Friday, May 18, 2007

Committee arcana

So, I'm letting you in on our dirty little secret: Last year's Selected Audiobooks committee had some 60 (?) nominated titles, but were able to discuss and vote on fewer of these because we didn't have a quorum (6 of the 9 members) of listeners for a number of the nominations. I was among the perpetrators, but I think part of that was that I didn't quite understand what my priorities were as we wound up our listening year: 1) listening -- and commenting -- on as many titles as possible, or 2) concentrating on those titles that were nominated. Also, we each produced what was called our Top 10 list and I know that I thought that these would be the titles we would be focusing on in our discussions.

Anyway, enough excuses. This year, we are doing two things differently: Committee members are assigned to listen to specific titles (ensuring that all that we receive get at least one listen), and we are all committed to listening to the nominated titles as they are nominated. I am a little behind on the nominations, but I'm planning to catch up when I am at ALA/on vacation this summer.

So, that is the long way of saying that Shug was nominated last year, but did not have enough listeners for us to vote on it, so I'm going to nominate it this year. Nominated titles that were not voted on can be renominated (as long as they fall within the 2006-2007 publication date), those that were voted on cannot be renominated (grrr... I, Coriander and King Dork).

The more I think about Shug, the more I liked it, and it's resonating with me long after the tapes have been returned to their container. By the time I'd finished it, I'd stopped worrying about whether it was too old/young for YALSA listeners -- I think it can easily find its place among readers who like realistic fiction with a hint of sadness (and who need to know that there's something more than Lurleen McDaniel on offer). And, although this is not a requirement at all, our list right now is short of anything contemporary or realistic so it's good to have something like that on it.

The reader did a great job of portraying smart, confused, sad and moody Shug; and did a pleasing job voicing boys and adults as well. She's did much better than the reader of the audiobook I'm currently listening to: The Loud Silence of Francine Green. More on this in another post.

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