20 people (19 voters) gathered together yesterday afternoon at the Rockridge branch of the Oakland Public Library to discuss our shortlist with the following results.
During the discussion, I thought BOMB and SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS emerged as the most likely contenders and the first ballot reflected this.
BENEATH A METH MOON . . . 1 (1st) + 1 (2nd) + 1 (3rd) = 9 points
BOMB . . . 8 (1st) + 7 (2nd) + 1 (3rd) = 55 points
LIAR & SPY . . . 2 (1st) + 3 (2nd) + 6 (3rd) = 29 points
MOONBIRD . . . 1 (2nd) + 3 (3rd) = 9 points
NO CRYSTAL STAIR . . . 1 (1st) + 2 (2nd) + 2 (3rd) = 14 points
THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN . . . 1 (1st) + 1 (2nd) + 1 (3rd) = 9 points
SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS . . . 6 (1st) + 3 (2nd) + 3 (3rd) = 39 points
STARRY RIVER OF THE SKY . . . 1 (2nd) + 2 (3rd) = 7 points
We decided to keep all the titles for a second ballot; discussed BOMB, LIAR & SPY, and SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS further; and proceeded to the decisive second ballot.
BENEATH A METH MOON . . . 1 (2nd) + 2 (3rd) = 7 points
BOMB . . . 11 (1st) + 4 (2nd) + 4 (3rd) = 64 points
LIAR & SPY . . . 4 (1st) + 4 (2nd) + 4 (3rd) = 36 points
MOONBIRD . . . 1 (3rd) = 2 points
NO CRYSTAL STAIR . . . 3 (2nd) + 2 (3rd) = 13 points
THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN . . . 2 (3rd) = 4 points
SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS . . . 4 (1st) + 7 (2nd) + 1 (3rd) = 39 points
STARRY RIVER OF THE SKY . . . 3 (3rd) = 6 points
Because BOMB had 10 first place votes and a 10-point spread, we declared it our winner and chose SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS and LIAR & SPY as honor books. In slightly different circumstances, I believe any of these books could have emerged as the winner. Indeed, we have seen these books consistently rated the highest during each round of our online nominations, so it’s possible that when we vote for that later in the week, we may come up with the same three books, but in a slightly different order. Our discussion of each title was illuminating and insightful, and the positive comments for each book seemed to weigh heavier, in my mind, than the negative ones. Nina and I will respond to questions and comments, but I hope that other participants will also feel free to chime in with their thoughts on the afternoon.