Spending the Morning with the ALA Youth Media Awards

Most Monday mornings:

ALA Youth Media Award announcement Monday:

My Twitter feed during the announcements:

People tweeting about other things during the announcements:

Speaker comments about the necessity of supporting libraries and literacy:

All of the winners and honorees:

When my livestream blips out for buffering:

What my reading list is like after hearing all the awards:

Congratulations to all the award winner and honorees, especially the team at Candlewick Press. Love you guys!

Alice Munro and the Story House

Congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature! She’s the thirteenth woman to win the prize and (to my surprise) the first Canadian.

Munro is largely known for her short stories. In case you haven’t read her work before, Book Riot has suggestions for how to get started. It’s been a while since I’ve read much Munro, but I’ve always liked her style–outwardly quiet stories with a lot of depth and beautifully crafted prose and characters. You can get a good sense of Munro’s writing by this quote:

“A story is not like a road to follow … it’s more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you.”

I love Munro’s image of exploring a story like exploring a house. I know I feel like this when I’m working on a particular story, especially since I don’t do a lot of outlining and planning. Part of the fun of writing is the exploration, seeing all the different parts of the house and learning its history.

As a reader, returning to the story-house and finding it “always contains more than you saw the last time” is one reason I love rereading. There are always more room and shelves to explore.

Update #2: 48 Hour Book Challenge

photo-1A little reading this morning, followed by brunch (you need coffee and biscuits for a book challenge, right?), followed by more reading. I managed to finish the second of the books I was in the middle of. Onto the stats!

Update #2

  • 1.5 hours reading time (4.5 hours total)
  • 136 pages read (501 pages total)
  • 0 cups tea consumed (2 cups total)

The Books

Review #2: I had already been about two-thirds of the way through Tell the Wolves I’m Home when I picked it up again for #48HBC. It was one of this year’s Alex Award winners, and I can see why–June’s a rich and compelling narrator, who’s navigating adulthood in the middle of losing her favorite person in the world, her uncle Finn. I remember feeling a lot like June at that age, as she feels like part of her is slipping away when she has a harder time pretending she’s in the middle ages. I was also really impressed by the character of Greta, her sister, whom I expected to just be the kind of obnoxious, wordly older sister. Instead, Greta is a complex character who desperately wants to connect with her younger sister and doesn’t quite know how. Overall, an excellent look at love and grief and jealousy and reconciliation. It’s beautifully written and quiet, which is the kind of book I’m drawn toward.

Endure and Prevail

Last week my dad mentioned William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech. I’d read it before, but it feels particularly meaningful now. My favorite part:

“I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.

I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.”

Bold/italics are mine. Writers, we’ve got a job to do. Let’s help humanity prevail.

Make sure to click through to see the whole speech; you can even listen to Faulkner read it!

(image: Wikipedia)

The Story Beyond Attainment, Beyond Help

I’ve confessed before that I’m not a Hemingway fan. But I was intrigued by his Nobel Prize speech and the circumstances surrounding it. He talks a little about the loneliness of writing, which I don’t tend to agree with, but I liked this part quite a bit:

“For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment…It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.”

I like this idea of being driven out beyond help, beyond what you can conceive of for yourself. Because if you’re writing, it should be because this is a story that needs to be told and hasn’t been told before. This is your challenge and we’re always pushed further than before.

Make sure to check out the whole speech.

ALA Monday

In case you weren’t at ALA or didn’t catch the livestream today, here’s the ALA Youth Media Award list for 2013–aka, your list of books you already love or books that are immediately going on your to-read list.

I was especially excited to hear that that the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award went to Katherine Paterson and the Margaret A. Edwards Award went to Tamora Pierce. They’ve done so much for generations of young readers and totally deserve these major awards.

Books that are immediately going on my library loan request list: Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (I KNOW, I KNOW).

Share your post-ALAYMA thoughts in the comments.

Almost Time for the ALA Youth Media Awards

The 2013 ALA Youth Media Awards (aka, the Newbery, the Printz, the Caldecott) will be announced on Monday, January 28. Like pretty much everyone else in the kidlit world, I’m psyched to see which books are honored:

I’ve always been interested to see who’s nominated for these awards, but now that I’m becoming part of the YA/children’s lit community, I’m also really excited about the possibility of actually knowing people whose books could be selected. Less likely for 2012, but I know a few 2013 authors and lots of great 2014 authors. Even though obviously the ALA awards can’t recognize every awesome book, I’m still psyched by the possibility of actually knowing an award-winner.

(via School Library Journal)

Links Galore

A few more links for today:

Debuts, Awards, and the Continually Changing Landscape of Publishing

With the Morris Award finalists announced, two of my favorite YA blogs–Stacked and A Chair, a Fireplace, & a Tea Cozy--are tackling what it means to be a debut novelist.

First the basics: “The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, first awarded in 2009, honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.” I love the idea of this, and I think it’s a great way for first-time authors to get recognition. At Stacked, Kelly lists the rules that apply to the Morris Award.

The problem mostly comes in with Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, as Hartman had previously self-published a graphic novel about the fantasy world used in Seraphina. Does that count as a previously published work and disqualify Hartman? The Morris committee doesn’t seem to think so, and Kelly and Liz raise good points about what the rules actually say and what that means for writers.

One part in Kelly’s post that struck me:

“I’m not convinced that self-publishing a book is not, in fact, publishing a title. An author does it for any number of reasons: they can’t find a traditional outlet, they prefer not to go through a traditional outlet, and so on and so forth. It doesn’t really matter why they chose not to go that route. What it comes down to is wanting to put a book out there and share their works. “

With more and more people looking to the self-publishing route, I think it’s going to have to be seen as a more viable option by award committees. Like Kelly says, an author is choosing to share their work with the public by self-publishing, just as they would by going the traditional route.

Not that I think this means Seraphina should be disqualified. As Liz notes, the rule regarding self-published books currently seems to treat them as separate entities than previously published books from a traditional publisher–which means that Hartman’s previously published graphic novel doesn’t count toward her Morris eligibility. And Seraphina is an awesome book, and I’m really excited about it being recognized for such a high-profile award.

But I also wouldn’t be surprised if the situation were different in ten years. Again, I think as more people look at self-publishing as an option, I think the committee will have to wrestle further with how that affects eligibility and what constitutes a debut.

If anything, I think this situation has started a really interesting conversation about the line between traditional and self-publishing with regard to awards, and how that line gets fuzzier every year.