Monday, February 16, 2009

What About Those Cybils?

I paid dearly for my good time at Bank Square Books on Saturday with a full day of home-related work on Sunday. So I am forty-eight hours late with my Huzzah! The Cybils Winners Have Been Announced! post.

In the category I was judging, graphic novels, the winners were:

Elementary/Middle Grade: Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, with graphics by Nathan Hale

Young Adult: Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki, with graphics by Steve Rolston.

I have been what I would call uncharacteristically silent about the Cybil finalists these last six weeks. That was because we were asked not to blog about the finalists. (I forgot about this rule and managed to get a post up about Chiggers before a reminder went out.) This was killing me because I feel the Cybils' biggest asset is that the blogger panelists and judges can bring nominees into a salon-like book conversation. All kinds of titles can be discussed and brought to readers' attention. The finalists, in particular, deserved to be part of all that buzz. I very much fear that in our polarized winner/loser culture, talking about the finalists after the winner has been announced is going to make many of them seem like also rans.

They most definitely are not. A specific group of people came to an agreement on one particular title among the five that they were allowed to choose from. Another group of people might have very well agreed upon another.

Once you get down to only five books, all the titles are worthy of attention. So you'll be hearing about them here in the days to come.

3 comments:

Sheila Ruth said...

Hi Gail,

Actually, the rule for the Cybils has always been that judges can't post about the finalists until after the winners are announced. Nominating panelists are allowed, even encouraged, to post, review, and discuss the books they're reading, as long as they don't give an indication of how they would vote or how the voting is going. The difference is that the nominating panelists are dealing with a lot more books. With 100 or more nominees in many categories, it would be very difficult for anyone to figure out which books will make the shortlist, even if they compile the panelists' posts. (As you know from past experience, even the panelists don't usually know until just before the shortlists are turned it!) But the judges are dealing with 5 to 7 books, and in many cases, it wouldn't be hard to predict the winner from judges posts.

So, that's the downside of serving on a judging committee, as opposed to a nominating committee. On the other hand, as you said, you can post about them now, after the winners are announced, so the discussion is only delayed.

tanita s. davis said...

Yay, yay, yay! Thank you for saying this -- no Also-Rans here, not at all. We AGONIZED on SFF -- just. agonized. And love all of the books we read SO much. So, definitely, let's talk 'em up.

gail said...

Ah, so we're trying to avoid making the announcement anti-climactic? I guess I can see that, though I think the chances are pretty remote that any particular blog reader would be following all five of the blogger/judges for any particular category. You'd also have to assume that all five judges have the same favorite title, which certainly didn't happen in our case.