Meet the Judges: Thomas
The Inky Award judges have 20 books to read in two months and the shadow judges had a month to read two books each… so I set them some extra work! I asked them to tell us a bit about themselves so we can get to know them a bit better. Curious about who is hard at work creating the Inky Awards shortlist? Learn more about them in our Meet the Judges series.
Today we meet judge Thomas (damnedmonkey)
My favourite book when I was little:
The Magic Faraway Tree, by and far away the best book I read as a child and read the sequels almost immediately. Second favourite was Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World, even though I didn’t know what pheasants were, nor did I have a clue about
Bentleys, it was still amazing.
Most unusual place you might find me reading:
Reading outside class 10 minutes before it starts just so I can read uninterrupted by having to move around the school by the bell. Sometimes I don’t though.
A book I have read that I wish more people would read:
Douglas Adam’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy trilogy of five and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, though I wouldn’t start with Colour of Magic. Though I appreciate that it’s not to everyone’s tastes, the way the authors wring the English language and have brilliant flashes of observational humour is not to be missed though the reading is very hard for someone inexperienced as they are books that needs a high vocabulary (all of the Discworld is both a challenge but a pure, unabated delight to read).
A book cover that I love:
Any of the Paul Kidby artworks for the early Discworld series paperbacks because they’re so incredibly weird and cherubic it fits with the whole perception of Discworld as the whole theme of it is unconventional stereotypes: like an incredibly brilliant warrior,
legendary throughout the land but is also sixty or seventy years past his prime.
All the modern book covers for everything seem formulaic and dull, with just floating heads and uninspired artwork depicting a person alone in a room (look at e. lockhart’s Genuine Fraud. It’s just a lump of hair on the floor. It doesn’t promote intrigue it just looks off-putting and doesn’t really say anything and there’s no kind of iconography to point towards what genre it is with the vagueness of the detail.)
If you look at some of the artworks for Hugo Award winning stuff, such as American Gods, or even, getting older, stuff like Gateway (Frederick Pohl), Foundation (Isaac Asimov) or Dr. Bloodmoney (Phillip K. Dick) they have iconism (they tell you about the book you are reading through objects, characters and situations depicted) and convey what readers should expect of the book in terms of tone. (Damn, that went for a bit long.)
My controversial opinion about books/reading:
I know that some people love Sarah J Mass’ series but I can’t bring myself to like them, because I find the characters irritating and some of them boring, and I feel the same way about most fantasy teenage romance novels. Read Divergent (disliked), read City of Bones (hated it), read the first Lynette Noni and though the writing is beautiful and amazing, I felt really underwhelmed by the lazy plotting and the thin characters.
Oh, and no-one I’m really close friends with has read Hitchhikers but only one Discworld though it was Lords and Ladies so she didn’t really get anything about it from start to finish and hasn’t wanted to pick up a Pratchett since.
In some books, I get to like the villain more than the hero, and that really entertains me, because it’s just such a fun perspective, seeing what drives the villain is more interesting than the hero in some places. Some books have a good hero and that’s fine. But it seems like a general rule nowadays is that villains should spent their time neglected and underwritten and just be plot devices that trip the main character up and to inflict pain through random acts of narcissism. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is good at this, and so many other sci-fi books, as they don’t have to keep their villain in the dark for as much as a murder mystery does. Books studying human reason also appeals, like a good Marple (Mirror Crack’d) or something like And Then There Were None, a good psychological horror book with a touch of mystery.
For more about Thomas check out his Inky Awards judge video below