Go on, tell us – as briefly or leisurely as you like 🙂
Madame Bovary, by Claude Flaubert was a classic book I read. It was a very good book which I enjoyed a lot. It talks about the provincial life which is experienced by a country woman and how her attitude is towards it and how she feels about it as she stays there.
I read ‘Do No Harm’ about brain surgery- lots of blood, guts and science.
Ben Elton, Two Brothers. Second World War story which is multi layered and provides a good narrative of the social history which I love.
I read Two Brothers too. I thought the historical narrative he interweaves with the characters’ story is excellent; compelling, accurate (always important!) and thought-provoking.
Top read: The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell, from the school library.
Brilliant attention to detail (maybe only appreciated by someone who has lived in the decades each section is set in) funny, sad, and downright weird, following the tale of Holly through her life with some bizarre sci-fi battle of good against evil add ons.
Also: Burial rites, a fictional account of the last days of the last woman to be executed for murder in Iceland. Better than it sounds, very atmospheric!
And a Dan Brown. The Mcdonalds of literature. It was nonsense and glaringly badly written. Hours of life I wont get back.
And I got halfway through Thomas Pynchon ‘Mason and Dixon’ but forsooth it’s hard work with no full stops.
I’m a total bookworm and don’t want to bore everyone (except the English department and librarians) so will just share some of my highlights with you all:
Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki: This novel reflects on the importance of life and the nature of time itself but within a warm, human and very absorbing style. A woman finds the diary of a Japanese schoolgirl washed up on the coast of her home island and becomes obsessed with her story of suicide, Zen and the Second World War.
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh: A well-written thriller about a hit and run accident which moves between the detectives trying to solve the case and Jenna, a grief-stricken woman running away from her past. This book is surprising and gripping, the sort of thing you’ll love if you’ve read Girl on the Train/Gone Girl/Apple Tree Yard. (This one is definitely available from the school library too)
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy: I was expecting to enjoy this book but I wasn’t expecting to love it. Hardy’s prose is so beautiful, I was totally caught up in the characters and the story gripped me right to the end… wonderful.
Top picks from the YA fiction I read this summer:
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart: Written as a chronicle of Frankie’s schemes one term at boarding school as she gets swept up in a secret society that, as a girl, she’s not allowed to join. This is a smart, entertaining and absorbing teen read.
The Rain by Virginia Bergin: Disaster novel in which the rain carries a deadly disease which rapidly kills humans if they are exposed to just one drop. What I loved about this book was the warmth and humour of the teen narrator, Ruby. Gripping and entertaining. (Available in school library AND there’s a sequel.)
I was reading ‘Travels with a Tangerine’ by Tim Mackintosh- Smith which is ‘A journey in the footnotes of Ibn Battutah.’
I thought Tim’s writing and observations were wildy funny and intelligent. It meant a lot to me , as I have travelled in some of these places, and they are places which are the most close to my heart. I had also heard a lot about Ibn Battutah throughout my life, so it was exciting to find this book.Yet someone with no interest whatsoever in the middle East etc will still find it a fascinating and enjoyable book. I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK (sorry for shouting). If you don’t want to take my word, here’s some other comments. btw I have no financial interest in selling this book 🙂
‘A gripping and accomplished travel book . . . [it] stands out for its integrity and intelligence’ Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times
Ibn Battutah was the greatest traveller of the pre-mechanical age, journeying for twenty nine years and covering three times the ground Marco Polo covered. Tim Mackintosh-Smith follows the first stage of Ibn Battutah’s journey, from Tangier to Constantinople. Destinations include an Islamic Butlin’s in the Egyptian desert, Assassin castles in Syria, the Kuria Maria Islands in the Arabian Sea and some of the greatest cities of Medeival Islam. He also cleverly compares the contemporary Muslim world with the past.
Mackintosh-Smith slips effortlessly between our world and that of the fourteenth century. In doing so, he has created a gripping and accomplished travel book… We will be lucky if there is a better one published this year’ Sunday Times
An immensely engaging book…Subversive good humour without relentless jokiness; and a descriptive eye capable of sketching complext details in a few telling lines’ Daily Telegraph
I read lots of books over the Summer. Some from the school library and some on my Kindle. Best library ones to recommend were Ben Elton’s Two Brothers which is a very well written, gripping and shocking fictional story about two boys growing up in Nazi Germany. Also The Bees by Laline Paull. A different book in that it’s a story about a bee colony as told by the bees. Lastly Kolympsky Heights by Lionel Davidson. Set in the Siberian wilderness the plot involves a secret Russian research centre and an agent who is sent to try and make contact and get out alive. A slow start to the book I felt but once you get into it you’re hooked.
I read ‘Me Before You’ (again) by Jojo Moyes. I am a bit of a sucker for chick lit and you can often find me rummaging through the ‘2 books for £7’ section in Tesco. I originally read this book a few years ago, and thought it was a very original storyline. Without giving it all away, the two main characters meet, eventually fall in love and have an unhappy ending. However, this is not your typical chick-lit romance novel. In fact, it is far from it.
This is a sometimes simple but heartbreakingly sensitive tale of two characters, Will and Louise who meet under unusual circumstances. Will is paralysed and uses a wheelchair; Lou becomes his carer. I don’t normally get emotional about characters in fictional books (or non fiction, come to think of it) but in this one, I did. So when I decided to re-read it, I thought I would still feel the same as I knew what was coming. However, I took a new perspective on the story this time, due to recent news articles about disability and how people choose to deal with (or not deal with) their situation. On the one hand, this book is your normal boy-meets-girl-they-fall-in-love-isn’t-love-great-love-conquers-all type of thing. However, it really isn’t; there are some things in life that love cannot fix and Moyes demonstrates the harsh realities of that in this story.
This book made me think, which is always good (especially good when it has only cost me £3.50). I thought about what I would do in both Lou and Will’s situation. It made me think about my outlook on my own life as it is now and what I would like it to be like, and whether I’d be brave enough to make the changes necessary to get where I want (Lou goes through a similar sort of thing during the book). I had to really take into consideration how people with different struggles and difficult situations see themselves and how they perceive they are perceived by others, which is a lot of perception in a book under a fiver. All in all I would recommend you read this book if you like an ‘easy read’ with a thought-provoking twist – it is well worth it. Yes I did cry at the end again, but this time for a different reason.
This summer was home to my annual re-read of Dracula. Written in 1897 (217 years after the delightful Miss Carmilla Karnstein was born… or resurrected… Or however vampires are born), the novel is a classic and is truly a fabulous book.
The novel is made up of various written records, including, but not exclusively, letters and diary entries. This makes for a very interesting read which gives you a detailed insight towards the beginning of the book into how the character, Jonathan Harker, is feeling and what he is experiencing at specific points in his journey.
*WARNING – SPOILERS*
The story begins with an English lawyer, Jonathan Harker, as he meets Count Dracula with the intention of assisting him with legal business. Dracula then imprisons Harker and after a failed attempt, he barely escapes with his life. Dracula then attacks an associate of Jonathans and curses her. It continues to follow Harkers life as he and his wife join a group and hunt down Dracula. Dracula feeds on Mina, Harkers wife, and forced her to drink his blood so he is able to control her. Harker tracks down Dracula, killing him by slicing his throat while his friend stabs him in the heart. This breaks Minas connection with Dracula and her and Harker carry on with their life as normal.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes vampire fiction or a little bit of excitement. It’s quite an adult book, but considering I read it every summer and aren’t bored of it, that’s quite something.
Now I have to try and scrub Carmilla’s ‘soy milk’ out of the carpet… I’m certain that ‘vampire’ wasn’t a choice on our roommate application… Unfortunately, I don’t think I’d get away with staking her. Ugh.
I read ‘In Stillen Nächten’ which is a biography of the lead singer of Rammstein and an Olympic swimmer, Till Lindemann, and it also contains some of his poetry. You have to be a lover of poetry like myself to read it, and of course able to speak German.
I read most of a book called The Anti-Prom but then found that I was not enjoying it. At the end of the holidays I started reading Paper towns by John Green it has been read by many people I know and its so popular its even been made into a film. I look forward to finishing it is as so far a really good book!
I read the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, Fallen by Lauren Kate, The DUFF by Kody Kiplinger and I started Heist Society by Ally Carter
I read “The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being” by Dr Alice Roberts (regularly seen on the telly). It was a great read about how we develop from a single fertilised egg into an entire human, but also how we share various stages of our development with other organisms to show our shared evolutionary history. It was really accessible, especially for Year 12/13 students. I tweeted about it to my biology students and Alice favourited the tweet, so I have now really made it in the Twittersphere!
I read the mortal instruments books which were absoloubtly fantastic! If you are interested in going adult books and dystopian books then these are for you!
I read Hello Life by Marcus Butler, it is like a life guide and is really really interesting. I also started to read Ill Give you The Sun by Jandy Nelson, however i havent read much so dont know the basic story yet.
I read ‘Paper Towns’ by John Green and I would recommend to read it. I liked the adventure, the structure of the book and how the ending wasn’t cliché
This summer I read ‘switched’ by Amanda Hocking which was really good and would recommend to others to read. It’s a trilogy and I can’t wait to read the others.
Over the summer I read ‘the curious incident of the dog in the night time’ by Mark Haddon which i really enjoyed and i would recommend it to others to read. I also started ‘paper towns’ by John Green which is a really great read as well.
I read, ‘All the Bright Places’ by Jennifer Niven, which once i picked up, i couldn’t put down. it was really sad, yet a heart warming story, i would definitely recommend.
This summer, I probably read too many books. The highlight would definitely be ‘The Clocks’ by Agatha Christie. It’s probably one of Poirot’s lesser known mysteries, substantially because he only features briefly in it – yet still manages to solve a mystery that had baffled the local police. Without spoiling the plot, the body of a seemingly unidentifiable man is found in the living room of a blind woman’s house, along with four clocks set to 4:13. The narrative switches from person to person whilst the plot thickens, creating a continuously increasing suspect list. I particularly enjoyed Poirot’s fleeting role in the story and his proving that murder can be solved on intellect alone, without even visiting the crime scene or meeting the suspects. A thrilling read to the very last page.
I read ‘The Normal State of Mind’ by Susmita Bhattacharya. It’s her first novel, she lives in Plymouth and is a new friend of mine, so I had to read it. The book deals with some interesting and challenging topics around women, sexuality, love, friendship and family relationships in India during a time of turmoil and change (1990s). There are some thought-provoking subjects and yet it is an easy read. I found some of the editorial slips a little irritating, but overall a good read. Suitable for KS5 readers.
During the holidays I started reading the Wasp Factory which I have yet to finish, and I also re-read A Prayer for Owen Meany which is one of my favourite books.
My No 1 recommendation from this summer is An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. Former International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield’s autobiography is not just an enthralling account of his own odyssey from a cardboard box in his back garden to space; it’s a brilliant insight into getting the best out of life on earth. Find out why it’s best to prepare for the worst – and enjoy every moment of it; invest in other people’s success to improve your own chances of survival and success; always sweat the small stuff (without showing it) and much, much more. Want to know why you should go into a new situation aiming to be a Zero rather than a Plus One and so avoid being a Minus One? Then read this book! Commander Hadfield performed a revised version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity on the International Space Station (ISS), which became a YouTube hit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaOC9danxNo
And if you find yourself even a little bit intrigued then the ISS website is full of fascinating information, amazing photos and inspiration: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html. You can sign up for ISS alerts so that you, too, know when to look 400km up from Plymouth to see the ISS.
This is an easy-to-read book with photos and short sections so suitable for those who like to read for both short and long periods of time.
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