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Book of the Year Award | 18th January 2014, 23:09  
Since January 2009 - five years ago - I've been writing reviews of every book I read. It's got quite arduous at times, and there have been days where I'd rather work on the website to host the reviews than to actually write them.

In 2010 I had the idea of awarding a 'Jim's Book Award' for my favourite book of the year, after reading something I thought was really fantastic. I also thought there might be some other categories too.

I thought I might order a little cup online and get a little engraved plaque, and send it off to the author with a little certificate, photographing everything and documenting it here on my blog that nobody reads.

This is course never happened. Little cups were more expensive than I thought. Engraved plaques had a maximum character-count that was too small. And it was quite a cheesy idea that nothing would ever come of.

But now, after five years, I thought I might as well log for future reference what those winners would have been, so here we go:

2009: The Writer's Tale

A sort-of behind-the-scenes / biography from Russell T Davies (the man behind the successful relaunch of Doctor Who) and journalist Benjamin Cook, taking the form of emails the pair exchanged as Davies wrote the fourth series.

I really loved the candid nature of the presentation - nothing had been cut regardless of how disconnected it was from the central premise, which was meant to be the writing process.

I bought the sequel/paperback in 2010, and have now read this book three times - more than any other in the last five years.

2010: Shades of Grey

Somewhat different from the similarly-titled book from a few years later, Jasper Fforde's slightly-comic look at a dystopian future where nobody remembers the 'thing that happened' and there is a shortage of spoons.

In 2013 I described this book to someone as my favourite book ever, and they shamed me by making me realise I'd only read it once. I immediately read it again and agreed completely with the 2010 version of me.

The book that inspired this list, and one that faced some pretty tough competition in 2010, when I first encountered Brandon Sanderson through his Wheel of Time entry (The Gathering Storm), I re-read Casino Royale, and finished Steig Larsson's Millenium Trilogy (with The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest).

2011: Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks

2011 was a tough year, in which I gave 5 stars to 12 books, but I think this was the one that was my favourite.

It wasn't newly published in that year, but I adapted the rules for my awards so that they could award any book I read for the first time, rather than just new ones - this widens the field dramatically.

I was introduced to Christopher Brookmyre's comedic writings by a friend, and was instantly hooked on the adventures of Scottish journalist Jack Parlabane, who in this novel takes on a more serious topic than usual as the author moves his focus into debunking nonsense over swearing for laughs.

2012: The Tawny Man Trilogy

No one book stood out for me in 2012, so I've adapted the rules again - three books that I gave a collective 14 stars seems to be well deserving of a prize. Robin Hobb's third trilogy in the Realm of the Elderlings returned to Fitz, the main character from the first trilogy, and told of his adventures as an adult.

I've really enjoyed all Robin Hobb's works and am glad that my bookshelf contains a good number I've not yet read and can look forward to enjoying in 2014.


I gave 5 star reviews to 17 books in 2013, which I find quite surprisingly looking back as I try to be quite sparing with them, and it's a difficult field to choose from.

Robin Hobb did well again, and there are six Star Trek novels in the mix which is astounding. I think though that it has to be a tie between two fantastic fantasy novels which purport to be for the young adult market but both have really stuck with me.

Terra by Mitch Benn, and The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson.

Benn's book is comic genius and a really emotional read as an alien adopts a human child. Sanderson's (I can hardly believe how much he manages to write) amazing skills at world-building and magic come together again in a strong and relatable character who doesn't fit into his world.

Both books bring the promise of sequels for which I cannot wait.

2014: ???

I'm three books into the year and there's already one candidate. I'm looking forward to another year hunting out fantastic stories, and many of the above-mentioned authors already appear on either my reading- or wish-list (or both), so I'm sure I'm in for many treats.

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