Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Entering Brownie Nirvana


Yesterday was the big day, the big meeting, for the Librarians' Choices group. (I still don't know if "group" or "committee" or "non-class, class" is the appropriate word. Or maybe professionally trained volunteers would be better.) We met in March, June, July, September, October, and November. Last night was the night to choose the 100 Best Books of the year. It was plenty stressful, I imagine, for our leader/editor Dr. Janet Hilbun. And it was mighty tempting to let yourself get stressed out just participating. With books going off and on and off and on and off and on the list at a frantic pace, it was hard to keep up. There was always frenzied counting going on. Counting and sorting. Sorting and counting. Each person, I believe there are eleven this year working on the project, had their role to play in the decision-making process. Each had to decide which books they were willing to fight for and defend with all their might. It was a time to be bold, to speak up. But most importantly you had to know when and how to pick your battles. To know when it was best to surrender. There were a few tense moments, sure enough, but some of us found the power--the ultimate power--that night.

The power of which I speak is the brownie. These weren't just any brownies. Sure they came from a mix. But not your typical grocery-store mix. Dr. Hilbun the provider of the brownies purchased this mix from one of the infamous school fund-raising projects that are ever-so-popular in every school in the country. I don't know what company, what brand. I only know that they were the best, best, best brownies I've ever eaten in my ENTIRE life.

The power those brownies gave? Well, it was hard to be stressed out, tense, worried, anxious while eating the best brownie of your entire life. Every negative thought, feeling, emotion vanished miraculously. It was instant joy. Instant peace. Instant harmony with the world around me. No troubles. No pain.

So the best news of the night was on the brownie front. As far as the books go, overall, I am pleased with what we accomplished, the books I fought for and championed. I only had one casualty and that was Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis. The list won't be published for a while. Our reviews are due January 15th. And the list is subject to minor changes between now and then. But as soon as I receive the final list, I'll post it. :)

I would imagine that that will be in mid-to-late January.

Brownie Update:

The oh-so-magical-must-have brownies come from Blue Ribbon Products. The site seems to be for schools looking for fundraisers. It doesn't appear--at first glimpse at least--to be selling products just to individuals. The company is based in Forney, TX. There seems to be many ways to get this heavenly brownie. It's actual name--Dutch Chocolate Brownie Batter (aka 1113). It sells for $13. (See, I told you this wasn't your average grocery-store brownie!!!)

Gourmet Cookie Dough
Ultimate Gourmet Desserts
Decadent Delights

If the makers of this fine, fine brownie ever want me to "review" their work, hint, hint, hint. I'd be happy to accept!

4 comments:

Chris 8:03 PM  

So uh...how does one go about obtaining these brownies???? lol! Can you order the mix online? I'm a HUGE brownie fan!

Becky 8:13 PM  

Chris, I'll let you know if and when I know. I'd love to solve this one, I've emailed the bringer-of-the-brownies, and I hope that she remembers the details and didn't just throw the packaging away. What a loss if she has. But believe me, if I get the name and find a website, I'll post it. :)

Melissa 8:30 AM  

That's too bad about Elijah... It's on my top-100, but I guess it's just another indication that I'm not like "everyone else". But then, it's probably much more fun being not like them. Even if it means one of my best doesn't make others lists. (And my worsts do. :)

Becky 9:11 AM  

Melissa,

Elijah is on my top list too. Not only my top 100, but my top 10. The strange thing is that it's getting recognition many places and starred reviews, it's just in that particular room, that crowd, they were just anti-Elijah.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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