Thursday, June 30, 2011

Walden Award!

You guys, I'm ashamed.  For four years now, there has been an entire YA award out there, given by an organization I used to pay money to belong to, and I had never even heard of it until today.

It turns out that ALAN, the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents, has something called the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award, and the 2011 winner has just been announced:

 The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, Francisco X. Stork (yay!)

And here are the other finalists:

After Ever After, Jordan Sonnenblick
 I Will Save You, Matt de la Peña
Sorta Like a Rock Star, Matthew QuickWolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me, Kristen Chandler

So the criteria for the award is not just good literature, but a book "demonstrating a positive approach to life, widespread teen appeal, and literary merit."  I'm not sure how I feel about that positive approach to life business, but I bet the Wall Street Journal would be happy...

Sunday, June 26, 2011


So I just read Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson.  Which is not YA, but whatever.  At first I was excited to have a whole new genre to catch up on:  robot uprisings and whatnot.  I can't believe I've been missing out on these my whole life!  It's even better than zombie apocalypsi because the robot thing is probably actually going to happen someday, and debating survival techniques would therefore not be a total waste of time.  Sadly, reading this book didn't leave me informed enough to develop a strategy.  I will have to do more research.  (FYI, my zombie plan: immediate suicide if there's an outbreak.)

So Robopocalypse kind of annoyed me because I was really gearing up for a rollicking sci-fi adventure, and it was pretty awesome for a little while and then I realized it was more than half over and was still just trudging along, one. scene. after. another.  It's done in World War Z-style "oral history" bits. See, this one awesome hero found the robots' archive of war footage, so we get the story told in bits and pieces in a series of different voices, almost all gratingly "dude-ish." So mostly it's brief scenes of rad robot carnage that seem written with a movie script in mind, followed by a paragraph or two provided by our hero narrator attempting to tie the event into the big picture of the war.  Just... lazy writing.  Just go ahead and write a screenplay from the start!  There's no actual need for it be a "novel" first.  Then again, the very last scene?  That cringe-inducingly unnecessary one after it's all over?  Does not bode well for the movie version...

Anyhoo.  I just saw this. Self-driving cars.  And all I can say is noooooo!!  It's just a matter of time before they start running us over.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My kindle is costing me so much money. Also, the internet has changed how I read.  More specifically, google reader has changed how I read.  I follow a bunch of YA blogs and author blogs, and a lot of other sites too—science, politics, feminist, sewing, whatever, and they won't stop mentioning books.  And then, because it's so easy, I decide that I have to read whatever they're talking about right this minute and because it takes approximately 2 seconds to have it downloaded to my kindle, I buy it.

Here's what I got in the last week:

Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (thanks to Forever Young Adult.  Their review also helped me come to terms with my adoration of Libba Bray's Beauty Queens, which even though I couldn't stop talking about it, and turned immediately back to page one when I got to the end to read it again, I still felt kinda embarrassed to have loved so much.)

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You by Eli Pariser (due to my coworker talking about it, not actually the internet.)

Robopocalypse (Cause of the entire internet in general.)

Plus Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace (also a coworker's fault..), Feed by Mira Grant,
The Time Traders by Andre Norton (thanks to weirdo misogynists who say that all books written by women suck and those who disagree.)  And so on!

But then I realized that the library still exists, and it'll take me a minute to read what I've just bought, so I have some time before I need more.  So I loaded up my holds list and now, eventually, I can read for free again.  Fuzzy Nation! Zombies vs. Unicorns! A David Levithan I haven't read yet!  A couple others!

Also, I read Sweet Valley Confidential this week, and it is terrible.  Truly.  Not that that's a shocker, but I mean really.  I can't even.  It took a slightly heroic effort to even finish it.