Margaret Atwood, Louise Penny, S.K. Ali, Malcolm Gladwell among Goodreads' 2019 best book nominees

Goodreads, a website that hosts an online community of readers, is in the semifinal stage of curating their best books of 2019 list, which is voted on by the public.
(From left): Margaret Atwood, Louise Penny, S.K. Ali and Malcolm Gladwell are semifinalists for Goodreads' annual best book awards. (Liam Sharp, Jean-François Bérubé, Andrea Stenson, Celeste Sloman)

Margaret Atwood, Louise Penny, S.K. Ali and Malcolm Gladwell are among 25 Canadians that have made it to the semifinal stage of Goodreads' annual best book awards.

Goodreads is a website where readers post book reviews or host book club discussions online. Its 90 million members have posted 90 million reviews.

Their best book awards invite readers to vote for their favourite books of the year across 16 categories. It's a five-week event that goes through several rounds — opening, semifinal and final — finishing with a winner announcement on Dec. 10.

Both Atwood and Ali have two nominations for two books.

Atwood is on the best fiction list for The Testamentsthe sequel to her 1985 novel The Handmaid's Tale. Co-winner of the 2019 Booker Prize, The Testaments tells the story of three women — a powerful player within the oppressive society Gilead, a young woman growing up in the confines of Gilead and another in Canada who wants to see its downfall.

Atwood is also nominated alongside Victoria graphic novelist Renee Nault for their collaboration on the comic version of The Handmaid's Tale. They're in the graphic novels & comics category, which also includes Canadians Mariko Tamaki, who wrote Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, which was illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell, and Faith Erin Hicks, who illustrated Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell.

Ali is a nominee in the best YA fiction category for Love From A to Z and in the best picture book category for The Proudest Blueco-written with Ibtihaj Muhammad and illustrated by New Brunswick's Hatem Aly.

Ali's second novel Love from A to Z tells the story of Zayneb, who is sent to Qatar in punishment for standing up to a xenophobic teacher, and Adam, who is trying to hide his multiple sclerosis diagnosis from his father.

In The Proudest Bluetwo sisters are facing their own firsts: it's Faizah's first day of school and Asiya's first day wearing a hijab. 

Quebec illustrator Isabelle Arsenault is also nominated in the picture book category for Just Because, written by Mac Barnett.

Penny's latest Armand Gamache novel, A Better Manis up for best mystery and thriller. The internationally renown bestselling series continues as Gamache is reinstated as head of Quebec's homicide department and faces a flooding crisis and highly publicized missing girl case all at once.

Montreal lawyer Catherine McKenzie is also a semifinalist in the category for the thriller I'll Never Tell. 

Gladwell's Talking to Strangers is a contender in the nonfiction category. The book explores how we interact with people we don't know, and the impact of the assumptions we bring to these conversations. 

Canadian-born New Yorker staffer Jia Tolentino is also a nonfiction nominee for her debut book of essays, Trick Mirror.

Here are all the finalists with Canadian writers, co-writers or artists:

Best fiction:

Best mystery and thriller:

Best fantasy:

Best romance:

Best science fiction:

Best horror:

  • Petra's Ghost by C.S. O'Cinneide
  • The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht
  • Bunny by Mona Awad

Best nonfiction:

Best science and technology:

  • Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch
  • The Perfect Predator by Steffanie Strathdee and Tom Patterson

Best food and cookbooks:

  • Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski

Best graphic novels and comics:

Best poetry books:

Best YA fiction:

Best middle grade:

Best picture books:

The semifinal round concludes Nov. 17, followed by the finals round from Nov. 19 to Dec. 2.

The winners will be announced on Dec. 10.



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