Saturday, 9 August 2014

Mr Biddle's holiday reading

I don't think I've ever read as many books in a month before (apart from, perhaps, when I was seven and discovered The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton for the first time). My pile of books to read became a shelf of books to read, and was seriously in danger of becoming a room of books to read, so some serious hours needed to be put in to try and clear the backlog. There won't be detailed reviews of each book, but here's what I've read recently:

The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick
This is the first book I've read by Marcus Sedgwick. He was such an engaging speaker at the Norfolk Children's Book Festival that I thought I had better try out a couple of his books. Delighted to find out that he writes equally engagingly. Set in the First World War, about a girl who sees deaths before they happen. With her brothers heading off to the front line, this can only lead to trouble!

Shiverton Hall by Emerald Funnell
If you are in Year 5 or 6 and love a good ghost story, then this is definitely the book for you! I believe the second book in the series is out soon.

Auslander by Paul Dowswell
A great historical story, set in World War Two. A young Polish orphan is sent to live with a powerful German family. Just a pleasure to read, from start to finish (although quite harrowing in places). Because I enjoyed this so much, I've ordered the Powder Monkey series by the same author, which tells of the adventures of a boy on a 19th century ship.

Another Me by Cathy MacPhail
This is a genuinely creepy book! A girl is being herself. All of Cathy MacPhail's books are enjoyable and this is no exception. A film version is being released, but currently only in Spanish.

The Fallen by Charlie Higson
The fifth book in this brilliant series about zombies. Not my favourite of the series, but still a great read.

Noughts & Crosses and Knife Edge by Malorie Blackman
I really do think every child should read this series by the Children's Laureate before they leave school. Every book is just wonderful and carries such a powerful message. I'm now reading them for the third time (there are four books altogether in the series, plus a few short stories).

Young Samurai by Chris Bradford
I would have loved to have discovered these books a few years ago as I know I have taught several pupils who would have adored them. So far, I've only read the first in the series but will be keeping an eye out for the others.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
A bit like The Hunger Games. But only a bit. A group of children trapped in an enormous maze have to try and escape (there's obviously far more too it than that!). Quite violent and disturbing in places.

Last Stand Of Dead Men by Derek Landy
Book 8 out of 9. I will genuinely be quite sad when this series ends, as I have enjoyed the Skulduggery Pleasant books more than almost anything else over the last couple of years. Delighted to see Tanith Low back too! About time.

I've also been catching up with a few books for adults recently:

The Memoirs Of An Invisible Man by HF Saint
When I was at school, everyone was reading this book (teachers included). I read it again recently, for the first time in about twenty years, and it was just as good as I remember. The author, Harry Saint, made so much money from this that he never wrote another book and gradually disappeared from public life. I guess he became invisible...Never watch the film by the way, it's awful! Truly.


The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Bleak. Depressing. Heart-breaking. And unputdownable.

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman
It's by Neil Gaiman. It's therefore brilliant. Although not as brilliant as some of his other stuff.

Next on the pile is the A Dance With Dragons, the fifth book in the Game of Thrones series by George RR Martin (who apparently stole his middle initials from the author of The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien). I've also got Itch Rocks by Simon Mayo to read and then after that, who knows...

Actually I know, because I've got a big order with Amazon ready to be delivered!