Friday, January 13, 2012

Printz: Finale One

"Always look on the bright side of life!" - Eric Idle

"It is better to fail at originality than to succeed in imitation." - Herman Melville

"Read to your heart's content. Though if you are a reader, the heart is never content." - Jenny Hubbard, Paper Covers Rock

The year of 2011 was my first in a local library's Mock Printz book club. We had lots of fun over the course of the year (and a little into this one) and read some truly great books - and some bloody awful ones as well. We had to narrow down our choices to a "top three" list. Mine were as follows:

  1. Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard
  2. Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
  3. The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier
My first choice (which ended up winning) was one of the best books I've ever read. It details the guilt-burdened life of Alexander Stromm, written in the form of a journal - which works out tremendously, as it seems so real. As one member of the club pointed out, "Alex is not a character, he is a person." And I fully agree to that statement: he just felt so real. The story is very realistic and well-crafted; the writing was simply beautiful. I'm not surprised to learn that the author is a poet and playwright.

The second is the first, and so far only, piece of work I have read by David Levithan. The prose is also very good here (not Paper Covers Rock, but still great) and the characters feel a similar guilt for a friend (I'd hate to spoil it, so I'll keep it vague). The cool thing is that Mr. Levithan asked a photographer, Jonathan Farmer, to send him random pictures, which he based the story around - and nailed it. This is a wonderful novel.

And I've reviewed The Floating Islands in the past, but I still agree that the descriptions are breathtaking, similar to Redwall in their majesty. This is more my preferred style of book, although I can easily accommodate other genres. But I think this is good to show I am not biased.

The competition was keen; Paper Covers Rock was closely tied with a novel I have yet to read, titled A Monster Calls - so closely, in fact, that our lead librarian had to step in and give her vote, which was for Jenny Hubbard's piece of art. I honestly think it will become a classic.

Overall it was a great meeting and I cannot wait for the new season.

Wishing the best,

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