Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Carole Park SS Books in Homes (2)

reading-seussBig shout-out to Books in Homes Australia for putting more than two million books into some of Australia’s most disadvantaged homes.

I helped hand out nearly 600 books to Carole Park State School students this morning thanks to the generosity of program sponsor Mainfreight Australia.

Company representative Josh Meads remembers being on the receiving end of Books in Homes when he was a kid and is now  passing their bookpacks on to a new generation.

Love your work, guys! For more information, click here.

 

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Redlands library 2
Please join me @ Redlands, if only for an hour – would love to see you there!

small BW promo logoIt’s coming at me … Faster than a Matthew Reilly plot! More powerful than an idea whose time has come! Able to leap from primary to high schools in a single bound!

Look, up in my calendar – It’s an event, it’s a tradition, it’s …. Book Week!

Yes, it’s Book Week (which this year is super-sized for me – eight weeks long, with back-to-back school visits and festivals from mid-July to mid-September).

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With Will Kostakis jump-starting our Book Week at St Aidans Literature Festival

It’s a gorgeous time when everyone who loves books comes together to celebrate: teachers, librarians, booksellers, writers, illustrators, and of course, our wonderful readers.

Festivities officially kicked off last Friday with the CBCA’s Book of the Year Announcements.

I was so proud and grateful to have Intruder shortlisted this year and offer my warmest congratulations to all Winners and Honour Books for 2015. especially author Claire Zorn for her beautiful Book of the Year for Older Readers, The Protected, and illustrator Freya Blackwood for her extraordinary achievement in taking out three Book of the Year Awards for Picture Book, Early Childhood and Younger Readers.

Have a super Book Week. I know I will. 🙂

short-stories_wide-73921f5063a3379ef3d99ecbae0cf06da5af3adc-s6-c30 (1)

One of my nine sisters-in-law once rang on a Sunday night, to share a snippet she’d found in the Weekend Shopper classifieds. It read:

‘For Sale: Size 22 wedding dress. Never worn.’

Just eight little words and an entire story ballooned out . . . But what that story meant depended on the reader.

For her, the main character was overweight, jilted before her big day, perhaps consoling herself with great slabs of wedding cake, while an over-sized gown hung unworn on the cupboard door behind her.

For me, there was an alternative, more optimistic, reading. In my version of the story, the protagonist had lost 36 kilos before her big day – the dress no longer fitted!

My point is that readers complete stories that writers begin – whether our stories are novel-length, with months if not years, separating writer and reader, or short, like the one I finished today (which hopefully makes the cut for an anthology coming out later in the year).

Stories are needy things – they demand to be written and they demand to be read. Only then are they truly finished.

So, wish me luck finishing today’s short story. It has been written. It has been flensed. Now it needs first readers, and all going well, a publisher, editor and proof reader. When it finally makes it into the hands of its readers, it will be ready. When they finish reading it and decide what it means to them, my story will be complete.

rock climbing1You know that feeling when you’re about to step backwards off the edge of a cliff?

The terrifying thrill of adrenalin? The not-knowing what’s going to happen next?

That’s how I feel whenever I walk into the spotlight, when I start writing a new scene, or send off a story that hasn’t been seen by any eyes but my own.

And it’s how I feel right now, packing for Melbourne and the Victorian Association for the Teaching of English State Conference.

I’m giving my final workshop of the year – Making Reading and Writing Dangerous for Kids – and I’m equal parts excited (because I love talking to teachers) and nervous (because hey, they’re teachers, what if they give me a bad grade?)

And as soon as that thought popped into my head, I heard the ghost of Mr Rainie, my Grade Eight English teacher repeating the words he said to me when I was twelve: ‘Why don’t you just try being the best that you can be, Christine, and see where that takes you?’

Well Mr Rainie, I am trying, but you didn’t warn me how dangerous that journey would be. Or how brave I’d need to be. Reporting from plane crashes, reading the ABC TV News in a borrowed shirt and half-slip, and walking naked (with all my talents and limits clearly on display), every time I publish a new book.

But I want you to know that I am still trying, Mr Rainie. And I’ll keep a special place for you at tomorrow’s workshop, just in case you’d like to come along and check on my progress. 🙂

 

 

 

Books for Xmas

I’m good (or at least not on the naughty list yet), how are you? Snowed under, I bet. So I thought you’d appreciate my wish list before this year buries us all under an avalanche of to-dos, not-dones, and oh-well-maybe-next-years.

Normally I like to keep it simple: something I want, something I need, something to eat and something to read. This year, I just want and need to eat up some great reads. Specifically these…

Big Little Lies by Liane MoriartyBig Little LiesSuburban noir meets brilliantly wicked take on ex-husbands and second wives – sounds like me. Also gotta love a Sydney girl making the New York Times bestseller list (and if you’re handing out any of those treats this Christmas, Santa, count me in!)

We were liarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart: What the… a big break-out YA-novel-of -the-year and I haven’t read it yet – how could this have happened?? (And Santa, if you happen to be passing before December 25, my stocking is ready and waiting for you on the floor of the hall cupboard next to the flippers).

favel parrett when the night comesWhen the Night Comes by Favel Parrett: I just loved her powerful and moving debut novel Past the Shallows and am dying to read this next one.

Which is also pretty much how I feel about The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil.

The incredible adventures of Cinnamon Girl

Her last offering, Life in Outer Space, was one of my favourite YA reads last year, and I am expecting incredible things from her new heroine, the comic-loving Cinnamon Girl (which ticks all my boxes given my comic obsessed past).

And seriously Santa, wouldn’t everyone be wanting one of these on their shelves for the cover art alone?

So tell me, what’s on everyone else’s wish list this Christmas?

 

 

With just a month to go before the Children’s Book Council of Australia releases its Notable Books for 2014, my bedside reading pile is toppling under the weight of must-reads.

So far, three fantastic Australian YA novels have claimed slots in my Clayton’s shortlist:

Life in Outer Spacewildlifegirl defective

What are your hot tips for best Aussie YA reads published last year?