Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Twenty (One) Down Awards

Another ten books crossed of the list (which I'm almost certain will be 80 before I'm finished, but what the hey? Why not?), which means it's time for another awards ceremony! Yay!

Also, apparently I had two #12s, so I've actually read 21 books. So I guess this is actually the 21-down awards. My bad. So I guess we'll have 11 award this time, and only 9 next time.

Remember, here at PCC, everybody's a winner of something or other.

Here's a list of our second group of nominees:

#11: Walking on Water by Madeline L'Engle
#12: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
#13: The Stand by Stephen King
#14: Woyzeck by Georg Buchner
#15: Powers: The 25 Coolest Dead Superheroes of All Time by Brian Michael Bendis
#16: Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller
#17: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
#18: Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis
#19: Evil: A Primer by William Hart
#20: Olympos by Dan Simmons
#21: White Oleander by Janet Finch

And now, for the winners!

The "Most Buffy the Vampire Slayer References" award goes to:
Evil: A Primer
Congratulations, Mr. Hart. Because nothing lends credence to your intellectual dissertation like a few well-placed Buffy throwbacks.

The "Best Use of Woodland Creatures as Characters" award goes to:
The Secret Garden
When she wasn't describing flowers or reminding us that fresh air was, in fact, making Mary and Colin stronger, or talking about the Magic, that Great Good that exists in all things, Burnett was creating some delightfully simple characters. One of the more memorable contributions to the story was the almost-human thoughts and reaction of the robin as it befriended old Ben Weatherstaff, helped Mary find the secret garden, and protect its mate and its nest. Good, innocent, fun stuff.

The "Always One Step Ahead" award goes to
Walking on Water
In her book of reflections on faith and art, Madeline L'Engle further proves that she was ahead of her time, reflecting on issues that have become prominent troubles in Christian art (and Christianity in general) twenty or thirty years before the issues became widespread and considered "relevant." (I wonder what L'Engle would think of The Message, for example?)

The "Who Chopped Down My Cherry Tree" award goes to
Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
I can not tell a lie. This was a fantastic book.

The "With a Name Like That, It's Got To" award goes to
Say it! Woyzeck! Now say it with a funny voice. Woyzeck! Woyzeck! Woyzeck! It's a fun word to say! Oh, it's a pretty good play, too, especially from a country that isn't steeped in a particularly rich theatre tradition.

The "Top 5" award goes to
High Fidelity
Makes me wish I was well-versed enough in--well, anything--to be able to rattle off top-five lists with my friends in casual conversations. If I'd known anything about what they were debating, I probably would have enjoyed this book at last twice as much as I did. Either way, the top-five thing was a cool device, and it made for a cool theme.

The "Most Laborious and Rewarding Read" award goes to
The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition
That's a lot of pages. And there's a lot of meat in them. And of the 1300 or so pages, I'd probably only have given back, oh, 110 or so of them. Just an awesome, awesome book.

The "Both Least and Most Effective Use of a Title Within the Narrative" award goes to
White Oleander
The first few chapters seemed to talk about oleanders on every other page. Yes, I get it. Oleander. Like the title. Thank you. However, once the story really got moving, we stopped making blatant oleander references in every chapter, and when it finally tied in again at the end of the story, I found it profoundly poignant and a bit stirring.

The "Just Because You're a Comic Book, That Doesn't Mean I Have to Like You" award goes to
Powers: The 25 Coolest Dead Superheroes of All Time
Hm..I think this award title is pretty self-explanatory.
Side note: I also read Planet Hulk during this time, but I've decided not to count graphic novels unless they were specifically recommended to me, like Powers was.

The "Hey, I've Been There" award goes to
Through Painted Deserts
No, really. I've been to a lot of the places in the first 2/3 of the book, since Paul and Don started in Houston and then traced the route my family and I used to take to drive to California in the summers when I was a kid. Definite nostalgic kick.

The "Spider-Man 3" award goes to:
Wow. How many storylines/antagonists/monsters/wars can you possibly cram into seven hundred pages??? According to Dan Simmons: eight trillion.


Also, now that I'm twenty books in I'm going to keep a running top-ten style list. Only, I'm only going to do five for now, and I'll add two every time we have an awards ceremony. So, here are my top five books through the first twenty(one) stops on this journey:

#5 - Walking on Water by Madeline L'Engle

#4 - Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

#3 - Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis

#2 - Ilium by Dan Simmons

#1 - The Stand: Complete and Uncut Edition by Stephen King

Thanks for reading!

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