I'm going to be taking a few days off, but I have left some reviews lined up for you. And here are some links to entertain and inform in the meantime:
- I got a real kick out of Kirby Larson's link to my review of Hattie Big Sky (see the Latest News section on Kirby's website). She's got news from School Library Journal, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Booklist, two newspapers, and ... Jen Robinson's Book Page. I feel like I've hit the big time, being in such well-known company. Thanks for the link, Kirby!
- I am frequently entertained by the questions of the week over at The Longstockings (and what a great blog name, too!). This week's question is: "Which two characters from children's or YA literature would make the perfect couple?". I'm not creative enough to think of any couples myself, but this response is hilarious.
- This one is much less amusing, but worth knowing about. A Fuse #8 Production has apparently been a victim of book review plagiarism. By a librarian, no less. People are up in arms, and there's quite a discussion going on in the comments about how to handle this incident, and book review plagiarism in general. Personally, I think that Betsy is handling it well - maintaining a sense of humor, being prepared to give the person in question a chance to explain, but not sitting back and accepting it.
- A Fuse #8 Production also takes up a question that I mentioned briefly in my Saturday round-up: the issue of whether or not receiving free books compromises bloggers' integrity. Betsy says no, of course not, concluding with "Kids, if I don't put ads on my blog (and I don't) then I'm certainly not going to shill for anyone. You may not know me, but you can trust me. I promise." She also links to some thoughtful comments on the same topic by Gail Gauthier over at Original Content. Gail says that lit blogs aren't review sites anyway, but are more like fansites. She and her commenters discuss the difference between maintaining a blog because you love books and being a professional critic. I especially enjoyed Bonny Becker's point: "It's not just reviews. It's a wonderful collective discussion. And bottom line is the good will sort itself out from the bad, anyway. Banal, poorly written blogs won't get read for long. So Standards of Excellence Will Be Maintained, I'm sure." Liz B. also weighs in over at A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy.
- Michele addresses a different question over at Scholar's Blog. She cites Jay Amory, a young adult author who laments the minimal role that adults play in young adult literature and the adult non-presence unrealistic. Michele asks "Do readers of YA fiction agree with Amory that adults should be more involved in YA novels ? Or will it put off the readers at whom the books are marketed?" There are some interesting responses in the comments. Head on over and share your opinion.
- Finally, there are year-end book lists sprouting up everywhere. I'm not such a list fan, personally, because I can't get enough of an impression of a book just from seeing its title on a list to decide if I want to read it or not. However, Linda Sue Park's loosely categorized list of "titles submitted for National Book Award consideration that I loved, that have stayed with me now even months after I read them" caught my eye. Linda Sue includes brief sentences about each book, and her comments, combined with what I know about her role in the National Book Award selection, give me enough to go on. Two of my favorites made her list (A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life and Rules), and I'm sure that many other titles will become favorites in the future. (Speaking of Rules, I also enjoyed Sherry's comparison of Rules and Shug over at Semicolon. )
- And speaking of lists, all of the Cybils nominations lists have now been posted over at the Cybils site. You can find wonderful titles in the areas of Fiction Picture Books, Fantasy/Sci Fi, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade Fiction, MG and YA Non-Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Poetry, and Non-Fiction Picture Books. And, because I think that list are more useful when they're connected to book reviews, I'm adding links to new reviews by the Young Adult Fiction committee to the list at my site.
- OK, one more best of 2006 list, this one with nice little capsule reviews, can be found at The Horn Book website. There are some great books on the list, and a key to when the full review was published in Horn Book Magazine. Thanks to Read Roger for the link. Also, if you read Horn Book Magazine, be sure to check out Roger's column on the last page, about how to select a good gift book for a child. He recommends not trying to select a book at all, but instead making an appointment with the child to go to the bookstore and choose a book together. "What you are giving," he says, "along with a book, is choice and independence, two of the finest things that reading has to offer."
I'll be back in a few days. Happy reading in the meantime!