Category Archives: Children

One Year Old!

Mark,

Crossreferencing is one year old today! Thanks to you and thanks to our growing crowd of readers for making it possible and fun.

Today’s topic: random thoughts generated by books I have read recently.

First, I read Rump, by Liesl Shurtliff. It’s a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. We’ve had several discussions about retellings and adaptations and we both enjoy them, for the most part. This was no exception. But it got me thinking about what it is that makes particular tale especially good for retelling and adaptation.Rump

I have read several retellings of Rumpelstiltskin in recent years, notably: A Curse Dark as Gold, by Elizabeth Bunce; The Witch’s Boy, by Michael Gruber; and The Rumpelstiltskin Problem, by Vivian Vande Velde. I think the thing that makes Rumpelstiltskin ripe for retelling is that the supposed protagonist of the tale, the miller’s daughter, is such an unappealing character. She’s a whiner, she’s lazy, she’s entitled, and–for crying out loud–she agrees to give away her child for the sake of some gold! So it’s very easy, and intriguing, to do as Shurtliff does, and turn Rumpelstiltskin into the hero instead of the villain.

Just a quick note on the book: Shurtliff has a great, breezy style. There are just enough (and not too many) “rump” jokes to appeal to kids, and she has created an interesting world in which other stories can be (and will be, as I understand) set.

My second random observation is about Jaclyn Moriarty’s A Corner of White, which we have both mentioned before: here and here. I really liked the book, for a lot of reasons. I loved the way Madeleine critiqued Elliot’s description of his own world. I liked the way the “real” world and the “fantasy” world bled into each other. (I thought it was great that Madeleine’s England had “colours” while Elliot’s Cello had “colors.”) a-corner-of-whiteAnd it wasn’t only that the fantasy world entered the real world, but that each affected the other. In particular, I loved the ending, in which the real science of color (or should I say colour?) and light solved the problem in the fantasy world. How many books have we read in which it is the magic from the fantasy world that heals someone or solves the problem in the real world? Nice flip-flop here!

And by the way: I totally agree that this is an atrocious cover. For one thing, how many boys are ever going to pick this book up? And it’s really a shame, because I think the humor and the snarkiness and the cleverness and the science would appeal to lots of boys. This one is ripe for a coverflip. How about just a street with a parking meter that has a tiny corner of white paper sticking out the edge of it?

And final random thought: I just read two new books by Cory Doctorow: Homeland, the sequel to Little  Brother, and Pirate Cinema. I enjoyed them both, although I thought Homeland was a little heavy on the exposition. (On the other hand, since I’m not an expert in all things computer, I found that the exposition was often needed for me to understand the plot, so there’s that.) I agree with my friend Sarajo’s reaction to Homeland: I’m definitely never going to go to Burning Man, and I’m starting to think I should remove the battery from my phone! The real-world NSA goings-on are a little too close to the story of Homeland for comfort. PirateCinemaI listened to the audio version of Pirate Cinema, which I thought was terrific. Doctorow really knows how to tell a great, fast-paced story that gets to some serious issues about copyright, digital rights management, and creativity.

Time to get back to my reading!

– Mom

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Maggot Moon

MaggotMoonMark,

Apparently it is time to talk about Maggot Moon, by Sally Gardner. I say this because it keeps coming into my consciousness lately.

First, it won the UK’s prestigious Carnegie Medal in June.

Second, Horn Book, Booklist, and PW gave it starred reviews.

Third, when I was at ALA, I had the opportunity to meet some of Sharon Grover’s teen members of “The Book Club Formerly Known as Printz.” These are the teens who read widely last year, held their own Mock Printz, and like the Real Committee, chose Nick Lake’s In Darkness as their winner. Anyway, when I was chatting with them, I asked them what they were currently reading that impressed them. Two of them immediately responded, “Maggot Moon!”

Fourth, this morning I read a blog post entitled, “The Carnegie Medal–Can Children Have their Prize Back, Please?” in which the author discussed both Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking books and Maggot Moon, about which he said, “Adults should read it. They will love it. The hero is on the side of good and the side of evil is awful and banal and good fights to the bitter end for what it believes in. However, I’m not sure I would give it to a child.”

So, since I read Maggot Moon last week, it’s time to talk about it. Starting from the blog post referred to above, my first comment is that the author, like so many others, consistently blurs the distinction between children’s (e.g., middle grade) and young adult books. I actually thought that Maggot Moon fell a little on the younger side of that distinction, just because of what he said: “The hero is on the side of good and the side of evil is awful and banal.” It was a bit too cut-and-dried for teens. There really weren’t any grey areas; it was obvious from the beginning that Standish and his grandfather were the “good guys” and the despotic government were the “bad guys.”

I can see why the book is appealing, but my biggest problem with it was that it was too improbable. Unless I missed something important, I understood that because the radiation from the moon was too strong to allow landing on the moon, the government had decided to fake a moon landing, to demonstrate their prowess to the world. But if they knew the radiation was too strong, wouldn’t scientists in other countries? Wouldn’t it be obvious (umm. . . .flag waving in the breeze?) that it was a fake? So what would they be proving? And why would it be important for Standish to demonstrate that it was a hoax?

So that didn’t work for me.

The articles about the Carnegie Medal make a big deal about the fact that Standish was dyslexic, and so is the author, Sally Gardner. Again, I didn’t see that as being that big a deal. It struck me as being like so many things in children’s and YA books–a way to create more tension for the main character, and to isolate him, so that his feats would be even more important.

So that was my initial one-read impression: well-written, but too young for YA and with plot holes that I couldn’t get over. Is it this year’s version of Wonder? How about you? Have you read it yet?

– Mom

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More on the Carnegies

Mom,

First of all, how did I not notice that my post on Monica Never Shuts Up fit in with your post on black cover art?

Second–the Carnegie Medal.  The crossovers with our ALA awards are indeed fascinating, and I do love that paragraph from the awards criteria, but what struck me when I was looking at the Wikipedia page, which lists the shortlists, was how frequently the same authors come up over and over.  Obviously Patrick Ness won the Medal twice in a row, but look at the shortlisted authors over the last decade or so:

Marcus Sedgwick, David Almond, Meg Rosoff, Philip Reeve, Terry Pratchett, Siobhan Dowd (whose name, of course, also appears on the title page of Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls), Frank Contrell Bryce, Geraldine McCaughrean, Aidan Chambers–it seems like these authors get shortlisted for practically every book they write. 

This is just really not something you see in the ALA awards–there are precious few double Printz awardees, and even in the long history of the Newbery, there aren’t that many authors who get named multiple times. I don’t know if this is because there are relatively fewer books that are “first published in the UK” as Carnegie winners must be, or if they have a different attitude towards repeat winners, but I find it really fascinating.  It certainly makes it really easy to see what (mostly) British authors we should be paying attention to in America.

Also, on that Wikipedia page, they mention that in 2007, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Carnegie, there was a poll to determine the favorite Carnegie winner–“six children’s book experts” picked ten of the 67 winners, and then the nation voted.  Predictably, Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights (AKA The Golden Compass) won, but the reason I bring it up is that one of the ten book the “children’s book experts” put on the list was Jennifer Donnelly’s A Gathering Light (AKA A Northern Light–presumably retitled in the UK to avoid confusion with Pullman’s book, which is funny since that book was retitled for the American market).  In any case, I thought you would be interested that Donnelly’s book was one of the choices for the “Carnegie of Carnegies,” since it was one of the books your Printz committee chose as an honor book.

– Mark

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Carnegie Medal

Mark,

I will definitely read Monica Never Shuts Up (despite my uneasy relationship with the short story as a literary form–I actually almost always find much to admire in the short stories that I read; I just have trouble convincing myself to read them!).

Meanwhile, the shortlist for the Carnegie Medal has been announced. The Carnegie Medal is awarded by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals for an outstanding book written in English for children and young people. This year’s shortlist includes eight titles, three of which we have talked about at some length (Code Name Verity, In Darkness,  and Wonder, one that I plan to talk about soon (Midwinterblood), and four that I haven’t read or even heard much about (The Weight of Water, by Sarah Crossan, A Greyhound of a Girl, by Roddy Doyle, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat, by Dave Shelton, and Maggot Moon, by Sally Gardner). The Crossan, Doyle, and Shelton books are listed as for ages 8+ or 9+, which says to mean that they are more middle-grade than YA books.

I noticed that the covers of Code Name Verity, In Darkness, and Midwinterblood in the press release are quite different from the American covers–and in the case of Code Name Verity even different from the other British versions of the cover I have seen.InDarkness2 Midwinterblood2 Verity4

But more than that, I was looking at the list of Carnegie Medal winners for the past fifteen years or so. It is interesting to see where they cross with American lists.

2012: A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. Got a lot of buzz here, and was a Top 10 BFYA.

2011: Monsters of Men, by Patrick Ness. Interesting, since it was the third book in a series, and sequels tend to have a hard time making it onto our lists these days.

2010: The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. Also won the Newbery.

2009: Bog Child, by Siobhan Dowd. BBYA.

2008: Here Lies Arthur, by Philip Reeve. BBYA.

2007: Just in Case, by Meg Rosoff. BBYA.

2006: Tamar, by Mal Peet. BBYA

2005: Millions, by Frank Cottrell Boyce.

2004: A Gathering Light, by Jennifer Donnelly. Published in the US as A Northern Light, and was a Printz Honor book.

2003: Ruby Holler, by Sharon Creech.

2002: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, by Terry Pratchett. BBYA.

2001: The Other Side of Truth, by Beverley Naidoo. BBYA.

2000: Postcards from No Man’s Land, by Aidan Chambers. Also won the Printz.

1999: Skellig, by David Almond. Printz Honor book.

Anyway, just interesting to see the crossovers.

And, finally, from the award criteria, I wanted to share this paragraph:

“The book that wins the Carnegie Medal should be a book of outstanding literary quality. The whole work should provide pleasure, not merely from the surface enjoyment of a good read, but also the deeper subconscious satisfaction of having gone through a vicarious, but at the time of reading, a real experience that is retained afterwards.”

I love this. I love the way it makes a clear distinction between a book that is a “good read” and a book that is truly outstanding. I think this is a factor in the “re-readability” discussion that was taking place on one of the other blogs this award season. I really admire the way this is expressed–that idea that one gets satisfaction from having read a book of outstanding literary quality, and that is something that is retained afterwards. Just a great way to express what award committees should be looking for.

– Mom

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Disappointments

Mom,

I put Frozen in Time on hold and am awaiting it eagerly.  Meanwhile, I just read a couple of highly anticipated 2013 books, one middle grade and one adult, and was deeply disappointed by both, so I thought I’d take the time to air my complaints in case you or anyone else wants to try to prove me wrong.

life after lifeFirst up is Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life.  I first heard about this on Barbara Hoffert’s Prepub column at Library Journal, as one of “Barbara’s Picks.”  It also got a write up in PW as one of the Top 10 books for the Spring.  The gimmick of the novel is not terribly new, but still interesting: Ursula Todd is born on February 11, 1910, and lives out her life until an untimely death, at which point she starts over, never quite understanding that she has lived her life before, but getting strange hints of the future that bleed through from her past lives.  Her lives last from minutes (the first time she is born with her umbilical cord around her neck and suffocates) to a few years, to decades.  She dies of Spanish Flu (a few times), German bombs in London (many, many times), suicide, and more.

Atkinson’s language is gorgeous, and her prose creates a wonderful counterpoint to the story as she freely intertwines character’s memories of prior conversations or quick flashbacks into scenes so that the reader is always slightly off balance as to when each scene is taking place.  Atkinson is also an expert at weaving her ideas and themes into the most commonplace of dialogues.

Unfortunately, structurally, the novel is a shambles.  After the first few times Ursula is reborn, she starts to take some active control and try to prevent bad things that have happened, but then abruptly, this thread is dropped, and the reader is treated to several hundred pages of two or three of Ursula’s lives stretching out into WWII (and sometimes beyond) in which she seems to have no awareness at all of anything that has happened in her past lives.  On top of that, while I noted above Atkinson’s skill at integrating her themes into the novel, she has altogether too many ideas and themes to pursue and none of them seem to cohere.  At least one major component of the novel (in fact, a piece of it is the novel’s prologue) revolves around the fact that in several of Ursula’s lives she moves to Germany in the 1930s and becomes friends with Eva Braun, and therefore Hitler. So we are treated to the hoary old question of “would you go back and kill Hitler”, but that question doesn’t actually seem to pertain to the novel’s main concerns which surround more interior questions of how it is best to live and whether a person’s actions define one or vice versa.  This is all the more frustrating, because Atkinson doesn’t seem to want to grapple with the logistics of her gimmick: the “Hitler-time-travel question” is predicated on the theory that a tiny change in the past would have profound effects in the future.  But Atkinson isn’t willing to spend the necessary time and effort thinking this through as it affects Ursula, because despite all the changes in her many lives, her family seems to always stay the same, and Ursula herself seems to run into the same people over and over.  But there is no logic or consistency to how these encounters are applied.

There is also a major plotline–involving a girl (or sometimes two) who is found murdered in Ursula’s hometown–which is not exactly dropped but certain perfunctorily dealt with at best.

I could go on, but I’ll leave it with the conviction that this is an excellent example of why successful stories should be valued so highly: even with exceptional writing and an ambitious premise, Atkinson was unable to pull off a great story.

one came homeThe second book to discuss is Amy Timberlake’s One Came Home.  This one has four starred reviews already, and several good reviews from people I trust on goodreads, and I am absolutely flummoxed as to what they saw in it.  Actually very much like Life After Life, the primary problem is not prose or character, but plot and structure.  The brief summary: the setting is 1871 Wisconsin.  13-year-old Georgie’s sister Agatha has vanished, and when the Sheriff goes looking for her, he brings back a badly mutilated body with the same color hair and a dress Agatha wore, but otherwise unidentifiable.  Georgie refuses to believe the body is Agatha’s (in part because she blames herself for Agatha running away–she witnessed Agatha kissing her ex-boyfriend Billy, and told Agatha’s fiance, breaking up the engagement).

So Georgie goes off in search of Agatha, with Billy (for unknown reasons) coming along.  The structural problems start right away, in that Timberlake has no sense of pacing.  The reader is led to believe that this is either a mystery story about what happened to Agatha or a roadtrip story about Georgie and Billy.  In either case, it takes far too long to get out onto the road for the roadtrip, and far, far too long for the mystery to begin (over half the novel).  Once the mystery kicks in–it involves another red-headed girl and some counterfeiters–it is peppered with implausibilities and dei ex machina.  I won’t tell the ending (not for spoilers’ sake but because it will take up too much time), but basically, once we realize what has happened, it becomes clear that everything in the book had to happen exactly the way it did in the right order for the book to work, but there was no particular reason for those things to happen in that order.

On top of those concerns, unlike Atkinson, Timberlake doesn’t seem to have any clear idea of what theme or ideas she is trying to get across.  There are a number of half-hearted attempts at finding one, but it is as if she started writing without a clear sense of purpose, and then just kept going.

Life After Life isn’t out until April, but One Came Home is out now.  There are a lot of people who already love both of these titles, so maybe I’m missing something.  But for now, I’m putting these down as failed attempts.

– Mark

**Update: Unbeknownst to me, Betsy Bird was working on a post on One Came Home at the same time as me.  She has very different feelings about it.**

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2012-2013 Nonfiction

Mom,

I’m definitely looking forward to some of the titles you mentioned–Etiquette and Espionage chief among them.  I assume eventually I’ll read the Yancey, since I love his books and it’s been getting great reviews, but I have to admit to being a bit annoyed that he took the time to write a new book instead of working on the final Monstrumologist book.  Oh well.

emancipationYou asked about nonfiction. I haven’t begun to get a great handle on what’s out there yet, but I have a few ideas. Obviously, we’ve already discussed Steve Sheinkin’s new book.  In addition to that, there are new books out by Tanya Lee Stone and Tonya Bolden.  I know Bolden from her excellent FDR’s Alphabet Soup (Knopf, 2010) but it looks like she’s written a ton of nonfiction for young people.  Her newest is called Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty (Abrams).  It got a starred review in this month’s Booklist, and sounds right up my alley, in that it is micro-history.  Let me explain: another book with a Booklist star this month was Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad by David Adler (Holiday House)–I just read this one and it is a perfectly serviceable biography of Tubman, but I really didn’t care much for it because Adler fills up lots of space with canned bits of history about the period: a short bit on the Fugitive Slave Act, a piece on John Brown’s raid, a couple chapters on the Civil War.  The bit on John Brown was actually excellent, but it really had little to do with Tubman, and all of it together didn’t add up to much that a textbook couldn’t do.  I haven’t read the Bolden book yet, but what I’m hoping from the title is that it is much more in depth, analytic look at a smaller piece of history, instead of an attempt to fit 80 years of history into a 140 page book, as Adler does.

harrietFinally (for now), a third starred review in Booklist (it was their feature on Black History month) was for Tanya Lee Stone’s Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles : America’s First Black Paratroopers (Candlewick).  Once again, I’m excited about the relative smallness of the story to tell here, and hoping that means Stone has plenty of room to get into some good creative history.

While I’m on the subject of nonfiction (again), I wanted to briefly mention the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award’s vetted nomination list.  They ended up listing only 9 titles on the official nominations (plus the 5 finalists), as opposed to (for example) last year’s 23.  This is sure to lead to some griping, and I am usually one to say more is better, but I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with the committee.  They did leave off Ann Bausum’s Marching to the Mountaintop and Jim Murphy’s The Giant, but the 14 titles the committee came up with are pretty unassailable.  I was especially happy to see Sally M. Walker’s last two couragebooks, Blizzard of Glass and Their Skeletons Speak, on the vetted list.  I felt like both of these titles got a bit ignored, possibly because Blizzard came out too late in 2011 and Skeletons too early in 2012, and I’m very happy to see them get some attention, especially on such a short list of greats.  The only surprise on the list for me was Andrea Warren’s Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London, which I had never heard of, but am now greatly looking forward to reading.  So, congratulations to the 2013 ENYA committee, and I’ll try to keep up with what might be on the radar for this year’s committee.

– Mark

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Crazy Cover Change

Mom,

When I read National Book Award winner Goblin Secrets by William Alexander, it looked like this:

GoblinSecrets

Except that some intrepid librarian had added a “National Book Award Finalist” sticker to it, which I found amusing, since 1) by the time I had it in my hands the book was already the winner, and 2) those stickers cost money, man!

In any event, the book I read was from a partner library (since my home library hadn’t ordered the book until after the NBAs were announced).  So, yesterday, when our copy finally came it and it looked like this:

goblinsecrets2

Bright shiny NBA Winner sticker and all.  What gives?  I looked around a little on google, and I found William Alexander’s website, where he refers to this as the paperback cover, but the one I’m looking at is hard-bound.  I can’t remember seeing a book change it’s cover art before it even made it to its first round of paperback.  Mom, readers–do you have other experiences or thoughts?

(Also, I’m a bit flummoxed because I think the first cover is way better. Maybe they thought the old one didn’t say “major award winner”?)

– Mark

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More on Lincoln’s Grave Robbers

Mom,

So much to say about Lincoln’s Grave Robbers.  First, on the subject matter–yes, despite the fact that it shouldn’t make any difference as far as the awards committees are concerned, I do think that the fact that this is about a relatively minor event will negatively affect this book, at least so far as buzz is concerned.  It also doesn’t help that the book has come out so early in the year, before we’re even done talking about Bomb, since awards haven’t been named yet.  It’s almost like Sheinkin (or Scholastic) is trying to sneak this one in.

All that being said, I agree with you that it contains all of the same strengths that we’ve come to expect in Sheinkin–great narrative style, excellent use of sources, a great story, etc.  If we are judging the book solely on its literary merits, I see no reason why this one shouldn’t be high on the list of 2013 titles to watch for.  Also, it should be said that despite the title, a fair portion of the book is devoted to the history of counterfeiting, which is surely not as “important” a topic as the atomic bomb, but definitely has some weight to it.  My personal interests were much more towards the counterfeiting sections than the grave-robbing stuff, so I was glad he spent so much time on it.

Sourcing. I don’t know if I’ve actually said this out loud (or in print) anywhere, but I suppose I should say for the record that I personally don’t much like Sheinkin’s sourcing habits.  In my perfect world, every single fact in a nonfiction book has a footnote or and end note explaining how it got there.  I’ve been defending Sheinkin and Bomb in spite of this because I think that there are many different ways of using sources, and it is not at all clear to me that there is any particular “standard” in his field (or in popular adult nonfiction, for that matter).  So, yes, I noticed many occassions in Lincoln’s Grave Robbers where I wondered how Sheinkin could have the level of detail he had, and I basically decided that I had to trust him.  Is this going to continue to haunt Sheinkin? I guess it depends (in part) on how Bomb does on January 28.

Finally, I’m fascinated by our commenter Alys’s discovery that many libraries, including New York Public, have shelved this in fiction.  I noticed on at least one library’s page that even the LC Subject Headings included the “juvenile fiction” tag, and another had an LCSH of “Historical Fiction.”  Something has obviously gone terribly wrong, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it had to do with some bad copy-cataloging.  Obviously, if you looked at the book at all, you would know that it was nonfiction, but if you’re just copying the catalog record someone else wrote up, it’s easy to replicate a mistake.  I wonder where that happened, though, since many libraries (including San Jose and Santa Clara, in our neck of the woods) managed to get it right.  I happen to love cataloging issues, and very rarely get to indulge in them in my daily duties, so this is a fun one to look at.

– Mark

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Lincoln’s Grave Robbers

Mark,

I just read Steve Sheinkin’s new book, Lincoln’s Grave Robbers,  out this month from Scholastic. Again, Sheinkin creates a piece of terrific narrative nonfiction that just zooms along. He tells a fascinating, little-known story, and fills it with quotations from the participants (more on this in a bit).

I think this book skews a little younger than Bomb and The Notorious Benedict Arnold. For one thing, the incident he details is just that: an incident. It’s about a Lincolnfoiled attempt to steal Abraham Lincoln’s remains and hold them for ransom. Both Bomb and Benedict had much larger stories and needed more context.  I wonder if the fact that this topic is somehow slighter or less important than his previous topics will affect whether it is considered as award material as the year goes on. What do you think?

This one I think will be popular with the upper elementary kids, especially boys (I mean, grave robbing? Awesome!) I found the whole thing great fun. I remember going to Springfield several times as a kid. I vaguely remember seeing Lincoln’s tomb. But I definitely don’t remember ever hearing this story. Of course, I don’t suppose they would have been overly eager to share it.

Sheinkin’s writing style is highly readable, as always. I particularly liked the way he incorporated slang from the time, and then included a glossary of the slang at the end of the book.

Given all the discussion on various blogs about Sheinkin’s particular style of narrative, journalistic non-fiction, and the questions about his source notes on Bomb (which were resolved to my satisfaction), I find it interesting that this book doesn’t attempt to source specific quotations at all. He tells us that much of the book comes from two primary sources: the daily reports of Secret Service Agent Patrick Tyrell, and a book by the Lincoln Monument’s custodian, John Carroll Powell. His bibliography cites “all the sources I used” and includes numerous newspaper articles of the time, which, he says, contained interviews with other eyewitnesses. I feel confident that, with a little digging, I could find the source of any direct quotation in the book. Many are quite obvious, as when he cites Tyrell’s memos to his boss in Washington.

Bomb just came out in September and this book came out in January, lincoln_tomb_03so it was written and possibly even printed before all of the source-note discussion about Bomb really got underway. Therefore, what we librarians were discussing clearly had nothing to do with the decisions Sheinkin made about attributing quotations. Still, I find it fascinating that we are having this discussion. It really shows how practices change over time. We’ve come a long way from made-up conversations and a complete lack of source notes, but we also seem to have moved past inserting footnotes and endnotes to a more open-ended way of indicating sources.

It makes sense in terms of telling the story. And, as you pointed out, Sheinkin’s style is to “give his readers a good show” and he is using a standard journalistic style, one that we adults are very familiar and comfortable with.

I bring this up mainly because I’m curious about how big an issue you think that is for this book, and because I wonder how it will affect the book in the coming year’s “best-of” discussions.  Bomb didn’t make Booklist‘s 2012 top choices list, and I wonder if it had anything to do with this issue.

So what do you think of Lincoln’s Grave Robbers?

– Mom

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Mark’s 2012 Wrap-up

Mom,

I too will not finish any books today, so here’s my year end summary.

Statistics

  • Books Read in 2012: 303
  • Books Read in 2011: 165
  • Books Read in 2010: 115
  • Books Read in 2009: 144
  • Books Read in 2008: 132
  • Books Read in 2007: 136
  • Books Read in 2006: 71
  • Books Read in 2005: 35
  • Books Read in 2004: 95

In addition to the 303 books I read, I reread 15 titles this year.  As you can see, this year was a pretty staggering one for me, in large part because I set out (around March) to see if I could keep up the reading load that would be required for being on the Printz or Newbery committee.  I think I passed.  Next year will in all likelihood be back down in the 100s, for my own and my wife’s sanity.

Average read per month: 26.5
Average read per week: 6
Number read in worst month: 18 (May)
Number read in best month: 33 (July)
Percentage by male authors: 49.4% (157)
Percentage by female authors: 50.6% (161)
Nonfiction as a percentage of the total: 22.6% (72)
Fiction as a percentage of the total: 77.4% (246)
Books published in 2012 or 2013: 160 Continue reading

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