Turmoil At The Hoggies

LOS ANGELES – There were more than just bow ties at this year’s gala Hoggies, with an unprecedented number of categories posting tie winners. The awards for best reads of 2018 were awarded last night by the Academy of Reading Arts and Sciences during a live telecast from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles

In a stunning turn that drew a collective gasp from the crowd inside the pavilion, the Ambler award went to Helen MacInnes for her novel Agent in Place. The announcement was especially shocking given that MacInnes wasn’t even nominated in the category and the Academy read two well-received Ambler novels this year. Reached in Gstaad where he is Januarying, Ambler said “MacInnes is an amazing writer and Agent in Place was a fine novel. I am honored to have her associated with the prize.” In her acceptance speech MacInnes spoke of the strides women had made in the field but noted that there was still much ground to make up saying “You know you don’t need a penis to write this stuff.”

Perhaps in an even more stunning turn, it was revealed that two authors received telegrams ahead of the telecast that their work would no longer be considered by the Academy. Thomas Otto, president of the Academy explained “After giving Agatha Christie and Margery Allingham yet another try, the Academy decided it finds their work tedious beyond redemption.”  When asked if the Academy was singling out female authors in this category given that Freeman Wills Crofts received an award for The 12:30 from Croydon, Otto looked visibly annoyed. “Look, if John Dickson Carr or Edmund Crispin submit something I can pretty much guarantee they will get the same telegram. And don’t forget the lifetime ban the Academy has placed on Colm Tóibín after this year’s reading of The Blackship Lighthouse. Now there’s some pointless fiction that will put you to sleep.” Otto was silent about Jospehine Tey whose Brat Farrar found some favor with the Academy this year.

The Academy was also under attack for the overall dearth of female authors this year. A spokesperson pointed to the Academy’s completion of A Century of Books and its focus on whittling down its to-be-read pile which turned out to be be surprisingly androcentric. The spokesperson noted that the completion of ACOB and very little in the way of challenges for 2019 promises a much better gender balance in the coming year.

BEST NOVEL – FEMALE
[TIE]
The Philosopher’s Pupil
by Iris Murdoch
The Road Home by Rose Tremain

BEST NOVEL – MALE
[TIE]
Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

The Hunters by James Salter
Butcher’s Crossing
by John Williams

BEST CHARMINGLY ODD NOVELLA
The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Theriault

BEST CHARMING KIDS BOOK I HADN’T READ BEFORE
The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
Not only a charming book, but charmingly read by the author with actual trumpet sounds for Louis’ voice.

BEST INTELLECTUAL READ
[TIE]
Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald
Open City by Teju Cole

BEST DYSTOPIAN NOVEL
[TIE]
In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster
The Pesthouse by Jim Crace
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

WORST DYSTOPIAN NOVEL
The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus

BEST SURPRISE FIND
Prairie Avenue by Arthur Meeker
A charming book about old Chicago purchased solely for its cover.

BEST AUSTER BOOK OF THE YEAR
Oracle Night
by Paul Auster 

BEST WESTERN FOR PEOPLE WHO HATE WESTERNS
Butcher’s Crossing by John Williams

THE ERIC AMBLER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN SPY FICTION
Agent in Place by Helen MacInnes

BEST COZY MYSTERY WHERE WE KNOW WHODUNIT AND ARE JUST FOLLOWING ALONG TO SEE HOW HE DUNIT AND WHETHER HE WILL GET AWAYWITHIT AND KIND OF HOPING HE DOES
The 12:30 from Croydon by Freeman Wills Crofts

BEST BOOK FEATURING DIRIGIBLES
Slide Rule by Nevil Shute

24 thoughts on “Turmoil At The Hoggies

  1. Elle January 1, 2019 / 6:21 pm

    “best book featuring dirigibles” is a category I would like to see widely adopted by other literary prize judging panels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thomas January 7, 2019 / 10:56 am

      It was actually a memoir and it was fascinating to say the least. I had no idea what the aspirations had been for dirigibles and how they were executed in Britain. Like airborne cruise ships.

      Like

      • Elle January 8, 2019 / 1:05 pm

        Yes! Have you read Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next books? A minor in-world detail is the prevalence of cruise liner dirigibles. It’s charming.

        Like

      • Karen K. January 16, 2019 / 6:25 pm

        A few years ago, I read a D. E. Stevenson dystopia novel (!) in which there’s a strange electrical phenomenon and the only survivors are people traveling in dirigibles. It’s called The Empty World and was published in 1936 but set in the 1970s. It’s kind of hilarious to read what Stevenson imagined future air travel would be like — exactly like airborne cruise ships.

        Like

  2. Susan in TX January 1, 2019 / 6:59 pm

    “Thomas Otto, president of the Academy explained “After giving Agatha Christie and Margery Allingham yet another try, the Academy decided it finds their work tedious beyond redemption.” When asked if the Academy was singling out female authors in this category given that Freeman Wills Crofts received an award for The 12:30 from Croydon, Otto looked visibly annoyed.”

    I can’t figure out which of the two above sentences is my favorite, but this is by far my favorite part of the reporting.

    Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thomas January 7, 2019 / 10:55 am

      Are you a Christie or Allingham fan?

      Like

      • Susan in TX January 14, 2019 / 3:23 pm

        Both, although I haven’t read Christie in years. She was one of those authors I discovered in middle school and tore threw all of her work with the help of a used book store within walking distance of my house. Allingham I came to in the last few years or so. I have to admit – I didn’t care for the first few of hers, but since I collected them before I started reading them, I persevered for a while and actually ended up enjoying the last several. She (and her Albert Campion) definitely improved over time for me.

        Like

      • Susan in TX January 14, 2019 / 3:24 pm

        “through” – sheesh! can’t even type…

        Like

  3. Karen K. January 2, 2019 / 5:32 am

    I wish this were a real event, I would pay good money to attend. Sounds far more entertaining than the Oscars. But I think you should move it to the Kennedy Center, though I suppose the weather is better in LA this time of year.

    Like

    • Thomas January 7, 2019 / 10:57 am

      I would pay too, but I have a feeling authors would be a little more uptight than they are at the Hoggies.

      Like

      • Karen K. January 16, 2019 / 6:26 pm

        Agreed! Some of them seem to have no sense of humor, especially when it comes to bloggers.

        Like

  4. nerdybookgirl January 2, 2019 / 12:47 pm

    This is the most delightful book of the year post EVER.

    Like

  5. Geoff W January 2, 2019 / 2:16 pm

    Don’t you just love when you purchase a book solely for it’s cover when it turns out to be good? It just makes me so happy and those cover artists deserve so much credit.

    Like

    • Bart January 2, 2019 / 7:01 pm

      Geoff, I know what you mean when a book you bought based on its cover artwork turns out to be a good book after all.

      But Arthur Meeker wrote another book — “Chicago, with Love” — that’s even better, based not on gossip he’d overheard only whispered about, but about Chicago’s movers & shakers in the first half of the 20th Century, whom he actually KNEW, many of whom make today’s grinning underfed socialites look like nobodies. It actually ends on New Years Eve, so I always make it a point to re-read it this time of year, to refresh the details in my brain.

      Bart.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thomas January 7, 2019 / 10:50 am

        Bart, since I enjoyed Prairie Avenue as much as I did, I have looked for other titles by Meeker as I comb through old bookstores.

        Like

    • Thomas January 7, 2019 / 10:58 am

      Yes, especially when they are old, relatively unknown books that one has never heard of.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thomas January 7, 2019 / 10:51 am

      And I read two of hears this year. I liked the Philosopher’s Pupil far more than The Good Apprentice. Or is it the other way around? Whichever one took place in the spa town was the one I liked more.

      Like

      • Liz Dexter January 7, 2019 / 1:27 pm

        That’ll be Philosopher’s Pupil.

        Like

  6. Ruthiella January 2, 2019 / 10:52 pm

    I almost dropped my lorgnette when the Ambler Award was announced. We though Ambler was a shoe-in. The musical number was fantastic this year. Cudos to the Academy!

    Like

    • Thomas January 7, 2019 / 10:52 am

      Here is a life hack: When you drop your lorgnette in water, you just need to put it in a bag of rice for a few days. It will work like new.

      Like

  7. tysephine January 3, 2019 / 10:32 am

    “You know you don’t need a penis to write this stuff.” I’m dyingggg

    This has to be the most entertaining Best Of list I’ve read this year.

    Like

    • Thomas January 7, 2019 / 10:54 am

      Some time around 12/28 I start to get tired of yearly wrap ups and feel the need to inject something playful into the discussion.

      Liked by 1 person

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