ALA Awards

Winner of the 2010 John Newbery Medal, When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead.

Yesterday, at something like 3:45 a.m. Alaska Time, the American Library Association announced their 2010 award winners, including the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, Coretta Scott King, and others. I have read, uh, almost one of these books. That is to say, none.

I feel rather sheepish saying that publicly, and then I feel rather grumpy for feeling sheepish.

I have rarely, if ever, read books the moment–or even the year–they come out. I don’t live near libraries or book stores; no way will I stand in line at midnight to get my hands on a just-released book; and, generally speaking, I’d rather have two or three trade books rather than one hard cover.

Last year’s Newbery winner, The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, is now on my To-Be-Read shelf, though the 2008 Newbery winner, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz has yet to arrive there.

I’ve read thirty-four of the previous forty Newbery winners.

I’ve never before had a problem with reading books that are a few years old. Now I feel behind the times and out of the loop for not reading this year’s award winners. Why the change?

I blame the Internet, specifically kidlit blogs. These blogs are all about new books. They make me want to read the books they review, but they rarely hand them to me. Unless they do, I expect I’ll always be a step or two or fifty behind; i.e., asleep when the ALA announces their winners and just getting ready to read last year’s winner.

Do you tend to read just-released books or books that have been around a while?

Categories: Reading

4 replies »

  1. I read just-released books and ancient books and books that nobody has ever heard of and books I find on the 25 cent shelf and books I find lost and forgotten in some dark alley.

    Then I reread them!

  2. I tend to read both new books and old(er) books. I’ll also re-read books from my shelf.

    I tend to read more sci-fi and fantasy than anything else, and when I find an author I like, I’ll devour what they write. I was lucky enough to buy and read _The Graveyard Book_ before it won the Newberry award. But I’d also listened to about half of it from Neil Gaiman’s website:

    There are a few authors I will pre-order or try to buy the day a new book comes out.

    I was far from home the day the last Harry Potter book came out and in the wilds of NW Iowa (DH was about to start RAGBRAI – a bike ride across Iowa). I ended up driving to South Dakota to the nearest bookstore I could find to get the book! That is the only time I’ve been to South Dakota!

  3. I also read basically anything that crosses my path. I tend to seek out books based on the recommendations of friends (thanks for several good reads, Jen) or because they appeal to me from cover and description, rather than because they are on a list. Seeing a Newberry or Caldecott seal on a cover, does increase the likelihood that I will read a book I’m interested in.
    I, too, have favorite authors whose work I simply must read.
    I attended a release-night extravaganza for the last Harry Potter book. I had already pre-ordered the book. That isn’t the norm for me, but this was a reading phenomenon that my son and I have been caught up in for many years. I read the book in under two days. (My son was out of town, so I didn’t have to fight him for it!)