Sixty! That's almost as many as I had to read in order to read all the winners in the first place. I have a better-funded library system here, so I was able to read almost twice as many contenders as I was last year. (The two years before that I didn't keep track in the same way.)
Yet still, I have the nagging feeling that I'm missing something. Even though every year I've already read most of the books that get make the podium, and this year I've read so much more. I think there are always the books that don't get attention from any of the attention-makers that the committee has ferreted out. And, of course, sometimes the ways of the committee are mysterious.
My ideal Newbery results are when I have read everything on the podium except one book; it gives me a good feeling of satisfaction, but I still have something exciting to read. (Last year it was Moon Over Manifest, which I did have out of the library to read next; it hadn't escaped my notice. In 2010 it was Homer P. Figg, which I admit I still haven't read because the cover is so wildly unappealing to me. In 2009 I hadn't read The Graveyard Book, because we didn't think it was eligible, or The Surrender Tree, which would have been my own frontrunner if I'd read it.)
I don't feel invested in the results this year. There are so many books that are considered frontrunners that I don't think are good enough that none of them even particularly stand out as "ANYTHING BUT THAT". There are a lot of books that I think are pretty good. Most of all, I think the theme of this year for me is the number of books that I really enjoyed but don't think will win. They're books for readers, regardless of award podiums. Books like One Day and One Amazing Morningon Orange Street, and Jefferson's Sons, and The Great Wall of Lucy Wu, and Akata Witch, and Icefall.
You can see my list of everything I read that has been mentioned as a possibility for the Newbery somewhere here. (You'll see only 57 books. I count 60, but I didn't include any of the three Mo Willems books that have been suggested as possibilities. I can't bring myself to believe that these books' Newbery chances are anything but manufactured by the blogosphere.)
And the Goodreads poll for Newbery winners always makes for interesting reading. I've read 50 of the 69 listed there as of today.
There are still a few books I would like to read--Wildwood, Blizzard of Glass, The Freedom Maze, Eddie's War--but looking at the hold list, I'm unlikely to get to read them before the ALA Youth Media Awards on January 23.
As soon as they're over, I'm going to read NOTHING but adult non-fiction for a solid month.