Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reading Time

by Stephanie Black

In my reading lately, I’ve been playing the Whitney Award finals guessing game, focusing on books that I predict will be Whitney finalists. The more books I can read before the finalists are announced, the fewer books I’ll need to read after the announcement.

Of course, I’m so behind that I seriously doubt I’ll have time to read every finalist between the time the finalists are announced on February 5th and the time academy ballots are due on April 3rd, but I’ll read as many as I can so I can vote in as many categories as possible. Naturally you have to read all five books in a category before you’re qualified to vote in that category. So with six categories times five books, that’s thirty books. I hereby predict that so far I have read . . . maybe seven of them, and am currently reading one. Yeah, I know—I could be totally wrong on my predictions and have read zero finalists, but I’m sure I’ve guessed at least some books correctly. So let’s say I guessed right five times out of eight. That leaves me twenty-five books to read in two months. Er . . . yikes.

It would be good to have read a lot more books throughout the year and be a lot more prepared, but I’m up against one difficulty: I'm a procrastinator who doesn't think that far in advance. Okay, I mean two difficulties: I'm a procrastinator and my library doesn’t carry LDS fiction. As an author, I know how much I appreciate it when people buy my books, and I wish I could afford to buy piles and piles of LDS novels and support lots and lots of authors, but that’s just not financially realistic (“Guess what, dear! I just spent $100 at Seagull again!”). I do buy books, of course, but not all the ones I’d like to read. Wouldn’t that be nice to have so much money that you could buy any book that looked interesting? To stroll through Seagull Book or browse the Deseret Book catalog and buy any book that caught your eye? Hang on a second; let me picture that. Ahhhh. Well, there would be the small problem of where to keep all those books, but that’s wrecking the fantasy, so I’ll imagine that my bookshelves are magically internally expandable like Mary Poppins’ carpetbag.

Anyway, back to reality—the good news is that I have a friend who is willing to lend me whatever LDS Whitney finalists she has on hand (and she’s a reviewer, so she has lots of books). And I can get most national titles from our local library, so I should be in good shape.

In other news, I’m already excited for the LDStorymakers Conference in April. It was SO much fun last year. This year I’m a boot camp sergeant—didn’t know I was that fierce, did you?—and I’m teaching a mystery/suspense class, so I hope I come up with something intelligent to say (alternatively, I hope I can fake it really well). The timing on the conference works out perfectly for me, since it’s the same week that BYU winter semester ends. I can drive the minivan to Utah, attend the conference, load up the car with my daughter’s stuff, and drive her home. The most daunting part of the journey is the twelve-hour drive out to Utah. That’s a lot of Nevada desert to be crossing by myself. I’d better get some excellent audio books to listen to. And some Jelly Bellies. And I’d better figure out how to work the GPS on my phone. Right now, when I want it set, I have my nine-year-old son do it for me. I'm techno-challenged; I also have trouble with the DVD player, the TV, and the Wii.

So who else is planning to attend the Storymakers Conference?


At 1/27/2010 1:48 PM, Blogger Don said...

I'm so there!

I'd offer to drive up with you, since 12 hours sounds a lot better than 22, but there's that pesky 1700 mile discrepancy between our starting points.

At 1/27/2010 1:55 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

Count me in, baby! I love Storymakers. =]

I wish I had those magic booshelves too.

At 1/27/2010 2:04 PM, Blogger T.J. said...

I'm planning on going, but need to have the money to pay for it. My drive is thankfully only 30 minutes though.

At 1/27/2010 2:35 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

Wish I could send some JBs with you for the drive home. =) And maybe some music. I can't get through any sort of drive without it. What sort of stuff do you listen to? (that's not audiobooks, those put me to sleep)

At 1/27/2010 6:19 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

I'll be there! Big surprise :) I predict that I've ready maybe 30-40% of which books will likely be the Whitney finalists. I've read quite a bit, I think moreso this past year then in previous years.

At 1/27/2010 6:39 PM, Blogger Karen Hoover said...

I'll be there. Actually, I'll BE a storymaker this year! I can hardly wait!

At 1/27/2010 6:41 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

This will be the first year of the new rules for the overall awards (Best Novel and Best Novel by a New Author). For those awards, any of the finalists are eligible, which means that you have to have read all thirty finalists in order to vote for Best Novel. It'll likely cut down the number of votes, but those that do vote will all be well-informed.

I'm lucky in that I'm a judge in three categories this year, so I'll have read at least half the nominees. (Not that it's "lucky" to be a judge in three categories.) :)

At 1/27/2010 8:12 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Aww, thanks anyway, Don :) Good luck on your trip!

I can't wait to see everyone at the conference! TJ, I hope everything works out, and I envy your 30 minute drive! :)

Jon, yeah, we've always got music with us on our drives. Gotta bring the iPods. Last trip included Leroy Andersen, the Corrs (both new Christmas presents), and plenty of random songs by assorted artists--we listen to a lot of shuffle mixes. When I'm in the passenger seat, I have The Power, and get to skip something if I can't stand it :) And we listen to movie tracks while the kids watch DVDs in the backseat . . .

Karen, congrats on becoming a Storymaker!

I'm thinking the odds that I'll be able to vote for Best Novel of the Year aren't high, but who knows--maybe I'll be able to read super fast. And maybe I'll be able to vote for Best Novel by a New Author, since that would be fewer books to read.

At 1/28/2010 11:58 AM, Blogger Karlene said...

I'm going to the conference. Yay!

I figure I've read about 1/3 of the books if, like you, I've guessed correctly on the finalists.

At 1/28/2010 9:04 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

I'm counting on being there for the banquet, but can't make the rest. I'm sure there will be a category or two that I'll still have to read several books for,like Fantasy and Ya, but I'm guessing I'll be in pretty good shape for having read more of the finalists than not.


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