105 Ways to Give a Book

I Love The New Year

I love the brand-new-start feeling of a new year. Oh, I really do. There’s a feeling of magic in the air that this is the year that I will get organized, lose weight, exercise routinely, update my wardrobe, travel more, worry less, eat healthy, learn guitar, clean house (literally), clean house (figuratively), call friends, take long walks, write books, keep in touch, and be a better blogger. The possibilities are endless! For a funnier version of resolutions that are actually pretty close to my own, look at Mamarazzi’s snarky version.

I also love the looking back and navel-gazing that comes with the new year. What did I do last year? What did I accomplish? And, of course, what did I read?

I’ll probably do more on this topic later, but I can say now that I read about a book a day, even though I certainly didn’t review a book a day. I don’t keep good tabs on my titles (a goal for the new year), but I read about seventy Young Adult books, seventy Middle Grade books, thirty Adult titles, and two hundred picture books. Not bad for a year’s work.

Today, I have enjoyed seeing the retrospectives of some of my blogfriends. I love how A Year of Reading tackled the high points of a year in the kidlitosphere, and not just because they included my 48 Hour Book Challenge (by the way, do you think we need a winter one?). They also updated their 100 Cool Teachers list, needing only a few more names to earn its name. Fuse#8 does an incredible round-up in the Golden Fuse awards. In Finding Wonderland we get more insight into the Young Adult Cybils with a creative listing of characters and their yearbook awards. Oh, and Emily had a baby!

If you feel like jumping into some discussions that didn’t get nearly enough play with the holiday season, head over to the post at Chicken Spaghetti about the pending removal of The Lovely Bones from a middle school library. The post is short, the discussion is long — and could be longer, if you have something to add. I’m actually okay with the book not being in a middle school library, others disagree, and the discussion has been very civil and very interesting. Stop on by.

I’ll plug my own discussion topic that might have received even more attention, if I hadn’t chosen to post it on December 21st. In Inviting Discussion On Hattie Big Sky... And God, I applaud the book itself but ask about the role of faith within the book. Does the inclusion of Hattie’s faith make this a “Christian book?” What makes something Christian fiction? Is it just a matter of who publishes it, or is it something else? And the question that I haven’t really seen answered: since Hattie’s faith is at least as integral to the book as her cantankerous cow, why hasn’t it been mentioned in any of the reviews of the book? Is including the word “God” or “faith” in a review or description a code for a certain type of book? I hope I’ve piqued your interest in reading the original post and the wonderful comments that have already come in. And perhaps you’ll add your own. There are rumors that a Very Special Guest may appear to comment, so let’s hear your voice.

In this week, I’ll be looking over my blog for my favorite posts of the year. I’ll be looking over my lists for my favorite books of the year — though I’ll be reading 2006 books long into 2007, so my final list of Best Books of 2006 may not be posted until March. And I’ll be looking at my favorite blogs to see if you are doing the same. Great job in 2006, kidlitosphere, and let’s rock this blogworld and bookworld in 2007!

2 comments:

kirby larson said...

If you know anything about Presbyterians, you know we always sit in the back row. But Aunt Ivy is an immersion Baptist and she has made it clear I better get my hands in the air on this one.

There is a false impression out there that authors actually know what they're doing when they write a book. I'm here to testify (which is as Baptist as a Presbyterian can get) that that is not true in the case of this particular author.

My goal in telling Hattie's story was to tell it as true as I could. And Hattie does believe in God, partly because she's a product of her time, partly because of her own life experiences, and partly because of my own life experiences. So, because she believes, her faith was part of the story. It was as important to include as was Traft's complexity, Perilee's loyalty and Mattie's chattiness.

In September, a Montana cowboy posted a cranky message on his blog about Hattie being labeled a young adult book. He'd read it and liked it but was afraid the label would keep away other guys like him. I guess I would worry about the book having yet another label, like "Christian fiction;" first of all, because it wouldn't pass muster for Christians like Aunt Ivy and second, it would make it seem like I was trying to deliver a message. And I subscribe to the Sam Goldwyn philosophy: "If I want to send a message, I'll use Western Union."

That being said, I like having a character that believes in God because I think spirituality and faith are important components of many peoples' lives. I know, as a reader, I like to see myself reflected in characters I read about. But I also like meeting characters that shake me up, challenge me, knock me off center.

Aunt Ivy's poking me in the side, reminding me you didn't ask for a sermon. So I'll hush up now. But Hattie says thanks for asking the question. She likes the kind that are hard to answer. And so do I. I think that's why I write.

ZG said...

Oy.Working an average of 70 hours a week does not make it easy to indulge in the joy of reading. Nonetheless, in moments of combined desperation and optimism I still hit the library and bring home armloads of books I want to read. The past four times I've made such a rashly hopeful attempt, I have renewed the whole lot for the maximum three times and then had to return them unopened. Sorrowfully. Bitterly. Heartbroken.
The new stack of 23 came home with me just before Christmas. I have them until the 12th. So far, I have managed to read six. It's a start. It's certainly better than the last four tries.
I read, therefore I am ... happier.
I've missed being a participating part of the Kidlitosphere these long months. I'm happy to be getting back! Happy 2007!