Doughty receives dozens of questions about death. What would happen to an astronaut’s body if it were pushed out of a space shuttle? Do people poop when they die? Can Grandma have a Viking funeral?Read full blurb on GoodReads.
So. Based on what I said above the fact that I adore Caitlin Doughty’s youtube channel should come as no surprise. While I don’t enjoy gore, I do enjoy more morbid and mortal things.
Death as such is probably the most mortal thing out there. It’s also the one that scares people the most and affects everyone in some manner.
I haven’t read her other two books, though I’ve been meaning to for ages, so this seems like a good place to start.
Death itself doesn’t get to me, it’s the process of dying that is really horrible. Once you’re dead, well, you’re dead so at least there’s that.
Young Adult Fiction
Lovely War by Julie Berry
A sweeping, multi-layered romance with a divine twist, by the Printz Honor-winning author of The Passion of Dolssa, set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II.Read full blurb on GoodReads.
It’s 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She’s a shy and talented pianist; he’s a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it’s immediate and deep—and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.
So, I feel like I need to add the last bit of this blurb here as well;
Thirty years after these four lovers’ fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II.
I mean. This sounds interesting as is, but then you add in Greek Gods and it sounds like it could be a little weird (in a very good way!) as well!
I have other options for this genre, but I’ve been craving history (as you might be able to tell) so that’s why this one won out.
Part of me can’t wait, another knows that the era it’s set in isn’t exactly a fun one so… We’ll see how it goes.
Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.Read full blurb on GoodReads.
It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
Remember how I mentioned above that there might be a chance that some of the books might be ones I had already added to my TBR/had heard of? Yeah. I could lie and say I hadn’t heard of any of the YA Fantasy ones but… I have.
So in this case I went with what spoke to me the most (a book set in the past? It’s almost like I have a running theme!) and what I’m most excited to get to.
Last year I made myself not pick up any new series that weren’t finished or that had just released.
This was one of them and it has been painful to wait to read it. So I’m so excited to finally be able to read it!
And there you have it! 8 books from 8 different categories from the GoodReads Choice Awards.
I didn’t add anything from the Debut Books category because a few of the runner’s up are actually in that category and if I get to them I also get to debut books.
Like I mentioned in my Reading Goals 2020 post I’ll try and update you on how this challenge is going and add new books/categories as I progress through things.
But for now, this is where I’m at.
Do you have any plans of reading any of the nominees (or winners) of the GoodReads Choice Award? Or have you already read them? If so, what did you think?