Archive for January 1st, 2011

Cybils Shortlists and a Reading Challenge

January 1, 2011 @ 9:53 am | Filed under: ,

Okay, I knew I wouldn’t last long before I came up with some kind of reading plan for the year…what’s a nice clean slate for if not to write on it?

See, I just had a fun idea: now that the eagerly-awaited 2010 Cybils shortlists have been announced, how about a Cybils Shortlist Reading Challenge?

If I’m counting correctly, there are a total of 76 books shortlisted across the 11 categories. (The odds of my having counted correctly, mind you, are slim. Feel free to correct me.) That means if you haven’t read any of them—and you’ve probably already read at least a few—you could read all 76 titles by tackling six or seven books a month. Many of these books are picture book and early readers, remember, so seven is a totally attainable number.

Of course those of us who served on a first-round panel (or who read lots of new books) will have a head start. I haven’t yet counted how many shortlisters I’ve read in total, but I did see several books I enjoyed on the lists already. I think I might only have to read four or five shortlisters a month to complete the challenge.

If you’re game, please chime in in the comments!

Serving on the YA fiction panel was a joy and (speaking of) a challenge. I gave up fall gardening—and here in San Diego, that’s one of our best garden seasons—in order to keep up with my reading responsibilities. (People are always asking me how I find so much time to read, and there’s your answer. Something’s gotta give. My ‘something’ usually has more to do with cooking and floor-scrubbing, but those are things that gotta give during ordinary times, and a stint on a first-round Cybils panel is not an ordinary time.) My fellow panelists are wonderfully insightful readers, women with wit and wisdom. We enjoyed our three months of book discussions so much, in fact, that when it was all over, we decided to keep this good thing going via monthly book-clubbish conversations. Maybe some of these other-category titles will provide some of the fuel for our sparky talks.

I hope to write more about our panel—and our selections—in the days to come, but for now if you’d like a peek behind the scenes, here’s a writeup by Kelly Jensen of Stacked.

“Being a part of this panel was some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time. It was completely exhausting and at times emotionally draining, but after three months of reading wildly, it all came down to a 4.5 hour discussion the day after Christmas.”

Kelly, Amanda, Ami, Cheryl, Jackie, Justina, I loved getting to know you, laugh with you, argue with you, read with you. I look forward to many more lively fights conversations to come. Also: In-and-Out burgers!

Updated—Okay, got my tally! Chagrined to see I’ve only read three of the other shortlisted titles (plus the seven from our panel). They happen to be three of my favorite books of the year, so I’m delighted to see them among the finalists in their respective categories. (SHARK VS TRAIN, SMILE, MIRROR MIRROR, all of which I’ve raved about here this year.)

76 books total
minus the 10 I’ve read =

66 finalists left to read in 2011. Fun!!

Here’s a link to my checklist.