Friday, 10 June 2016

#Amreading




So, it’s six months into this crazy Goodreads 100 book challenge I set myself and I’m happy to report that I'm now two books ahead.  This is largely due to the fact I’ve also been reading children’s books at breakfast.  Without this saving grace I believe I’d be whimpering in shame at this point. 

“But is this reading of children’s books thing allowed?” I hear you all asking.

The simple answer to that is:

YES

As I work with children, primarily instructing them on how to improve their creative writing, it is only fitting that I check out the books deemed to be totally read WORTHY by the kids and also by those who reckon they’re in the know.

It will come as no great shock to you that I have disagreed with the Know-It-Alls from time to time but NEVER with the kids.

However, this post is not about that.  What I would like to do now is give you a run down of the 5 books I’ve found most enjoyable thus far.  You would assume there’d be at least 10 considering I’ve read 42.*  But no, I’m pretty fussy about what counts as tops.  So here are 5 of my favourite challenge reads:



At number 5 is Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell.  A book makes it into my top 5 if I want to keep turning the pages and if I want to read more of that author’s work.  This is indeed the case with this one.  It first came to my attention because of the BBC series of the same name and like the series, it did not disappoint.  I was further thrilled to discovered that the entire series was being re-aired on the Freeview Drama channel.  Guess how I’ve been spending my Sunday afternoons.  


Trust me, with the words British and Summer not always syncing together very well it’s always advisable to have alternative Sunday afternoon plans other than that barbecue you were planning on.



The Savage by David Almond, beautifully illustrated by Dave McKean, is number 4.  This book had a raw quality which I feel sums up the sense of loss and frustration when dealing with death.  It touched the side of me which is still coming to terms with my dad’s death three years ago.  The sombre colours of the illustrations capture the wild nature of loss and how it affects our thought processes.  A sad but brilliant book.






Saffy’s Angel has jumped into the number 3 spot because it made me chuckle throughout the reading of it.  One section in particular had me in stitches.  I highly recommend it as it looks at how a family can appear to be completely dysfunctional while loving each other deeply and supporting one another to the max.  It’s a quirky, fun read and should not be missed.






Sunita’s Secret is a great little book about how life can knock you down but it’s up to you to get up again and make the most of what you’ve got.  So it thoroughly deserves to be at number 2.  I thought the characters were well realised and the real life situation was tackled with empathy and great finesse.  Another thing I particularly liked about this book was its message about the importance of little kindnesses.





It will come as no surprise that Pratchett has made it into my number 1 spot.  Snuff is chock full of world issues and is an easy one to love.  But what I relish most of all is the way Pratchett looks at preconceived ideas of a species (in this instance goblins) and turns it on its head.  The topic of slavery and a group of individuals being treated as less than others is a serious one, yet Pratchett makes time to litter this novel with humour that is insightful and spot on.


So there you have it, my five top reads so far.  Please note: this is subject to change the more books I read for this challenge.  If time allows I’ll do another top five in a few months to see if my list has changed much.

At present the thing I’m enjoying most is reading tons of children’s fiction I’ve not read before.  Getting my students to recommend reads has been brilliant.  If you ever thought young people don’t have a clue about what makes a good read then you’re sorely mistaken.  Thank you to all my students for the suggested reading material but in particular to Ari for her splendid suggestions thus far.

* which incidentally is also the answer to life, the universe and everything even though we haven’t established what the question is (if extremely confused at this point I suggest you read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for clarification)




2 comments:

  1. I loved Cranford - and yes, I felt the TV series lived up to it. I also read some children's and YA novels. Just read Miriam Halahmy's The Emergency Zoo, about children on the eve of WWII rescuing their pets from being put down as a precaution against animals being abandoned during air-raids etc.

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    1. It's always great when a book is well adapted. I hate it when they get it truly wrong. Can't help but think of Captain Corelli's Mandolin - appalling casting and terrible translation of book into film. May well have to borrow the Halahmy from you Lindsay. I'm running out of books what with Carnegie Library still being shut.

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