Alexie Rules

As you may remember, I was a judge for the National Book Awards this year. This meant reading 256 books in four months and discussing them with the other judges: Pete Hautman, James Howe, Patty McCormick, and Elizabeth Partridge. All of these folks are wonderfully smart and fantastic to talk about books to, which made the crazy-making reading schedule not only survivable, but a real pleasure.

They are all also terribly polite, which is a good thing. Here’s why: the judges meet the DAY OF THE AWARD CEREMONY to decide the winner of the award! We had lunch at a secret location and spent three hours hashing out which of the five nominees was the winner. It was stimulating and wonderful, and also heart-breaking to pick only one.

(Rumor has it that the non-fiction judges argued all the way up to that night, with many insults and brickbats thrown. But we were all very nice. That’s YA for you.)

There was barely time to rush home and get into black tie for the gala ceremony. Justine and I did the whole prom night thing and took photos of ourselves. It was also our sixth anniversary, so we had two excuses for frocking up!

And, of course, the only thing that’s more fun than wearing black tie is wearing black tie on the subway. Here we are in our finery en route to Times Square:


The best thing about selecting the winner that day was that I only had to keep the secret for five hours. So now the news is out: The winner in the young people’s category was Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, who gave a lovely and heartfelt speech about how much cooler it is to write YA than adult fiction. Amen, dude.

Alexie on giant screen and as a tiny bright blob on the right.

The book is about a Spokane Indian kid who commutes from his impoverished reservation to attend a relatively wealthy all-white school. It’s wickedly funny, an incredibly easy read, and yet has all kinds of epic emotional impact. Great cartoons as well.

But I must mention that all the nominees were great. Here are the other four in alphabetical order:

Kathleen Duey, Skin Hunger: A Resurrection of Magic, Book One
Two stories, set decades apart, intertwine and show how magic reenters the world. Dark and fascinating, and one of the more complex narratives I’ve read in years. (12 up)

M. Sindy Felin, Touching Snow
A teenage girl in a Hatian family in the US tells how she killed her abusive step father. A darkly funny glimpse into a brutal immigrant experience, with a vast emotional wallop. A first novel! (14 up)

Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Told half in gorgeous pictures and half in text, a young boy discovers mechanical secrets inside the walls of the Paris train station. Magical storytelling, completely original. (10 up)

Sara Zarr, Story of a Girl
A seventeen-year-old girl in a small town lives with a bad reputation. Pitch perfect realism. Another first novel! (12 up)

Go read them all!

171 thoughts on “Alexie Rules

  1. my school is still gonna be in session on monday and tuesday, but then we get a five-day weekend from wednesday to sunday.

    luckily, I’M GOING TO THE ATLANTIS RESORT TOMORROW!!! seriously google it. it’s ah-mazing! yeah i haven’t been on vaction in 2 years so i’m flipping out over this…and i can get a tan. i heart tans. i heart summer/hot weather in general. it’s just my parents and me that are going from tomorrow to friday, but i’m so talkative that i’ll probably make around 10 friends there. seriously, on our last vacation we went on a cruise, and by the time i got home i had fifteen email addresses/phone #s of new friends. so i guess i can’t really include myself in the “antisocial” category.

    on the other hand, being overly social has it’s cons…for example, people get annoyed if you talk too much. i babble. a lot. like right now…

    i convinced my dad to bring his laptop there, though, b/c that’s how addicted to email/this blog/the internet in general i am. so hopefully i’ll get a chance to use it and comment on here a bit.

    k i linked my name to the website for it. click! click now!

    are ya seeing the annoying-ness yet? are ya?

  2. Ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh

    I have to convince my mom that the internet isn’t evil. Any ideas? anyone? anyone?

    *crickets chirping*

    well, geez, don’t all speak at once! lol jk.

    but srsly she thinks that i’m like gonna commit suicide like that girl on the news

  3. oh one more thing that’ll probably be the opposite of serafina: i’ve been accused of having ADHD more times than i can count. seriously, i NEVER. STOP. MOVING. i’ll just be sitting in class, tapping my feet or swinging my legs, anything! and then i’m pretty random too, but—lucky for me—people don’t get annoyed at that very much.

    but no, i’m not one of those girls who downplays their intelligence.
    ask any of my friends, they’ll vouch for me :mrgreen:
    so yeah, don’t think that. i’m just a teenager with a yet-undiagnosed case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

  4. and why do you need to convince your mom of that, allie-wa?

    but i suggest telling her about how schools can have websites, and (at least on my schools) they have a sex-offender registry that’s available online, as well as at the building, that any parent can check.
    which checks out at non- 👿 in my opinion!

    and how authors can have websites, not just “bad people,” and who can disagree with the idea that authors make good role models?

    does she have any favorite stores/companies that have websites? does she ever shop online? is THAT evil too?

    hehe. hopefully that was at least a little bit of help! 😀

  5. OK Scott I know you look at this sometimes so hopefully you’ll read this.

    OK I love the Uglies books and I reallly want to audition for the part of Tally. In the movie being Tally would be so insanely bubbly/icy I would scream for a good hour. So do you have any information? Thank you so much for taking time off of your busy schedule to read this. =)


  6. thanks for posting, Taylor!!
    yeah, it would be SO bubbly/icy {as Cally-wa says} to be in the actual uglies or midnighters movie/s!!
    y am i so hiper?i’ve been adding !s all day.sheesh.even i’m annoying to myself…
    ok, well, yeah about the persuasion of the internet for your mom,”MOM!YOU DON’T LIVE IN MY SHOES…IVE BEEN DOING HOMEWORK LIKE ALL DAY!!!AND WHAT DO YOU THINK I DO IT ON?YEAH, THE COMPUTER-SMART ONE!!”jk.try writing it down.think of ideas is much easier when it’s written.good luck!

  7. Yeah! A fourth midnighters would be awesome. Especially with Darkling Werewolves. Which is why we have an HQ: I always mess that up so hopefully it works this time.

    My mom hates the internet because she thinks I’m doing dangerous stuff. She hates fanlib just because she saw the word f*cking on a thread. That I wasn’t part of.

    And then she saw that story about the girl that committed suicide b/c of a Myspace friend, and totally used that to support her ‘internet is evil’ thing. Which isn’t fair!! need I even say why?

    hmm…I don’t think she knows actually what this is. she just says “Westerblog” (It sounds really dumb when she says it) She doesn’t know about the HQ…well, she does, but she doesn’t know what it is (A blog to persuade Scott to write another Midnighters book – yeah.). She says I am “addicted” and I ask her what is so bad about that, and just says “Its not healthy”. Why isn’t it healthy? well, “anything you do that much isn’t healthy” according to her. I was on 15 minutes yesterday before she told me to get off. ttly NOT fair.

    And trust me, I’ve tried everything I can think of.

    *moving on*

    hmm…I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to be in an uglies movie. If they are actually going to have one, because at this state, I’m not even sure they will ever make one.

    It might be better that way. I mean, I don’t want them to ‘ruin’ Uglies by making a crappy movie.

  8. i dunnno….it probably is unhealthy, but who says that’s a bad thing?

    and actually, i do that too Taylor, i’m like always tapping my fingers or stuff like that. constantly have songs stuck in my head too.

    and, like, the internet’s not evil if you aren’t an idiot about it. like, avoid people who seem like pedophiles. don’t mention your age/location/ect. don’t keep a public myspace page and then post that you’re having a party where everyone can see it. don’t get TOO invested in it. do something else (once in a while). don’t like post pictures of yourself, especially not stupid slutty ones. don’t talk to people you don’t know about wierd stuff.

    see? really not that hard. but yeah, some people are just crazy about that sort of thing. they want to blame everything on tecnology.

    i’m cynical about the movie-production process, so i kind of hope there isn’t an uglies or midnighters movie.

  9. you also got 104, a multiple of 13. So…lucky you.

    And I’m not an idiot on the internet. I mean, people here know my age (some of them)…but so what? as long as they don’t know where I live…its not like I tell people where I go to school…and I would never post pictures of myself (unless its just like my hand to show flash tattoos or whatever. hard to identify a person by their hand…)

    hehe. I have a confession to make. Allie actually isn’t my birth name. But it is my nickname…what I go by.

    I’m not even on here all that often. I do other stuff. lots. of. other. stuff. Like, SCHOOL for example.

  10. I kinda used my real name.
    Yeah, i think it is dangerous. It is. There are some really creepy people in this world!

  11. Im soooo glaf i dont have school this whole next week. YES! i mean, hello!, no school. Who wouldnt pass up thsi great offer. I can acculy read, do things, read, shop, read, see my friends, and read! Did i say read? OH, only 4 times!

  12. OOO, and i know how you guys got the Fawesome thing, The Last Days. I love how he says fool instead of cool. Thats so fool. I love it. Yeah. Everyday my language becaome so much fooler because scott-la has a lot of book words, that no body else knows about!

  13. I agree with the first name. but there are some names that are kinda one in a million. Like, if there was a guy named Zane, he would be easy, you dont no that many Zanes. I am really likeing the last days. I havent read much, distractions, but i will get to it, i promise.

  14. What’s the essay about?

    You know, I would make a longer comment and all but my sister would ttly tell…

  15. yeah….sad thing is that it’s only been two days. we post waaaay too much. i mean, friday to sunday 128 posts.

    how bout some more Hiro chapters?
    or an Extra name post? (or a Last Days or So Yesterday or Peeps one, for that matter)
    or some fanart…perhaps from me??? or some stuff about Levithan?
    or (while i’m being demanding and hopeful) some sort of…fourth midnighters? with some sort of…darkling werewolves????

  16. the essay’s on Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. except i haven’t read the book. and i lost my copy. and i’m 600 words below the goal. and it’s due tommorrow.
    i am so doomed.
    i’m great at making crap up though. and inserting “i like pork” and song lyrics and that ever-useful phrase “And then the giant hail rained down upon the Tokyo buisnessman in revenge for his sins.”

  17. Well, i am sitting here, fun. I was going ot floss my teeth but decided not to. you know. i think im going to make fan art and send the pic to scott-la. There something fun, useful, and will make me famous. No, jk. I do it because i love scott-las amazing powers. BOOKS!

  18. My mom never even buys ice cream…but I did have a large size Wendy’s frosty yesterday while reading Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz…fun…instead of using periods for this comment I have to use ellipses…the dot-dot-dots…lol I can’t even believe I know what they are called…Yes, I want more Hiro chapters…better yet, fourth midnighters…

    how many of these comments does Scott-la actually read…

    And the Tokyo-ma-phrase-thing makes me think of that scene in The Day After Tomorrow with the giant hail in Japan…is that where you got it from…or is it from somewhere else…that I’ve never heard of…and does your teacher actually rad the report…

    I didn’t use one period in this whole comment…

  19. i wonder…probably not past 100.

    and yes, that’s totally what i was watching as i typed that. u win the prize. i’m testing to see if he actually reads it, in fact. or just freak out whoever has to peer-edit it.

    ellipses rock…

    we only got ice cream cuz my throat hurt a lot yesterday and i couldn’t talk so my mom decided to buy some.

    i’m working on a City of Bones fanvid right now! yeah!

  20. HI 😛
    i am sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
    sleepy 🙁
    HAPPY ANIVER :clueless: (i hope that that works)
    board so now i must go back to sleep

    even so that it is 3:35 pm
    i lust read i’d tell you that i love you then i’d have to kill you
    great book you should read it i will read cross my heart hope to spy
    (the sequal) did i spell that right ❓
    after that i will read these books that i just got called
    i forgot the name but whatever
    i just know that it has the word barcode in it
    i lost my voise
    not fun
    it hurts to talk
    i am feeling very random right now so i just have to say that
    i hate hanna montanna +tha jonas bro.
    sorry too lazy to fix
    sorry about the long post 🙂

  21. Its not four here! Ha.
    Im getting sick. I have to always blow my nose and i sneeze a lot. O and Steph-la! you made the page weird wil you so…….. thing! URG! I hate it when people do that, its all weird looking now!

  22. That would come in handy…cause my dad won’t let me use his laptop for another 4 weeks, and there is no othe way to charge it…

    And I will be on the road 12+ hours for Thankgiving.

    Jesus help me.

    I was giong to read the Barcode book but I sorta forgot about it. It looks stupid or a ripoff on Uglies.

  23. no, it seriously wasn’t. i’ve read it—ttly different. plus, i’m pretty sure it was released BEFORE uglies was.
    like, it’s hard to explain without spoilers but it’s really totally different than uglies. i mean, if you’re going to be all general like that than every fantasy book is a ripoff of Harry Potter and every sci-fi book is a ripoff of Uglies. but they aren’t.
    true, they’re both govermental futuristic distopias, but they’re totally different in what the goverment is doing.
    arrg! so hard to explain why they’re different without spoilers.
    and it’s not stupid. first one’s a little detatched and formulaic, but the second one (the Barcode Rebellion) is awesome.

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