Reading Ahead is a programme arranged by The Reading Agency. It’s designed to promote good reading habits and encourage everyone to read for pleasure. The idea is simple - six reads in six months: complete any six reads and a short review for each, before Monday , 5th June 2017.
Absolutely not! Practically anything you read counts. This could include graphic novels, newspapers, magazines, and online articles.
We understand that many of you have very busy lives, both in and outside of the college. However, please don’t let that put you off trying Reading Ahead. It can be easily accommodated into with your everyday life; it’s all about what you make of it. Some of you may want to read or discuss the reading with family and friends, which will be a good way to develop your speaking skills, as well as your reading skills. It may help with writing the diary reviews too (see page 6). Because textbooks or similar items are already part of many of your courses, some of you may want to use those as one of the six reads. It could add a new layer to your learning, asking you to think about how the textbooks are helping you in your course. Along with an expanded vocabulary, increased knowledge, and improved memory, The Stanmore College Learning Resource Centre is offering several great prizes for participants to win, including a Kindle! 4
Signing up is quick and easy - come to the LRC (1st floor Elm) and see a member of staff at the LC Helpdesk, where you can complete registration form to receive your Reading Ahead diary and get started straight away!
We would like to introduce you to the Reading Ahead website: ď‚ˇ
Here, you can create an online profile and search for further reading ideas (beyond our recommendations in this booklet!).
Reading Ahead is meant to be an enjoyable way to take on more reading and you may find that part of the fun is mixing things up, reading a wide variety of books. You could start out with a book that is quite short and easy to read, and from there try to make each book you choose different, of varying lengths and genres. Of course, its entirely up to you what you read but do consider taking the opportunity to try something you wouldnâ€™t usually consider.
When youâ€™ve finished a book, you can write a short review of it in your Reading Diary (the little blue book). This is your chance to tell us what you thought of the book. Did you like it? Did you not like it? Are you somewhere in-between? Whichever way you felt about the book, be sure to write down why you felt that way. This will help you to really engage with the book and to have your own say on it (and weâ€™ll read each and every review!).
There is also a section near the end where you can write about how you felt Reading Ahead went for you overall. Use this section to say what you feel went well and tell us if it helped you at all with your reading and general English. You can also tell us if you feel anything about the programme could be improved for the future.
The rest of this booklet will show you some recommended books that are available to borrow from the LRC at Stanmore College, from Science fiction and Fantasy, to Thrillers and Quick-Reads. If any of these particularly interest you, come and find them in the library and see what other books are available too. You just might find a new favourite! Good luck.
And have fun!
Escape - Phillip Burrows & Mark Foster (ER BUR) 'I'm not a thief. I'm an innocent man,' shouts Brown. He is angry because he is in prison and the prison guards hate him. Then one day Brown has an idea. It is dangerous - very dangerous.
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (ER CON) Dark allegory describes the narratorâ€™s journey up the Congo River and his meeting with, and fascination by, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious personage who dominates the unruly inhabitants of the region. Masterly blend of adventure, character development, psychological penetration. Considered by many Conradâ€™s finest, most enigmatic story.
The Wave - Morton Rhue (ER RHU) The Wave is based on a true incident that occurred in a high school history class in Palo Alto, California, in 1969. The powerful forces of group pressure that pervaded many historic movements such as Nazism are recreated in the classroom when history teacher Burt Ross introduces a "new" system to his students. And before long The Wave, with its rules of "strength through discipline, community, and action", The Wave sweeps from the classroom through the entire school. And as most of the students join the movement, Laurie Saunders and David Collins recognize the frightening momentum of The Wave and realize they must stop it before it's too late. 7
Kung Fu Trip - Benjamin Zephaniah (QR ZEP) Benjamin Zephaniah reveals all, in his own inimitable style, about his memorable experiences in China and also all about his love of kung fu.
Quantum of Tweed: The Man with the Nissan Micra - Conn Iggulden (QR IGG) Albert Rossi has many qualities. He’s a man who can spot polyester at a hundred paces. He’s the person you’d have on speed dial were you to find yourself at the centre of a tailoring emergency. He has an excellent working knowledge of Bonnie Tyler’s back catalogue. These skills are essential to a Gentleman’s Outfitter from Eastcote. They are not necessarily on the job description for recruiting an assassin. When Albert hits an unsuspecting pedestrian … he receives a mysterious phone call from a man who sounds surprisingly like Stephen Hawking , telling him that his money will be left in the ‘usual’ place. At that very moment, Albert Rossi decides to change careers. Albert Rossi’s life is about to get a whole lot more interesting…
A Cool Head - Ian Rankin (QR RAN) Gravy worked in the graveyard - hence the name. He was having a normal day until his friend Benjy turned up in a car Gravy didn't recognise. Benjy had a bullet hole in his chest, but lived just long enough to ask Gravy to hide him and look after his gun.
The Lathe of Heaven - Ursula Le Guin (F LEG) George Orr is a man who discovers he has the peculiar ability to dream things into being -- for better or for worse. In desperation, he consults a psychotherapist who promises to help him -- but who, it soon becomes clear, has his own plans for George and his dreams. The Lathe of Heaven is a dark vision and a warning -- a fable of power uncontrolled and uncontrollable. It is a truly prescient and startling view of humanity, and the consequences of playing God.
The Hitchhikerâ€™s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (F ADA) Seconds before the Earth is demolished for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is saved by Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Together they stick out their thumbs to the stars and begin a wild journey through time and space.
Non-Stop - Brian W. Aldis (F ALD) Curiosity was discouraged in the Greene tribe. Its members lived out their lives in cramped Quarters, hacking away at the encroaching ponics. As to where they were - that was forgotten. Roy Complain decides to find out. With the renegade priest Marapper, he moves into unmapped territory, where they make a series of discoveries which turn their universe upside-down... Non-Stop is the classic SF novel of discovery and exploration; a brilliant evocation of a familiar setting seen through the eyes of a primitive. 9
The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler (F CHA) When a dying millionaire hires Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complications he gets caught up in.
Postmortem - Patricia Cornwell (F COR) Under cover of night in Richmond, Virginia, a human monster strikes, leaving a gruesome trail of stranglings that has paralyzed the city. Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta suspects the worst: a deliberate campaign by a brilliant serial killer whose signature offers precious few clues. With an unerring eye, she calls on the latest advances in forensic research to unmask the madman. But this investigation will test Kay like no other, because it's being sabotaged from withinâ€”and someone wants her dead.
Close - Martina Cole (F COL) Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. And your family should be closest of all. Patrick Brodie knows exactly how far he's prepared to go to get what he wants. And he wants it all. Now. Before long, Patrick has become a legend in his own lifetime. Violently. Lily Diamond is different from the kind of woman Patrick is normally attracted to. But together they are determined that their children will have everything they didn't. Until the unthinkable happens and Lily is left on her own to look after their family in a dangerous world. The Brodies must stay close to survive. But as everyone knows, your sins will find you out. 10
Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (F ADI) With effortless grace, celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie illuminates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra's impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s. We experience this tumultuous decade alongside five unforgettable charactersâ€Ś Half of a Yellow Sun is a tremendously evocative novel of the promise, hope, and disappointment of the Biafran war
A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry (F MIS) With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India. The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers--a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village--will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future. As the characters move from distrust to friendship and from friendship to love, A Fine Balance creates an enduring panorama of the human spirit in an inhuman state.
The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (F COE) This story... is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our 11
Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka (F KAF) This is the story of a young man who, transformed overnight into a giant beetle-like insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. A harrowing -- though absurdly comic -- meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and isolation, The Metamorphosis has taken its place as one of the most widely read and influential works of twentieth-century fiction.
Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (F ORW) The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell's prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of "negative utopia" -a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel's hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions -a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.
Persepolis: The Story of Childhood - Marjane Satrapi (GN SAT) Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. 12
The Handmaidâ€™s Tale - Margaret Atwood (F ATW) Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro (F ISH) As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have re-entered her life, and for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special--and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury (F BRA) The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future. Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books. 13
Northern Lights - Philip Pullman (TF PUL) When Lyra's friend Roger disappears, she and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, determine to find him. The ensuing quest leads them to the bleak splendour of the North, where armoured bears rule the ice and witch-queens fly through the frozen skies - and where a team of scientists is conducting experiments too horrible to be spoken about. Lyra overcomes these strange terrors, only to find something yet more perilous waiting for her - something with consequences which may even reach beyond the Northern Lights...
The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien (F TOL) Frodo Baggins knew the Ringwraiths were searching for him—and the Ring of Power he bore that would enable Sauron to destroy all that was good in Middle-earth. Now it was up to Frodo and his faithful servant Sam to carry the Ring to where it could be destroyed—in the very centre of Sauron's dark kingdom.
Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett (TF PRA) Kingdoms wobble, crowns topple and knives flash on the magical Discworld as the statutory three witches meddle in royal politics. The wyrd sisters battle against frightful odds to put the rightful king on the throne. At least, that's what they think...
X-Men: Endangered Species - Mike Carey (GN GAG) They say words can never hurt you. But they never met Wanda Maximoff. At the height of her madness during the crisis known as M Day, the Scarlet Witch uttered those three little words that obliterated nearly the entire species of mutants, consigning them to the dustbin of Darwin's evolution. Following in the wake of Decimation, and setting up the final showdown with fate in the X-Men event Messiah CompleX, Endangered Species finds the Beast in a race against the clock to see what he can do to save the destiny of his fellow mutants before time runs out. Alone and with the future in his hands, can he stumble upon the key that will bring about a positive change, or will a species now endangered be headed irrevocably for extinction?
Sin City, Vol. 1: The Hard Goodbye - Frank Miller (GN MIL) The first volume of the crime-comic megahit that introduced the now-infamous character Marv and spawned a blockbuster film returns in a newly redesigned edition, with a brand-new cover by Frank Miller - some of his first comics art in years! It's a lousy room in a lousy part of a lousy town. But Marv doesn't care. There's an angel in the room. She says her name is Goldie. A few hours later, Goldie's dead without a mark on her perfect body, and the cops are coming before anyone but Marv could know she's been killed.
Dragonball - Akira Toriyama (GN TOR) Legend has it that if all seven of the precious orbs called "Dragon Balls" are gathered together, an incredibly powerful dragon god will appear to grant one wish. Unfortunately, the orbs are scattered across the world, making them extremely difficult to collect. Enter 16 year old Bulma, a scientific genius who has constructed a radar to detect the exact locations of the Dragonballs. Sheâ€™s on a mission to find all seven orbs, but first she must convince young Son Goku to join her on her quest. With a monkey tail, superhuman strength and a magic staff for a weapon, Son Goku is ready to set out on the adventure of a lifetime. 15
City of God - Paulo Lins (F LIN) Cicade de Deus, the City of God, is one of Rio's most notorious slums. Yet it is also a place where samba rocks till dawn, where the women are the most beautiful on earth, and where one young man wants to escape his background and become a photographer. City of God is a sprawling, magnificently told epic about gang life in Rio's favelas, based on years of research and Pualo Lins's first-hand experience growing up in Cicade de Deus. A book that gives voice to the dispossessed of multi-ethnic Brazil, City of God will earn Paulo Lins more well-deserved international acclaim.
The Firm - John Grisham (F GRI) When Mitch McDeere signed on with Bendini, Lambert & Locke of Memphis, he thought that he and his beautiful wife, Abby, were on their way. The firm leased him a BMW, paid off his school loans, arranged a mortgage, and hired the McDeeres a decorator. Mitch should have remembered what his brother Ray–doing fifteen years in a Tennessee jail–already knew: You never get nothing for nothing. Now the FBI has the lowdown on Mitch’s firm and needs his help. Mitch is caught between a rock and a hard place, with no choice–if he wants to live.
The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks (F BAN) Meet Frank Cauldhame. Just sixteen, and unconventional to say the least: Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different and more fundamental reasons than I'd disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim. That's my score to date. Three. I haven't killed anybody for years, and don't intend to ever again. It was just a stage I was going through.
Dracula - Bram Stoker (F STO) When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman's neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of his 'Master'. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count Dracula and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre … Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, the novel's influence on the popularity of vampires has been singularly responsible for many theatrical and film interpretations throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë (F BRO) Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine's father. After Mr Earnshaw's death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine's brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (F STE) The compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world. Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream--a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie, struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy, becomes a victim of his own strength. Tackling universal themes such as the friendship of a shared vision, and giving voice to America’s lonely and dispossessed. 17
Life of Pi - Yann Martel (F MAR) Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The protagonist, Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, a Tamil boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
Slumdog Millionaire - Vikas Swarup (F SWA) Ram Mohammad Thomas has been arrested. Because how can a poor orphan who has never read a newspaper or gone to school correctly answer all twelve questions on the television game show Who Will Win a Billion?â€”Unless he has cheated? As the story unfolds, Ram explains to his lawyer how he knew the answer to each question by telling a chapter of his amazing life: from the day he was salvaged from a dustbin to his meeting with a security-crazed Australian army colonel while performing as an overly creative tour guide at the Taj Mahal. Stunning a television audience of millions, Ram draws on a store of street wisdom and accidental encounters that provides him with the essential keys not only to the quiz but also to life itself.
I am Legend - Richard Matheson (F MAT) Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth... but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville's blood. By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive like this? 18
*Please note: the summaries provided in this booklet have been obtained from Good Reads, Fantasy Book Review, and Amazon.