For those of you who want factual books on a range of subjects you could try some of these excellent books:
Fascinating insights and entertaining analysis into the way we use words in David Crystal’s latest book:
The Gift of the Gab: How Eloquence Works
The Tale of the Duelling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery by Sam Kean (recommended by Dr Evans, Chemistry)
Strange Glow: The story of radiation by Timothy J. Jorgensen
Stuff Matters: The strange stories of the marvellous materials that shape our man-made world – Mark Miodownik
New from Marcus du Sautoy – What we cannot know: Explorations at the edge of knowledge
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
History and Classics:
SPQR by Mary Beard
Twelve years a slave by Solomon Northup
by Frank Dikötter
The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee. This is the new book from the author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
It’s lovely to see so many students (and the occasional member of staff) enjoying the bean bags on the grass in the Water Library in Princes’ Quad. They are proving popular with students revising – testing each other on exam topics, working on laptops and others just relaxing, taking a break and socialising. One of the benefits has been more space for students doing intensive revision in the Library. Students have developed creative revision habits this year – unprompted they have been using the glass walls of the pods to write revision notes – very effective re-usable white boards! Good luck to everyone with revision and exams.
This week saw the announcement of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016 winner. The prize, formerly known as the Orange Prize for Fiction, was founded in 1996 and celebrates
‘excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women throughout the world’. It was won by Lisa McInerney with her debut novel Glorious Heresies. The chair of the judges described it as “a superbly original, compassionate novel that delivers insights into the very darkest of lives through humour and skilful storytelling. A fresh new voice and a wonderful winner.” The six shortlisted books are available in the Library – I have much reading to catch up on!
Don’t miss the new e-books on the VLebooks platform. Visit the e-Library on SharePoint and use the VLebooks link to read any of the books through your browser or download books to your smartphone or iPad. Ask the Library staff if you need help setting this up. Be prepared for half-term and stock up with e-books. There’s something for everyone ranging from a number of the Carnegie Shortlisted books to Science non-fiction and books for teachers. You can browse the stock using ‘Library Lists’ to search by category.
The Carnegie Book Award Shortlist 2016 has been announced and our Y9 shadowing group members have collected their first books to read over the Easter holidays. It’s a fantastic shortlist this year including ‘The Lie Tree’ by Frances Hardinge; Costa Book of the Year 2015 and much praised and recommended by both librarians here. I thought ‘One’ was amazing and Sarah Crossan’s trademark style of writing in blank verse works well with the subject matter. Tipi and Grace are conjoined teenage twins and each chapter conveys a poetic snapshot of their life.
Read more about the shortlists here You can watch author and illustrator videos here
Guardian reviews of all the books can be found here
Having multiple copies of the shortlisted books enables a large group of students to read the books simultaneously and provokes heated discussions about the merits and drawbacks of all of them. After the award process is over they become useful sets of contemporary fiction which can be read by tutor groups.
The 8 shortlisted books are:
One by Sarah Crossan
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders
The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
Y9 enjoyed a continuation of the celebrations of books and reading the day after World Book Day with a morning of author talks. We were excited to welcome one of own authors – Virginia Macgregor, twice published author and English teacher here at Wellington. Virginia talked about the inspiration for her novels and read an excerpt from “The astonishing return of Norah Wells”. The students were full of questions and a number of them felt inspired to continue with their own creative writing projects including writing their own novels.
After break we welcomed award-winning young adult author Marcus Sedgwick to the theatre. Y9 were all given a copy of ‘Revolver’ by Marcus to read over the summer before their arrival at Wellington. His books have proved popular with a large number of our students, in particular ‘My Swordhand is singing’ and many of the students have read his Carnegie-shortlisted novel ‘Midwinterblood’. He opened his talk with a debate about the pros and cons of being a writer. He talked about his interest in coincidence and how it became a major theme in ‘She is not invisible’. How many hidden references to the number 354 can you find in the book?
The strong message that came across from both authors was that writing is something they love and can’t do without. They urged the young people to do something they really enjoy with their lives and then it doesn’t feel like work!
Ms Dahlke writes:
Congratulations to Frances Hardinge for winning the Costa Book of the Year award for her young adult novel, The Lie Tree. Despite the award being established in 1971, this is only the second time a book for young people has won it. I’m not surprised that it won the overall award, I read it over the summer holidays and have been recommending it to people (of all ages) ever since.
The book is set in Victorian times and begins with Faith, a teenage girl, and her family arriving on an island in order to escape the scandal that engulfed them in London. What was the scandal? And why is her natural scientist father so reluctant to talk about it? Faith is determined to find out.
This book has an original and tightly structured plot, which keeps the suspense going until the very end. Faith – stubborn and spiky, but with a sense of honour that wins out in the end – is a great character. It’s an entertaining read that will also raise questions about the nature of truth and lies.
I would agree that this is a unique and fascinating novel, appealing to all ages. More information is available in an interesting article from Telegraph books
Helen Smith, the librarian at Eckington School has kindly shared her library Christmas Reading Times with us again this year. This is a marvellous publication listing all the Christmas TV based on books. She also reminds us not to miss the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures at 8pm on BBC 4 on Monday 28th, Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th December. This year the theme is survival in space and the lectures are presented by Kevin Fong.
Don’t miss the Royal Institution’s space themed online Advent Calendar – A Place called Space – it includes animations, infographics and archive footage of early space exploration missions. It’s already proving popular with Physics teachers and I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of December brings us.
On the subject of advent calendars have a look at the Book Trust advent calendar 2015 for 24 favourite children’s books. For Maths challenges try the NRICH advent calendar There’s a primary one here for younger children.
For a truly testing brainteaser this Christmas holiday try the GCHQ Christmas puzzle This has been entertaining and infuriating many of our teachers and students over the past few days.
For news junkies you can test your knowledge of the year’s key stories with The Day’s News Mega Quiz
The Y9s have been encouraged to read the same book as the rest of their tutor group and come back and discuss it in January. Here is the list of suggested reads they chose from – 3rd form Christmas books 2015