Jan. 26th, 2009

rockinlibrarian: (librarians)
The Stuff Pertaining to Out There
First off, today was ALA Youth Media Award Announcement Day, a day which for me is more fun than the Oscars Emmys and Grammys combined because I'm more likely to actually know something about the winners. And this year I was especially excited since I spent part of last year ACTUALLY BEING A YOUTH SERVICES LIBRARIAN, which means I was IN THE LOOP for all the pre-award buzz on this year's titles, which means the chances I've actually READ THE WINNERS AHEAD OF TIME have gone way up this year.

Of course, my reading interests being what they are, the awards that are most interesting to me are the Newbery and the Printz. AND YAY I DID READ THIS YEAR'S NEWBERY LAST YEAR! Which may actually be a feat I have never accomplished before. Anyway, that book was Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, which I quite enjoyed, though I wouldn't call it the best book I ever read or even the best book I read last year that came out last year, but I definitely see its worthiness to win the medal-- it's extremely well-crafted and just seems to yell out "THIS IS A TIMELESS CLASSIC" with every word. I have not read any of the Honor books here, but I've heard of all of them, and Savvy has been on my to-read list for awhile; I've heard great things about The Underneath but I don't know if it's really my sort of book.

Now the PRINTZ award (as it is less famous, I will explain for you laypeople that this is the one for a YA book) I went into all smug, like, "I was a teen librarian, I know all about the teen books this year, I'm curious what won but I won't be surprised, hah," and then they went and gave the award to a book I know next to NOTHING about, just to show me up for being smug I suppose. I'd heard the title before, but that's it. The HONOR books here on the other hand I either expected or was pleasantly surprised by-- the latter being SIR Terry Pratchett's Nation, which I read just a couple weeks ago-- too late to include in my Favorite Books from 2008 post in December, but if I had it would definitely have topped the list. It was an incredible book, and I'm not just saying that as someone who loved Pratchett beforehand, because it's very different from say a Discworld book and there's nothing that tells you who the author is as you read if you're not actually looking at the cover. I was surprised, not because I didn't think it is award-worthy because it MOST DEFINITELY IS, but because I didn't think the book was eligible, as Pratchett is not a US resident, and buzz about whether or not Gaiman was eligible for the Newbery revealed that THAT award can only go to a US resident (though it doesn't have to be a US citizen, which is why Gaiman could win). But apparently the Printz does not have that same requirement-- obviously looking at info on the winners, because it turns out the main winner (whom I knew nothing about before) is Australian, as well. Anyway, as for the rest of the honors, I was also pleased to see that my favorite 2008 book BEFORE I read Nation (the Lockhart book with the long title I don't feel like typing) also got an honor. Octavian Nothing book 2 I also fully expected to win something because judging by the first book the two put together are pretty much a Work of Art, and I do intend to read it eventually, but it's a hard read and I'm not sure I have the brain power for it at the moment. And Tender Morsels I haven't decided if I want to read yet-- it'll either be something I love or something that would totally just be too dark for me, so I don't know yet! But at least, like, I knew about it before the awards, which is the point of this paragraph.

I knew about most of the other award winners too, but being as they're not the sort of books I typically read, haven't read them or anything. Oh, except the new Morris Award, which is for the best YA book by a first-time author, which I ALSO haven't read yet but has totally been on my to-read list from possibly even before it was published, because the author responded to some of my posts on the SCBWI forum awhile back and always had the book info in her signature, and I thought it sounded intriguing.

Speaking of writing, and of questions I once posted on SCBWI forums...

The more personal good bookish news
...I have busted through my writer's block; a refreshing light shower has ended my dry spell; all of a sudden this past weekend I could WRITE again. It was very odd-- last time I talked on this subject I said how I'd probably beaten Ian and Co. to death and should maybe try to write something totally different, and since I was in a fairy tale kingdom sort of mood thought I'd play around with Somewhereorother again, but I couldn't get anything out on that one, either-- the voices in my head just weren't cooperating. And then suddenly I realized that the voices I WAS hearing as I tried to write something totally different were Ian and Billy's after all, even though I was in a fairy tale kingdom mood and they are so not fairy-tale-esque, and suddenly I started writing bits and pieces of the completely reworked opening chapter I'd envisioned in a dream a month or so ago, and suddenly I knew how to fix ALL the little problems I said I had with the book the other week-- I KNEW how to get Ian to seek Ashlynn's help in a way that didn't introduce senseless plot manipulations AND coincidentally cleared up some smaller plot nonsensities that I hadn't even been thinking of at the time, and I knew EXACTLY how to introduce all four main characters in the first chapter, and in a way that, thanks to Billy being there, cleared up yet another little plot stupidity I hadn't even thought about until I fixed it. It is SO REFRESHINGLY JOYFUL to have figured these things out! And, considering it IS after all the first chapter (and some later chapters) that I am reworking, that fixes the sucky-first-chapter problems. Though, technically, what I have still sucks, because it is in my bits-of-rough-draft stage (not even a state I can share with you here yet), but the POTENTIAL is much less sucky because it DOES seem to match the rest of the book in tone better. So I am full of hope! I shall not be hopeless forever!

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