Book Buzz

2014 ALA Teen Book Award Winners Announced

Teen Book Buzz - February 3, 2014
Erin Morgenstern

Me and Erin Morgenstern, author of “The Night Circus”

Every January the American Library Association hosts its annual Youth Media Awards Press Conference. At this time, authors and illustrators of children’s and young adult literature are recognized for the amazing works they have published over the last year. Below is a list of this year’s award-winning titles.

My personal favorites are the Printz Award and the Alex Award. The Printz Award honors an author for “excellence in literature written for young adults.” In other words, it’s a pretty big deal. My favorite Printz Award winner, so far, has been “Looking for Alaska“ by John Green.

The Alex Award, however, honors the top 10 adult books with teen appeal. My favorite among the Alex Award recipients has been “The Night Circus.” I even got to meet the author, Erin Morgenstern! Squee!

Have you read any of this year’s award-winners? What did you think? Who might you have picked for this year’s top awards?

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults.

William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults.

Alex Award Winners are the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences.

Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adult.

  • Award Winner: “Scowler,”written by Daniel Kraus and narrated by Kirby Heyborne
  • Honor Book: “Better Nate Than Ever,” written and narrated by Tim Federle
  • Honor Book: “Creepy Carrots!” written by Aaron Reynolds
  • Honor Book: “Eleanor & Park,” written by Rainbow Rowell, and narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra
  • Matilda,” written by Roald Dahl, and narrated by Kate Winslet

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizes an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

Pura Belpré (Author) Award honors a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience:

Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award is given annually to children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experience.

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.

Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States.

  • Award Winner:  “Mister Orange,” written by Truus Matti, translated by Laura Watkinson
  • Honor Book: “Vacation of My Life,” written by Charlotte Moundlic, illustrated by Olivier Tallec, translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick
  • Honor Book: “My Father’s Arms Are a Boat,” written by Stein Erik Lunde, illustrated by Øyvind Torseter, translated by Kari Dickson
  • Honor Book: “The War Within These Walls,” written by Aline Sax, illustrated by Caryl Strzelecki, translated by Laura Watkinson

Originally published at 2014 ALA Teen Book Award Winners Announced.

Categories: Book Buzz

Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The February List

Next Book Buzz - January 27, 2014


Last year I encouraged you to read like a librarian and use the newly launched Library Reads list to find out what about-to-be-published books we library folks across the country are most abuzz about. Well, get ready to add more titles to your holds list – the February edition of Library Reads is here.

Book cover for Red Rising by Pierce BrownRed Rising
by Pierce Brown
“The next great read for those who loved The Hunger Games. This story has so much action, intrigue, social commentary and character development that the reader who never reads science fiction will happily overlook the fact that the story takes place on Mars far in the future. The characters are perfectly flawed, causing the reader to feel compassion and revulsion for both sides. Can’t wait for the next installment!”
- Cindy Stevens, Pioneer Library System, Norman, OK

Book cover for The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew QuickThe Good Luck of Right Now
by Matthew Quick
“Socially-awkward 40-year-old Bartholomew has lived with his mother all his life and has never held a job. When she succumbs to cancer, he channels her favorite actor, Richard Gere, to make her happy during her last days. Funny and sad, with moving, unsentimental prose and a quick, satisfying pace. Highly recommended.”
- Michael Colford, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA

Book cover for This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley CashThis Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel
by Wiley Cash
“Cash’s second novel is as good as his first. In this story, we meet Easter and her sister Ruby, who have been shuffled around the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina. Then their ne’er-do-well father whisks them away in the middle of the night. I was on the edge of my seat as I followed the girls’ tale and hoping for a safe outcome. Fans of ‘A Land More Kind Than Home’ will enjoy this book as well.”
- Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

Here are the remaining titles on February’s list that are on order and ready for you to place on hold. Be the first among your friends to get your hands on these great reads!

The post Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The February List appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

The Gentleman Recommends: Susanna Clarke

Next Book Buzz - January 20, 2014

Book cover for Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna ClarkeIf what we read is awesome enough it will contribute to who we are. “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” is exceedingly awesome and about magic and magicians and an era when gentlemen were commonplace. So it will not surprise the reader to learn of my affinity for the novel and that I was both drawn to it by what I already was and shaped by it into what I currently am: a wearer of tophats and caster of the occasional spell. One cannot spend 850 often breathtaking pages in the company of gentlemen and gentlewomen without absorbing their delightful (and, increasingly in my view, mandatory) manners. The book’s influence extended beyond making suits and kerchiefs compulsory and replacing ibuprofen with laudanum as the tonic for headaches and chills*; it also provided much of the origin for my immense fear of faeries.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” is overflowing with ideas. There are footnotes throughout relaying stories other writers would have been thrilled to settle on for the course of a book but that Susanna Clarke uses as spice to deepen the flavor of a work so savory and rich that if it were food it would be impolite to serve to the book’s characters and their stiff English palates without stern warnings of its decidedly un-pudding like flavors.

Clarke created a history so persuasive that one is given to wonder if she did not simply unearth England’s true history and that the country was shaped by magic, both literally in the sense of magically altered coastlines, and figuratively in the sense of magicians aiding them in their wars and inspiring their limericks. She tells, with a voice made to illicit chuckles and wry appreciative nods, the story of the titular magicians and their plight to reassert magic to its lofty and rightful heights. At the book’s onset magic is studied by a society of gentleman but never performed as they are unable. Soon Mr Norrell emerges,** desiring to disband the “theoretical magicians” and succeeding by showing that magic can be done. His spell provides the first of hundreds of the book’s mind-searing images: he causes the statues of a great church to come alive for a short while. Magic begins its ascent in esteem. Jonathan Strange, a career-less young man, accidentally discovers his aptitude for it. The two magicians join forces. Mr Norrell brings a young woman back to life with the aid of a faerie.*** The faerie, referred to only as “the man with the thistle-down hair,” has rather disagreeable terms. In addition to taking one of Lady Pole’s fingers, he bargains for domain over half her life. Mr Norrell accepts the terms, foolishly believing the faerie will take the last half of the lady’s life. Instead the resurrected finds her nights occupied by a perpetual ball taking place in the eerie bone-strewn semi-ruins of the faerie’s castle, a place called Lost-Hope. Lady Pole and her butler, Stephen Black, to whom the faerie has taken an unfortunate liking, find when trying to speak of their predicament and thereby exercise themselves from it they can only relate arcane bits of faerie history.

The novel builds to a climax worthy of its bulk. Readers will be sad to leave it and find themselves tempted to summon a faerie that might enchant them into the book’s pages permanently. Take heed though – a reread is a better idea; unlike a faerie’s bargain it won’t leave you missing a digit and with your house, which you can never leave, made from  the pages of a novel. Great novel though it may be, weather will not do it any favors.


*Also contributed to my fondness for footnotes.

**Figuratively. Norrell much prefers to remain cloistered in his library where he’s hoarded every book of magic, thereby effectively preventing anyone from practicing.

***A creature he detests but needs for such lofty magic.

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Categories: Book Buzz

Looking for a New Project to Start 2014? Take on The Rosie Project!

Next Book Buzz - January 15, 2014

Book cover for The Rosie Project by Graeme SimsionWhat happens when a 39-year-old brilliant genetics professor with Asperger’s and, therefore, few social skills sets out to find a wife? He approaches that task the way he approaches all his tasks, i.e. like a scientific project. First, Don Tillman develops a double-sided, 16-page questionnaire, whose purpose is to screen out unsuitable candidates: smokers, the mathematically illiterate, those with body mass index over 26, vegetarians, the perpetually tardy, etc. He then pursues his task with robotic precision (and, not surprisingly, very little luck) – until the most unsuitable candidate walks into his life and turns it upside down. This candidate, sent to Don as a joke, is Rosie, a volatile bartender and a graduate student of psychology. Rosie has a project of her own – she’s trying to find her biological father.

As the story unfolds, Don, a guy who cannot stand being touched, who can barely read social clues or understand people’s reactions, puts his project on the back burner and begins helping Rosie with hers. In the process, an unpredictable thing happens (kind of unpredictable, mind you, it is a romantic comedy after all :) ) – Don’s Asperger’s gradually gives way to affection and, ultimately, love. And these newly awakened emotions help Don learn how to sympathize with people around him and discover the things that really make him happy.

Graeme Simsion’s “The Rosie Project,” a clever and laugh-out-loud celebration of our individual differences, is a great read for those who like happy endings and also for those who want to start their New Year on an optimistic note. Readers who enjoyed Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and Toni Jordan’s “Addition” (as well as fans of the TV show “The Big Bang Theory”) will enjoy it, too.

The post Looking for a New Project to Start 2014? Take on The Rosie Project! appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Classics for Everyone: A Brief History of Time

Next Book Buzz - January 13, 2014

Book cover for The Brief History of Time by Stephen HawkingThe changing of the year always prompts me to note the swift passage of time. And the realization that we now have fewer than 50 years to wait until first contact with an alien species, as established in the Star Trek canon, makes me think of space. So what better book to highlight this month than Stephen Hawking’s non-fiction classic, “A Brief History of Time”?

In his acknowledgments for the book, first published in 1988, Hawking writes: “…the basic ideas about the origin and fate of the universe can be stated without mathematics in a form that people without a scientific education can understand. This is what I have attempted to do in this book.” More than almost any other modern-day scientist, Hawking helped the average person get a grasp on what physicists mean when they discuss the big bang or quantum mechanics or black holes, and why they now refer to space-time as one single term rather than two separate things. In “A Brief History of Time” he provides an historical overview of beliefs about the workings of the universe, beginning with Aristotle. Then he moves into current (at the time) knowledge and theories.

In 2005, Hawking published “A Briefer History of Time,” an updated and even more simplified version of his earlier work, for those of us whose brains move at a pace considerably slower than the speed of light. He followed this in 2010 with “The Grand Design,” co-authored by Leonard Mlodinow, which discusses further recent developments in cosmology, including something called M-theory.

Hawking’s life is as interesting as the subjects he explores, and he shares some of the details in his new autobiography, “My Brief History.” He just celebrated his 72nd birthday on January 8, over 50 years after being diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21 and told he didn’t have many years to live. But he spends more time discussing his research and education than his physical condition. Late bloomers take heart – he did not learn to read until he was 8 years old.

For those who can’t get enough Stephen Hawking in their lives, he maintains a website with up-to-date information about himself and his work:

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Categories: Book Buzz

Top DBRL Next Posts from 2013

Next Book Buzz - January 3, 2014

Images from top blog posts of 2013We’ve had a great year of reviewing and recommending books, community events and library programs here at DBRL Next, and we thank you for your readership and contributing to our success. To ring in the New Year, here is a recap of our most popular posts from 2013. Read on for some great book recommendations from staff, patrons and around the Web.

  1. As part of this year’s Summer Reading program, we asked our readers to share books they had found personally groundbreaking. Read the comments at the end of this post to see the results.
  2. Celebrate strong women and check out these titles with not one damsel in distress.
  3. If you haven’t been following the recommendations of the library’s resident gentleman, you are missing out on some great books as well as some pretty hilarious writing from the gentleman himself. His profile of Lauren Beukes, thanks in part to a tweet from that author about his review, was his most-read piece this year.
  4. 2013 saw the launch of LibraryReads, a monthly top ten book list identifying those titles librarians nationwide identify as their favorites publishing that month. You, too, can read like a librarian!
  5. Read about the book one of our writers considers the most beautiful novel he has ever read.
  6. There are many reasons to pick up a book – to escape, to be entertained, to explore new topics, to expand our understanding of other people and places. Another popular post this year was this list of fiction for understanding mental illness.
  7. The crafting and upcycling craze of recent years continues, and we shared one librarian’s list of ideas for transforming your stacks of t-shirts into something new.
  8. It’s cold outside, but you can warm up by revisiting this list of recommended summer vacation reads.
  9. If your New Year’s resolutions include a radical reduction of your carbon footprint or a commitment to living with less, read this post about “living tiny.”
  10. Finally, at DBRL Next we enjoy digging up overlooked gems from the bottom shelves of nonfiction. Here are some bottom shelf books from the 600s that are sure to make your mouth water.

Happy New Year to all of our readers!

The post Top DBRL Next Posts from 2013 appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Back to Downton Abbey

Next Book Buzz - December 30, 2013

Everybody watches it, including Prince William and Kate Middleton. The royal couple, of course, has an advantage over us regular Americans (well, not just one, mind you ). They reside in Britain, where the fourth season of Downton Abbey was …
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Categories: Book Buzz
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