Monday, March 17, 2008

Interview with Carlie Webber

Carlie Webber is running for the Printz; if you're a YALSA member, you either have (or soon will have) your ballot. Eight people are running for four slots on the committee; the YALSA blog has a Q and Q with all candidates.

Readers of Tea Cozy know that Carlie began contributing to Tea Cozy several months ago. Here's a chance to get to know her a little bit better, with a few questions about Printz type matters.

Liz B: How do you define "Young Adult" literature, as opposed to "children's" or "adult"?

Carlie: YA literature should capture the coming-of-age experience and the independence and identity that a teen character gains through it. To me, what separates a YA novel from an adult novel with a teen main character is the lack of perspective on the part of the main character. A YA novel describes coming-of-age events as they happen, with no sense of looking back and thinking about what could've been.

Regarding the separation of children's literature from YA, I have a few points. The age of the main character is the obvious one. The not-so-obvious one is looking at the coming-of-age events I mentioned before. In a YA novel, the main character has a definite separation from his or her parents, establishing independence. Events will happen that will make the main character reconsider the world he or she knows and s/he'll take the first steps towards establishing a place of his/her own within it. There are some novels that there's an argument for either way, children's versus YA, but the establishment of independence separate from parents is a big litmus test for me.

Liz B: This is cheating a bit, but I liked this question when YALSA Blog asked it last year. Give us one YA title, published in 1998 or before, that you think would have made an excellent Printz Award Winner if the award had been in existence then?

Carlie: I know the popular answers to this question are The Golden Compass and Weetzie Bat, but I'm going to be the maverick here and say Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas.

Half of what makes a book literary is how the author chooses to use language in the context of his or her setting. Thomas used language and first person perspective to emphasize how Steve York's view of himself changed as he wrote the essay. As a result of these language choices the reader saw Steve as raw, simultaneously bewildered and jaded by his relationships with his father and Dub, and Thomas created someone unforgettable. The sort of bitter humor Thomas used is something we've seen in a number of lauded books lately, like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.

Liz B: What is your pop-culture area of expertise?

Carlie: I have a few of those!

First, classic and hard rock. As I explain to fellow fans of Supernatural, I have Dean Winchester's taste in music. Some of my favorite bands include Led Zeppelin, Rush, Shinedown, AC/DC, Seether, Audioslave, Nirvana, and Velvet Revolver. I even filled out the 92.3 K-Rock March Bracket Brawl...but I lost because I picked Tom Petty to win over Pink Floyd in today's afternoon round.

Second, crime shows. Much of the father-daughter bonding in my parents' home was done over episodes of Law & Order and I've never lost my love of crimesolver shows, both fictional and documentary. My current favorites are Numb3rs and NCIS, and I thought Cynthia Nixon was completely brilliant on Law & Order: SVU earlier this season.

Third, bad reality television. As I've explained to people: I spend the majority of my time reading books, giving the best advice I can to my fellow professionals, looking critically at developments in literature and technology, and generally doing the best I can to make the YA library world a good place. When I come home and watch TV, I want to shut off my brain and I believe in doing things right. So yes, I love House and Numb3rs and all those shows that require cerebral involvement, but I am also completely addicted to America's Next Top Model. I'm hooked on Flavor of Love, Rock of Love (I actually listened to Poison when I was a kid! I know who Bret Michaels is!), Hell's Kitchen, Celebrity Fit Club, The Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious, and even the not-so-bad reality shows like Top Chef and Project Runway.

Liz B: Thanks, Carlie! And hmmm... I haven't been watching NCIS... I guess I better go to Netflix and add it to my queue!

Cross posted at Pop Goes the Library.

1 comment:

TadMack said...

I *totally* agree with the Rats Saw God thing -- the minute I saw the question that's the first title that came into my head!!

Great interview.

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