Friday, November 26, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Phew. I don't have to keep my mouth shut any more! Except about the winner, of course, but that's easier somehow. It's just a cosy little one-book secret, rather than a big rambling three-book secret. I think my secret limit is two books.
Big congratulations to all the shortlisted authors - I'm extremely proud and excited about our shortlist. And also congrats to the authors we longlisted: Kirsty Murray for Vulture's Gate, Richard Harland for Worldshaker and Bill Condon for Confessions of a Liar, Thief and Failed Sex God. You can read the judges' reports here.
Judging this year was a completely different experience to the 2007 VPLA - which makes sense I suppose, given that you have a completely different set of entries for the year, and a completely different set of judges. (Except me. I am not completely different.) One important difference was that we didn't have to write a judge bio for the website, or provide a photo. Which absolved me from the photo-choosing despair that I encountered last time! I was going to go with this one, in case you're interested:
Myself and my fellow judges (Pam Macintyre from Viewpoint Magazine and Leesa Lambert from The Little Bookroom) used the same judging process as the last time I was a judge - once the entries were received we all squirrelled ourselves away and read like the blazes, and we each created our own personal longlists for our next meeting. We kept our longlists a secret from each other until the meeting, to see if there would be any overlap.
In 2008, when I judged the award with lovely authors Kirsty Murray and Simmone Howell, our initial personal longlists had very little overlap, which I found fascinating. So there was lots of re-reading and re-evaluating done after our initial read-through. Our final shortlist and winner were arrived at through a lot of analysis, a lot of brain-wracking, a few more meetings, and a bit of voting.
I expected pretty much the same turn of events this year - when you give three different people a pile of 75 different books and ask them to pick the best ones, you'd assume you'd get some different answers.
So Pam and I turned up at the Little Bookroom on Longlist Meeting Day with our little piles of novels hidden in our bags.
I produced my longlist first. Then Pam produced hers. Then Leesa pulled out hers.
Each of our 4-book longlists overlapped by at least 3 books. Wow.
"So," Pam said, "Which one do we think is the winner?"
And we all held up the same book.
Then we kind of got the giggles, because it was so unexpected, and so exciting! We were unanimous before we'd even opened our mouths!
Narrowing down the rest of the shortlist took a bit longer - a bit of re-reading and discussing and voting, but given that we already had a three-book overlap in our longlists it didn't take too long.
So: a different year, a different set of entries and judges, a completely different judging experience. Last time I was pregnant, this time I have an 18mth old. Both years it has been exciting, confusing, and brain-tearingly full on. So has the judging.
I can't imagine what will happen if I judge this award again in the future. Probably I'll just have given birth to triplets, we judges will have a shortlist of twenty books that we CANNOT cut down any further, our heads will explode and someone else will have to judge the award for us.
Oh, and did I forget to tell you this year's winner? How terribly remiss of me.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
On that note, I've been rekindling my love affair with John Forbes. Perhaps I'll keep him in mind when I can't face another novel:
how the eye
to the line
where we left off
but the brain
with the book
hunters once knew
- just knew -
when to throw
the spear & where
the bright world,
their next meal
was coming from.
- John Forbes
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I have a copy of Anne of Green Gables, Mrs Frisby & The Rats of NIMH, The Velveteen Rabbit (new Donna Green illustrated version) and The Poky Little Puppy to give away.
Monday, March 22, 2010
"Where I lived at Pencey, I lived in the Ossenburger Memorial Wing of the new dorms. It was only for juniors and seniors. I was a junior. My roommate was a senior. It was named after this guy Ossenburger that went to Pencey. He made a pot of dough in the undertaking business after he got out of Pencey. What he did, he started these undertaking parlors all over the country that you could get members of your family buried for about five bucks apiece. You should see old Ossenburger. He probably just shoves them in a sack and dumps them in the river. Anyway, he gave Pencey a pile of dough, and they named our wing alter him. The first football game of the year, he came up to school in this big goddam Cadillac, and we all had to stand up in the grandstand and give him a locomotive - that's a cheer. Then, the next morning, in chapel, he made a speech that lasted about ten hours. He started off with about fifty corny jokes, just to show us what a regular guy he was. Very big deal. Then he started telling us how he was never ashamed, when he was in some kind of trouble or something, to get right down his knees and pray to God. He told us we should always pray to God - talk to Him and all - wherever we were. He told us we ought to think of Jesus as our buddy and all. He said he talked to Jesus all the time. Even when he was driving his car. That killed me. I can just see the big phony bastard shifting into first gear and asking Jesus to send him a few more stiffs."
I'm interested in the way Salinger has Holden completely oblivious to parts of his character, but allows him quite an insight into other parts: "...what scares me most in a fist fight is the guy's face. I can't stand looking at the other guy's face, is my trouble. It wouldn't be so bad if you could both be blindfolded or something. It's a funny kind of yellowness, when you come to think of it, but it's yellowness, all right. I'm not kidding myself."
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Luka's worked out how to climb. This puts my bookshelves in mortal danger. Along with most of our possessions.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Viewpoint Magazine has put out a call for the 10 adolescent fiction books you think are "must reads":