nyagosstar: (books)
that's the difference between reading and adult book and a book for kids. bigger margins, bigger print and faster reads.

I was given a copy of When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead by a friend which, now that i've finished reading it, is how one should receive this book. it's totally a book for friends. it's about friendship and A Wrinkle in Time and 20,000 Pyramid and somehow works out to be about so much more. that it's about how friendships work at 12 doesn't make it any less true for how they work at 30.

i loved Miranda, she was such a cool, easy character and everyone else in the novel shines as well. I was about half-way through when i figured out what was going on, and it didn't bother me at all. this is one of those books where the mystery--if you can call it that--isn't the point. the point is the journey itself.

it's totally lovely how all the pieces fall together without feeling forced in the least. the ease of this book, as well as the story and the characters make it completely and totally deserving of the Newbury this year.
nyagosstar: (books)
because When You Reach Me won the Newbery this morning. Not that i've read it, but i've been told by a very good source that there would be no justice in the world if it didn't win. so there you go.

i wasn't really invested in anything for this year's winner, so i don't feel one way or another about it, except to be happy that someone won who should win for a change. it was kind of a lackluster year as far as books were concerned. To be fair, i didn't read a ton, not the way i usually do, but what i did read was, for the most part, utterly forgettable. with the exception of Lost City of Z which was the best thing i read and was such an amazing book and i'm so pleased it's coming out in paper at the end of the month because it was brilliant.

here's hoping it's a better year in books this time around.
nyagosstar: (books)
they were announced yesterday and while there isn't anything i actively love on the list, there isn't anything i hate, so you know, that's a plus. no surprises, really, but that's okay. i would have put money on Home by Marilynne Robinson getting nominated for something. there's a thought, do you think there a pools for this kind of thing, or is the book nerd thing not lucrative enough?

the only, only thing i have to say about the ya nominations is this: What I Saw and How I Lied. i have yet to read it, it's in my pile of things to get to in the next you know, whenever, but i've heard great things. it's apparenlty beautifully written, surprising, well plotted and all around awesome. do you want to know why it sets my teeth on edge?

because Judy Blundell is also known as Jude Watson who gave us the fucking travesty that is known as the Jedi Apprentice series--which i am not ashamed to admit that i read every damn one of. they were bad, bad books. they took the only awesome thing to come out of TPM and made it stupid and lame and horrifying. i would go so far as to say that even more than anakin, she ruined the master/padawan relationship of obi-wan and qui-gon. she made qui-gon into a fucking caricature of a jedi who was so unfeeling it was like reading about a block of wood. and no one ever even got hurt.

she also left us with the legacy of the ever popular 'vibro-mop'. which is just, omg, it still makes me furious because if you know anything, anything AT ALL about the star wars universe, you know vibro attachments go with weapons, not cleaning supplies.

so yeah, the fact that she can actually write and instead chose to give us that total bullshit sets me off a little.
nyagosstar: (books)
okay, here's the thing about book awards. stop me if you've heard this from me before, or you know, just move on.

it's very, very, very rare that anyone gives a shit about the books that end up winning awards until after they've won said awards. the fact that 90 percent of readers didn't care about a book yesterday and now are beyond coherent speech in their fury at my not having it because six other pretentious douche bags came in and bought my six copies earlier in the day makes me a little insane.

i believe in the idea of literary canon, that there is a collection of books that we as a society should have some knowledge of. god knows i have not read them all, and i've certainly not liked some of them, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have this canon to start from.

what i have a problem with is the people who never stray from the canon. who never wander to see where their taste will take them. who let newspapers and literary award committees tell them what they should be reading instead of thinking for themselves.

this is all brought to you by the Pulitzer winner for fiction: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which i talked about here. i think the win isn't that surprising, it's exactly the kind of book to get this kind of prize. well written, heartbreaking, and can't we all feel really good about ourselves for reading something ethnic before going to pick up the kids at soccer. none of which is to say anything about the quality of book only the people who are filled with self righteous indignation that i'm out of the book. when i had it up as my staff pick for the entire month of december.

in other, non-ranty, news, i gave simon a bath this afternoon and he smells so sweet. or at least like cat shampoo, which i find very soothing.
nyagosstar: (sighing toby)
i think this is the first year in about five years that i haven't felt like charlie brown to the children's book award committee's lucy. from that statement, you might take that to mean that i agreed with any of the choices that were announced this morning, but what it really means is that of all the kids books i read, looked at, sold and was exposed to, i wasn't really passionate about any of them.

don't get me wrong. i think hugo was a good book, and if it was going to win an award, i'd rather it go with the caldicott than the newberry because it's not really an intermediate book. it's a high level picture book. and kadir nelson's honor is win because i love kadir nelson's art. it's beyond gorgeous and he really deserves to win because his work is amazing. did i mention i'm a fan?

but everything else? i'm just kind of blah about. i did most of my reading in the adult realm this past year and of course, my literary love michael chabon killed me dead for about four months this year with yiddish policemen's union, but still. it's not good when i can't even work up a passing excitement about what we thought the best children's books of the year were.

i'm hoping this year will be better, because i should be excited about what i'm reading and thrilled to sell what i love.
nyagosstar: (roy wtf face)
four phone calls down the line this morning, bouncing from one person to the next in my group of friends and around 11 this morning, i got the call. you'd think it was an important bit of world news or the report on a friend's health, but no! jk said it, dumbledore is gay. wait for fandom to explode. i was working all day, so i didn't get the chance to see if it did, but being harry potter, i can't imagine that it didn't.

you can say a lot about the harry potter books, you can say a lot about jk as an author, as a plotter, etc, forever. but that woman is damn smart. it's a pretty good bet she's known this for a long while and she waited until the books were done, until everyone and their brother had purchased her last book to tell us.

i can't honestly say i care one way or another about dumbledore, we all know my obsessions in this fandom tend towards snape, lupin and sirius. i do get a little bit of a mental chuckle over the image of snape and dumbledore drinking tea like the sad old queens that they are, though. come on, tell me it doesn't make you smile, just a little.

in other news, i'm loving the missy higgins album. there are a couple songs that are okay, but there are two--the first and the last--that are beyond excellent. i'm sure they're character songs, i just haven't decided who they belong to as yet. i listened on my drive to and from work as well as the surprise midday trip to another store to pick up stuff for my cafe because god forbid anyone ever tell us we're running low on anything. but the good news is, i'm taking steps to rectify the situation.

cut for great justice, or at least to make it easier on my flist while i talk about book awards )
nyagosstar: (sighing toby)
Every year. Every year, I get excited about the Newbery and Caldicot awards because I think something actually good might win. And every year, I’m like Charlie brown over here and the book committees are like lucy with the football. Every year they’re all ‘we’ll pick something good, we promise” and I get excited and come running full tilt and then… yeah, I end up flat on my back.

Every year.

Where was Green Glass Sea? Where? That book was amazing. It was historical fiction that didn’t bore me to death. It told a story of a girl and the time she was in wasn’t intrusive. I’ll admit it wasn’t a perfect book, but it was something very special and I’m sad that it didn’t get the recognition it deserved.

It was not the most amazing year for American ya and mg fiction. But there were some good pieces out there, some brave and innovative stories. I’ll be honest and tell you I haven’t read the newbery winners or honors, which is odd, though I’ll be happy to dish about them when I’m done.

Surprisingly, the caldicots weren’t so horrible this year as they have been for the past couple. Flotsom isn’t a bad book. It’s cute and interesting and very pretty. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it, unlike say, My Friend Rabbit. But don’t you think John, Paul, George and Ben was a better book? I do.

In even better news, Moses was an honor book and picked up the Coretta Scott King award. Have I told you of my unholy love of Kadir Nelson? His art is so amazing, every picture I just want to reach out and touch and I was so happy to hear he had a new book this year and I’m terribly pleased it’s been recognized.

And finally the Printz awards. The winner I’m not familiar with, but it’s a graphic novel, which I actually think is an interesting choice. I’m pretty pleased that the graphic novel as a medium is getting more recognition as a valid story telling vehicle. God knows I can’t imagine the work that would go into not only writing a book, but illustrating the whole damn thing. I think that the plot bits are hard enough as it is without having to think in pictures.

But, the real winner in this is Octavian Nothing. I love MT Anderson. I remember I read Feed, I don’t know, five years ago and thought that while it was an interesting idea, the execution of the book was a little off. The final joke was on me, though, because I still think about that book to this day, it haunts me as a grim vision of the future. So, over the years, I’ve read his other books, watching him grow as a writer, watching him get better with every book. I loved the hell out of Whales on Stilts and wished it had won the newbery. But if I can’t have an award for that, Octavian Nothing getting both an honor for the Printz and the national book award for ya is pretty damn good.

As a final parting note, however, I would like to register my complete and utter loathing for An Abundance of Katherines. even though I stopped reading Looking for Alaska half way through, I wanted to give this one a try because I like the idea of the child prodigy, of what you do when you grow up and you’re normal. The problem is that while that was enough to get me to read the book, I hated everyone in it, the plot and pretty much the very act of holding it in my hands. I’ve always thought it was better to get some extreme reaction from a reader, either positive or negative than have nothing at all. So here you go, I fucking hated that book.

on a totally different note, it's been awhile just came up on my itunes and it makes me smile because while i think i will probably always associate it with wes from angel, it now also makes me think of ed.
nyagosstar: (Default)
the finalists for the booker prize were announced and i'm really excited because i finally read something on the list before it was announced. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is on the short list and i'm so pleased because i really liked it, and now maybe people will beleive me when i tell them it's a fantastically interesting book. i haven't ready any of the others, but i love book prizes.

on an interesting and related note, i just went back and reread my review of the above and sometimes it astounds me i can string together two coherent sentences together at the same time. it's a perfect example of why sarah, as my writing partner wishes i would have a closer and more meaningful relationship with punctuation and actually ending a sentence instead of rambling on, kind of like how i've just done here.

and speaking of books, )

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