If you like your summer reading on the lighter side, you may want to search out some of the year’s best in genre fiction - mysteries, science fiction, romance, horror, or westerns.
Every spring, various fiction writers’ organizations hold their annual conventions and hand out the awards for the best books written in their respective genres during the past year.
These nominees and winners make great ready-made reading lists for your favorite type of fiction. To find the pick of the crop in any of these genres, go to the writers’ group websites and check out the archives of award-winners and nominees through the years.
Meanwhile, I’ll get you started with the books that were the big winners at this year’s conventions - the best of the best for 2012.
The Edgar Awards (mystery writers of America)
•Best Novel: “Live by Night” by Dennis Lehane
•Best First Novel: “The Expats” by Chris Pavone
•Best Original Paperback: “The Last Policeman” by Ben Winters
•Best True Crime/Non-fiction: “Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China” by Paul French.
The Agatha Awards (malice domestic, ltd)
•Best Novel: “The Beautiful Mystery” by Louise Penny
•Best First Novel: “Lowcountry Boil” by Susan M. Boyer
•Best Historical Novel: “Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for Murder” by Catriona McPherson.
Gold Dagger Award (British Crime Writers’ Association)
•Best Novel: “The Rage” by Gene Kerrigan.
The Spur Awards (Western Writers of America)
•Best Short Western Novel: “Tucker’s Reckoning” by Matthew Mayo
•Best Longer Western Novel: “With Blood in Their Eyes” by Thomas Cobb
•Best Original Paperback Western: “The Coyote Tracker” by Larry Sweazy
•Best First Novel: “Panhandle” by Brett Cogburn.
Bram Stoker Awards (Horror Writers of America)
•Best Horror Novel: “The Drowning Girl” by Caitlin R. Kiernan
•Best First Novel: “Life Rage” by L. L. Soares.
Rita Awards (Romance Writers of America)
•Best First Book: “First Grave on the Right” by Darynda Jones
•Best Contemporary Romance: “Boomerang Bride” by Fiona Lowe
•Best Historical Romance: “The Black Hawk” by Joanna Bourne
•Best Inspirational Romance: “The Measure of Katie Calloway” by Serena Miller
•Best Romantic Novel: “How to Bake a Perfect Life” by Barbara O’Neal
•Best Paranormal Romance: “Dragon Bound” by Thea Harrison
•Best Regency Romance: “A Night to Surrender” by Tessa Dare
•Best Romantic Suspense: “New York to Dallas” by J. D. Robb.
Nebula Award (Science Fiction Writers of America)
•Best Novel: “2312” by Kim Stanley Robinson.
Hugo Award (World Science Fiction Society)
•Best Novel: “Among Others” by Jo Walton.
For the best of this year’s fiction offerings in general, try one of these winners:
National Book Award for fiction
•“The Round House” by Louise Erdrich (winner)
•“This Is How You Lose Her” by Junot Diaz
•“A Hologram for the King” by Dave Eggers
•“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” by Ben Fountain
•“The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers.
Pulitzer Prize for fiction
•“The Orphan Master’s Son” by Adam Johnson
The Man-Booker Prize for fiction (Britain)
•“Bring Up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel
The American Library Association’s Notable Books for the year include the previous National Book Award nominees as well as
•“Half-blood Blues” by Esi Edugyan
•“Canada” by Richard Ford
•“The Dog Stars” by Peter Heller
•“The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce
•“The Headmaster’s Wager” by Vincent Lam
•“One Last Thing Before I Go” by Jonathan Tropper
•“Battleborn” by Claire Vaye Watkins.
For additional information about writers’ organizations and complete lists of nominees and award-winning books from past years, take a look at these websites:
•Mystery Writers of America: http://www.mysterywriters.org
•Malice Domestic: http://www.malicedomestic.org
•Horror Writers of America: http://www.horror.org
•Crime Writers’ Association (British): http://www.thecwa.co.uk
•Western Writers of America: http://www.westernwriters.org
•Romance Writers of America: http://www.rwa.org
•Science Fiction Writers of America: http://www.sfwa.org
•World Science Fiction Society: http://www.wsfs.org
•American Library Association Notable Books: http://www.ala.org/awards/notablebooks
As always, Manhattan Public Library staff share your love of reading from all fiction categories and we’re happy and eager to help you find something great to read.