Super Sunday Snapshot

Four picture book covers
Before you ask – yes, I have been reading again this week. I’ve read picture books for the day job and have added all of them to posts on the When a Book Might Help blog (although, granted, not all of the posts have been published yet).

Four book covers

I’ve been reading (and listening to audiobooks) for my own pleasure.  It’s been great.  I love to read!  But I’m starting to think I might need to go on a bit of a book diet.  In food terms, my eyes are bigger than my stomach.  I am in serious danger of overdosing on the books in my house… and I keep bringing in more!

Overflowing bookshelfShelf full of books

 

In my front room I have two full shelves of books waiting to be read.  These are all books I have been given as birthday and Christmas gifts, books that I really wanted.  There are also some that I have picked up at shops, in library sales and at various author events.  Books I am longing to read.    How lucky am I?!

Three stacks of booksIn my bedroom are the books that are higher up the ‘To Be Read’ list. These are the books that have a ‘best before’ date, like library books and books for work. Some are for reading groups and others are for college.  You have to be a book with a purpose to make it upstairs in my house.  I do try and slot in books from the front room every now and then but, as you can see, I’ve got lots of books in my three ‘priority’ stacks.

In theory, this is my idea of heaven. Books as far as the eye can see! Unfortunately, reading has to be slotted in around other things like work, sleep, walking the dogs, laundry, and a whole list of other stuff. You know how it goes.

15 book coversBelieve it or not, my book stacks have gone down a bit over the last couple of months. Since I handed in my last assignment for college I’ve been able to catch up on some of my reading for pleasure. Then I had a birthday and this lot arrived.  I don’t want to sound ungrateful, I’m really thrilled to have every one of these books.  On the other hand, I’m very pleased that I have read two of them before and four of them are for study.  It makes it easier to find room for the others on the TBR shelves.

Three open books showing signatures

I am especially delighted with these three books.  My best friend bought me The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce and I received a personalised book-plate to put inside – Twitter is a wonderful thing!  My lovely partner bought me a signed copy of Four Stories by Alan Bennett.  I nearly always hear his stories in his voice when I read them.  She also found a shop that has close links with Jackie Morris.  They arranged for a copy of East of the Sun, West of the Moon to be autographed for me.  I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to find a personalised message and a drawing of a polar bear on the title page.  Her illustrations are stunning!

I would like to say thank you to my family and friends for all the wonderful books they buy me, to the booksellers, to the libraries who lend me more books every week, and to the magnificent writers and illustrators (and their agents and publishers) who produce them in the first place.  Please forgive me if I don’t write about the books I’ve read this week.  I’ve had a look at the next book on my priority reading heap and it’s about fairies – I’m off to curl up with a book.

Sunday Snapshot on a Monday

Oops – Sunday has been and gone without me posting.  That’s what happens when you’ve been out having a nice time.  Sorry if you missed me.

Four book coversIt’s been another busy reading week.  In the car I’ve listened to Flood and Fang, the first book in The Raven series by Marcus Sedgwick.  It is superbly performed by Martin Jarvis and made a journey both ways around the M25 more than bearable.  I’m all set to start listening to the second in the series (narrated by our hero – Edgar the Raven) and have the third in hard copy waiting to be read.

A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond is a strange, wild, beautifully written book about being young and full of life; about love and music and death.  Set in the North East of England it uses the language and the landscape to illustrate a version of the Orpheus story.  It’s one of those stories that makes you sit and think about it after you’ve finished.

There aren’t very many books for teenagers that cover transgender issues.  The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson introduces the reader to David Piper, a boy who, for as long as he can remember, has wanted to be a girl – a girl who likes boys.  His parents think he is gay.  People at school think he’s a freak.  Only his two best friends know the truth.  It is a touching story with some unexpected twists although, at times, these feel a little too convenient.  When I picked it up I was expecting to read a book set in the USA, so it was very pleasing to find it set in the UK.

The fourth book in this picture, Trouble by Non Pratt, was our SCBWI book group read for this month.  It is well written and a very believable story, but it made me very sad.  I know there are 15-year-old children who use sex to define their position in the social structure.  Reading about it was uncomfortable and depressing.  The story, however, was very strong and handled the two main story lines in a sensitive and realistic manner.

Three book coversFor work I have been reading more books to include in the When a Book Might Help (WABMH) segment of the Hampshire Libraries blog.  Football Academy: Reading the Game by Tom Palmer is about a boy juggling the demands of school and football whilst struggling to read.  His inability to read creates more and more problems, until eventually he realises he needs to ask for, and accept, help to improve the situation.  This will go onto the Dyslexia book list.

We will be including a section in WABMH simply called Medical Conditions.  This will include stories about conditions which are seldom seen in children’s books.  Pea’s Book of Holidays by Susie Day will be going on this list as one of the characters has condition called Hemiplegia.  The story is not about a disabled boy, however, but about a girl trying to support all her family.  It is fun and funny and part of a series about Pea and her sisters.

The last book this week is an Early Reader written by Jacqueline Wilson and illustrated by Stephen Lewis.  Monster Eyeballs shows how Kate deals with the class bully, Mark.  The clue is in the title of the story, but I won’t spoil the fun for you.