Have you ever just decided, in an offhand, I-really-haven’t-given-this-any-thought sort of way, to DO something? Something specific? Well–I have. Once upon a time, in my salad days (or something), I decided to “read the Newberys.” ALL of them. Not just the medal winners, you understand, but the Honor books as well. The whole shebang. I didn’t consider trifling details, such as, say, the number of books involved (398 as of today), or how difficult it might be to get my hands on some of the older titles (QUITE difficult, even with an amazing inter-library loan system), or the time commitment it might involve (I’m still not really thinking about that one), or even the obvious catch (if I don’t die BETWEEN finishing the previous year’s winners and the announcement of the next year’s winners, the goal is unattainable). Nope. In a VERY uncharacteristic “why think too hard about this?” kind of way, I just jumped in. I’ve learned a few things since then, such as…
1)There is ONE “R” in Newbery. ONE. Spell check does not like this, but it’s true. And with every book I read, seeing the word misspelled in, say, a NEWSPAPER ARTICLE becomes more painful to see. Many people have no reason to know how to spell it, and that’s totally cool. A journalist, though? Really?
2)Almost none of the (considerable) time spent in pursuit of this goal has been wasted. I’m 280 books into this by now, and I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve actively disliked. Some have been forgettable, but I’ve loved a goodly number of them. I’ve also discovered quite a few of my favorite authors this way.
3)As a parent, I now have a much longer list of books to give my kids to try.
4)I’m never out of ideas for books to read. I don’t read ONLY Newberys, not by a long shot, but if I don’t have anything else I’ve been thinking about, there’s always my (dog-eared) list to browse.
5)Who am I kidding? I worked at Borders for TEN YEARS. I have a to-read list a mile long. Still, if I’m undecided, the list helps.
Are you interested in my brand of insanity? The 2014 Youth Media Awards were announced today (at 8 am Eastern, which means I missed it because I refused to get up at 6, which STILL means I’m a geek for knowing and thinking about it!), and the Newbery winners are not the only good books on that list by a long shot. (I’m just too chicken to expand my goal to include the rest of the awards that interest me!) Look here for this year’s winners and here for the complete Newbery list.
I will start reviewing past Newberys this week (I have all the new ones on hold at the library, but even the always awesome Salt Lake County library system isn’t THAT fast). I will also probably talk a lot about food (something that occupies my thoughts to a disturbing degree) and my family (that’ll cover my three passions right there!), which is, of course, the reason I named my blog what I did. If you’re interested–stick around!