Sunday, April 26, 2009

THE WHITNEY GALA

This is my favorite picture from the Whitney Gala held last Saturday night. The atmosphere was great, the food delicious, and the company fantastic. Standing left to right are Nancy Campbell Allen, Marsha Ward, Gale Sears, Michele Bell, Stephanie Black, and Kerry Blair. Front (l to r)Sharon Robinson, Me (Jennie Hansen), Janice Sperry, and Geri Gilchrist. In case you haven't heard, Kerry was awarded a lifetime achievement award and Stephanie was honored for best mystery. Rob Wells and all of the Whitney committee deserve kudos for a superb event.

A second lifetime Achievement award went to Orson Scott Card, but he wasn't there to accept it. Rob Wells accepted for him and read an acceptance speech Card had written.

Book people, that is writers, readers, editors, sellers, reviewers, bloggers, etc. have been speculating for several months on who the winners would be . Here's the rundown of winners:
Best Romance . . . Spare Change by Aubrey Mace
Best Mystery . . . Fool Me Twice by Stephanie Black
Best Speculative Fiction . . . The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Best Youth Fiction . . . The 13th Reality by James Dashner
Best Historical . . . Abinadi by H.B. Moore
Best General Novel . . . Waiting for the Light to Change by Annette Haws
Best New Author . . . Bound on Earth by Angela Hallstrom
Best Novel of the Year . . . Traitor by Sandra Grey

I'm pretty satisfied with the results, but I suspect almost everyone would make a few changes if they could, including me. Abinadi by Moore was excellent and deserves an award, but I would have given it best romance. I would have stood and cheered for any of the Mystery finalists; they all deserve an award. My feelings were pretty much the same for Historical and I was more than satisfied to just be among such illustrious company. I was really torn between James Dashner and Jessica Day George for Best Youth Fiction. Both of their novels were outstanding. Best General Novel was another category I struggled with; I wavered back and forth between Waiting for the Light to Change and Fields of Home. Angela Hallstrom's writing impressed me a great deal and I don't regret that her book was named Best New Author but its entry in the novel competition surprised me because the book is more a series of short stories than a novel. Sandra Grey, in my opinion, absolutely deserved Novel of the Year. The only category I was a little disappointed in was Speculative, which isn't my favorite category anyway, but I was pulling for Chris Stewart or Orson Scott Card. As I've explained before, I don't like fiction that glorifies violence or drugs and the winning nominee in this category is gory and brutal and though the author calls the massive amounts of drugs consumed "metals", they're still drugs. I also found it excessively long, tedious, and repetitious. Still I wasn't surprised that Sanderson won; he has a strong following among avid sci-fi/fantasy fans.

Many of you, I'm sure, would have selected different winners than the judges did in some categories. I'll be surprised if you agree with me on all of my views either. So tell me what you think of the Whitney results, what you would change, and why. Every comment counts as another entry in the current win-a-book contest.

4 comments:

Stephanie said...

I am sorry to say that I have not read any of those books. They all seem very interesting! From the titles alone they seem intriguing, so maybe in this case you can judge a book by it's title. I will definately look them up. Probably starting with Abinadi

Gamila said...

I haven't read every whitney finalist for the year, but I've read quite a few by now. I did end up reading all the winners. I also agree that Jessica Day George did a spectacular job with her book, and would have also deserved the win. Dashner deserved it too, though. There were really strong entries in the youth catagory. I think Sanderson deserved a Whitney this year. I too had a hard time reading through the violence in the book, but I think that he deals with a lot of questions like faith, death, and hope in an honest, real, and meaningful way. It really is a spectacular and revolutionary fantasy series in its market. Only one that I had a problem with was Traitor by Sandra Grey. Great writing, great research, but the plot and character motivations were so unbelievable to me that I couldn't even finish the book. I guess to each person their own. I loved Fool me Twice from the get go, and wanted it to win. I was surprised when I read Spare Change how good it was considering it was a first novel, but I totally loved it! Such a cute an genuinely funny book.
I will stop now before this comment becomes too long....

James Dashner said...

Jennie, thanks so much for the nice words! It was really an honor for me to see you again and meet your daughters and hear that you all liked my book. I can't thank you enough!

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

The Whitneys were so much fun. I agree with you- it would have been fun to win, but wow, such good company to be in. I had such a good time. :-)