the ordinary blog
Roll out the red carpet, prepare the trumpets and cut the tension in the air. Yes it is awards time everywhere but for me most importantly it is the third annual Ordinary Book of the Year. Who will join previous winners Marie Kondo and Martin Seligman and apart from me who will really care?
But no matter its fun and it makes good material for the website. This year i've even given last years books the countdown treatment because it's such a great visual way to see my reading year rankings.
I only finished 30 books last year and of these 9 were fiction while 21 were non fiction. When I did read fiction I mostly picked books I really liked with 4 of the 9 ranked 7th to 4th although none could repeat The Girl on the Train and break the top 3.
But it's not just about the book with the top total score which does not have to be book I liked most but is the book that combines writing and plot quality with a long lasting resonance . This is why last years other awards are decided before we get to the Book of the Year. So cue famous presenter and on with the show.
FUNNIEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
WINNER - DARA O'BRIAIN - TICKLING THE ENGLISH
RUNNER UP - BILL BRYSON - THE ROAD TO LITTLE DRIBBLING
Not that much competition here as I didn't enjoy Alan Partridge anywhere near as much as I'd hoped and never even completed Pointless but Dara's book showed no sign of ageing and was genuinely very funny
SCIENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR
WINNER - ANDREA WULF - THE INVENTION OF NATURE
RUNNER UP - YUVAL NOAH HARARI - HOMO DEUS
I really love Pop Science Books so this category is always fiercely contested with 8 books to choose from. In the end I went the same way as the rankings. I can't stress too much how good Andrea Wulf's biography of Humbolt is. Winner of the Royal Society award 2016 i've never agreed more with them
BEST IN SPORT
WINNER - JEFF PASSAM - THE ARM
RUNNER UP - ANTHONY HOLDEN - BIGGER DEAL
Ignoring the question of whether poker is even close to a sport it was a pretty poor year for my favorite leisure activity besides reading. I liked Doped and I was tempted to give it the runner up spot but I simply enjoyed Anthony Holden's year long poker tour a lot more and I found myself playing again after reading it. The Winner was in no doubt. The Arm was interesting and thought provoking asking important questions about how far kids should be pushed to achieve sporting success!
WINNER - DANIEL O'MALLEY - THE ROOK
RUNNER UP - naomi aldermann - THE power
The Rook was the best surprise this year while The Power was the best idea for a novel I've seen since in a long time. For me this category is about pure simple reading joy and for that reason the winner was never in doubt. I also love it when someone who has an ordinary day job like Daniel does and comes out and gets success because his book is that damn good.
BIGGEST CONTRIBUTION OF KNOWLEDGE
WINNER YUVAL NOAH HARARI - homo deus
RUNNER UP - happy - derren brown
I love non fiction books so this is another competitive award. Derren Brown does his homework, you can tell that from how great his shows are so I expected this book to be no different. His history of philosophy and how to live it in today's world was brilliant. But Yuval enough credit for Sapiens so I'm not going to make the same mistake twice. From a history of the front lawn to how the age of the algorithm affects us all, reading Yuval is like having a 1-2-1 with a guru. He is rightfully very popular.
BEST PART OF ORDINARY SPECIAL AWARD
WINNER - MALALA YOUSAFZAI - i am malala
RUNNER UP - PAUL BEATTY - THE SELLOUT
It might be a sign of times that the two books I've chosen this year as the standard bearers for what the best part of ordinary is all about are all about fighting to be free from repression or stupid hatred as I call it. The Sellout is a very well deserved Man Booker Prize winner that speaks from the heart but Malala wins because she and her book epitomize the very soul of this site. Freedom to enjoy an ordinary or extra-ordinary life.
ORDINARY book of the year 2018.....
WINNER - MALALA YOUSAFZAI - i am malala
runner up - ANDREA WULF - THE INVENTION OF NATURE
I have just finished Winter is Coming and Garry Kasparov ends by stressing the importance of education to beat tyranny all around the world as he says "...the Taliban did not just close the schools where 15 year old Malala Yousafzai lived in Swat, Pakistan, they destroyed them. They did not just tell Malala not to go to school, they shot her". Not only are the themes of her story so important but in a society where we are so lucky to take education for granted this story shows us what an amazing thing that is. It is brilliantly written the story is so captivating I read parts of it to my daughter and so even though I absolutely adore "The Invention of Nature" the highest scoring book this year with 37.5 out of 40 and rightful winner is Malala.
I am 43 and lucky to have a fantastic wife and 3 kids who give my life purpose and make it fun too. To pay the bills I am a Software Consultant and have been for the past (mostly enjoyable) 18 years.