2009 Alex Award Winners Announced

At last, the Alex winners! - phone photo at the final committee meeting by Kaite Stover 

Nick Hornby calls the Alex Award the “not boring” book award.  It is given to ten good books that were published in the previous year for adults but which have special appeal to teen readers as well.  If you could take only ten new books with you for recreational reading on a deserted island, the Alex ten would make a satisfying bundle.

Here is the official press release from this morning.  I’d like to tell you just a quick, tiny bit about this year’s winners, too, because I am one of the nine committee members from around the country who selected them.  I am very proud of our list.  They are all “wow” reads.  They are all worth your time.

After this, I promise I will return to reviewing live theatre shows here on Indy Theatre Habit.

City of Thieves, by David Benioff, is an adventure story about two young men in war-torn Leningrad who must accomplish a ridiculous mission to save their own lives.

The Dragons of Babel, written by Michael Swanwick, is a deliciously intricate fantasy.  Military dragons are just one layer of it.  The world-building in this book is amazing.

Finding Nouf, by Zoe Ferraris, is part mystery, part romance, set in Saudi Arabia.  A terrorist-free story about Muslims.

The Good Thief, by Hannah Tinti, is about an orphan boy struggling with the big moral questions while he struggles to help his “rescuers” rob graves for a living.  Like Dickens, sort of, but without the padding.

Just After Sunset: Stories, by Stephen King, is a fresh collection of creepy, short page-turners.  It made me remember why I first thought of King as a storyteller rather than a horror writer.  (But I did keep all the lights on as I read this.)

Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan, is a novel about families and race relations in the south during World War Two. It has a very personal feel to it.

Over and Under, by Todd Tucker, is about two best friends growing up in a small town in Indiana where there’s a strike at the local coffin factory.  One boy is from a union family; the other is from a management family.  I dare you to not gasp out loud during the snake scene.

The Oxford Project, created by Peter Feldstein and Stephen G. Bloom, is a huge, coffee table book.  Twenty years ago, Feldstein took a photo of each of the 600 or so people in his small Iowa town.  Twenty years later, he took their photos again AND hired a writer (Bloom) to collect and distill their stories.   It is fascinating to see how they have changed and stayed the same.

Sharp Teeth, by Toby Barlow, is a verse novel (which usually annoy me, but this one is good, and gritty) about werewolves in Los Angeles.  It is also about life, love, sex, and friendship.

Three Girls and Their Brother, by Theresa Rebeck.   Instant fame does not mean instant happiness.  This novel offers intriguing glimpses into the worlds of modeling, Hollywood, and live theatre.

And hey! That last book brings us back to live theatre!  We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.  As always, thanks for reading.

Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.

6 thoughts on “2009 Alex Award Winners Announced”

  1. Total screw up. My name is Peter Feldstein. The Oxford Project is a collaboration between Stephen G. Bloom and myself. I took the photographs both in 1984 and again in 2006 & 2007. Total screw up.

  2. I apologize, Mr. Feldstein, for leaving your name off. I have revised my blog post here and on SmallerIndiana.com, where I sometimes copy my blog posts.

    Congratulations on creating a very cool book!

  3. I’ve come back to this a couple of times to see if Mr Feldstein would appreciate your speedy correction and perhaps rescind his comment about “total screw up”. Apparently not.

    All I can say is – I was impressed that you handled it so diplomatically and I also appreciated the posting of the list. That must have been an honor and exciting to be a part of such a project!

  4. Thanks very much, Karla! I really appreciate your sticking up for me.

    If you get a chance to read some or all of this year’s Alex winners, I hope you like them as much as I did.

    It IS an honor to be on the Alex committee. I’m looking forward to being on it for two more years.

  5. I thought I must be misinterpreting the tone of Mr. Feldstein’s comment – surely he wasn’t trying to be as surly as he came across, but when I came to the second “total screw up,” I thought “okay, we got it the first time. Give a girl a chance to correct an honest mistake.” Sheesh. But I didn’t leave a comment since I am your sister after all, and I worried that a sisterly rebuke might bring on an additional comment from the nominated gentleman.

    I know how much time and energy you put into being on the Alex Committee and how important being on the Committee is to you. Too bad he doesn’t.

    Okay, glad I got that off my chest.

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