What are the winning books from the list of titles I finished this year? Yes, you will get the answer to that pressing question here. In addition you’ll find my über-creative categories and the wit-soaked comment of the judge. More than that (yes, it is hard to believe), you also find below what the people demanded– short summaries of each. So included for the first time is a Synop-Tweet (a tweet-like synopsis) of the winning books. Here they are.
Shortest Audio Book. The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
wins. Only two CDs long, though the publisher managed to pad it to 176 pages and put a $20 price tag on the hardback! (Love Wins loses. It was three CDs long.)
Synop-Tweet: Not younger-son Christianity. Not older-son Christianity. But father-love Christianity.
Most Blogged Book. Merchants of Culture. Must reading for publishing execs. (See my first installment of this five part series here.)
Synop-Tweet: Up to date and brutally frank. While focusing on big, New York/London trade publishing, great help for other kinds and sizes of publishers.
Synop-Tweet: Tom is not the weak-willed boot-licker of racist stereotypes but a consummate man of
courage and truly memorable Christ figure.
Most Hyperactive Metaphor Making and Literary Allusion Assembly. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marish Pessl. The case for the literary allusions (it’s part of the fabric of the book and of the characters themselves) is stronger than that for the overwrought metaphor making (which while often beautiful and arresting ultimately becomes distracting).
Synop-Tweet: In coming of age tale brilliant student joins elite clique under sway of mesmerizing teacher. Snobbishness, wittiness, mystery, death ensue.
Book Most Likely to Make Me a Feminist. Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Graphic but inspirational book on the ways women around the world suffer and triumph over the systemic oppression and immense problems they face.
Synop-Tweet: When it comes to sex trafficking, war, disease, lack of education, poverty and more, women aren’t the problem. They’re the solution.
Best Book with the Worst Title. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (tie). Re Unbroken, the New York Magazine Book Review put it, “Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand’s soon-to-be-blockbuster follow-up to her 2001 blockbuster, Seabiscuit, is a one-in-a-billion story saddled with the most
generic title possible. It’s the platonic ideal of blandly uplifting nonfiction nomenclature. It could be about anything.” Re Outliers, having read Gladwell’s enjoyable, informative and provocative book, I still don’t know what the title means. (See blogs here and here and here.)
Synop-tweet (Unbroken): If only one of the major events of Zamperini’s life had happened, the story would have been astonishing. But they all did.
Synop-tweet (Outliers): Why some people succeed and others don’t. Hint: It doesn’t have as much to do with talent, drive or smarts as you think.
Most Recommended. Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath and Unbroken (tie). I’ve been recommending the Heath brothers’ book to every author, preacher and teacher I come across. Unbroken is for just about everyone.
Synop-Tweet (Made to Stick): Great, practical, memorable advice for anyone who has anything to communicate and wants to do so in a way people remember and act on.
Most Readable Help on a Tricky Topic: God Behaving Badly by David Lamb. The author has the uncanny ability (with a touch of humor) to make the issues plain on a topic that attracts a myriad of intellectual and
Synop-Tweet: Honestly faces the hardest questions about the seemingly violent, racist and sexist God in the Old Testament–with compelling responses.
So there you have it. Now, what do you recommend I read this year so they can become nominees for 2013?