Carnegie Long List – continuing the challenge to read them all….

I’m setting myself the challenge to read all of the books on the long list before the winner is announced. 52 titles in 6 months. That’s 2 a week….. I’d better get reading!

Since my last post I have read….

“The Midnight Zoo” by Sonya Hartnett

As soon as I saw that there was one book on the short list that I hadn’t yet read I finished reading the book I was in the middle of and started this straight away. A well written book that despite being an ‘easy read’, leaves a sense of “What just happened?” I’m not convinced I’ve worked out what the ending meant for the characters – I have several theories and am a bit disappointed that resolution is so absent. I am looking forward to discussing my theories with my reading groups!

Wish Me Dead by Helen Grant

Helens’ unique writing style takes a little getting used to – but once immersed you forget that it is slightly different. In fact it is so musical it deserves to be read aloud, and I have done this to listen to the rhythms. This thriller is a little slow to get going but once it is in full flow it is difficult to stop – rather like an avalanche. The ending is a little unexpected – which I liked.

Moon Pie by Simon Mason

A lovely story for younger readers. With a gritty heart centered on the alcolism of her father, Martha takes on the responsibilityto care for her family. A gentle story of how she copes and how things change. A story that will resonate with many children in simialr circumstances.

 

 

 

Books I’ve read so far….

      

  

   

Carnegie Shortlist announced…..

With trepidation I opened the envelope from CILIP…..would the shortlist contain the books that I have read and loved so far? Or would it have some of the ‘duds’ on it?

 

Turns out it’s a bit of a mixture….

 

What I thought after reading it….

“My name is Mina” by David Almond

I wasn’t a big fan of “Skellig” so when I realised that this was a prequel I was a little apprehensive. However this book is much better than “Skellig”! Based around the life of Mina, a girl who is seen as a strange misfit and is excluded from school, she records her thoughts and her slightly excentric home schooling in her journal. The topics that are covered are at times bizarre at others times thought provoking. A really good read.

 

What I think now it’s made the shortlist….

It was a thought provoking and a slightly ‘different’ read which gave opportunities for self reflection. It is a standalone from “Skellig” so I should be able to persuade at least some of my reading group to read this book. However it only made it to my “It was okay” category….

 

What I thought after reading it….

“Small Change for Stuart” by Lissa Evans

A book for younger readers. This story is very easy to read, where strange, magical things keep happening to Stuart when he returns to his ancestors town and he discovers his inheritance in the form of a mystery and some old coins (small change). The story ends well with everyone getting what they deserved, but some of the characters were two dimensional (the ‘girl’ next door for example) and the plot suffers from lack of depth in places.

What I think now it’s made the shortlist….

Can’t say I’m thrilled to see this on the list. It is a nice easy read that is likely to go down well with Primary students, not sure how my more sophisticated year 8’s and 9’s will be enthused about it. Plus it still seems a little ‘lightweight’ against the Carnegie Criteria. Another one from the “It was okay” category! 

 

What I thought after reading it…. (which was after I knew it had made the shortlist)

“The Midnight Zoo” by Sonya Hartnett

As soon as I saw that there was one book on the short list that i hadn’t yet read I finished reading the book I was in the middle of and started this straight away. A well written book that despite being an ‘easy read’, leaves a sense of “What just happened?” I’m not convinced I’ve worked out what the ending meant for the characters – I have several theories and am a bit disappointed that resolution is so absent.

 

 What I think now it’s made the shortlist….

I am looking forward to discussing this book with my reading group. Perhaps they will understand the outcome better than I did! One from the “I really enjoyed” category.

 

What I thought after reading it….

Everybody Jam by Ali Lewis

Another story about grief. (This Carnegie long list is getting really depressing!) This time set in the Australian outback. Danny lost his brother a year ago and no one talks about it, but his sister reveals that she’s pregnant, a so a  ’Pommie’ comes to stay to help and during the annual Muster, and a drought that threatens their livelihood events take hold of Danny and help him to accept and move on.

 

 

What I think now it’s made the shortlist….

Another book from the “It was okay” category, and I’m really not thrilled to see this book make the list. (What did I miss?) Not sure how I’ll enthuse my reading group to give it a try, as I found it a fairly boring book really – despite the ‘action’ of the muster. My least favourite on the list – so it’s bound to win!

 

What I thought after reading it….

Trash by Andy Mulligan

I read this book last year just after it was published and thought it was a really good read. Action packed and set in such appalling conditions.

 

 

 What I think now it’s made the shortlist….

 

However when I read “The Glass Collector” (also on the Carnegie long list) I knew I preferred TGC to Trash as it was more realistic and the poignant ending was more satisfying than the ‘everything turns out okay’ (for a few) ending in Trash. So it is in my “A really good read” category but slightly disappointed that it has made the short list.

 

What I thought after reading it….

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Another book that I read last year shortly after publication. I read it in one sitting, I couldn’t put it down (even though it was really late when I finished). It made me cry, it made me wonder, it made me think. It was a fabulous read.

 

 

What I think now it’s made the shortlist….

It was in my “Excellent” category and remains a front runner for the overall winner! Absolutely thrilled that it has made the shortlist.

it.

What I thought after reading it….

My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece by Annabel Pitcher

I really enjoyed this book, and the issue with lack of speech marks was avoided by having all talking in italics, so whilst not normal I was able to read without it being too distracting. The story covers the neglect of the surviving children many years after the death of Rosie, the subsequent breakdown of their parents marriage, alcoholism and the resulting bigotry. An uplifting story of survival, and a satisfying read.

 

What I think now it’s made the shortlist….

This was in my “An okay Read” category. But on reflection I can understand why it has made the shortlist. The innocence of the narrator just oozes from the pages and may give “A Monster Calls” a run for the top spot!

 

 “Between Shades of Gray” by Ruta Sepetys

What I thought after reading it….

The last one of the Carnegie ShortList and one I had read before the long list was announced. ( I did really well this year!) This was a sad, and at times distressing story about the deportation of  those considered to be ‘anti soviet’ in WW2. A story that quite rightly deserves to be told. It gripped me, it shocked me, and in the end this horrific story was a ‘satisfying’ read.

 

What I think now it’s made the shortlist….

This was in my “really good Read” category, and the realities behind this story will be more widely known and talked about simply because this book has made the shortlist. However the mixture of flashbacks woven into the gritty story make this an excellent read.

 

Ones that got away….

Books that I had hoped would be on the shortlist….

 

 

 

 

       

  

Book of the Week

 

 ClickHERE to find out if this book is still available from the MRC.

 

Sporty Books for Sports Relief

So when you have finished running your Sports Relief mile you can put your feet up and read a sporty book!

 

 

Click HERE to check their availability

 

 

Hannah and Brian have the run of Snowstream, a cool winter resort. But a new kid, Zach, starts a boys-only snowboard cross team. What will Brian do when he’s forced to choose between Hannah and snowboarding?

 

Jamie’s dreams of becoming a professional footballer seem to be coming true after years of hoping and practising. But, just when he’s close to living the dream, a shocking event turns his world upside down. He’s never been a quitter, but can he rise to the toughest challenge of his life?

 

 Eleven-year-old Matt wants to make the Evergreen Racing Team but his chances are seriously threatened when a new boy moves to town and resorts to cheating in order to win.

 

  

 

Amir wants to play for the school football team – the Hill Street Hawks. The Stone Crew have other ideas. But Amir won’t be pushed around…

 

 

 

 

Carnegie Long List – continuing the challenge to read them all….

I’m setting myself the challenge to read all of the books on the long list before the winner is announced. 52 titles in 6 months. That’s 2 a week….. I’d better get reading!

Since my last post I have read….

Pull Out All the Stops by Geraldine McCaughrean

When I started reading this book I didn’t know it was following from “Stop the Train”, however this doesn’t matter much after the start of the book as the story is complete in itself. It is a classic Geraldine McCaughrean and having read many of her books I have to confess that I’m not a big fan of her writing style. But this book is action packed and I like the resolutions for her key characters but this book doesn’t quite ‘float my boat!’

 

An Act of Love by Alan Gibbons

Two friends Chris and Imran consider themselves ‘bloodbrothers’ but one ends up in the Army – the other a potential  jihad recruit. This book examines the differences of opinions, how each friend is pulled into making decisions that set them apart. A good ‘balanced ‘ story but on a recurring theme of islamic terrorism and the war on terror.  

Being Billy by Phil Earle

Billy is an angry ‘lifer’ who is destined to remain in Care Homes all through his childhood. He is angry about everything life has thrown at him (which we discover slowly through the book). What is really clever about this book is that Billy is a difficult character to like, (as is the ‘Colonel’ – his main carer) but as the story draws you in you just can’t help sympathising and start rooting for them. Which makes the ending rather sad. A fantastic read.

 

Books I’ve read so far….

      

  

   

World Poetry Day

Today is World Poetry Day

to celebrate I have challenged the tutor groups to read aloud a poem about English Pronuciation!

 

Here is an extract of the poem by  G. Nolst Trenité

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

English Pronunciation by  G. Nolst Trenité

Drop in on DEAR 4.3

The current focus of the Authors Page on the DEAR Homepage is…

Dav Pilkey and his series of books: Captain Underpants!

 

 Available to borrow from the MRC – Click HERE to check