[Think Aloud] – #5 – One Vote, Your Vote: Goodreads Choice Awards

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Think Aloud explores book-related discussions encompassing reading, writing, blogging, and perhaps newsworthy content. The focus is to push the boundaries, stretch the mind, and encourage dialogue within this community. Let’s all think out loud.

Table Topic:
 One Vote, Your Vote:
Goodreads Choice Awards

Abstract:

The value of one vote in the Goodreads Choice Awards depends on the complexity of the reader-voter mentality.


Thoughts:

[Click here to be taken to the Goodreads Choice Awards.]

With the semi-final round of the Goodreads Choice Awards taking place, the voting has me wondering the value of one vote. My vote. There’s this mantra that “every vote counts” and in some particular categories that don’t often garner much exposure—it really does matter. But there are so many different kinds of voter mentalities in the equation that it becomes difficult to predict the eventual winner.

There will be readers who vote for the book they believe to be their favourite in that category. This is the dream.

There will be readers who hold onto their vote in a category because they may be undecided; not having read any of the listed books. There is no shame in honest transparency.

There will be readers who vote despite not having read any of the nominees but would back a novel that has made it onto their to-be-read pile; for eventual reading. We are all secretly optimists.

And, there will be readers who vote strategically, not wanting a particular book or author to win [because of insert reason here].

You may be one of the above; you might be a mix of them. So as someone who may be throwing around willy nilly random votes, my question is this: how much weight does my one vote have in skewing the results? Even the outlier voter, if there are enough of them, have the potential of becoming a percentage of total voters in a category. And if that’s the case, then is the system rewarding popularity (or interests) at the cost of another’s compelling creativity? But then who’s to say one is less original than another? Of course, there is no concrete answer to this since there are so many factors in play. But its some food for thought.

You have your vote. So what will you make of it?


Afterthought Prompts:

I’ll cut to the chase because this is really a discussion based post in which I want to see how you crazy readers rationalize your voting considerations:

  1. What kind of reader-voter are you (considering the above options)? If you’re none of the above, then how would you describe your voting habits?
  2. How do you validate your “favourite choice” book in each category if there are multiple nominees that you’ve read? (i.e. factors that influence your decision: emotionally compelling? rated 5-stars? originality?)
  3. With [likely] tight races in the Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction genre, how would you feel if they split the categories into two, to recognize more nominees? Should it even be a consideration bearing in mind how much sci-fi and fantasy play off of each other in some novels?
  4. This past year involved an increased awareness to diversity in mainstream reading, or the lack thereof. But there are awesome diverse reads that aren’t always gaining the exposure it may deserve; and if they do reach acclaim, they may be shadowed by other mainstream novels. With this in mind, what is your opinion on the diversity being reflected in the novel/author nomination pool of choices? Would you be interested in seeing a category honouring diversity, or is this something that should be an innate consideration in each niche genre?
  5. Is there a book you were surprised wasn’t nominated (or had to be user submitted) this year?

I hope this was a relevant topic to think about. I honestly gave some of my votes away [to friends] in certain categories in which I don’t dabble much in. And with others, I did vote for books on my TBR; which is what spurred this thought discussion. Anyhow, thank you for taking the time to think aloud. 

Cheers,
Joey


Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with Goodreads regarding this post. I had beta reading assistance from Savindi (The Streetlight Reader) in creating parts of this discussion.

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14 thoughts on “[Think Aloud] – #5 – One Vote, Your Vote: Goodreads Choice Awards”

  1. I ended up being half voted because it was my favorite and half this book is in my TBR list. I’d also say that in a specific category (Romance) I threw my vote to a favored author whose book was part of a larger series that I have mostly read but am behind on: the logic being that her other books are solid and I’m fiercely loyal to the series despite not having read that specific book yet.

    Though it wasn’t one of your prompts, I’d also love Goodreads to add another category for adaptations. Not in the movie sense, but more to give readers an annual opportunity to revisit or re-acclaim their favorite books that had recently made it to the big screen. Ex: would Maze Runner beat out Divergent? Would If I Stay do better than The Fault in Our Stars? (Probably not on that last one, but you get the gist). Or is that idea too hard to calculate?

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    1. Did you vote for Beautiful Oblivion in the romance category???

      Also, 100% love your idea for an adaptations category. I think considering GRs has such a book-lover community, they could really get away with adding a ton more categories.

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      1. I voted for The King in the romance category. I’m such a sucker for J.R. Ward. Speaking of adding more categories, they really ought to separate paranormal and historical romances. That sub-genres are so dominant in the romance category.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m actually glad there’s only a dozen or so categories. I mean, if it got to the extremities of Peoples Choice (what, like 40-50 categories?) oh geeez that’d be just overkill (if they do stick to the ’rounds’) But I can definitely see some room for categorical growth!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I know the feels of loyalty to an author despite having yet read their latest publication. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a few votes that swung that way too!

      Film adaptations sounds like an interesting category! I’d like to see if that’s also a popularity contest or if the “decent” adaptations (script writing and producing/directing) still holds up and it’s not just a bunch of teens voting for their favourite franchise. I’d be heartbroken, just a bit, if Gone Girl got ousted by some of these YA movie giant.

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  2. I actually just voted for the books I’ve read because I felt that it would be unfair if I voted for a book based on only the cover and the blurb. I also voted based on how much I liked the book. If the book has an interesting premise but lacks good execution, I would rather pick a book that might be a bit cliched but was well-written. 🙂

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    1. There’s definitely nothing wrong with that approach!

      You bring up a good point about interesting premises in novels. Is it possible for books to be so interesting/quirky/different that we might not actually know what to make of it? And so what is familiar is much easier to engage good or bad with.

      (Just a passing thought because now I’m just remembering Interstellar…and I have this 80/20 love/hate relationship with it because that 20% is just a linger feeling that I might not actually “get” Nolan’s intention immediately without analyses. Tangents!)

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  3. Fab topic Joey. It’s often been said that the GRs Choice Awards are a popularity contest more than anything else, and I agree with this, but I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. So, let’s tackle those questions –

    1. I’m a mish-mash of all of the above to be honest. There are categories I genuinely couldn’t vote in (Cooking) because I haven’t read any of them, and lets be honest, don’t plan to. There are categories where I vote for my favourite author, or favourite book, but as I haven’t read all of the books in the category, it’s still not exactly a “fair” vote. In fact, in one category, I’d only read one of the books, and that wasn’t even the one I voted for.

    2. Super interesting. I had read Maybe Someday and Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover, and I actually gave 4.5/5 to MS, and 5/5 to UL, but I voted for MS to win. Why? Because of the mixed media element. It’s so original, so fresh. It got my vote.

    3. I’m reasonably new to this whole sci-fi/fantasy malarky (taking part in sci-fi November, yo!) but I can see the frustration in them being grouped together, but there is such a cross-over! There used to be more categories in the awards, I think there should be more. Maybe a straight up sci-fi, straight up fantasy, and a mix?

    4. I think it would be great to see more diversity across the board, but I think GRs missed a trick this year not including its own category after the online campaign promoting the need for more diverse books. Until things become mainstream, we need to vocalise and promote it.

    5. I voted for some TBR books too (ones I’d read good reviews for). I was surprised some books weren’t listed – the one that got me was the latest and last release in The Cousins’ War series for historical fiction, I think it was a write in, and I’m pretty sure Jodi Picoult’s latest release was a write in too. I wrote in more last year than I did this year, surprisingly.

    R x

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    1. Who needs cookbooks when you have Google!

      Sci-fi is definitely an iffy category to think about divvying up and it’s one I have a love/hate relationship with when everything is just lumped into one thing–because sometimes the nominees are so different it’s hard to assign the ‘best/favourite’. There’s just so many possibilities that would be awesome to highlight; from speculative fiction to space opera and apocalyptic to steampunk, and I’m waiting on that day they actually do encourage more teens in particular to think about sci-fi without that “post apocalyptic” undertone.

      I think the intent behind the diversity prompt is along the lines of: should their be a LGBTQ category then? Like, why make a “big deal” out of it when it should just be treated like “normal” like everything else. Does that make sense? (I hope it does because I don’t want to offend anyone reading this). And so, I just wanted to hear what other people thought about it because diversity is in a lot of places but the attention to bring it forward out into the limelight rather than just accepting those elements as part of a narrative is what has me [kind of] concerned. Granted, however, that “mainstream” novels are still very much non-diverse (so I get why people want/need/hope for diversity in books.) Definitely a challenge topic to delve into!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very interesting topic, I like! So, you bring up a good point that I didn’t even think about – voting for something on my TBR list that I haven’t even read. I honestly didn’t think about that and I only voted in the categories where I had read the book and felt it deserved my vote. Of course Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover got my vote. 🙂

    Now I’m wondering if I should vote in other categories for authors I like, even if I didn’t read the book yet. But is it fair if I haven’t actually read the book? I still want to see my favorite authors recognized for their talents.

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    1. Haha, always happy to feed you some of that weird green stuff (otherwise known as my ranting)!

      The expectation I have for reads that “I know I will enjoy” is definitely a major contributor in voting but I do admit that the books that I’ve read (if nominated) hold some sort of imaginary precedence. And if I remember correctly, I think I gave my vote in romance to Ugly Love, too, as I gave that vote away with Rachel (@ Confessions) haha.

      But there is definitely no right or wrong way to vote–the only shame is if you don’t vote at all!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. 1. I’m the type to withhold my vote until I’ve read at least one or two from a category. Unfortunately, that means I probably won’t be able to send in votes this year because I haven’t read anything that came out lately! *sighs*. Maybe by next year my reading backlog isn’t so bad that I can grab a few new titles for 2015. Fingers crossed.

    2. My favorite choice books would probably be the book that I enjoyed the most, the type closest to me staying up late into the night just to finish or the ones I think about and squee over for an entire week after I’ve finished the story, lol. Most of them tend to be something I rate at five stars.

    3. I have certain issue with lumping Sci-Fi and Fantasy fiction together, because there are so many types of books that fall into this category, and not enough space to give them the promotion they duly deserve. If anything, split the books up into Sci-Fi, Fantasy, AND SFF (because, yeah, there are going to be books that are cross-genre). At least then there’s a variety of titles to see and maybe check out. (This is especially important for YA titles, because it also pushes YA readers to check out scifi, and not just fantasy books).

    4. A number of writers I admire have constantly taken diverse characters and littered them in their fictional world, and some even try to bring out stories with diverse characters are main characters. I know a couple anthologies coming out in the not-so-distant future that celebrate diverse MCs. I love the current push in diversity, but I don’t think this needs its own category. Diversity really should permeate across all genres, and not be singled out as a category.

    5. And I know it’s probably suffering from the fact that it just recently came out (where recently was like, a month ago), but I’m kind of sad Clariel is not on any of the fantasy lists. I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise, because it hasn’t been as overhyped as the titles I saw on the Goodreads voting list, but still.

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    1. Well at least you’re true to the vote (unlike people like me throwing their votes around all willy nilly!) I do think some titles get the shit end of the stick when they get released late Oct/Nov/early Dec and though hype builds them up, slightly, it definitely doesn’t have the year to build-up it’s potential. I don’t have any this year that I can complain about but my Nessochism (that’s P. Ness) is crying for More Than This last year.

      Just to add onto that sci-fi thought is that it seems like ‘everything’ in YA sci-fi has to be dystopian. Why..why?!…WHY?! I won’t lie: I enjoy it (it’s even a guilty pleasure if you want to call it that) but as you say there’s definitely a lot more niche subgenres under the umbrella. Perhaps the problem lies in what’s being published, and if speaking of sci-fi only, you rarely space opera or steampunk (side story: I totally just wrote steakpunk–I am maybe just slightly hungry) into the YA mix when I have come across some hidden gems for teen reads in those genres.

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