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28 February 2006 @ 08:10 am
winners? perhaps  
Every few years, a book wins an award at ALA mid-winter that makes me scratch my head. POSTCARDS FROM NO MAN'S LAND by Aidan Chambers was one of those books that I tried so much to love and just struggled with the reading. I picked it up and put it down numerous times and finally abandoned it for another time when perhaps I will be more receptive. I am a huge fan of Aidan Chambers and wanted so to love this Printz winner. It just did not strike a responsive chord for me. It drives home something I say often: there is no such thing as one book that is right for every reader.

Such is the case this year with Printz Honor Medalist BLACK JUICE, a story collection by Margo Lanagan. As is the case with most story collections, I found this one to be uneven. While many of the stories are absolutely brilliant in their conception and in the delivery, a few fell flat for me. While I applaud the committee's decision to recognize an often overlooked genre, I would have preferred to see a story collection that was an anthology of the work of many authors be recognized. Don Gallo, Michael Cart, and a handful of others have excellent anthologies that often languish. A nod from Printz or Newbery could do much to increase the visibility of these books.

I will be interested in hearing responses from teens about BLACK JUICE. So far, I have had no takers. I do think teachers could easily use several of the stories in class as models of taut writing.
Current Mood: pensivepensive
alixwritesalixwrites on March 6th, 2006 02:48 am (UTC)
Short stories
Haven't read BLACK JUICE yet, but I suspect Don Gallo's newest anthology, WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? will be among his most well-recognized. Did you get a copy of it at ALAN? I thought, thematically, it was his best I'd read and maybe one of the best anthologies I'd read. I liked how the stories about phobias were arranged, from huge fears (agoraphobia, and then that one about fear of crossing the street) to smaller phobias (clowns) and then back to big fears (panophobia = fear of everything). It was also the only anthology I've read in a long time where there was no story I didn't care for or felt like skipping. So maybe this will be the one . . . and not just because I have a story in it;)

professornanaprofessornana on March 6th, 2006 06:18 am (UTC)
Re: Short stories
I agree with your assessment about Gallo's collection which I blogged about right after ALAN. I also think it might find an audience without too much teacher interference.
Little Willowslayground on April 4th, 2006 08:08 pm (UTC)
I found your journal via that of Brent Hartinger's, and I was pleased to see so many books reviewed here. I did not "get" the high praise for Black Juice either, but, until now, I was the only one who was confused by its accolades. No, it wasn't bad - but it wasn't amazing, IMHO. Uneven = good word choice.