24 Feb 2013

Alex Awards, 2013

I think this wraps up my gaggle of ALA awards posts for the season… I could keep going and talk about them all, of course, but limits are a good thing.

I have been enjoying looking back at last years winners and seeing which books I read, which ones are still on my radar. From last year’s Alex Awards, I didn’t read anything more than the book I’d already read, but everyone and their second cousin read Ready Player One and are still talking about it from time to time, I checked out The Night Circus three times without reading it, and I just put Salvage the Bones on my eReader.

One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard

I have been thinking about high school sports lately, because wow, is there anything I don’t understand more than high school sports? I am the least sporty person alive. I played a few years of JV tennis while not being a sporty person and not really understanding high school sports. My brain-body coordination can’t be trusted. My ability to join in on a Team Mentality is lacking.

I could take all this and say “No, I should not read a book about a high school baseball team because I just won’t get it,” or I could say “I should read a book about a high school baseball team because I would like my brain to be more open to things the world seems to understand that I don’t.” That is the difference between an enlightened, wise reader and one who is not. I am not sure which reader I am.


My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

It has just recently come to my attention that I probably know more about serial killers than I do high school sports.

This is a graphic novel about Jeffrey Dahmer, created by someone who knew Dahmer as a teen. This sounds right up my alley, but I have heard some mixed reviews from my friends on Goodreads. I will probably check it out, though, because graphic novels are just SO easy to put on hold, so check-out-able.


Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

One thing I like about the Alex Awards is that it reliably highlights some high-profile adult books from the year that have teen appeal. Secret YA books are all around us! Adults, even adults who purportedly hate YA, read them all the time! And put them on their Best Adult Books for Adults lists every year!

This book is a magical-realism, pseudo-fairytale about a crazy bookstore. I should probably read this post-haste.


Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Cut and paste first paragraph previous. This book got so much buzz in the Fall, and was written by an Arrested Development writer. Again, I post-haste.


Pure by Julianna Baggott

I recognize the name “Julianna Baggott” because she has written adult books with teen appeal before. A cross-over author. Pure is a dystopia for adults… a cross-over genre. A cross-over cross-over.

Sounds intriguing, but I pretty much don’t read dystopias any more unless there is a gun to my head, so I will probably skip it.


Juvenile in Justice by Richard Ross

Out of this year’s Alex bunch, I’ve heard the most about this title. It is purported to be powerful – photography of juvenile detention facilities, collected over five years – but is not available through traditional book vendors, really. There aren’t even any new copies on Amazon! As someone who thinks a lot about how libraries build collections, relationships between publishers and vendors and libraries, and how awards shift publication practices, I’m interested to see how this one pans out. I, for one, would love to get my hands on it for my library.


Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

I’m going to ignore the contents of this book and focus on the cover, since I am an unashamed, unabashed book-cover-judger. Love good cover art. Love love love it.

This is a great cover, right? A bear. A silhouette. A teapot (?). Ribbons. Hand-lettering. Swirly swirls. Love it. I put it on hold months ago just because of the cover. I’m glad it seems to be getting some attention for it’s literary contents because otherwise that would be a fine cover wasted.


The Round House by Louise Erdrich

The Alex Awards seem to have a steady relationship with the National Book Awards. Or, the National Book Awards have a strange favoritism for Secret YA Books. Or, Secret YA books are awesome and are universally loved.

Anyway, The Round House won the National Book Award, and here it is on the Alex List. I am number 44 in line on the hold list.


Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman

Any protagonist who is described as “the least likely of Girl Scouts” is a protagonist I’d like to meet. That is all.


Caring is Creepy by David Zimmerman

This book sounds like a completely frightening read – parents involved in drug deals, meeting strangers on the Internet, something that sounds like a teenage girl kidnapping a grown man… and I appreciate the title invoking the title of a Shins song that is probably the least frightening song in existence.


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