Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Banned Books Week, the CYBILS, and a creepy Jack & Jill poem

First, the Jack & Jill poem. This is one of those strange blog serendipities that I love. A few months ago, I wrote a post in which I was lamenting my tendency to complicate everything I write. As I said recently, "Give me a ball of yarn and I will tangle it." Well, in that post I said this:

I could take Jack and Jill and turn it into an epic with interweaving storylines, and then decide I need to learn ancient Greek in order to do it justice, and that it needs to be told alternately from the perspective of the hill and the pail. In five volumes. You know. I just can't help it.

And yesterday I got an email from someone who took that as a challenge, and wrote a poem (luckily not in ancient Greek), and now it is published at Strange Horizons. It's the darkest, creepiest retelling of Jack & Jill imaginable -- how cool is that? You never know when you throw something out on the internet what will happen. So, cool! Thanks for the heads up, Mary!

Now, Banned Books Week. This event, started by the American Library Association in 1982, is a celebration of our precious freedom of expression, and a nose-thumbing to all the Sarah Palins of the world who would like to control what we put into our minds. How to celebrate it? Flaunt your freedom: read a banned or challenged book! (Sheesh, they're still trying to ban The Chocolate War??? That book was published when I was two years old. Get over it, already! Forget that: Huckleberry Finn! The unfathomable depth of ignorance it takes to try to ban this important and perfect book. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in those people's heads.) Also, according to Maureen Johnson, book banners will eat your hamster!

And now, the CYBILS! That is: the Children's & Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards! If you haven't heard of them, basically these are book awards in 9 categories, and they were started because of a perceived need to fill the gap between the Newbery Award (which goes for books with high literary merit, though not necessarily the most child-beloved) and the Quills (pure popularity). This is the 3rd year and I volunteered and was selected as a panelist in the Fantasy & Sci-Fi category (yippee!) which means: I will be reading a lot of books in the next few months. I read a lot of books anyway, but now for the forseeable future they will be sci-fi and fantasy which, well, to be honest, they mostly are anyway. (Though I just finished this at breakfast and it was a great read. I love stories of naturalists in the Amazon, and this one has mystery and murder and lots of sweating and Englishmen wearing inappropriate clothing in the jungle!)

So here's the cool thing about the Cybils: YOU nominate the books. You can nominate one in each category, and we panelists will read them and select a short list to hand on to the judges, who will then select the winners. So, come on over to the blog to nominate your favorite books of the year, between October 1 and October 15. Jen Robinson has more details on nominating HERE. Please help spread the word to teachers, librarians, and young readers to get their favorite books nominated and be part of the process. (And please, for my sake, only select really good sci-fi and fantasy!!!)

One last things: Pushing Daisies starts tomorrow night! Get some pie to eat while you watch it!

(Did you know there's been a mobile Pie Hole traveling around the country serving free pie? Why the heck didn't it come here??)


NA said...

I absolutely adore the tone of your blog...didn't get a chance to read entirely [at work], but will definitely take a stroll on free time.

Unknown said...

I need to make a trip to the bookstore and get one of your books STAT. You seem like a real doll.

Jen Robinson said...

Thanks for the Cybils plug, Laini!! And congratulations on making the nominating panel - I believe it was quite competitive.

Also, I love the new Laini's Lady that I got in my little conference thank you bag. Thank you!!

Katie Anderson said...

Great post, as usual. Mobile Pie Hole? OMG! How fun!

Laini - have you ever read the book Cellophane? It's about a man who takes his family to live in the amazon because he makes paper and it can be made best there - but when he learns the recipe for cellophane, all kinds of weird things start to happen like the dog laughs and someone turns blue and some are compelled to tell the truth, etc... I think you'd enjoy it. But now it's a big girl book - for grown ups. hee hee

Anonymous said...

Woo-hoo! Pushing Daisies is back! Wow, there's a Piemobile?! I wish it had rolled through here...
Sadly, I haven't been reading as much sci-fi/fantasy this year, looking forward to seeing the nominees, so I can catch up on the really good ones.

Anonymous said...

p.s. Boo hiss to banners of books!

Amber said...

Hey, did I ever tell you I was named after a banned book? Yep. It was banned in the south, think I read. The Bible Belt. "Forever Amber"-- if you have not read this, you should try to. It is a classic. Sooo good! Historical romance, but so much more.


Anonymous said...

Yay foir you! I am glad that you were asked to be on the panel for fantasy. Great post on the Banned Book Week...And Tango Makes Three was the most challenged book in 2007.

tone almhjell said...

Huckleberry Finn? Seriously? That would be funny if it weren't so sad.

I'm guessing my book will be thoroughly banned. It's a Christmas story which (gasp) makes no mention of Christ.

In Norwegian, Christmas is Jul (as in Yule), so it doesn't seem quite so contradictory.

Anyway, cool that you're going to be on the panel. But they're the lucky ones. I would have you on any panel. Which books to read, which cupcakes to munch, which cabin in the snow to buy.

Oh, and where they have the best coffee, and you can be on that panel when you and Jim come to Norway next summer. You guys want to see the Rivermeet, right? And the mountain valleys? And the Summerchild?

Christine Fletcher said...

Laini, that is truly a twisted poem. I like! And your description of how to complicate something that should be simple is hilarious. I invariably wrap my plot and characters up in Gordian knots (after having fully researched the history of the Gordian knot, theories as to how it was tied, acceptable types of rope) and then in revision, I look at it and say, But wait...what if the character just does this? Duh.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the link to that poem!