This is a book I’ve been saving the whole season, saving until the end because I knew I’d love it and I wanted to savor it. I’m not alone in loving it — it has four stars, it’s on the SLJ Mothership’s year end list, and it’s fantasy, and there’s action, and there are pirates, and it’s atmospheric and beautiful, and there are magical reading powers, and that cover is so wow, and and AND! What can I say? Sometimes you feel like possibly a book was designed, down to a molecular level, to be a You Book. This is one of those times for me. But now that I’ve actually read it, and sat with it for a bit, I’m going to do my best and try to have a balanced take for our Printzly purposes.
(I want to make a naughty or nice joke, but really, naughty books just don’t make it on Printz contender speculation lists.)
We’ve considered buzz, that strange ephemeral thing that happens on Goodreads and Twitter, we’ve looked at stars (shoutouts, ever and always, to Jen and her amazing list, without which we would have no accurate data on stars and books), and finally we’ve gone over the list of previous winners and honorees to see who has new books out this year.
In many ways, this post is more the what than the why.
Because it’s time to tackle the really complex, almost undefinable heart of the award: the definition of literary excellence.
Sarah and I took a run at this last year, and it took two really long posts. I still stand by everything we said there (click if you want to see if you stand by what we said, too: part 1 and especially part 2), and I encourage anyone who is interested in the Printz to read the comments on part 2, but after a year of thinking on this question of excellence I think it’s worth revisiting — and glancing again at the Policies and Procedures that guide our understanding of what it is we’re seeking when we look for the book that deserves the Printz award.
So let’s go once more into the fray to the Policies and Procedures. [Read more…]
So, I’ve been hearing from a lot of folks about how this is a GREAT year, and with so many excellent books, how will the committees ever narrow it down.
I’m… not sure I agree.
I mean, there are lots of really good books out this year, but not a lot that I’m feeling I could really defend as genuine, go-the-distance contendas. Currently, my did-not-finish list is almost as long as my finished list, which is never good. Of course, I’ve only barely scratched the surface of 2012 books at this point, so maybe I’ve just been reading the wrong stuff? Let us know what you’ve already read that rocks, please, so we can find some more titles to champion.
That said, here are a few I think bear a closer look: [Read more…]
Well, we all know THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is THE book of the year (so far!). When did we last have a contemporary, realistic fiction title with this much buzz and prepub excitement? It probably goes without saying, but if you are the one person who hasn’t read it yet, be sure to get to it before September. We might just launch with this one, since we know some folks are already spoiling for that fight!
Now, let’s talk about the books that you might not have read yet, but probably ought to if you want to play along. Finally, remember that any books with three or more stars is automatically a contenda, so if you’ve gotten to something we haven’t, do let us know in the comments what deserves to go the distance—or not.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
YALSA’s final nomination lists were posted last week.
We thought it’d be interesting to see what we are looking at here versus what Best Fiction for Young Adults and Great Graphic Novels will be checking out in January. (I am leaving Quick Picks off because the QP charge is so dissimilar to the Printz charge. And since Popular Paperbacks is retrospective, we can safely leave that list out, too. And until the short lists for the Morris and Nonfiction awards come out, there’s nothing we can say about those.) [Read more…]
Not those games, although every other conversation I had today was about the Hunger Games trailer.
No, I mean the annual best books game. The lists! The awards! The moments of truth! And (my favorite), the Monday morning quarterbacking.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’re just at the very beginning of the process.
Reading is an immensely personal experience. Except when it isn’t.
This conundrum is at the heart of reading for a committee, or list, or award. We talk about this a lot. Today, we will talk (in full paragraphs!) here, so that everyone knows what’s going on in our heads and can chime in.
Karyn: A (short) while back, in her review of Everybody Sees the Ants, Sarah talked about a wall she had hit (Lucky’s dad’s age) that caused a crack in her windshield (we’re gonna beat that metaphor to death by the time January rolls around, so consider yourself warned).
There is no such thing as an objective reader. It’s just not possible. We bring ourselves to the books we read. [Read more…]
That pile? That’s what it looks like when you are on a committee. Every day.
(I still reflexively check every package that arrives at school, conditioned by years of book committees. I think I got hooked on the rush. The packages are rarely for me anymore, but somehow, two years later, I still live in a constant state of anticipation.)
But with so much great material flowing in, plus even more out there waiting to be discovered, how on earth does one ever decide what to read?
Well, you can be a passive committee member and just wait for feedback from the rest of the committee. Or you can read whatever you want to read and just hope something great pops up. Or you can apply the super scientific method (there’s lots of science in this post!) and create spreadsheets and lists and notebooks, oh my.