For the first year EVER, I ended with time to spare. Granted, it was only a day but progress is progress! As ever, my exhaustive list followed by the highlights:
- Robert Graves- Goodbye to All That
- Patrick Ness- More Than This
- Jonathan Coe- The House of Sleep
- Pierre LaMaitre- Alex
- Very British Problems
- Michael Grant- Light
- Anonymous- Go Ask Alice
- Charlie Higson- The Enemy
- Ray Bradbury- Fahrenheit 451
- Lara Williamson- A Boy Called Hope
- Sabine Durrant- Remember Me This Way
- Brothers Grimm- the Robber Bridegroom
- John Williams- Stoner
- Carol Dweck- Mindset
- David Almond- Savage
- Tom Baker- The Boy Who Kicked Pigs
- Tim Bowler- Night Runner
- Tess Sharpe- Far From You
- Ann Kelley- Runners
- Anne Holm- I am David
- Gillian Flynn- Sharp Objects
- Sophie McKenzie- Girl, Missing
- Siri Hustvedt- The Sorrows of an American
- Banjamin Zephaniah- Teacher’s Dead
- Matt Haig- The Humans
- Sarah Crossan- The Weight of the Water
- Jessica Kane- The Report
- Mary Kingsley- A Hippo Banquet
- Marcus Sedgewick- Cowards
- Albert Camus- L’etranger
- JP Cavafy- Remember Body…
- Glen Duncan- The Last Werewolf
- Piers Torday- The Last Wild
- Dr Seuss- There’s a Wocket in my Pocket
- George Taylor- 1 4 Sorrow
- Paula Hawkins- Girl on the Train
- Paint me Like I am- Poetry for Young Adults
- E.Lockhart- We Were Liars
- Keith C Blackmore- Mountain Man
- Jay Asher- Thirteen Reasons Why
- James Thurber- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
- Natalie Babbitt- Tuck Everlasting
- Diana Hendry- The Seeing
- Jennifer Niven- All the Bright Places
- Gillian Flynn- the Grown Up
- Jasmine Warga- My Heart and Other Black Holes
- Andy Weir- The Martian
- Michael Acton Smith- Calm
- Neil Gaiman- How the Marquis Got his Coat Back
- Matt Haig- A Boy Called Christmas
It seems the overarching themes for 2015 were war, YA fiction, dystopia, poetry and a couple of wildcards in between! I will pick out some highlights for those that want to take something useful from this list. I would like to start by saying I did persevere with a couple of books even after my initial enjoyment waned, but I won’t dwell on these. In the same way that I would not introduce someone by saying, ‘he’s not my type,’ it would be rude of me to sway your opinion of a book. It is simply not fair.
YOU MUST READ The Martian by Andy Weir and Humans by Matt Haig. I have been standing on my soap box to anyone who will listen about both and they show a completely alternative insight to our existence as humans. They question the importance that we place on what we perceive to be extraordinary and open our eyes to the wonder of the ordinary.
ONES FOR THE BOYS if you teach are 1 4 Sorrow, Teacher’s Dead and The Enemy. Charlie Higson’s sequel has been on my shelf for a month now and is on the list for 2016. Michael Grant’s Gone series is another fantastic set that will keep anyone hooked for a considerable distance.
NOT FOR CHILDREN’S EYES but definitely worth picking up (on the basis that you are not easily offended or squeamish) are Sharp Objects and the Last Werewolf. Brutal, brash and unapologetic, Glen Duncan tells a convincing tale of the supernatural.
GOOD FOR WAR IN THE CLASSROOM are I am David and Sedgewick’s Cowards. Holm tells a story equal in poignancy to Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and places emphasis upon the impact that adults have upon children. The Report also shows the conditions that people faced in the aftermath of the war, based on an original news report of a tragedy that took place in Bethnal Green in 1943.
IF YOU ONLY WANT ONE, read Pierre LaMaitre’s Alex. It warped my brain cells in the same way that Under the Skin bent them inside and back out again.
Interested in a reading challenge for 2016? Join me (and my school!) in #fiftybookchallenge. No rules, no list- most of my reads are YA fiction as the library is free in school and kids often recommend books to me. Anything goes- as Dr Seuss demonstrates- non fiction, fiction, self help, educational… you name it. Our students started this September and one is leading on 36 books so far! For the fifty book pledge resources, please email me for access to #litdrive. Happy New Year!