2011 Quo Legatis Book Awards

It’s been a tough year, reading-wise.  Especially the last half of the year – we had a move and a new baby.  That kind of stuff really eats into your reading time!  I tried to get at least 1 book per month and succeeded except for October (baby month!), although I kind of “cheated” a bit this fall by reading shorter books.

Category 2009 2010 2011
Classics 1 2 3
Fantasy 2 3 5
Fiction 2 2
Non-fiction 6 10 6
Sci-fi 7 3 6
YA 5 1
Religion 1
Grand Total 18 26 21

The overall numbers aren’t too far off the previous years, but I’m not terribly happy with the results.  I need to read more next year!  Also I did too much re-reading this year: the Foundation series and a few others.   Although these books are all highly recommended, I really didn’t get as much out of them (in terms of enjoyment or insight) as the first time.  Not really a fan of re-reading things; the first time is always best.  I won’t re-read anything in 2012.

Not to say that I didn’t read anything good in 2011; far from the case!  I do have some awards to give!

Best Non-fiction: Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling.  Really learned a lot about Joseph.  Faith-affirming and inspiring to see how Joseph always tried to do what he thought was right, and how the church and its doctrine progressed by degrees as revelation came.

Non-fiction Runner-up: Over the Edge of the World.  What an adventure!  The back story about Portugal v Spain, his mutinous crew, and many other details about Magellan’s voyage really highlight how amazing their accomplishment was and how alien of a world (several really) they traveled through.

Best Fiction: Titus Groan.  Loved the different personalities.  I think it is hard for authors to have really different “voices” sometimes, but Mervyn Peake nailed it.  I don’t know why I haven’t continued with the sequel yet … next year!

Fiction Runner-up: Perdido Street Station.  Great bit of world building.  I would never want to live in New Crobuzon (too dirty/gritty/base), but it’s a fascinating melting pot of weirdness ripe for storytelling.  I liked how it wasn’t a convenient “happy” ending, but the ending was a little disappointing all the same – the main plot driver, getting back the power of flight, is never solved.

However that brings me to …

Special Award for Best Ending: The Glass Bead Game.  More than anything else I read (or listened to) this year, the ending to The Glass Bead Game had me incredulously muttering/shouting to myself “What???  Huh – how … ???  Like that?”  But the more I thought about it, the more beautiful it was.  I think I’ll remember it for a long time.


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