Friday, October 14, 2005

Best of the Year

The National Book Award Nominees (very happy for both Didion and Vollman, btw) aren't the only big announcements for the week. The mag I review for pulled together the "best" for the past year. As explanation, most of my fellow reviewers are librarians, and the reviews are supposed to be adult books that a teen reader might like. The “best” are books the mag covered in the past year, and can be anything. Like normal, this year is dominated by fiction, but there are also a couple of graphic novels, a memoir, and some other non-fiction. All are judged equally, regardless of style, format, or genre.

Basically, anyone who reviews can nominate a best book. Once nominated, someone else reads it and either supports it or turns it down. If supported, the person who nominated it makes a short presentation to the group, and then there’s a vote. I seconded a few, turned down a few, but the only book I nominated is Anderson’s graphic novel, King. The whole nomination thing’s giving me a little more perspective on these awards. Even though my name is loosely attached to the list, I’ve only actually read three of them. Aside from Anderson’s, I read Will’s Choice, The Memory of Running, and Star Wars: Visionaries, all of which I give high marks to. But the others I have no idea about, aside from what other people have told me. From what I gather, our system is not that different from many others. In some ways, I'm quite proud of how diverse it is and pleased it's not all best sellers.

The big list this year (in no particular order) is:

Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation by Jeff Chang

The Children's War by Monique Charlesworth

Dear Zoe by Philip Beard

Freedom Rising: Washington in the Civil War by Ernerst Furguson

The Good Man Edward Jae-Suk Lee

King: The Complete Edition by Ho Che Anderson

The Lost German Slave Girl by John Bailey

The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Ophelia's Fan by Christine Balint

Pardonable Lies: A Maisie Dobbs Mystery by Jacqueline Winspear

Sky Bridge by Laura Pritchett

Star Wars: Visionaries

The Summer We Got Saved by Pat Cunningham Devoto

Sunny Ward of the State by Sonja Heinze Coryat

Will's Choice by Gail Girffith


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