Thanksgiving was the traditional and oh-so-delicious dinner, plus tequila and salsa dancing.  In our living room.  Yeah.

Who said it could be December?  This is my last week of classes.  Eep.

I need some audio book recommendations.  Here’s what I’ve already listened to.  I have three or four on hold, but I’m creeping up the list with painful slowness.  I might even have to browse the shelves today – shocking.  I’m almost at the end of The Off Season, and I’d hate to be caught without something to listen to.

Before I started using Goodreads for class reviews, I had a pretty simple way of counting the books I read.  Things like picture books and short non-fiction never made the list – things I could down in an hour or less.  Now I can’t figure out quite where the line is, and my November list at Goodreads is outrageous.  Do I count Judy Moody if I read it in one sitting?  I could start separate lists for kids, YA, and grownup, but sometimes the lines are so ambiguous, and there isn’t anything to be gained by it.  Even if I’m only keeping the lists for my own list-making satisfaction.  Oh well.  I added 35 books to my “read” shelf in November.

I just realized that January’s Mock Printz is suddenly much closer.  I’m not even sure how many I have left to read.

Only 5 more to go – and I’m really close to the end of Sunrise Over Fallujah.  Obviously I’m not too taken with it since I haven’t bothered to figure out how it ends.  I can’t tell how much my reluctance is just my lack of fondness for war stories and how much is the actual quality of writing.  I can’t put my finger on anything wrong with it – but an excellent book, no matter what the subject matter, shouldn’t be so easy to ignore.  If I can get engrossed in a book about spiders, with incredible close-up photos of hairy tarantulas, then I should be able to get into a good war story.  Little Brother, for instance, make all the technology sound fascinating – but really I could care less about technology in general.  An excellent book is more than the subject matter.

But out of what I’ve finished, there are a lot of close ties.  I thought Madapple was good, but not quite in the realm of the others.  I really enjoyed My Most Excellent Year, and it’s dripping with appeal, as is Little Brother – but they almost seem too fun to win awards.  Not that fun books can’t/don’t win awards, but sometimes it’s hard to evaluate the quality of writing for a super entertaining book, because you’re so caught up in it.  Which is maybe why they should win awards.  The others I’ve read are all excellent – really, I would be happy to see ANY of the books I’ve finished win an award.

Which starts me thinking about all the other books that didn’t make our discussion list – because really, it’s impossible for us ordinary mortals to read them all.  I thought Pretty Monsters was absolutely top-notch – and OF COURSE Octavian Nothing.  I don’t see anything in the criteria or eligibility prohibiting a collection with previously published stories, or any admonition against sequels that may or may not stand on their own.  Given that Dreamquake got an honor last year, I would consider volume two of Octavian just as eligible as volume one.  Dreamquake took some awesome concentration to decode the characters and issues and context – Octavian wouldn’t be any more difficult.  The Hunger Games has gotten a lot of attention, but I think it fits into the same category as Little Brother and My Most Excellent Year.

Hmm, now I’m digging around for other Printz contenders – very distracting.  I’m a big fan of the Printz – there’s always an excellent variety, plus the award is still new enough that you can read your way through all the winners and honor books without dying of exhaustion.  There are only two winners I haven’t read – Postcards from No Man’s Land and A Step From Heaven.

Well, this has been fun – but it hasn’t gotten my homework done.

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