Sunday, 1 January 2012

The 2011 Tony's Reading List Awards

Welcome to the third annual Tony's Reading List Awards, a special time when we celebrate the literary successes of the previous year's reading and shine a light on some rather less impressive books, making sure they get the derision they deserve.  It's only fair :)

So, without further ado, let's begin!

First up is the Most-Read Author Award for 2011:

1=) Anthony Trollope and Steven Carroll (5)
3=) Haruki Murakami, Yasunari Kawabata and Franz Kafka (4)

Trollope retains the title he won last year, but only in a tie with first-time contender, Aussie Steven Carroll.  With about fifty novels published though, I'd bet Trollope is the more likely to be there or thereabouts again next year :)

Next, it's time for the Most-Read Country Award:

1) Germany (26)
2) England (21)
3) Australia (20)
4) Japan (16)

A big change here in 2011!  For the first time, my country of birth has been knocked off its throne, thanks largely to my renewed interest in German-language literature and two (!) G-lit months last year.  In fact, England almost fell to third place thanks to a new-found interest in contemporary Australian fiction.

Another interesting statistic is that of the 123 books I read last year, 64 were originally written in a language other than English (of which I read 38 in the original language).  For the first time, translated fiction wins!

The Golden Turkey Award goes to the book that was... well, the biggest waste of time this year.  This is a highly subjective decision; basically this award goes to the book I most regret having read!  2011 was, by and large a good year for reading, but there were several less-than-excellent books.  I eventually came up with a short-list of three contenders:

And the winner (or loser...) is... Michael Kohlhaas!  In a bad day for the German nobility, it's Kleist's novella which takes home the drumsticks.  Despite a high body count and a meeting with Martin Luther, this is one German classic I won't be rereading in a hurry.

Now it's time to move onto the big one, the Book of the Year, and my task has been made a little easier this year by the introduction of my monthly wrap-up posts.  The choice for Book of the Year is limited to my monthly recommendations - all sixteen of them (yes, I know...):

April - When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

A wonderful collection of books, I'm sure you'll agree :)  By nationality, there were four from Japan, four from Australia, three from Austria, two from England and one each from China, the Czech Republic and New Zealand.  In terms of writers, both Steven Carroll and Kenzaburo Oe were represented twice on the list.

So, what book takes out the main award?  The Book of the Year Award for 2011 goes to:

Steven Carroll's The Glenroy Trilogy :)

Yes, for the third year in a row, I've cheated massively and made a series my book of the year!  Apologies to Shusaku Endo and Kenzaburo Oe, but Carroll's trilogy is the one to read.  For the record, the trilogy consists of:

and Spirit of Progress (a prequel to the original trilogy)

Quality contemporary fiction from Down Under - please check it out :)

That's all for 2011: it's time to look forward now and move on into another great year of reading (alternatively, you might want to look back at what I thought of 2009 and 2010...).  See you all again throughout 2012!