Booklist Reviewers Turn a Phrase
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From the Editor
Best Lists, Women's Fiction, and a Whole Lot More
The March 15 issue of Booklist, which mailed Tuesday, is packed with so much great stuff that the best thing I can do is to introduce it and get out of the way. First, you'll find the most-anticipated book lists, now fully annotated, recently announced at our Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. Viewing them on Booklist Online, you'll be able to follow links to the Booklist reviews, and subscribers can use our Advanced Search function to limit searches by award, honor, and list all the way back to 1992. (Print subscribers will need to set up password access first.)
Second, it's our first-ever Spotlight on Women's Fiction, curated by the woman who wrote the book—make that two books—on the subject, Reference and Collection Management editor Rebecca Vnuk. Rebecca brooks no disagreement on this subject, as you'll find in "Rebecca's Rules: Defining Women's Fiction," so I'll meekly cede the floor to her.
And that's certainly not all. Daniel Kraus interviews Printz Award winner Nick Lake; Mary Burkey interviews Odyssey Award producer Laura Grafton; Michael Cart refuses to second-guess the awards committees; Bill Ott dreams he's really Bing Crosby; and Daniel Kraus has written another book destined to keep you wide awake, praying for dawn.
ALA's Best Lists , 2013
The Reading List: Best Genre Adult Fiction
Over the Rainbow
Best Fiction for Young Adults
Top 10 Quick Picks
Great Graphic Novels for Teens
Notable Children's Books
Amelia Bloomer Project
Notable Children's Videos
Notable Children's Recordings
Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults
Notable Videos for Adults
Spotlight on Women's Fiction
Top 10 Women's Fiction: 2013
By Rebecca Vnuk
The top 10 women's fiction from the last 12 months cover the spectrum: chick lit to tearjerkers, heavy issues to lighthearted comedy. One of the main appeal factors of this category is that sense of recognition the target audience—yes, women—gets from identifying with the heroines, and these novels deliver something for just about anyone.
The House at the End of Hope Street
By Menna van Praag
The house at the end of Hope Street has served women in their time of need for many generations. Its magical walls have protected them and given them what they needed to heal emotionally and physically, and when Alba finds herself on its doorstep, her future crushed and with nowhere else to go, she receives a warm welcome and the usual 99 days to stay there and get back on her feet.
Rebecca's Rules: Defining Women's Fiction
By Rebecca Vnuk
It's incredibly difficult to pin down exactly what women's fiction is (or what it isn't) because everyone seems to have a different take on it. It tends to be a catchall term used by readers and library staff to quickly identify a book—seemingly any book—containing female characters, or any book that might appeal to a female reader. But it's more than that. It's not even really a genre; it's a reading interest.
By Kristin Hannah
Hannah's Firefly Lane (2008), which centered on best-friends-forever Tully Hart and Kate Mularkey, is arguably her most popular work. Her follow-up gives readers an idea of what life is like for Tully and Kate's daughter Marah in the wake of Kate's death from cancer. It's not a pretty picture.
The Booklist Odyssey Interview: Laura Grafton
By Mary Burkey
After evaluating more than 500 audiobooks, the 2013 Odyssey Award committee selected Brilliance Audio's The Fault in Our Stars (written by John Green and narrated by Kate Rudd) as this year's winner. Odyssey chair Teri S. Lesesne calls the production "an exquisitely understated performance by Kate Rudd, which captured the magic of John Green's words and our hearts." I spoke with Laura Grafton, the audio producer and director of The Fault in Our Stars, to learn more.
The Booklist Printz Interview: Nick Lake
By Daniel Kraus
With an unconventional mix of Haitian history, gang culture, mysticism, and unvarnished realism, In Darkness is one of the most unusual and challenging winners ever of the Michael L. Printz Award. Just hours after getting the call, Nick Lake told Booklist about the creation, reception, and goals of his novel.
Carte Blanche: The Hills Are Alive
By Michael Cart
It's Notables time again, folks, and, once more, the hills are alive with the sounds of both celebration and grousing. Huzzah! Such-and-such won the (fill in name of award here); oh no! So-and-so didn't make the (fill in name of list here). Such visceral reactions are endemic to the awards process and are rooted in people's laudable passion about books. And that extends not only to individual titles but also to the various awards' policies and procedures that also invite, well, lively discussion.
The Back Page: Dreaming of Bing
By Bill Ott
Last night I dreamed I was Bing Crosby again. You wouldn't think that would be a bad thing, as Bing is one of my heroes, but this dream is limited to two particular scenes in the movie Holiday Inn, and, no, I'm not singing "White Christmas." At the beginning of the film, Bing has escaped the grind of show business and is having a go at being a farmer. Sadly, farming proves a "snare and a delusion."
Books by Booklist Authors
Daniel Kraus' Scowler
By Gillian Engberg
It's not just his award-winning films and young adult novels that have brought Daniel Kraus, Booklist Books for Youth senior editor, a rapidly growing following. It's also his tweets. Here's a recent example: "Working at Booklist because you love books is like working in a vet's office because you love animals. There will be blood."
That last line is a fair statement about Kraus' own fiction, and readers of The Monster Variations (2009), Rotters (2011), and now Scowler, released this month from Delacorte, have learned to expect certain things from Kraus' work: unforgettable characters; shocking, poetic turns of phrase; and a wholly original coming-of-age tour through the darkest corners of family life and the human psyche. And along the way? There will indeed be blood.