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….

 

 

 

 

       

  

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….

      

  

   

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….

Magicalamity by Kate Saunders

Tom discovers that his dad is a fairy when he is forced to go into hiding with one of his three fairy godmothers. How can they find the other two and persuade them to help prove his fathers’ innocence? A ‘magic’ book for younger readers. A fairly obvious plot.

 

 

 

 The Glass Collector by Anna Perera

More ‘faction’ than fiction, this story is set, (again) in the trash collecting and sorting of the third world – this time in Egypt. The sense of pride, hope and satisfaction that Aaron grows to feel through the book is a new angle rather than just another story about escaping from this hard and unfair life.  First person /third person kept changing unexpectedly and I’d obviously got a dodgy copy since font size was different as I moved down the page – so these were distracting. Overall it could have been better, Novel take on a (now) familiar setting but lacks a spark.

 

Shadow by Michael Morpurgo

Not quite another animal story by Michael Morpurgo, in fact if you picked this up thinking it was an animal story – you’d be disappointed. Shadow the dog has a bit part in what is a story about a mother and son escaping from the horrors of Afghanistan, and surviving deportation. Written from three different points of view. But the best bits are the fantastic illustrations by Christian Birmingham.

 

 

 Books I’ve read so far….

      

  

   

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….

Run Rabbit Run byBarbara Mitchelhill

Another “War” story – again not my favourite Genre but this story is a little bit different. It is set around the family of a concientious objector (someone who refused to fight in the war) and how they ran away to stay together. It is an easy book to read, however it lacks a bit of detail and you don’t get the sense of time as they seem to spend only a short time at each of their hiding places. So it’s a bit jumpy – jumping from one hiding place to another.

 

Killing Honour by Bali Rai

Another fine example from Bali Rai. Written in his usual gritty style it doesn’t pull many punches. I can’t say I *liked* the story but it is well written. The story frustrates me and angers me because I know it is based in truth and the fact that in some cultures it is deemed *acceptable* for men to treat women as second class citizens. But to submit them to a lifetime of abuse and slavery is down right wrong. (Okay soap box moment over). But Bali Rai and his book makes the point far more elequently than I can. An essential read.

 

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Hooray for something different! Amy is frozen as cargo aboard a space ship with her parents to travel the 300 years to the “New Earth”. Something goes wrong (of course) and she is woken up early – but by who? The residents of the ship who are awake have been living, working, and dying for centuries and have survived a mysterious plague that nearly wiped out the population. But things aren’t like Amy’s Sol Earth and the combination of more attacks on her sleeping companions and the ‘breeding’ season brings things to a head. Who can she trust? The Leader (Eldest) or the Leader in training (Elder)?

 

 

Books I’ve read so far….

      

  

   

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….

Bracelet of Bones” by Kevin Crossley-Holland

This seems like a re-run of “Gattys’ Tale” where a girl goes on a journey. This time it is set in Viking Times. There are a few incidents on the way – but very little character development of Solveig, the central character – a daughter travelling to join her father.

 

 

“Put Out the Light” by Terry Deary

War stories are probably my least favourite genre, so I struggled with this book for that reason. It is based around the night air raids, when two children ( brother & sister) discover that there is a thief who steals  whilst everyone runs to the shelters. Can they solve the mystery without having a bomb land on their head? (Yes). Does the culprit come as a surprise? (No). At the same time two German boys have a scheme of their own and end up rescuing a polish girl. Overall a fairly simple read with some nice references to Shakespeare.

“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.

 

 

 Books I’ve read so far….

      

  

   

Carnegie Long List – Excellent, Really Enjoyed, Okay, Arghh

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!

in the Excellent  Category:-

 In the Really enjoyed catergory:-

 

 

In the “It was Okay” Category:-

See full size image

 

 

In the “Arggh, a struggle to read….” Category:-

 See full size image