Monday, June 04, 2007

Just announced:

The 2007 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winners.

16 comments:

Lynn said...

Thanks for the "heads-up." I've gleefully checked each winning title in our catalog and am pleased to have all but one of the honor books (365 Penguins slipped by me).

Octavian is finally back on the shelves and I am going to have an opportunity to read it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, hooray! Excellent choices indeed! Good work, committee.

Kelly said...

Great choices!

Anonymous said...

The magazine didn't star Octavian Nothing, but did name it a Fanfare book, and now this. Does that mean that if you had to do it again, you would star it? In other words, did you err? Admit!

shahairyzad said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again: Octavian Nothing is not a kids/YA book. It's an adult work of historical fiction that was marketed as YA simply because its author already had a huge YA sales base in place.

Would it have killed you guys to give Octavian a mention for its brilliant writing, but pick a different book for the award? (One that has a chance of being read and appreciated by more than .00001% of the YA population would be a good starting point, I think.)

Oh well--at least you didn't pick the scrotum book...

Anonymous said...

OCTAVIAN was indeed written for young adults, many of whom are smarter than we are and who can read and understand a complex and challenging work, and to think otherwise is to despair. Your view that it's a marketing decision is mistaken, I believe. Why do you think it's specifically for adults? Because of its language and subject? I beg to differ, though I certainly agree that adults should read it as well.
The BGHB award is for excellence, and OCTAVIAN is excellent. What would you suggest instead?

Roger Sutton said...

The judges' decisions are their own, made independently of "what the Horn Book thinks." (As always, there are a couple of Honor Books that weren't reviewed by the Magazine; this happens with some frequency among the winners, too.) The reason Octavian Nothing did not get starred but was named to the Fanfare list is the reason we have a Fanfare list: it gives us the chance to revisit the year's publications as a whole. In between the time Octavian Nothing was reviewed and we composed the Fanfare list, more reviewers and editors had read the book, and we all had the chance to look at it in a new context.

I don't think ON is an adult book (I also don't think it's a perfect book), and when people call it one because it's not easy reading and will probably have a small audience they're saying more about their attitude toward their own reading than they are about the book itself. I mean, saying "this book is hard and I'm bored" (for example) so "therefore this book is for adults" calls into question one's respect for books for adults, doesn't it? And the BGHB awards are, like the Newbery, meant to honor literary distinction, not popularity. Is ON destined to be a shelf-sitter? Maybe, but the reasons for that will have as much to do with she-who-maintains-the-shelves as they will with any potential audience.

Kristin Peto said...

I was happy to see Wolves as an honor book. I've found that middle school students really appreciate the humor of this book.

Anonymous said...

RS — A regular reader of this blog must feel sure that you would have been happier had Hugo rather than Octavian gone home with the laurels (even knowing that the awards are not under your charge, etc., etc.). We might have guessed or intimated at something like that in the past, but with the blog, that knowledge feels more front and center. Thoughts on that transparency, pro or con or neither?

Roger Sutton said...

That's an interesting point, Anon. In the past, persistent HB-watchers could discern differences of opinion between the HB and the BGHB by checking the reviews--the first year I came here the nonfiction prize went to a book we hadn't reviewed, and the committee chair was a masthead reviewer, go figure. But the blog indeed exposes my own opinions, which are not necessarily the official "the Horn Book says" line on anything.

I was disappointed Hugo Cabret wasn't honored in some way, but I wasn't on the committee. I'm also not sure that I would have chosen it over Octavian Nothing, either. This question exposes a key difference between blog book-reviewing and the more institutional kind. I don't engage in the former because I don't want it confused with the latter, and even my wildest enthusiams get tested and challenged by my fellow editors before any review I write sees print.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interesting response.

Anonymous said...

I am struck by this conversation about whether MT Anderson's book is for adults or kids, and agree wholeheartedly with the anonymous poster and with Roger when they point out the false assumptions in supposing it is not for kids. But, as a librarian, I also take issue with the comments implying that kids may find the book "boring" or that it might be a "shelf sitter"! It's fine for us adults to do all this speculating, but the data I am looking at is the numbers of teens in my library who have read it and enjoyed it. Sure, I've hand-peddled it, but the kids talk among themselves, too, and I don't doubt we will always have kids who love it, either because they identify with Octavian or because they, too, are angry about the hippocrisy in their world.

--TH

rindawriter said...

Interesting, INTERESTING choices!

And I did not know before that the Anonymouses consorted with hippos and Crisy's. BEYOND interesting, that. Hmmmm......

Anonymous said...

Aw, come one, anonymous, cut a guy some slack. I knew as soon as I hit publish that I'd got that one wrong. D'oh! And I'm a former second grade spelling bee champ, too. I'll be more careful next time.

Red-faced,
--TH

alamolibrarian said...

As with anything Betty is involved in, pure gold.

Anonymous said...

Yes, is there a way we can put Betty Carter in charge of absolutely everything? :-)

Also, I'm grateful to the earlier Anonymous who raised the whole issue of that blog byproduct, increased transparency, and to Roger for his thoughtful answer. But it's not just him -- now everyone knows what a BUNCH of influential bloggers are thinking about particular books, and some of said bloggers express their opinions in contexts much more pointed than in standard print reviews. I am becoming more and more curious as to what effect this will all have (yeah, I know, if any!).

mvp