Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In the beginning...

Here’s my challenge:  I’m going to read all the Newbery Medal books in one year.  I have until November 25, 2011.  And I’m going to write about them here.

This is not new, so please don’t be too impressed.  There’s a group of people on Goodreads and on 43 Things and on the Newbery Project blog who are also trying to read them all.  Someone named Virginia Hawthorne is also reading them, and a super-impressive 5th grader named Laura has already finished them.  And I’m sure there are more.  What makes me different?  As far as I can tell, none of these people have given themselves just one year to read these 90 books.  Laura had a time limit—she decided in 2nd grade to read them all before starting middle school.  (And she finished early!  Awesome!)  But my slim one-year time limit should create lots of juicy tension by, say, October 2011.

I won’t throw a tantrum if I don’t finish, though.  I plan to take my time, to really enjoy the books and to investigate their authors, settings (especially if they are set here in New York City!), reasons why they won, and so on.  Plus, I’m working and trying to write a novel and trying to have a social life all at the same time.  I’m also going to have little interludes in which I read (or reread) Newbery Honor books that appeal to me, or read possible Newbery contenders, or just discuss the world of the Newbery and kidlit in general.  So while I say my goal is one year, my goal is really just to read these and have a good time doing so.

Why am I doing this?  Because I want to read what has been deemed The Best in kidlit—the books most deserving of those shiny gold stickers.  I want to read the best literature, but I also want to ponder if it really is all that great and why.  I’m also doing this because I want to reread some of the books I loved as a kid, and see if they’re as great as I remember them to be, and because I want to read the books I missed out on as a kid that I “should” have read, according to the Newbery posters that always hung in my schools' libraries.  I’m also also doing this because I want to join the fun in the kidlit blogosphere, and this seemed like a fun way to do it.  I’m also also also doing this because I’d love to publish a book someday—actually, I’d just like to FINISH a book someday—and I think an intensive study of The Best books will help.

So, please join me for some reviews and some pictures and some wondering aloud about things.  I’ve already read two books—reviews will be up in the next few days!

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