Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gaiman and the graveyard

This entry is perhaps premature, but interesting nonetheless. Neil Gaiman, well-known author and fantasy genius, posted this in his journal:

"THE GRAVEYARD BOOK," said fourteen loud voices, and I thought, I may be still asleep right now, but they probably don't do this, probably don't call people and sound so amazingly excited, for Honors books....

"...just won..."

"THE NEWBERY MEDAL" they chorused. They sounded really happy. I checked the hotel room because it seemed very likely that I was still fast asleep. It all looked reassuringly solid.

You are on a speakerphone with at least 14 teachers and librarians and suchlike great, wise and
good people, I thought. Do not start swearing like you did when you got the Hugo.

Gaiman's fans will no doubt be happy about this honor, but it's also interesting on an entirely more selfish level. That is, my copy of "The Graveyard Book" is on the way and now it (sadly) won't have the medal print on the cover. Okay. The award is obviously interesting for more reasons than that (it appears my selfish needs don't dominate the universe). In the last couple of years, Newbery medals have gone to books with "meaning" and "importance". I quote because it's a bit silly. The honors of the year went to books about growing up poor (with Tupac), poetry about Cuba, and a roadtrip-like book. Newbery awards often go to books less good, more enlightening. Historical fiction, books about alienation, death, loss, racism. All topics, but some years the books are kind of sub-par. Not always, obviously. Some amazing books have won in the past. But still. It's nice to see another fantasy book take the award.

I'll give an official update following my actual reading of "The Graveyard Book". But it's still news.

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