Bookish Academy Awards 2019
Other than being “the month of love” thanks to Valentine’s day, February is also known as Oscars-months among movie-fans. Of course, us booklovers can’t pass this opportunity up, and have created our own version of the famous award-season in the form as a booktag: The Bookish Academy Awards originally created by Raegan at Peruse Project. It’s one of my personal favourite tags to see other readers do, so for the second year now, I’ll be doing my own version of it. Just like the real Academy Awards, the nominees will come from last calendar year. In my case: all the books I read in 2019. Unlike the real Academy Awards however, I want to feature as many of my favourite books as possible, so each book will only be able to win in 1 category. That might mean some surprising answers, even for those of you who’ve read my favourites of 2019, but that’s half the fun of it, right…?
BEST ACTOR best male protagonist
Matthew from Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak There is no book that deserves to win best male protagonist more than Bridge of Clay, as all of the Dunbar Boys are amazing and deserved this spot. That did mean I struggled a little to pick just one of them, but in the end the true protagonist and narrator of the novel Matthew took the cake. Realistic, relatable, heartfelt and written as if they could step right of the page, the Dunbar Boys will have a special place for me for years to come.
BEST ACTRESS best female protagonist
Jo from Where The Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah If you’ve followed me over the past year, or read my favourite books of 2019 list, you will know already why I loved this one so much. If not, I will direct you to that particular post, so you can read some of my reasoning behind it. In short: based on the experiences in my personal life over the year 2019, I related to few characters as much as to Jo. I sympathized with her struggles, admired her strength of character and loved to see the way she was able to create beautiful relationships with the other characters in this book. Even though she makes some dumb decisions throughout the story, her motives were so believable that I couldn’t even blame her. Throughout the course of the novel, Jo taught me things about myself, and began to feel like a dear friend in a way. What more could you want from a protagonist…?
BEST SUPPORTING CAST favourite side character(s) overall
The complete cast of The Diviners by Libba Bray Where I picked a single supporting character for this category last time, this year I choose to go for the best cast overall, which could only be The Diviners. I read the first two book in this quartet in 2019 and adored both of them for their vivid setting, atmospheric writing, gripping narrative but mostly their colourful cast of characters. Evi, Memphis, Jerigo, Sam, Henry, Theta and Mabel make for one of the best friend groups in YA literature, all distinct as can be in their personalities, but all equally well developed.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY best worldbuilding or favourite atmosphere
Semiosis by Sue Burke Although I read many books with incredible worldbuilding in 2019, I chose the one with the most “unique” take on an alien planet I’ve ever seen as my winner. Whereas many books have one foot firmly rooted in our real world and build from there, Semiosis threw every conventional idea of “extra-terrestrial” life out the window to create something new, to great success. This story of multiple generations of humans settling on a foreign planet where the dominant species is a type of sentient plant, was one of my biggest surprises of the year. This is an “alien-story” like you’ve never read before.
BEST SCREENPLAY best plot
Like with The Forest Meets the Stars; this winner isn’t going to be a surprise to anyone who followed me over the past year, as Middlegame also was at the top of my favourites of 2019 list. This epic sci-fi-fantasy novel, covering alchemy, dark sciences bordering on magic and the bond of a mysterious set of twins, was very divisive upon release. Chances are you will either love this with all your heart or absolutely dislike it. The best way to find out is to try this one for yourself if the description draws your attention. If your taste in fantasy is similar to mine, you have a good chance of finding a new favourite in Middlegame.
JUVENILE AWARD best middle-grade novel
August Isles by Ali Standish I’ve mentioned multiple times over the years that there’s a particular kind of middlegrade novels that has a special place in my heart: the type of hard-hitting middlegrade that deals with darker topics from the perspective of a child, to create this universally relatability that transcends the age bracket of the target audience. Exactly such a book is August Isle by Ali Standish. This coming of age novel about a brave young girl uncovering her family’s past during a summer trip to a small Floridian isle, has something beautiful in store for readers of all ages that have been a child at some point in time.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN favourite book cover
Wilder Girls – Rory Power I don’t suppose this needs much explanation: just look at this cover! I adore the art by Regina Flath and Aykut Aydogdu, and love how the beautiful yet slightly unsettling vibe fits the book perfectly.
BEST DOCUMENTARY best non-fiction
This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay It’s not a surprise that the medical student in me again gravitated towards a medical-non fiction for this category. I picked This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay, as it was one of those painfully relatable books that shows some of the best and worst sides of medicine. The difference between this one and many others like it is the genuinely funny tone, and the way I feel this will resonate with both medical professionals as well as patients or people with little experience in the medical field. This is a must-read for any (future-) medical professional, and a highly recommended one for anyone else.
BEST ARTISTIC FEATURE favourite poetry-collection or poem
The Girl Aquarium – Jen Campbell The Girl Aquarium is the first full-length poetry collection by one my favourite book-community members and short fiction authors Jen Campell, and covers topics close to my heart such as disability, disfigurement, identity and (self)love. Not only did it tick a lot of my thematic and stylistic boxes, it also felt like a very heartfelt and cohesive collection. If you, like me, enjoy Jen Campbells work and her recommendations on her Youtube channel; this collection is for you. Very “Jen” in all the best ways.
BEST DIRECTOR author of the year
Markus Zusak Technically this is a bit of a double-feature, as this author does have a book on this list already. That being said, there was no other author of which I read more than one book this year that impressed me this deeply with their writings kills. I was already aware I loved Markus Zusaks style, as it was this rather than the story that makes The Book Thief one of my all-time favourite novels. This year, another two were added to that list. This man has a way with words like no other, and I will instantly buy and read anything he publishes in the future.
BEST PICTURE favourite standalone novel
Lanny by Max Porter Last but not least: I debated a long time on what book would best fit this category this year. I could have gone many routes: - favourite book of the year, which would have meant a double feature on this list for Where The Forest Meets the Stars. Or best 2019 release, which again: had heavy competition, all of which are mentioned elsewhere on this list as well. In the end, I went with the standalone, released in 2019, that was most of a literary achievement to me; the book that was most impressive in what it managed to do with the limited scope of a single (short) novel. Simultaneously covering the grand scope of an entire community or even culture, yet focussing intimately on the inner world of a young boy: Lanny is a marvel of a novella like few others. With it’s unique formatting, which Max Porter is known for, this is an experience you won’t forget easily.
To read my post regarding the 2018 Bookish Academy Awards, click here.
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