The CLIP Carnegie Medal

The more observant of you will have noticed the appearance of an new button in the navigation bar. Clicking said button will take you a lovely new page listing the CLIP Carnegie Medal winners, and thus adding at least another dozen books to your wish list. 

I am a little late to the party on this one (I do seem to be dawdling over things of late don’t I?), but the 2014 winners were announced in June, with The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks taking top place. 

For those not in the know, The CLIP Carnegie Medal was set up in 1936 memory of Andrew Carnegie, a wealthy industrialist who set up more than 2800 libraries across the world. Mr Carnegie was clearly an all round good egg.  Each year a book is chosen by librarians which is considered to be outstanding writing for children and young people, and the award winner given £500 to buy books for a library of their choice. 

When I saw the list of past winners I realised that I already had a few on my shelves and they had been books I had enjoyed immensely, so promptly decided I needed to read the rest of the list. Why am I so list obsessed? 

I know some adults are a bit sniffy about reading books for children and young adults, but frankly I can’t see the problem. A good and well written yarn, is a good and well written yarn, and I don’t see why I shouldn’t enjoy them too. 

Do you have any favourite children’s books?



Teachers Top 100 Favourite Books

The TES had this article a few weeks ago, and I have been meaning to blog about it. It is a list of teachers 100 favourite novels.  It really is a mixed list, and teachers have clearly changed since I was in school, given the dreary rubbish we had had to read. Yes, A High Wind In Jamaica, I am thinking of you. I’m surprised I continued reading after that.  

Pride and Prejudice is at the top, and there are the usual suspects of To Kill A Mocking Bird and Catcher In The Rye.  There were some surprises to me though. I wouldn’t have expected to see the Twilight series there, which whilst sold by the bucket load, aren’t really quality literature. But as the article points out, it depends how you answer the question. Do you answer with a book you truly love, or give an answer which one would expect from a teacher, and give something rather academic?

The answer I give to this question always surprises people. I think, as they know I read a lot, they expect me to give some hefty tome as my favourite. No book since I was aged 8 has brought me as much joy as The Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper. I have read many, many excellent books since then, some serious, some frivolous, but I don’t return to any of them in the way that I do that series of books.

So, if push came to shove what would you name as your favourite books?

Books To Make You Smile

It seems to have been a dreadfully long winter, probably in part becuase last summer was so dire. The Delightful Mr F and I have been in our new house for about 18 months and in that time the weather has really only been nice enough for us to sit outside in the garden twice. Quite frankly we need a good laugh, so here is a list of books to make you smile… any other suggestions to raise a literary giggle?

Maskerade By Terry Pratchett: OK, in reality you could pick up any Practhett book and be laughing your head off within the first few pages, but this one has some classic lines in it. It features Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax, two witches from the Discworld, who head off to find a younger witch called Agnes Nitt who has joined the opera. The whole book is a paradoy of The Phantom Of The Opera, with the witches trying to solve the murders in the opera house. There is a wonderful parallel story of Nanny Ogg’s cookery book called “The Joy Of Snacks”, which has been published, much to Granny’s horror. The recipies have “added extras”… Below is a quote from a passage when Granny is reading some of the recipies in The Joy Of Snacks for the first time:

‘What one you looking at?’ said Nanny Ogg, because an author is always keen to get feedback.

‘Strawberry Wobbler,’ said Granny.

‘Ah. That one always gets a laugh.’

It did not appear to be obtaining one from Granny. She carefully closed the book.

‘Gytha,’ she said, ‘this is me askin’ you this. Is there any page in this book, is there any single recipe, which does not in some way relate to… goingson?’

The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole By Sue Townsend:  Oh, poor Adrian, he does get a raw deal doesn’t he? I read this as teenager, and then again a few months ago, and the second time round it was far better. I think you need to have a decent number of years between you and your teenage self to really appreciate this one. His attempts at poetry are priceless:

I adore ya.
I implore ye
Don’t ignore me.

The Wind In The Willows By Kenneth Graham: A childhood favourite, which I re-read every now and then when I need a lift. You can’t fail to love Mole, Rat, Badger and of course Mr Toad, who should be locked up, or at least be under the restraints of an ASBO. Mr Toad’s escape from prison has to be one of the best out there, and his shear joy for life is infectious. Here’s to be being more like Mr Toad (apart from the motoring offences).

“Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that’s always changing!” 


Revolting Rhymes By Roald Dahl: It’s hard to match Dahl for madcap humour, and these warped versions of classic fairy tales are best read aloud, even if you are on your own. Yes, I have been known to do this when the Delightful Mr F is out… The seven dwarves using the magic mirror to bet on the horses always makes me laugh. 

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy By Douglas Adams: Completely bonkers and very clever. Even if you aren’t a sci-fi fan there is so much to enjoy in this, from alien poetry to alien administrators. 

“Ford!” he said, “there’s an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they’ve worked out.”