Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Salon: Book Awards II Challenge Completed

Another reading challenge successfully completed! Even though I tell myself that it's ok if I don't fully complete all the challenges I join, I still feel great when I do finish them in time. The goal of the Book Awards II challenge was to read 10 books between August 1st, 2008 and June 1st, 2009. During that time I managed to read 11 award-winning books. This time, there was also the added goal of having at least five different awards represented in our 10 titles. It's wasn't intentional but the 11 books I read each won a different award, therefore representing 11 different awards. I'm kind of pleased about that.

Books completed:
1. Maus I & II - Art Spiegelman (Pulitzer Prize, 1992)
2. Perfume - Patrick Süskind (World Fantasy Award, 1987)
3. Grotesque - Natsuo Kirino (Izumi Kyoka Literary Award, 2003)
4. The Sandman: Endless Nights - Neil Gaiman (Bram Stoker Award for Best Illustrated Narrative, 2003)
5. An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro (Whitbread Book of the Year, 1986)
6. Monster - Naoki Urasawa (Shogakukan Award for Best Manga, 2001)*
7. The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman (Newbery Medal, 2009)
8. Skim - Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki (Ignatz Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel, 2008)
9. Still Life - Louise Penny (Arthur Ellis Award - Best First Novel, 2006/Anthony Award - Best First Novel, 2007)
10. Looking for Alaska - John Green (Printz Award, 2006)
11. No Great Mischief - Alistair MacLeod (IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, 2001)

*(I guess including this one might technically be cheating since I think the award was given for the series as a whole, and I've only read the first book. I do hope to continue on with the series though.)

Best book(s) I read for the challenge?
Hmmm, there were quite a few that I really enjoyed but I guess the most impressive were Maus I & II, and The Graveyard Book.

Book(s) I could have done without?
I suppose I could have done without Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino, since I was so disappointed with it, but all of the others were very much worth reading.

Any new authors? Will I read them again?
Yes, quite a few new-to-me authors in this bunch. Art Spiegelman, Patrick Süskind, Naoki Urasawa, Mariko & Jillian Tamaki, Louise Penny, John Green and Alistair MacLeod were all authors I'd never read before. Of those I'd most like to read more by Louise Penny (to continue with her Inspector Gamache series) and John Green (because I'm curious about his other books), but I would happily read something else by any of them.
Of the authors I'd read before, I really want to read more by Kazuo Ishiguro. Neil Gaiman made the list twice this time and I'm sure I'll be reading more by him as well.

Best thing about the challenge?
I said it when I wrapped up the the first Book Awards Challenge and it's true again this time. The best thing was probably reading a variety of books from a variety of literary awards. As you can see in the list above, I read award-winning graphic novels, fantasy, YA novels, a mystery, literary fiction. Quite a nice mix, really! And it was again nice to have a little nudge to read some of the books that had been waiting to be read for far too long.

A few of the books that I read for the challenge this time were ones I'd had in mind when I made my list for the challenge last year, but I didn't get to all of them and I still have other book award winners waiting on my shelves. It would make sense to join the 3rd round but I think I'm going to hold off this time. I'm feeling like I already have enough challenges on the go at the moment, a couple of which I haven't even started yet! I do like reading award winners though, and might very well be tempted to join in again next year. Thanks so much for hosting 3M!

As for what I've been reading this week, I thoroughly enjoyed the short fairy tale, The King's Bride by E.T.A. Hoffmann and hope to have a review up this coming week. And now I'm about half way through Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel, and love what I've read so far. So even though my reading time has suffered a bit because of preparations for moving, the quality has been excellent! Tomorrow I'm going to start packing all my books. Wish me luck!

Week in review:
May Movies
'Looking for Alaska' by John Green
'No Great Mischief' by Alistair MacLeod


  1. Congratulations on finishing the challenge! And best of luck with packing your book. I've been there recently, so I feel your pain.

  2. Congratulations on finishing your challenge! Have a great week.

  3. Congrats on finishing the challenge!

  4. Congrats on finishing the challenge! I did it too.

  5. I've just recently started reading Maus I and am thoroughly enjoying it, although I find I spend most of my time reading the text and not really looking at the drawings. Makes me wonder if I really like the idea of a graphic novel (this is my first).

    Good luck with the packing!!

  6. Congrats on finishing the challenge. I am in the middle of Sandman vol. 1 and I can't seem to put it down.

  7. Congratulations on finishing the challenge. I have Perfume and Maus I and II on my summer reading list.

    Good luck with packing.

  8. Hi Nat! I was going through old blog posts of mine and clicked your blog link. I didn't know you made the big move from blogspot to your own domain! Congrats with that!

    Will be going back to Japan again in October. Hope the H1N1 virus will be gone by that time!

  9. Nymeth - Thanks. I love having lots of books, except when I have to pack and move all of them! LOL.

    Thanks Gavin, Memory, and Teddy Rose!

    Les - Thanks! I still do that too sometimes. I find I have to consciously stop and look at the art. Maus really is quite moving, I'm glad you're enjoying the story at least. :)

    Jess - I've only read Endless Nights but someday I'd like to read the whole Sandman series.

    Vasilly - Those'll make for some interesting reading over the summer. Happy reading!

    Grace - October is a ways away still, so I imagine it'll be fine by then. :)

  10. Congratulations on finishing your challenge!

    How is the book packing going by the way? Hopefully the books won't be packed away for too long before you are able to put them up in the new place!

  11. Iliana - Thanks! The book packing always seems to take longer than I think it will! I'm hoping that once we move all our stuff in, there will still be enough space to buy one more shelf, of which I am in desperate need. I am looking forward to unpacking all the boxes though and organizing them. :P

    Thanks 3M, and thanks for hosting!

  12. I am not going to finish this challenge this June...I wonder if I could have an extension until January. ;) Congratulations to you, though, who completed it beautifully! I liked how you summarized the best and worst parts, too.

  13. Bellezza - Thanks. It was fun discovering some book awards I hadn't been too familiar with before. And sure, why not give yourself an extension? But maybe you'll be too busy reading Japanese literature for your own challenge. :P


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