I will definitely read Monica Never Shuts Up (despite my uneasy relationship with the short story as a literary form–I actually almost always find much to admire in the short stories that I read; I just have trouble convincing myself to read them!).
Meanwhile, the shortlist for the Carnegie Medal has been announced. The Carnegie Medal is awarded by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals for an outstanding book written in English for children and young people. This year’s shortlist includes eight titles, three of which we have talked about at some length (Code Name Verity, In Darkness, and Wonder, one that I plan to talk about soon (Midwinterblood), and four that I haven’t read or even heard much about (The Weight of Water, by Sarah Crossan, A Greyhound of a Girl, by Roddy Doyle, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat, by Dave Shelton, and Maggot Moon, by Sally Gardner). The Crossan, Doyle, and Shelton books are listed as for ages 8+ or 9+, which says to mean that they are more middle-grade than YA books.
I noticed that the covers of Code Name Verity, In Darkness, and Midwinterblood in the press release are quite different from the American covers–and in the case of Code Name Verity even different from the other British versions of the cover I have seen.
But more than that, I was looking at the list of Carnegie Medal winners for the past fifteen years or so. It is interesting to see where they cross with American lists.
2012: A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. Got a lot of buzz here, and was a Top 10 BFYA.
2011: Monsters of Men, by Patrick Ness. Interesting, since it was the third book in a series, and sequels tend to have a hard time making it onto our lists these days.
2010: The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. Also won the Newbery.
2009: Bog Child, by Siobhan Dowd. BBYA.
2008: Here Lies Arthur, by Philip Reeve. BBYA.
2007: Just in Case, by Meg Rosoff. BBYA.
2006: Tamar, by Mal Peet. BBYA
2005: Millions, by Frank Cottrell Boyce.
2004: A Gathering Light, by Jennifer Donnelly. Published in the US as A Northern Light, and was a Printz Honor book.
2003: Ruby Holler, by Sharon Creech.
2002: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, by Terry Pratchett. BBYA.
2001: The Other Side of Truth, by Beverley Naidoo. BBYA.
2000: Postcards from No Man’s Land, by Aidan Chambers. Also won the Printz.
1999: Skellig, by David Almond. Printz Honor book.
Anyway, just interesting to see the crossovers.
And, finally, from the award criteria, I wanted to share this paragraph:
“The book that wins the Carnegie Medal should be a book of outstanding literary quality. The whole work should provide pleasure, not merely from the surface enjoyment of a good read, but also the deeper subconscious satisfaction of having gone through a vicarious, but at the time of reading, a real experience that is retained afterwards.”
I love this. I love the way it makes a clear distinction between a book that is a “good read” and a book that is truly outstanding. I think this is a factor in the “re-readability” discussion that was taking place on one of the other blogs this award season. I really admire the way this is expressed–that idea that one gets satisfaction from having read a book of outstanding literary quality, and that is something that is retained afterwards. Just a great way to express what award committees should be looking for.