The number of nominated titles is down considerably from the number we were working on last year. At 28 by the end of September, we don't even have enough to make a list of 30 titles. I worry about these things. Is the quality down, am I a more sophisticated listener than last year, are we being too picky? I actually think the answer to all three questions is 'yes.' Yet, with a month left for publishers to send us their material, I'm thinking we won't have nearly the quantity that we were working from last year (when there were over 70 nominated titles).
So, it's time to start re-examining those maybes and get them off the fence. So, I went back and listened to Samurai Shortstop again (happily, I could get it on cassette). I enjoyed the story, again. I hear the narrator's voice, again. Yet, I was still hesitant. What put me over the fence (on the nomination side) was comparing it to some of the other titles that have been nominated. And, for me, it was clearly superior to several of them: Defining Dulcie, The Loud Silence of Francine Green, and Princess on the Brink. So, it seemed to be something that I needed to get my committee colleagues to hear, and so I nominated it (number 29).
I have only been swept away a few times this year, and I'm still waiting for the one I'll still be talking about next year. Which makes me think about the Odyssey Committee. Are they having trouble too ... or will next year's medal (is it a medal?) go to Harry Potter?