"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Friday, January 25, 2008

Poetry Friday

It's been raining here in Eagle Rock for days off and on, but last night it never stopped and is still going strong. Great torrents and sheets of hard rain, a blessing on drought-ridden Southern California but I've had enough of it. I've been sick with the flu and if I go out into the wet, I start coughing. Blah. Puts me in a mood because I know I have to go out in a few hours to the doctor's office and then from there to work.

I heard a bird singing outside my bedroom window this morning, just a few minutes ago and it changed my mood. How can it sing so sweetly? It must be drenched, the poor thing. I hope it's found shelter in some strange, dry spot in the huge magnolia tree in our backyard. I hope its song isn't a cry of despair.

The brave bird (for somehow in my mind, he is now a he and a very brave he) gave me some of his courage to go out and slog through the rain and cold. He put a smile on my face and got me to thinking about birds in general. I found a poem about swallows that I fell in love with from a poet I didn't know. The bird brought me courage, a smile, a poem and a new poet whose beautiful name I covet, think is perfect for a poet and makes me smile more. I think that makes my bird an angel.

Swallow by Paige Hill Starzinger

barbs of outer wing-feather
recurved into minute hooklets
from base to tip a rasping

dusky throated northern rough

as a bolus is pushed pons and pharynx
the anterior tongue lifts to hard palate
elevates to soft and seals

lores darker than eyes bill black
forager with forked tail weak feet
more wing than any other song

To read the rest of this magnificent poem click here. Poetry Friday is being hosted by Mentor Texts and More. Thanks for hosting!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The AWN 2008 Oscar Showcase

Woohoo! The AWN (I work there) 2008 Oscar Showcase is up and running, with no glitches or errors. I'm home sick today but Deron, Darlene, Bill, Kevin and Rick did an outstanding job preparing this thing to go off without a hitch. So much behind the scenes work goes into our Oscar Showcase for Animated Features and Short Subjects that I just have to stop and give the team a big shout out for being so fabulous.

Take a look below at the end product of weeks of work, getting permissions to use content, tracking down the right people, writing articles, posting images, designing things, making sure the voting mechanism works, the clips play, etc. AWN has the best people and they do the best work. They care and it shows. Stop by and show them some love. You can even vote for your favorites to win.

The AWN 2008 Oscar Showcase.

By the Hair of My Chinny, Chin, Chin

We love pigs at AmoXcalli. In fact, we review Piglit just for my granddaughter Jasmine who loves pigs so much that instead of a princess party for her 4th birthday, she wanted a pig party. Yay Jasmine! She marches to the beat of her own drum and isn't afraid to be herself in spite of pre-school peer pressure to be princessy. She and I review piglit together in our own special series.

I found this article on Washington Post and couldn't resist adding the link to AmoXcalli. Jasmine, we've got quite the list to review. We'll hold off on Lord of the Flies and the like till you're a bit older.

To read the Post article, click here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Edgar Award Shortlists

The Mystery Writers of America have just announced the shortlists for
their Edgar Awards.

Best Novel Nominees

* Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (Henry Holt and Company)
* Priest by Ken Bruen (St. Martin's Minotaur)
* The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (HarperCollins)
* Soul Patch by Reed Farrel Coleman (Bleak House Books)
* Down River by John Hart (St. Martin's Minotaur)

Best First Novel By An American Author

* Missing Witness by Gordon Campbell (HarperCollins - William Morrow)
* In the Woods by Tana French (Penguin Group - Viking)
* Snitch Jacket by Christopher Goffard (The Rookery Press)
* Head Games by Craig McDonald (Bleak House Books)
* Pyres by Derek Nikitas (St. Martin's Minotaur)

Best Paperback Original

* Queenpin by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)
* Blood of Paradise by David Corbett (Random House - Mortalis)
* Cruel Poetry by Vicki Hendricks (Serpent's Tail)
* Robbie's Wife by Russell Hill (Hard Case Crime)
* Who is Conrad Hirst? by Kevin Wignall (Simon & Schuster)

Best Critical/Biographical

* The Triumph of the Thriller: How Cops, Crooks and Cannibals Captured Popular Fiction by Patrick Anderson (Random House)
* A Counter-History of Crime Fiction: Supernatural, Gothic, Sensational by Maurizio Ascari (Palgrave Macmillan)
* Deviance in Contemporary Crime Fiction by Christiana Gregoriou (Palgrave Macmillan)
* Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters by Jon Lellenberg, Daniel Stashower and Charles Foley (The Penguin Press)
* Chester Gould: A Daughter's Biography of the Creator of Dick Tracy by Jean Gould O'Connell (McFarland & Company)

Best Fact Crime

* The Birthday Party by Stanley Alpert (Penguin Group - G.P. Putnam's Sons)
* Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi (W.W. Norton and Company
* Chasing Justice: My Story of Freeing Myself After Two Decades on Death Row for a Crime I Didn't Commit by Kerry Max Cook (HarperCollins - William Morrow)
* Relentless Pursuit: A True Story of Family, Murder, and the Prosecutor Who Wouldn't Quit by Kevin Flynn (Penguin Group - G.P. Putnam's Sons)
* Sacco & Vanzetti: The Men, The Murders and the Judgment of Mankind by Bruce Watson (Penguin Group - Viking)

Best Short Story

* "The Catch" - Still Waters by Mark Ammons (Level Best Books)
* "Blue Note" - Chicago Blues by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Bleak House Books)
* "Hardly Knew Her" - Dead Man's Hand by Laura Lippman (Harcourt Trade Publishers)
* "The Golden Gopher" - Los Angeles Noir by Susan Straight (Akashic Books
* "Uncle" - A Hell of a Woman by Daniel Woodrell (Busted Flush Press)

Best Young Adult

* Rat Life by Tedd Arnold (Penguin - Dial Books for Young Readers)
* Diamonds in the Shadow by Caroline B. Cooney (Random House Children's Books - Delacorte Press)
* Touching Snow by M. Sindy Felin (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing - Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
* Blood Brothers by S.A. Harazin (Random House Children's Books - Delacorte Press)
* Fragments by Jeffry W. Johnston (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing - Simon Pulse)

Best Juvenile

* The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
* Shadows on Society Hill by Evelyn Coleman (American Girl Publications)
* Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn (Clarion Books)
* The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh (Hyperion Books for Young Readers)
* Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things by Wendelin Van Draanen (Random House Children's Books - Alfred A. Knopf)

The Simon & Schuster -
Mary Higgins Clark Award

* In Cold Pursuit by Sarah Andrews (St. Martin's Minotaur)
* Wild Indigo by Sandi Ault (Penguin Group - Berkley Prime Crime)
* Inferno by Karen Harper (Harlequin - MIRA Books)
* The First Stone by Judith Kelman (Penguin Group - Berkley Prime Crime)
* Deadman's Switch by Barbara Seranella (St. Martin's Minotaur)

Robert L. Fish Memorial Award

* "The Catch" - Still Waters by Mark Ammons (Level Best Books)

Monday, January 14, 2008

NBCC Award Finalists

For more info on the awards, please visit Critical Mass. They have live blogging and all kinds of good stuff.


  • Heart Like Water: Surviving Katrina and Life in Its Disaster Zone by Joshua Clark (Free Press)
  • Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat (Knopf)
  • The Journals of Joyce Carol Oates, 1973–1982 by Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco)
  • Writing in an Age of Silence by Sara Paretsky (Verso)
  • Russian Diary: A Journalist's Final Account of Life, Corruption and Death in Putin's Russia by Anna Politkovskaya (Random House)


  • American Transcendentalism by Philip Gura (FSG)
  • What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe (Oxford University Press)
  • Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet Washington (Doubleday)
  • Legacy of Ashes: A History of the CIA by Tim Weiner (Doubleday)
  • The World Without Us by Alan Weisman (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s)


  • Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra (HarperCollins)
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Riverhead)
  • In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar (Dial)
  • The Gravediggers Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates (HarperCollins)
  • The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins (S&S)


  • Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer by Tim Jeal (Yale University Press)
  • Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee (Knopf)
  • Ralph Ellison by Arnold Rampersad (Knopf)
  • The Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932 by John Richardson (Knopf)
  • Thomas Hardy by Claire Tomalin (Penguin)


  • Elegy by Mary Jo Bang (Graywolf)
  • Modern Life by Matthea Harvey (Graywolf)
  • Sleeping and Waking by Michael O'Brien (Flood)
  • The Ballad of Jamie Allan by Tom Pickard (Flood)
  • New Poems by Tadeusz Rozewicz (Archipelago)


  • Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints by Joan Acocella (Pantheon)
  • Once Upon a Quniceanera by Julia lvarez (Viking)
  • The Terror Dream by Susan Faludi (Metropolitan/Holt)
  • Coltrane: The Story of a Sound by Ben Ratliff (FSG)
  • The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross (FSG)

The 2008 ALSC Award winners

John Newbery Medal

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick)

Newbery Honor Books

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis (Scholastic/Scholastic Press)
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion)
Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson (Putnam/GP Putnam's Sons)

Randolph Caldecott Medal

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (Scholastic)

Caldecott Honor Books

Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Ellen Levine (Scholastic/Scholastic Press)
First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter)
The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtin by Peter Sís (Farrar/Frances Foster)
Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems (Hyperion)

2009 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecturer

Walter Dean Myers

Mildred L. Batchelder Award

VIZ Media, publisher of Brave Story, by Miyuki Miyabe, translated from the Japanese by Alexander O. Smith

Batchelder Honor Books

Milkweed Editions, publisher of The Cat: Or, How I Lost Eternity, by Jutta Richter, illustrated by Rotraut Susanne Berner, and translated from the German by Anna Brailovsky
Phaidon Press, publisher of Nicholas and the Gang, written by René Goscinny, illustrated by Jacques Sempé, and translated from the French by Anthea Bell

Pura Belpré Author Award

The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Sean Qualls (Holt)

Belpré Author Honor Books

Frida: ¡Viva la vida! Long Live Life! by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand (Marshall Cavendish)
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale, retold by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Michael Austin (Peachtree)
Los Gatos Black on Halloween, written by Marisa Montes, illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Holt)

Pura Belpré Illustrator Award

Los Gatos Black on Halloween, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, written by Marisa Montes (Holt)

Belpré Illustrator Honor Books

My Name Is Gabito: The Life of Gabriel García Márquez/Me llamo Gabito: la vida de Gabriel García Márquez, illustrated by Raúl Colón, written by Monica Brown (Luna Rising)
My Colors, My World/Mis colores, mi mundo, written and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez (Children's Book Press)

Andrew Carnegie Medal

Kevin Lafferty, producer, John Davis, executive producer, and Amy Palmer Robertson and Danielle Sterling, co-producers, of Jump In: Freestyle Edition

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

There Is a Bird on Your Head! by Mo Willems (Hyperion)

Geisel Honor Books

First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter)
Hello, Bumblebee Bat, written by Darrin Lunde, illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne (Charlesbridge)
Jazz Baby, written by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Harcourt)
Vulture View, written by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Steve Jenkins (Holt)

Odyssey Award

Jazz, Live Oak Media

Odyssey Honor Audiobooks

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy, Listen & Live Audio
Dooby Dooby Moo, Weston Woods/Scholastic
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Listening Library
Skulduggery Pleasant, HarperCollins Audio
Treasure Island, Listening Library

Sibert Medal

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtin by Peter Sís (Farrar/Frances Foster)

Sibert Honor Books

Lightship by Brian Floca (Simon & Schuster/Richard Jackson)
Nic Bishop Spiders by Nic Bishop (Scholastic/Scholastic Nonfiction)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Poetry Friday

I recently broke down and bought a Blackberry and now wonder what I ever did without it. One of my favorite things to do on the busride home is to go through my Google Reader and read my subscriptions to all the literary and poetry feeds, I never had much time to do more than scan.

This was in today's feed from Poetry Daily and I was completely taken aback by the sumptious, evocative language. It's from the Portuguese and luckily I can read in Portuguese as well as Spanish and I have to say that the translation captures the cadence of the original beautifully. They do include the link to the original poem if you want to take a stab at it.

Someone opens an orange in silence by Herberto Helder
translated from the Portuguese by Alexis Levitin

Someone opens an orange in silence, at the entrance
to fabled nights.
He plunges his thumbs down to where the orange
is rapidly thinking, where it grows, annihilates itself, and then
is born again. Someone is peeling a pear, eating
a bunch of grapes, devoting himself
to fruit. And I fashion a sharp-witted song
so as to understand.
I lean over busy hands, mouths,
tongues that devour their way through attention.
I would like to know how the fable of the nights
grows like this. How silence
swells, or is transformed with things. I write
a song in order to be intelligent about fruit
on the tongue, through subtle channels, unto
a dark emotion.

Read the rest of this poem here.

The round-up is at The Book Mine Set. Thanks for hosting John!