Happy Saturday once more, bookworms. I know I say this at the end of every month, but I’m always genuinely surprised: I can’t believe it’s almost March! But March is good – March means spring and St. Patrick’s Day and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, my birthday. Yes, I will accept books as presents – OBVIOUSLY. While I make a list of all the books I want, you can read this week’s book news:

  • Three cheers for books! The finalists for the L.A. Times Book Prize were announced this week. Critic’s darling Jonathan Franzen showed up on the fiction list (of course) while a personal favorite of mine, Megan Whalen Turner, made the Young Adult Literature list for the fourth (and perhaps final) book in her Queen’s Thief series, A Conspiracy of Kings. Beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary will also be given the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement – it’s the first time that award will be given to a children’s author. The winners will be announced in April.
  • In other book award news, the Science-Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association announced the nominees for the 2010 Nebula Awards. These awards are given to novels, novellas, novelettes and short stories, as well as special honors to young adult literature and filmmakers. The YA list is filled with favorite and familiar names: Printz winner Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black (of Geektastic fame), Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay, Terry Pratchett, Scott Westerfeld, and once again, Megan Whalen Turner. The Nebula Awards will be handed out in May.
  • Why must real life get in the way of my book obsessions? Author Barry Lyga posted the schedule for this year’s NYC Teen Author Festival, which will be held March 14th to the 20th. I’d love to go, because it’s going to be one long week of amazing-ness and authors galore, but alas, work beckons. If you happen to be in the area though, most of the events take place at night, after regular people leave work, and there are tons of panels and workshops with more than 70 well-known and respected young adult authors. How about next year they come to Boston?
  • Young adult authors are all kinds of fantastic and this week provided great proof: in response to the earthquake in New Zealand, author Maureen Johnson rallied her Twitter followers and started a campaign to raise money for Shelterbox, a great organization that helps out in natural disasters by providing all the things victims need for safe shelter. Her goal was to raise enough money for one or two shelters, with the promise of an advanced copy of her new book as incentive. Twitter – and book lovers – responded and the campaign took on a life of its own. Maureen, her writing/YA/author friends and their followers managed to raise enough money for SIXTEEN shelterboxes, with many authors offering signed copies of their books to sweeten the deal. I will never cease to be amazed at the power of social media.
  • Lastly, a bit of fluff-ery that you didn’t know you needed: the ladies of Forever Young Adult have created a handy quiz to help you decide which signature cocktail to enjoy, based upon your book genre preferences. Brilliance. Utter brilliance.

As always, happy reading.