This year, I am more determined than ever to read all of the books shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Last year was the first year I managed to do this, and it was wonderful when the winner was announced to think “Yep, read that, it was good”. I think that’s the other thing too, I’ve never read a bad book when reading the Carnegie shortlist. I’ve read some that weren’t necessarily to my taste, but I’ve never read a bad one.
This year, A is joining the Carnegie Shadowing group at school. She’s had to have a special consent form to be allowed to do it, as she’s only in Year 7 and some of the books have a content guide of 13+. However, given that I was reading Danielle Steele at the age of 10, it would have felt somewhat churlish not to sign that form. At least she’s more likely to get a well-rounded view of love and romance from gritty teenage fiction than she is from sub Jilly Cooper formulaic claptrap (my apologies to Ms Steele, because it was rather fabulous claptrap, at the time.) So that’s probably another reason to want to read all of them – so I know exactly what new things she will be learning. There have been some interesting discussions so far occasioned by the first book she has read, which takes as its themes desegregation of Virginian schools and lesbianism.
I tend to look at the shortlist and have a view about which one I am going to like the best. If I had all the books in front of me, I’d probably start with the best, and work my way down to the ones I’m least looking forward to reading, which is a terrible, terrible idea. However, luckily, I have a different method of choosing – whichever book is cheapest on kindle on the day of shortlisting is the first book I read. I’ve found that the prices of kindle books can change day to day, so by the time I’ve got through the first few books, the others have generally come down in price. And it means that I spread out the books I’m looking forward to with the ones I don’t think I’ll like.
That being said, I should really have learned by now that the ones I think I’ll hate often end up being the ones I like the most…