Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Best NE Books in Two Minutes or Less!

As the chairperson of the Massachusetts Center for the Book Non-Fiction Award committee, I know the work that goes into reviewing of books in a few short months. The process includes whittling down the pile (nearly 80 in the non-fiction category), whittling down it again, making tough decisions, arguing for your favorites, making concessions and choosing a winner. Long sentence - too short of a process.

Booktalking is an art and some people do it so well. Sticking to two minutes or less takes even more effort and talent. (In one light-hearted moment, Sally Anderson of Vermont backtracked to add more about Jay Parini's Promised Land that had to be said.)

Directors of the New England Centers for the Book began these high-speed reviews of their states' outstanding books at 8:30 in the morning - none too easy an hour for any of us. Sharon Shaloo of Massachusetts, Sally Anderson of Vermont, Karen Valley of Maine, Ira Revels of Connecticut and Mary Russell of New Hampshire. Mary Engels had the unpleasant task of being timekeeper - a responsibility she took seriously.

The Massachusetts Center for the Book awards winners in several categories each year Its website include the criteria for each prize and the lists of books. Several of the other states choose award winners, as well.

Massachusetts 2011 Must Reads: Reading, Discussing & Celebrating Books Published in 2010

Affiliates of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress are a network of 50 state-center affiliates to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries locally, regionally and nationally.

Check the NELA Conference website for the complete list of books discussed.

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