Tea and Ink Society Book Oscars: Volume One


If books could get Oscars, these 10 from my reading list last year would win an award! These are the best literary heroes, heroines, villains, and more!

Stack of paperback and hardback books on a bed

It’s my custom each year to reflect on the books I’ve read the previous twelve months. Doing so gives me a chance to remember what I loved about them and how they changed me. It also provides direction for my reading choices the following year; sometimes I want to find more of the same, and sometimes I’m reminded to mix things up! It’s easy to recall what I’ve read because I note every title and author in my Reading Record, as well as the month I finished the book.

To highlight memorable books and characters I encountered in my reading last year, I thought it would be fun to give them “awards,” Oscar style. Please note that these are not books that were published in 2016, but ones I personally read in 2016.

A few years ago it would’ve been difficult for me to make any “Oscars” list since I had read so few books as contestants. But I’ve been ardently rediscovering the joy of bookworming, and even though I’m a mom now I’m reading more than ever! This made it difficult to pick winners from my 2016 reading list, but I’ve put myself through the ordeal in order to present you with…

The Tea and Ink Society 2017 Book Oscars

Best Heroine

I’d like to give this to Rilla Blythe of Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery. Her mother Anne probably deserves it more, but this was the first year I’d read Rilla of Ingleside, and I was smitten by the title character. As all excellent heroines do, Rilla displays real growth over the course of the novel, and Montgomery is a master at weaving in this character development in a natural way.

Best Supporting Heroine

This award goes to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwiler by E. Konigsburg. Although the book’s title bears her name, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler isn’t the central heroine of this novel. That role is executed by Claudia, the 12-year-old girl who runs away from home to camp out at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. But as the narrator, Mrs. Frankweiler is always present, and finally meeting her is as much a treat for the reader as it will become for Claudia.

Best Hero

Hazel from Watership Down is a noble hero who deserves this title for so many reasons. Yes, he’s a rabbit, but that makes him no less heroic. In this epic dystopian novel by Richard Adams, Hazel steps into a leadership role when his warren is destroyed by humans. He leads a straggling band of rabbits on a perilous journey to find a new home, and in the process becomes a wise, resourceful, and diplomatic Chief Rabbit.

Best Supporting Hero

I’m giving this award to Rubidius from The Gateway Chronicles by K. B. Hoyle. When I first met Rubidius in The Six, I thought he seemed a little too familiar. I couldn’t help but wonder if K. B. Hoyle was inadvertently copying a character from some other book! But she’s not. The alchemist is familiar because he’s so carefully imagined. Rubidius is believable, which makes the magic he does believable, which makes the whole magical world of the series believable, too. And that’s an absolute must when you’re reading a fantasy series!

Best Villain

This award goes to the villain in Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you who it is because that would spoil some of the novel, in case you ever read it! But trust me, they are evil. I found Gone Girl to be a gripping, cleverly-written thriller, and Flynn is a skilled author. However, this novel is pretty dark at points (I’ve heard her other books are, too), and I’m not sure I’ll read anything else by her. Her villain is perfectly villainous, though.

Best Dialogue

This award can’t go to anything but The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which I finally read for the first time last summer. I loved everything about this book, but the charged dialogue between characters is what really made the pages fly for me. We don’t often see so much action in dialogue as we do in The Great Gatsby. I felt that the pulse of the story beat fastest when the characters were talking, and I found this absolutely enthralling.

Best Romantic Storyline

Little Women by Lousia May Alcott wins this award on account of Jo and Professor Bhaer, although I love the romances of Meg and Amy, too! Perhaps what I love best about Jo’s love story is that it’s so closely tied to her journey of self discovery and her maturing as a woman. Alcott convincingly shows us that Jo and Laurie aren’t a good match, and that’s pretty impressive considering the clamor she had from fans to pair them up after she wrote the first volume! Professor Bhaer is the one whom Jo needs, and if we understand that we understand Jo.

Best Contemporary Fiction

I read a lot of old books, but every year a variety of recently-written books do make it onto my list. Last year my favourite contemporary read was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. My husband had been egging me on to read this for months. Since I’ve learned to trust his judgement I packed it on our summer vacation–and flew through the pages in mere days! This science fiction novel feels like National Treasure in a video game (except it’s geeky, not patriotic). The story is highly imaginative, with three-dimensional characters and a tightly-paced plot.

Best Vintage Novel

This award goes to Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery, although that decision is fluid, based on the day you ask me! I love the entire Anne of Green Gables series, but I vacillate in choosing a favourite novel–Anne’s House of Dreams and Anne of Ingleside sometimes claim that title, too. But since I loved Anne of Avonlea longest (it was a re-read from my childhood), it gets the official title here on the blog.

Best Nonfiction

Home Education by Charlotte Mason claims this prize, although The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark is a runnerup. Charlotte Mason published Home Education in 1886 to explain some of her teaching and parenting philosophies which had become popular throughout England. I found Mason’s old-fashioned advice to be highly relevant and challenging to today’s society. You can read my post on Richly Rooted about how this book has informed my own simple, intentional approach to parenting.

What amazing books did you read last year? What awards would you like to give out?

Check out more Tea and Ink Society book Oscars in these posts:

Stack of books on a bed next to a green-eyed cat
Tea and Ink Society Book Oscars: Volume One

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  1. Congratulations on the new blog! I love it already!
    2017 is my ‘year of reading’, or hopefully, my year to get back into reading forever more! I have a similar story to you in that I was the ultimate bookworm as a child and teenager (having to be asked to put down my book at the breakfast and dinner table!), and then came adult life, and all of a sudden, with a husband and a child, and a job, and a house to keep up, life got ‘too busy’ to read. I think I was down to maybe 2-4 books a year! And for a while I didn’t really miss it, until last year. I have now decided that I want to get back to my love of books, reading and stories, and so I have intentionally set the goal to read at least 3 books per month in 2017. So far I have read 19 books! I have been reading a mix of fiction and non fiction, and my favourite fiction so far for 2017 would have to be the Anne of Green Gables series, I am currently reading Anne’s House of Dreams. My favourite contemporary fiction so far would be Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. I love the way nothing is ever black and white in her books, there are always so many shades of grey, they are great for thinking things over! My favourite non fiction book is a toss up between Unoffendable by Brant Hansen, which is basically about not getting angry, and Delighting in God by AW Tozer, because I found that one so inspiring! My ‘Wooden Spoon Award’ goes to a book that I have started but haven’t had the inclination to finish yet, which is Balanced by Tricia Goyer, and I think that that is mainly just because a lot of it just doesn’t apply to my life. I am not a writer/blogger from home, so much of what she says just doesn’t apply to me. I think for others it would be a great book. I have her book Mom’s Night Out on my reading list, because I really loved the movie version.

    Looking forward to more exciting posts and book ideas in the future!

    1. Welcome, Eliza! I think a year of reading to get back into books forever is a fantastic goal! Nineteen books so far is quite impressive!! When you are finished with Anne of Green Gables, tell me which book in the series is your favourite! I think my favourites are Anne of Avonlea, and then toss up between Anne’s House of Dreams and Anne of Ingleside. I will check out Jodi Picoult, because I’ve not read anything by her! I might be interested in Balance, as I do certainly seek that as a blogger and mom. Thanks for joining Tea and Ink!

  2. This is great! A lot of my favorites on there, and one I’m buying for my son for Christmas (Watership Down). My husband is not a reader. I didn’t know that about him, because we met in college when all anybody does is read, and there he was always walking around with a giant Complete Works of Shakespeare under one arm and a guitar under the other. He is now a professional musician, and the kids and I read the Shakespeare, so it all worked. Anyway, I love all your recommendations and appreciate that you mention if something is dark or “dirty,” since I can no longer pre-read everything my family reads. I am also definitely enjoying your husband’s recommendations because if I DO get my hubby to read a book, I want him to enjoy the experience! Anyway, I’m finalizing some Christmas shopping (books go under the tree and in the stockings), and this is my go-to for off-the-homeschool-reading-list-because-they’ve-read-them-all recommendations. Merry Christmas to you and your crew!

    1. My husband is planning on helping me put up some more book recommendations pages after the new year! I think our reading tastes complement each other nicely because he reads more sci-fi and fantasy than I do. Love how your family gets both the books and the music…two important ingredients in anyone’s childhood (and adulthood, for that matter)! Merry Christmas to y’all!

  3. I’m new here, so making a book recommendation seems audacious, but after seeing that you loved Homeschooling by Charlotte Mason and are interested in parenting in a counter culture way I have to tell you about a book I wish I had read sooner in my parenting journey.

    Edith Schaeffer wrote non-fiction books about family and culture and many other good things. I adore her book What Is A Family? The first chapter was overkill on description, but beyond that, it is food for thought and something I wish every new mom could read. It is a bit dated at times, but the heart of the matter is SO useful.

    thanks for indulging my presumptuousness.

    1. Please, recommend all you like…I love it! I’m familiar with Edith Shaeffer from reading The Hidden Art of Homemaking, but that is all I’ve read by her. That book was very inspirational to me, so I will absolutely add the one you suggested to my reading list!

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