Well, I’m back home from Midwinter and starting to think about all the zillions of “to-dos” on my list, but first a few thoughts and responses.
First of all, and I’ve said this before in various venues, but I really want to say it again here: trust the process. Having been on a Printz Committee myself, and having talked to dozens of others who have been on various award committees, I think the one constant is that there really is something that happens in the process. Things that seem obvious on a superficial look become less obvious with a deeper look. Something that one person might ignore, really nags at someone else. People have different backgrounds, different skill levels, different personalities. There’s always talk about “divisive” books, and of course that happens, but I think more than that, there is really something interesting that happens when a group of nine people learns how to create consensus, and the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.
We’re all entitled to our opinions, of course, and we all have favorites, but sometimes our personal favorites are just that–personal favorites. We don’t actually know how things would come out if we were fully engaged in the process, looking at hundreds of books, and seriously discussing dozens of them.
So. Just my caveat.
Anyway, regarding In Darkness: I found the quotation from the Times review (in the comments) fascinating and not at all in keeping with my read of the book. Yes, there was stuff about zombies and voodoo, but not in a sensationalistic way; in a way that explained something about their role in religion and society. And sure, there was corruption and murder and violence, but also politics and families and other things that factor into the life of everyone, rich or poor. I agree with your comment that Lake gave a good account of himself in the back matter.
So I’m delighted that this award is going to bring more readers to the book.
I’m pretty exhausted, so I’m not going to look at the other books in detail today. But, hey, big shout-out to our friend and frequent commenter, Beth Fama, whose Monstrous Beauty got an Odyssey Honor award! A couple of months ago, in the comments here she told us about all the research that narrator Katy Kellgren put into the recording of that book–obviously, it paid off!
Also, I picked up a whole bunch of ARCs in the exhibit hall, and lugged them home this morning (thank you, Southwest Airlines, for your two-free-checked-bags policy). In the next couple of days, I’ll list here what those are, and which I’m most looking forward to.
Finally, it was great to talk to people in Seattle who are actual, real-live readers of this blog, and to spread the word to others. Of course, they all wanted to meet you!