So I don’t know about you guys, but I not only read a lot of book blogs, I watch A LOT of BookTube. For the uninitiated, BookTube is basically the amazing little corner of YouTube where book people reside. Although probably the most subscribed channels are YA centric, there are BookTubers out there for you no matter what kind of reading you like to do — classics, adult books, mysteries, whatever! I love watching book reviews almost as much as I love reading them, to be honest. And one really cool thing that BookTube has that we bloggers haven’t really gotten into as much are Tag Videos. Basically, a tag video is when one person comes up with a bunch of bookish questions, answers them, and then tags a few people to also answer them. All of a sudden, all of the people you are subscribed to are answering questions about books, and not just reviewing specific books, which I actually think gives you a really cool insight into their likes/dislikes generally and provides a new way to talk about books – which is what we are all here to do, right?!
Recently I was watching Regan on Peruse Project and she did a really awesome tag called Bookish Academy Awards. The tag was originally created by Kayla at BOOKadooodles and I just freaking loved it. After watching Epic Reads do the *Book Shimmy* awards and getting super excited for the actual Oscars coming up in March, I personally couldn’t wait to weigh in on this tag.
All of my winners come from the 135 books I read in 2013; not necessarily books published in 2013. You can see all the eligible nominees on my Goodreads page here. Hope you all enjoy!
Welcome to the 2013 Bookish Academy Awards!
1. BEST ACTOR / BEST MALE PROTAGONIST
Hands down, my favorite male protagonist that I discovered in 2013 was Gen from The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. Originally published in 2005, this series follows Gen, who has a reputation for being able to steal anything. Until, of course, he gets caught. He is released from prison in order to retrieve something for the King and what follows is a really fun adventure tale that keeps the reader guessing. Gen is hilarious, clever, devoted, and oh-so-fun to read.
2. BEST ACTRESS/ BEST FEMALE PROTAGONIST
Ok, you guys. This one was almost impossible. I met so many amazing females this year through my reading. Some very, VERY close contenders included Alanna from the Song of the Lioness quartet, Cinder from the Lunar Chronicles quartet, Eleanor from Eleanor & Park, Mary Russell from the wonderful Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series… the list seriously goes on and on. But my heart has to rule and this one goes to the wonderful (and overlooked in the blogosphere, I think) Josie Moraine from Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. Josie was one of my favorite female characters in a really long time. She is the 17-year-old daughter of a prostitute who was raised and lives in a brothel in New Orleans in the 1950s. She was so intelligent and independent, but also stuck in this terrible situation. I think Sepetys did a really amazing job with her character’s voice – she seemed absolutely real to me and stuck with me long after I finished reading.
3. BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY/ BEST PLOT TWIST
Oh how I adore The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. This was a re-read for me this year, but that didn’t lessen the fun of trying to figure out what was going to come next. This book is described by the blurb as “part Robin Hood/part Ocean’s Eleven,” and in many ways that is a great intro into what the book is about. But it misses the heart of the novel, which is falling in love with the hilarious, kind-hearted, brilliant Gentlemen Bastards. How the heist will come out is a twist in and of itself, but all kinds of things about this book kept me guessing until the very last page. Don’t read it if you don’t like cursing, but otherwise, run to your local bookstore and check it out ASAP!
4. BEST COSTUME DESIGN / BEST BOOK COVER
The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson. I feel like this one speaks for itself. DAT COVER!! I love how perfectly it fits the story as well. You miiiight be seeing this one pop up again in a future category, so for now I’ll leave it at that.
5. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS AND ACTOR / BEST MALE AND FEMALE SIDEKICK
Ok, I’m making this one a bit more of an ensemble award. I really love all of the side characters (basically, read as, anyone other than Alina) in Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, which is the second book in the Grisha Trilogy. Never has a fandom been so torn on the appropriate love interest for a main character, seriously. Between the Darkling, Mal, and oh-my-goodness Sturmhond, this book is chock full of really fun-to-read guys. I call them all side characters because no one male character is really at the center of the story. And as for females, I really adored Tolya, who was a kick-butt female and a really strong point of the novel for me.
6. BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY / MOST UNIQUE PLOT/WORLD
This one absolutely has to go to the gorgeously realized Fairyland series by Catherynne M. Valente. I actually read all three of the books that are currently out in this series this year, and all three just build upon each other so well. Fairyland is a modern-day Wonderland and I want to go there immediately. Not to make too many comparisons to Alice in Wonderland, but reading these novels is truly like falling down the rabbit hole. I start and I read and I am completely lost to the real world and so thoroughly enmeshed in Fairyland for the entire time that I am reading the book – it is really unlike anything else I have ever read.
6. BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY / BEST BOOK-TO-MOVIE ADAPTATION
Ok, this is where I admit that apparently I did not read a single book in 2013 that has been turned into a movie that I have seen. Whoops! And I don’t really keep track well enough of movies that I watch to recall whether there was a movie I saw this year that has also been a book that I read at any other point in my life. So, barring that, I will share the book that I would most LIKE to see a book-to-movie adaptation of, and that is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I think this book was so visual in the telling that it would be amazing to see it come to life on the big screen. I think it’s also possible that the few things that annoyed me about the book (insta-love and slightly draggy) could be cleaned up by a screenplay, so win-win!
7. BEST ANIMATED FEATURE / BOOK THAT WOULD WORK WELL IN ANIMATED FORMAT
I’m trying not to repeat books to often here, but Best Animated Feature really has to go to the Fairyland novels again. I almost can’t even imagine an effective live action adaptation of these novels. It is such a fantastically drawn, beautiful world that would be the most amazing animated feature.
9. BEST DIRECTOR / AUTHOR YOU DISCOVERED FOR THE FIRST TIME
2013 was an amazing reading year for me and for discovering new to me authors. Some very close runners up included A.S. King, Merrie Haskell, Laini Taylor and Rainbow Rowell. But the award really has to go to the incomparable Melina Marchetta, author of one of my absolute favorite novels of 2013, On the Jellicoe Road. Marchetta’s writing is just utterly perfect to me. I have since read a few of her other novels and writings and every time I have been legitimately sad that I will never again be able to read those books for the first time. Jellicoe Road absolutely wrecked me. It was lyrical and absolutely pitch-perfect when it came to writing teens in the process of learning who they really are. Highly recommended.
10. BEST VISUAL EFFECTS / BEST ACTION IN A BOOK
Perhaps because this book was so superhero-ish in tone, I can totally imagine Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson as a movie with some amazing action scenes. There were a few really big, memorable action scenes in this book and they were all written really well. I felt like I could completely picture what was going on and how it all fit together. Adding a superhero element to any novel is going to immediately make it seem more epic, but this book particularly made it feel like the reader was right there in the middle of it all. The grand final battle was so visually written and just perfection.
11. BEST MUSICAL SCORE / BEST MUSIC IN A MOVIE-TO-BOOK ADAPTATION
Again, this is going to be a bit different because I haven’t actually seen any movies of books I read in 2013. However, Epic Reads posted a really amazing playlist curated by Rae Carson meant to go with her novel, The Girl of Fire and Thorns. It’s available on Spotify, and I listen to it all the freaking time. SO GOOD!
12. BEST SHORT FILM / BEST NOVELLA
This will surprise exactly NO ONE who has listened to me talk at all about novellas or books or Brandon Sanderson anytime in the last year or so, but my absolute favorite novella of last year (and possibly all time?) has to be The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson. And this actually won the Hugo Award for Best Novella last year, so it’s not just me saying this, people! Sanderson tackles in under 200 pages what makes a person himself. And he managed to throw in a really awesome, well-conceived magic system, and a novella that seemed sweeping despite almost entirely taking place inside of one room. If you like any Sanderson at all, and especially if you’ve never given his novels a chance, try this one. It’s less than 200 pages, you can read it in a night. DO IT!!
13. BEST PICTURE / BEST STANDALONE
Ok, this one was also really difficult. If I wasn’t trying not to repeat too much, it’s possible this one would have gone to On the Jellicoe Road. But man, oh man, did I also really love Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Eleanor and Park were both amazing, painful, wonderful characters to read. Their fledgling love story was so natural and perfectly written. I got so invested that I was completely tempted to peak at the end, which I NEVER do. This novel was in turns beautiful and painful; jubilant and heartbreaking. It is definitely one of my top reads of 2013.
14. BEST DOCUMENTARY / BEST HISTORICAL FICTION OR NON-FICTION
I have avoided ties anywhere else, but in this category it couldn’t be avoided. I just really don’t have the opportunity on this blog to gush about my second true love – great historical fiction – that often. And last year I read two really wonderful pieces of historical fiction that I definitely recommend you check out. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel is actually the second book in a series following Thomas Cromwell. Both this book and its predecessor, Wolf Hall, won the Man Booker Prize. I personally loved the second installment slightly more than the first. Mantel showcases the softer side of Cromwell in a way that is so well-researched but still highly readable. You really get lost in the time period and are right on the edge of your seat the whole time, despite obviously knowing what ends up happening to Anne Boleyn at the end.
My other favorite historical fiction this year was Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman. This one follows Richard on his Third Crusade. Like all of Penman’s works, they are just gorgeously written and perfectly researched. If you’re new to her writings, I would actually start with The Sunne in Splendour, but you really can’t go wrong with her work.
And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed this and maybe I will keep my eye out for some other fun tags to bring to the world of book blogging. If you’d like to do this yourself, I’d love to read it – please link it below and I’ll come check out your winners!