Stand-out Author: John Green

One of the lovely things about this being my 12th year of posting Sonderbooks Stand-outs, my favorite books of my reading year, is that I can take the long view. I’m doing a series on Stand-out Authors featuring people with a book on my 2012 Sonderbooks Stand-outs who have appeared on my lists before.

There were four authors with 5 Sonderbooks Stand-outs, and there are six with 3. But only one author has a total of 4 Sonderbooks Stand-outs: John Green.

(Here are David Levithan and John Green when I accosted them at the opening of the 2010 ALA Annual Conference Exhibits.)

My son got me following John’s video blog years ago, but I may have been attracted to An Abundance of Katherines by the mathematical symbols on the cover and the storyline that included a math genius. That was the year I didn’t get all my stand-outs reviewed, but An Abundance of Katherines was #4 in Contemporary Teen Fiction on my 2007 Sonderbooks Stand-outs.

Now, really I suppose I should say that John Green has 3.33 Sonderbooks Stand-outs (which is a cool number in itself). Because on my 2008 Sonderbooks Stand-outs, he had 1.33 books make an appearance. Paper Towns was #2 in Contemporary Teen Fiction, and Let It Snow was #3. Since he only wrote a third of Let It Snow, the rest being written by Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle, you can see why I say he has 3.33 Stand-outs.

And then there was this year’s Sonderbooks Stand-out, the truly outstanding The Fault in Our Stars. This was #9 in Teen Fiction, but this time I didn’t separate out the Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Contemporary. The Fault in Our Stars was, in fact, the only Contemporary Teen Novel to appear on my list this year, so that makes it #1 in its category.

At the start of 2012, I got to hear John speak at ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas, and he’s a great speaker as well. I’m happy that he’s young — because the chances are good that he will write many more great books before he’s done. He never forgets to be Awesome!

Conference Corner – ALA Midwinter Meeting – John Green

I’m attempting to post my notes from the many conferences I’ve gone to this year. I think I’m going to work backwards and forwards both. Last time, I posted notes from the last session I attended. Now I’m going to post notes from where I left off — John Green’s talk at ALA Midwinter Meeting

I spotted his van the next day when walking back to my hotel:

I walked in late to the talk, since I had been at a committee meeting. But here are my notes. It turns out that this works as a Librarians Help post as well. John Green is definitely a supporter of libraries and librarians.

While he was writing, he was still tweeting and using youtube and tumblr. He uses those because he likes them. After all, he likes talking about stuff that matters with people he finds interesting.

“There’s no such thing any more as a non-social-media internet.”

Social media has a lot of similarities with real life connections.

There’s so much location-based social media, that’s fantastic for librarians. “People are building real life connections in real life places.”

Librarians have been good at raising the quality of discourse for hundreds of years.

It’s difficult to build space for thoughtfulness.

Librarians should infiltrate digital communities and raise the quality of discourse.

“Reading builds strong and deep connections between people.”

They are building productive communities online. Some examples are for Nerdfighters and and wells in Haiti through

Ultimately these are not opposite ideas: Reach out into the world and organize information to help people.

“The ultimate thing that librarians do is help people toward the answer to the overwhelming ultimate question of how to organize our lives.”

Then talking about teens: “Teens are having a lot of interesting things happen to them for the first time.”

His recommendations for reaching teens? Use Tumblr. Look for communities in your community that are active. Search the name of your community. Join the nerdfighters group in your area.

“Education exists for the benefit of the society, not the individual.”

Lead people to interesting places online.