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Summer 2012 Volume 3, Issue 3

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Spinebreakers ....................... 2 Dickens and Childhood…………2 Summer Reading for you…. 3-6

Summer arrives at last! In this issue, we would like to wish you all a very good summer holiday and perhaps suggest some reading to keep you occupied, wherever you may find yourselves… Leave work behind for a few weeks and see where your summer reading takes you, whether you are jetting off or staying put, please take a look at our lists.


Richelle Mead’s book,

Bloodlines: The Golden Lily is featured this month on the Spinebreakers website.

Mrs Koulouris and I

For our older children, we would like to suggest that you point them in the direction of the Spinebreakers website. It’s put together by Penguin Books and is full of great content with reviews by teenagers of the latest books

out, some super competitions to enter, details of fascinating events, creative ideas and an invitation to join ‘the crew’ (reviewers, bloggers and so forth). It’s also good for us to see what’s around in terms of young adult fiction so we can encourage our teens to read…. http://www.spinebreakers.co.uk/

recently went to a conference concerning

Charles Dickens and his care and attention given to child characters in his work, and then how to engage our students in reading more of his writing.

We had a fascinating afternoon

with discussions led by academics from the various colleges of the University of London, meeting Miriam Margolyes (aka Professor Sprout (Harry Potter films) and Aunt Sponge (James and the Giant Peach)!) and Jacqueline Wilson.

The former is currently

taking her one-woman show Dickens’ Women around the country and then to America.

The latter started our discussion of what

Dickens means to us personally, some fascinating insights were shared.

One of the items on the agenda for the day involved

an actor performing as Dickens and, at the end of his piece, he asked all of us to read a Dickens novel in the spirit of the time when it would have been published, serialised as one chapter per week.

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A challenge for you all!


At the most recent meeting of our Book Club, which has now celebrated its first anniversary, we had a good think about books which we’d like to read during the holidays and authors we’d like to tackle in the forthcoming months. Here is a selection of titles and authors that we came up with:

Unique by Alison Allen-Grey Dominic has always been a disappointment to his ambitious father, but he has never understood why. Then he discovers that he had an older brother who died before he was born. Where his brother was a brilliant academic and scientist, Dominic prefers to 'waste' his time painting. His father cannot forgive him for it. Dominic decides to try to find out about his brother, but he discovers more than he bargained for. Their father had Dominic's dead brother cloned, and Dominic is the result. How can he live with this mind-blowing discovery? Amazon.co.uk

The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend The day her gifted twins leave home for university, Eva climbs into bed and stays there. For seventeen years she's wanted to yell at the world, 'Stop! I want to get off'. Finally, this is her chance. Perhaps she will be able to think. Her husband Dr Brian Beaver, an astronomer who divides his time between gazing at the expanding universe, an unsatisfactory eight-years-old affair with his colleague Titania and mooching in his shed, is not happy. Who will cook dinner? Eva, he complains, is either having a breakdown or taking attention - seeking to new heights... Sue Townsend, Britain's funniest writer for over three decades, has written a brilliant novel that eviscerates modern family life. Nielsen BookData Online

The song of Achilles by Madeline Miller WINNER OF THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION 2012 Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles's mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear. Nielsen BookData Online

The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy That saying? Behind every famous man ...? From Mrs Midas to Queen Kong, from Elvis's twin sister to Pygmalion's bride, they're all here, in Carol Ann Duffy's inspired and inspirational collection, The World's Wife. Witty and thought-provoking, this is a tongue-in-cheek, no-holds-barred look at the real movers and shakers across history, myth and legend. If you have ever wondered, for example, how exactly Darwin came up with his theory of evolution, or what, precisely, Frau Freud thought about her husband -- then this is the book for you, as the wives of the great, the good, the not so good, and the legendary are given a voice in Carol Ann Duffy's sparkling and inventive collection. Nielsen BookData Online

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The God of Small Things by Arundahati Roy The year is 1969. In the state of Kerala, on the southernmost tip of India, a skyblue Plymouth with chrome tailfins is stranded on the highway amid a Marxist workers' demonstration. Inside the car sit two-egg twins Rahel and Esthappen, and so begins their tale.... Nielsen BookData Online Gold by Chris Cleave Usually, this is where we'd tell you what this book is about. But with Chris Cleave, it's a bit different. Because if you've read THE OTHER HAND or INCENDIARY,

you'll know that what his books are about is only part of the story - what really matters is how they make you feel. GOLD is about the limits of human endurance, both physical and emotional. It will make you cry. GOLD is about what drives us to succeed - and what we choose to sacrifice for success. It will make you feel glad to be alive. GOLD is about the struggles we all face every day; the conflict between winning on others' terms, and triumphing on your own. It will make you count your blessings. GOLD is a story told as only Chris Cleave could tell it. And once you begin, it will be a heart-pounding race to the finish. Nielsen BookData Online

The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas An epic story of wartime, family secrets and forbidden love, set against the stunning exotic backdrop of 1940s Kashmir. Within one exotic land lie the secrets of a lifetime...Newlywed Nerys Watkins leaves rural Wales for the first time to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India. Deep in the exquisite heart of Kashmir lies the lakeside city of Srinagar, where the British live on carved wooden houseboats and dance, flirt and gossip as if there is no war. But the battles draw closer, and life in Srinagar becomes less frivolous when the men are sent away to fight. Nerys is caught up in a dangerous friendship, and by the time she is reunited with her husband, the innocent Welsh bride has become a different woman. Years later, when Mair Ellis clears out her father’s house, she finds an exquisite antique shawl, a lock of child’s hair wrapped within its folds. Tracing her grandparents, roots back to Kashmir, Mair embarks on a quest that will change her life forever. Nielsen BookData Online

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach Enticed by advertisements for a newly restored palatial hotel and filled with visions of a life of leisure, good weather and mango juice in their gin, a group of very different people leave England to begin a new life in India. On arrival they are dismayed to find the palace is a shell of its former self, the staff more than a little eccentric, and the days of the Raj long gone. But, as they soon discover, life and love can begin again, even in the most unexpected circumstances. Nielsen BookData Online

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The Colour of Milk by Nell Leyshon The year is 1831 when fifteen-year-old Mary begins the difficult task of telling her story. A scrap of a thing with a sharp tongue and hair the colour of milk, Mary leads a harsh life working on her father's farm alongside her three sisters. In the summer she is sent to work for the local vicar's invalid wife, where the reasons why she must record the truth of what happens to her - and the need to record it so urgently - are gradually revealed. "Haunting, distinctive voices...Mary's spare simple words paint brilliant pictures in the reader's mind...Nell Leyshon's imaginative powers are considerable". ("Independent"). "A small tour de force - a wonderfully convincing voice, and a devastating story told with great skill and economy". (Penelope Lively). Nielsen BookData Online

Light on Snow by Anita Shreve ‘I watched my father run forward in his snowshoes the way one sometimes does in dreams, unable to make the legs move fast enough. I ran to the place where he knelt. I looked down into the sleeping bag. A tiny face gazed up at me, the eyes wide despite their many folds. The baby was wrapped in a bloody towel, and its lips were blue.' The events of a December afternoon on which a father and his daughter find an abandoned infant in the snow will forever alter eleven-year-old Nicky Dillon's understanding of the world which she is about to enter and the adults who inhabit it: a father who has taken great pains to remove himself from society in order to put behind him an unthinkable tragedy; a young woman who must live with the consequences of the terrible choices she has made; and a detective whose cleverness is superseded only by his sense of justice. Nielsen BookData Online Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding When she leaves the ward she feels the whiteness of the room still inside her, as if she is bleached out inside. It is the shock, she tells herself. She feels the whiteness like a dam holding back all the coloured flood of memory. Iasi, Romania, the early 1950s. A man is found on the steps of a hospital, frail as a fallen bird. He carries no identification and utters no words, and it is days before anyone discovers that he is deaf and mute. And then a young nurse called Safta brings paper and pencils with which he can draw. Slowly, painstakingly, memories appear on the page: a hillside, a stable, a car, a country house, dogs and mirrored rooms and samovars in what is now a lost world. The memories are Safta's also. For the man is Augustin, son of the cook at the manor at Poiana that was her family home. Born six months apart, they grew up with a connection that bypassed words. But while Augustin's world remained the same size Safta's expanded to embrace languages, society - and love, as Augustin watched one long hot summer, in the form of a fleeting young man in a green Lagonda. Safta left before the war. Augustin stayed. But even in the wide hills and valleys around Poiana he did not escape its horrors‌ Nielsen BookData Online

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald While holidaying at a villa on the French Riviera, Dick and Nicole Diver, a wealthy American couple, meet the young film star Rosemary Hoyt. Her arrival causes a stir in their social circle and exposes the cracks in their fragile marriage. As their relationship unravels, the glimpses of their troubled past emerge, and a series of disturbing events unfolds. Nielsen BookData Online

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Novels by Camilla Lackberg, for fans of Jo Nesbo and Steig Larsson... A woman is found dead, apparently the victim of a tragic car crash. It's the first in a spate of seemingly inexplicable accidents in Tanumshede and marks the end of a quiet winter for detective Patrik Hedstrom and his colleagues. At the same time a reality TV show is being shot in the town. As cameras shadow the stars' every move, relations with the locals are strained to breaking point. When a drunken party ends with a particularly unpopular contestant's murder, the cast and crew are obvious suspects. Could there be a killer in their midst? As the country tunes in, the bodies mount up. Under the intense glare of the media spotlight, Patrik faces his toughest investigation yet! Nielsen BookData Online

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins This is what all the kids are talking about this year—I know mine have devoured them already! Many of the adults I know are also reading them and I am to understand that they will soon be published in adult-style covers so that you can read them unobtrusively on the train or aeroplane… Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before - and survival, for her, is second nature. "The Hunger Games" is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever… Nielsen BookData Online

The Red House by Mark Haddon

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Family, that slippery word, a star to every wandering bark, and everyone sailing under a different sky. After his mother's death, Richard, a newly remarried hospital consultant, decides to build bridges with his estranged sister, inviting Angela and her family for a week in a rented house on the Welsh border. Four adults and four children, a single family and all of them strangers. Seven days of shared meals, log fires, card games and wet walks. But in the quiet and stillness of the valley, ghosts begin to rise up. The parents Richard thought he had. The parents Angela thought she had. Past and present lovers. Friends, enemies, victims, saviours. And watching over all of them from high on the dark hill, Karen, Angela's stillborn daughter. "The Red House" is about the extraordinariness of the ordinary, weaving the words and thoughts of the eight characters together with those fainter, stranger voices - of books and letters and music, of the dead who once inhabited these rooms, of the ageing house itself and the landscape in which it sits. Once again Mark Haddon, bestselling author of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" and "A Spot of Bother" has written a novel that is funny, poignant and deeply insightful about human lives. Nielsen BookData Online


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