Best of the Best Reading Challenge

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, even if you really enjoy a particular activity. Goals and personal challenges can help broaden your experiences and introduce you to new, exciting work. I’ve been in a bit of a reading rut recently (mostly out of laziness) so I think YALSA’s 2012 Best of the Best Challenge might be perfect for my spring reading. The details (in short):

“The 2012 Best of the Best Reading Challenge will begin at 12:01AM EST on Sunday, April 1. Once the challenge starts, you’ll have three months (until 11:59pm on Saturday, June 30) to read as many of the 80 titles counted among YALSA’s 2012 Best of the Best as you can….The Best of the Best are the winners and honor books for the Alex, Edwards, Morris, Nonfiction, Odyssey, and Printz Awards as well as the Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks, Best Fiction for Young Adults, Great Graphic Novels, Popular Paperbacks, and Quick Picks.”

If you read at least 25 titles, you will have “completed” the challenge and can submit a reader response about your fav/least fav/middle fav title to be published on the Hub. Reading also earns you blog badges, including a super exclusive badge for reading 80.

Obviously there are lots of great titles to choose from, and several are books I might not pick up otherwise. (I’m looking at you, nonfiction.)

Check out the Hub post for more info on taking part in the challenge.

ALA Monday

In case you weren’t at the ALA Midwinter meeting or listening in on the livestream, check out the winners/honorees for this year’s ALA awards. Lots of great choices, some surprises. I wasn’t really pulling for any particular book or author, so overall I’m pleased with the results.

I was excited to see Susan Cooper win the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, winner of the Belpré Author Award, sounds fantastic too.

What are your initial reactions to this morning’s award list?


Printz Stats

While we’re gearing up for this year’s Printz Award, the Hub takes a look back on previous winners. Emily Calkins has put together some great stats like: authors by gender (pretty even split), debut winners (25%–more than I’d expected), and genre (mostly contemporary–heck yeah!).

One thing I was surprised to see: so far, no Printz winning novel has featured a LGBTQ protagonist. There’s been other diversity in protagonists, which is great, but I feel like this is one aspect of YA lit that could get a little more recognition. Or maybe it’s indicative of the percentage of LGBTQ narrators in the general in general–maybe we just need more of these narrators for teens. (Of course, I’d also like to see an LGBTQ narrator whose story isn’t necessarily defined by his/her sexual identity. We need those stories, too.)

Click through to check out all the Printz stats. What are you most/least surprised about?

The Best of ’11, via Book Bloggers

Happy 2012 everyone! Want to start the year off with some good reading? You’re in luck–the 2011 Cybils Finalists were just announced. Their categories are some of my favorites, from the standard Young Adult Fiction to Poetry and Graphic Novels to Book Apps and Fantasy & Science Fiction (Middle Grade). I’ve already added a few books to my “to read” list. Excited to see who the winners will be!

Best in (YA) Show

We’re almost at the end of the year, which means we’re almost at awards season. No, not just the Oscars. The Awards for Awesomeness in YA. (YALSA, can you make that the official title of your collection of awards? The Hub has a roundup of what these awards are and which books can be nominated.

One I need to check out more is the Alex, which honors books technically for adults but which will appeal to teens as well. Sometimes I get caught up in the YA world and forget that there are good books out there for adults, too.

Also, I would like to hang out with everyone who has ever won the Margaret A. Edwards Award. Seriously. Guys, I will bake for you.

By the Numbers

There has to be a zillion “Best of 2011” lists before the end of the year. Best movies, best photographs, best internet memes (cats!). The world of YA literature is certainly no exception to this rule. Fortunately, over at The Hub, Kelly Jensen has done the hard work for us and put together a few comparative charts for all the big “Best of”lists. A couple of points I thought were interesting:

  • 25% of authors listed were debut authors. Nice job, guys!
  • Almost 70% of books listed only appeared on one list. So not a huge amount of list repetition. I see this as a good thing–it gets more titles and authors out there to potential readers.
  • Contemporary fiction held 33% of the lists. In an era when people say it’s all vampires and dystopian landscapes, it’s nice to see realistic books hold their own.

There’s a lot of great info, so I’d suggest going through it yourself. Any surprises? What’s on your “Best of 2011” list?