I read a lot. I am fortunate that I take the metro to work every day, so I get about an hour of eating up words a day (sometimes two if I read during lunch). Since I read so much, I like to keep track of the books I’m ingesting and a great tool to do that is the site Goodreads. Not only can I catalog the books I own and read on that site, but since Amazon owns it, I can immediately add the new books I purchase to my owned with the click of a button. In addition, there are discussion forums, contests, reviews, and author interaction. It really is a fantastic site.
Every year, Goodreads has a “Best Books of 2018” readers choice awards where members choose their favorites from a variety of genres. This is pretty cool because there are a variety of books selected in each genre, and they go through various rounds before a final winner is determined. Each year I end up adding more books to my want list because of this contest (or awards show or whatever).
However, one thing that annoys me is seemingly anytime Stephen King is nominated in the horror genre, he wins. Ugh. Don’t get me wrong, I love King. I grew up devouring his words and he rarely disappoints. My problem, however, is because he’s so popular people who don’t read any horror outside of King will vote for him without consideration to the other nominations. It sucks. I mean, it really, really sucks because there are some great books and authors in this mix that are getting overlooked because Susan in Tallahassee has never read a horror novel outside of something written by King and she votes accordingly.
Look, I get it, Stephen King is the master and absolutely deserves every single bit of recognition he gets. He’s definitely earned it, and horror quite simply would not be the same without him. Even doing his mediocre books are leagues better than some others out there. However, he doesn’t need more recognition. A readers choice award from Goodreads isn’t going to give him a bump in sales. You don’t need to say to any fan of horror, “Hey, you might like this guy Stephen King. I heard he has put out a few good books.”
The moment King goes on any ‘pick the best’ list, he wins. SO STOP PUTTING HIM ON THAT LIST.
Currently, King has two books on the Best Horror: 2018 list, Elevation and Flight or Fright (the latter of which is an anthology he did with Bev Vincent; that can stay). Anne Rice has one on there she co-wrote with her son. John Connelly has a book in the running. But you know who else is on there? Grady Hendrix (who wrote the amazing My Best Friend’s Exorcism) for We Sold Our Souls. Paul Tremblay (who wrote A Head Full of Ghosts and Devil’s Rock; two very enjoyable books) for The Cabin at the End of the World. Alma Katus for The Hunger and Zoje Stage for Baby Teeth. A few more are also in the finals.
I’m not voting on any of these. I’ve heard tremendous things about the ones I mentioned, and already bought a few for the future, but the book I voted for, an anthology by Ellen Datlow, is out of the running.
Admittedly, those in the final round are really great choices from everything I’ve heard about them, but it would be nice to have a selection, just once, that didn’t include King or the like. The world won’t end.