Monday, February 7, 2011

Indie Lit Awards

As I'm sure you are aware, (from all the big pictures and flashing neon signs on my sidebar, if nothing else,) that I have a book blog in addition to my family blog.  (That's why you aren't being inundated with annoying posts about books anymore.)  It has been great fun; book bloggers are a fabulous crowd of people: diverse, yet overwhelmingly kind, and always ready to talk about books. (score!)

There's a possibility you may not be aware that back in September I was offered the opportunity to be involved with the Independent Literary Awards on their panel to judge the Literary Fiction nominations.  How exciting, right?  There is such a huge number of book bloggers, and it is only right that their opinions should have a unified voice.  Wallace, at Unputdownables, is the one who came up with the idea to accomplish this through an annual award, and then proceeded to create the website and team of bloggers to help launch nomination process.

A brief note on how the award process works: any book blogger may nominate one book in each category.  This list of nominations is called the Long List.  The top 5 most-voted-for books would move on to the Short List.  The panel would read all 5 books on the Short List, discuss, and decide which deserved the honor.

As the months passed, it was exciting to see the books start to add up on the nomination list.  It made me realize that I'm not very good at reading new books, (something I'm working on changing,) because I hadn't heard of many of the books.  Mid December came around, the nomination deadline passed, and there was a tie for the last two slots in the Literary Fiction Short List.  We voted on the tied possibilities, (a couple o' times because the first vote created another tie,) and finally had the list of books to read and judge.

It was fabulous to read the top 5 books of 2010, based on book blogger's opinions.  There was  such a variety!  Here are my reviews of the 5 in Literary Fiction:

Safe from the SeaThe award went to Peter Geye for Safe From the Sea, published by Unbridled Books, and it was well deserved.  This is a book that I would encourage anyone to pick up.  It is a quiet book, in the sense that it is more about the characters and setting than a rip-roaring plot, but the plot isn't absent, and is written very well (evocative without being overly complicated).  It was a pleasure to find out about this book, and I will definitely be hoping for more from Peter Geye in the future.

If you are interested in the others genres, here is my post about all the award winners.  I had such a great time being involved in the awards, and hope to be involved with them in some capacity in future years.  And I've begun reading newly published books already, getting ready for those nominations at the end of the year!

(There was even a small announcement about the Awards in the Minneapolis Star Tribune--check it out!)

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I was prepared for some of the major milestones of my kids growing up: no more kids in diapers (yay!) and no more hassling with carseats (yippee!) and first kid in high school (yikes!) but this one happened upon me quite stealthily.  My baby just taught herself to ride a bike without training wheels.  I was watching her ride her bike, thinking that this summer was her summer to take the trainers off, when Melinda ripped into my thoughts and spoke the suggestion aloud: "I think Audrey could learn to ride a two-wheeler."  Audrey agreed.  I took the training wheels off, and Audrey changed her clothes into what she deemed to be perfect bike riding clothes. 

I moved the cars out of the way so that she could ride in the most level place around us: the lower part of our driveway (the streets around us are surprisingly hilly for a plain old neighborhood in LA county).  At first I was helping her balance and ride--holding onto the back of her seat--but we both soon realized that she would do better on her own.  She wasn't afraid at all, she just kept trying and trying.
I love the part of that first video where she looks up, takes a deep breath, and keeps on going.  The amount of time that passed between the first and second video was maybe 15 minutes.  I'm so impressed.
My baby is growing up, for sure and for certain.  I was surprised how sentimental this made me!  Now I'm looking at my kiddos with new eyes--when is the next hidden milestone going to jump up and surprise me?