How lovely to have a flight that departed and arrived on time. Fairly smooth ride until we reached the outskirts of Denver, but the bumps were minor and the book made me not care as much. THE WAY HE LIVED by Emily Wing Smith (Flux, 2008) tells of how the death of one person affects a much larger community. Joel is hiking with some Scouts in the Grand Canyon when their water supply dwindles. He dies yards away from rescue having given others his own water supply to save them. In six separate voices, the life and untimely death of Joel is revealed a piece at a time. His older sister, the girl next door, his best friend and others reflect on Joel's sexuality (was he gay?) and the manner of his death (could it have been suicide and not accidental death?). Was Joel brave and nobel or selfish and secretive? There are no flat out truths or answers here. What is here reminds us all that how we are perceived sometimes defines us more than who we actually are. A final note: while all of the story transpires in a largely Mormon community, there is little here that all readers would not find universal. Having religion play a role without that role taking over the story is a fine line to walk and this author does it well.
Now I am safely in the hotel room, online, fed, and happy. I will be posting from the activities at ALA from time to time including a live blog and perhaps even podcast from the awards on Monday. Cannot wait to see who brings home the medals.