More celebrations of non-fiction with staff picks!

We are continuing to celebrate National Non-Fiction November and have been gathering a wonderfully eclectic mix of favourite books from staff and students. They range from the discovery of longitude to advice on how to prepare for your perfect triathlon race and from an important and witty look at the history of sanitation to what makes a psychopath. There really is something for everyone in this developing reading list and plenty of fascinating knowledge to be absorbed. Do you have a factual book recommendation?

The books in bold are currently available in the Library and the rest are coming soon!

  • The War on Women by Sue Lloyd-Roberts
  • The Looting Machine by Tom Burgis
  • Worse Than War – The Assault on Humanity by DJ Goldhagen
  • Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy by Gabrielle Coleman
  • The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power (volume 1) by Robert Caro
  • The Team of Rivals:  the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks 
  • Into thin air by Jon Krakauer
  • Time Bends by Arthur Miller
  • The Hall of Uselessness by Simon Leys
  • A Brief History of the Philosophy of Time by Adrian Bardon
  • Molecules at an Exhibition by John Emsley
  • To the Finish Line: A World Champion Triathlete’s Guide To Your Perfect Race by Chrissie Wellington
  • Longitude by Dava Sobel
  • Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall
  • Nature via Nurture: Genes, Experience and what makes us Human by Matt Ridley
  • Rosalind Franklin. The Dark Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox
  • A People’s Tragedy by Orlando Figes
  • The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  • New ideas from dead economists by Todd G. Buchholz
  • Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years by Jared Diamond
  • The map that changed the world by Simon Winchester
  • Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
  • Mao’s last dancer by Li Cunxin
  • Alive by Piers Paul Read
  • Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • A short book about drawing by Andrew Marr
  • The sound of a wild snail eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
  • The Wonder Garden by Jenny Broom
  • The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane, illustrated by Jackie Morris
  • The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
  • The Big Necessity by Rose George
  • The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

Wellington College Library: Developing Independent Learners

I was asked by one of our suppliers of online resources, JCS Online Resources,  to write a blogpost for them about the developments made to the library at Wellington College over the past 5 years. I thought it might be useful to add to our own Library blog as a way of highlighting the role of the library in our school. Below is a version of that post.

Wellington College Library: Developing Independent Learners

Lucy Atherton, Head Librarian at Wellington College discusses the changes made to The Mallinson Library at Wellington College…

In 2012 the library at Wellington College underwent a huge transformation. The rooms of the existing building were brought together to provide a modern, inspiring learning environment for the whole school community. The glass walled pods, each with a giant touch screen computer, lend themselves to collaborative working by our students and the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy means space has been generated by the removal of desktop PCs.

At the heart of the library is a print book stock of around 10,000 items with an additional 20,000 books housed in departmental libraries spread out over the teaching areas of the campus and over 60 magazines and journals. We also have many digital resources, see below, and Browns Books for Students VLeBooks platform enabling students to read on iPads, smart phones and computers.

We invested in a large quantity of huge bean bags to maximise use of the grassy quad in front of the library for informal learning and revision.

The library’s key goals are to support pupil learning, encourage wider reading and nourish intellectual growth by fostering scholarship alongside supporting teaching staff with resources and a flexible workspace. The library accommodates a range of activities from individual study in the small glass pods to collaborative learning in the larger rooms. The library has a set of iPads which students can borrow to use in the library.

Library staff are fully involved in the school’s aim of developing independent learners. The two professional librarians deliver a 3-session course on research skills and referencing to year 9. These newly acquired skills are put to good use in an independent research project – students choose a subject they are fascinated by and use the library catalogue, book stock and online resources to source reliable information.

Digital resources

Over the years the librarians have built up an extensive e-Library of authoritative sources ranging from generic encyclopedias to subject specific sources such as History Study Centre and Gale Historical Newspapers. We also have Audiopi revisions podcasts which are proving particularly popular with our GCSE English students. The Day News Service for schools provides 3 balanced articles each day with additional links, glossaries and questions. It also gives us short articles in modern foreign languages – very useful as topical news resources for the MFL Department.

Three key resources for our 6th form students are Cambridge Companions, Questia School and the JSTOR Secondary Schools Collection. Questia School is a vast wide-ranging database of e-books, newspaper articles and scholarly articles. Each student has a login so they can save search results to project folders and bookmark or annotate resources. Our school-wide licence to JSTOR complements the content in Questia School, providing high level scholarly articles to support the IB Extended Essay and coursework as well as A level coursework and the EPQ.

Whilst we use JCS for a several of our e-resources we also go direct to other publishers and agents to supplement our e-Library as you can see from our Sharepoint page below.

E-Library on Sharepoint

When the school moved from an Intranet to using Microsoft Sharepoint I wanted to ensure that the e-Library looked attractive and inviting – a visual experience rather than simply a list of links where resources can get lost. I created an icon for each resource resembling apps. The resources are also arranged in subject specific pages creating smaller sub-sets to help with locating them.


To maximise use of these online resources it is essential to make staff and students aware of them. Here are some ways I try to publicise what is available on the e-Library:

  • Attending academic departmental meetings to demonstrate subject specific articles and raise awareness.
  • Flag up new online resources via our weekly emailed Library News Digest.
  • Remind students of the key resources in end of term letters.
  • Run sessions on the e-Library for all L6th students.
  • Run sessions according to academic subject on online resources for IB students once they have chosen their Extended Essay topic.
  • Provide new teaching staff induction on the e-Library.
  • Talk to staff at every opportunity about resources which might be relevant to them!
  • Use Twitter and the Library blog for promotion.


We aim to make the library as welcoming as possible and reduce barriers to learning. It is wonderful to see students from different year groups working together, an informal tutorial taking place on the relaxed seating or a game of big chess going on in the Garden Room.

Inspirational reading initiatives!

This academic year our Headmaster has highlighted three main areas he would like us to focus on – inspiration, independence and inclusivity. He is particularly keen for our students (and staff) to be inspired in everything they do and for us all to share books that have inspired us.

It’s exciting to see that reading has taken off in a big way already this term and is branching out beyond the confines of the library and the English Department. We have always encouraged students to read books to extend their academic subject knowledge and bought prize shortlisted books particularly in the field of popular science for Library stock. For the past few years we have promoted the Royal Society Book Prize  and bought multiple copies so students can read and discuss them together.

Royal Society Book Prize Shortlist 2017 – Student shadowing.

This year Biology teacher Nik Light has taken this idea from a library Tweet and run with it. Our 6th Form Science Society are ‘shadowing’ the Royal Society Prize – each reading a shortlisted book (or as much as possible of it in the short time available!) before they meet to deliver their verdicts and debates the merits of each book just before the winner is announced by Brian Cox on 19th Sept. We’ll have the live Twitter feed up in the library as I don’t think the ceremony is broadcast live. One of the students has already declared that their book (described only as ISBN 978-1784700171 as we don’t want to pre-empt the judging!) is the best Science book they have ever read.

Y9 Chemistry reading – ‘The Disappearing Spoon’ by Sam Kean

Dr Caroline Evans, Head of the Chemistry Department is reinforcing the drive to encourage our students to read more and read widely, particularly to extend their subject knowledge in an interesting and entertaining way. She explains:

The Chemistry Department has decided to incorporate more literacy into our lessons for the third form. We have a class set of ‘The Disappearing Spoon’ by Sam Kean which students will be reading and discussing once a fortnight. It is a fantastic book with lots of interesting tales about the Periodic Table.  The plan is for students to be able to use their newly acquired knowledge in the lessons about the Periodic Table. 

She adds:

As a student I didn’t warm to fiction and I didn’t realise that popular science existed. I’m hopeful that for some of our keen scientists that we can combine their love of science with a love for reading. If you’d like to read the book alongside your tutee then there are copies available in the library. Unleash your inner-geek!

We’ve also been holding book discussions with our new Y9s about ‘Z for Zachariah’ the book they were given to read over the summer holiday. In conjunction with Rob Murphy, head of Y9, the students have been thinking about their 8 ‘Desert Island Books’. This has been easier for some than others – Robert Muchamore’s ‘Cherub’ series seems to be a universal favourite and the book ‘Lion’ has been popular this summer with the film tie-in. Based on the Desert Island Discs format with a twist, the students were allowed to take one luxury and one track of music to the island. We’re hoping that this work will lead to some interesting book discussions with tutors. Emphasis was placed on the students saying why they liked a book and the impact it had on them.

Here’s a charming and impressive example by a Y9 boy.

Desert Island books

Robert Harris The Cicero Trilogy: Imperium, Lustrum and The Dictator

These three books are probably the greatest examples of Harris’s writing. I loved the attention to history and the sheer drama which he made out of Cicero’s Lawyer/Politician life. And they were my first meaty and proper books, all of the books in the trilogy are about 400 pages long.

Robert Muchamore: Brigands M.C. (Cherub series)

Cherub was what got me into reading. They’re everything, spy novels, teenage romances, gritty missions, epic training sequences. Literally everything I wanted from a children’s book. Since the series is huge I can’t choose them all. If I have to choose, the penultimate book in the first series (the James series) is the best.

PG Wodehouse: Carry on Jeeves

PG Wodehouse is the second funniest author I have ever read, and of his many eccentric characters Jeeves is by far my favourite. Jeeves and Bertie Wooster make a ludicrously funny pair. And this is the kind of book which I could spend hours just finding something new in its pages.

Jung Chang: Wild Swans

Ever since reading this I wanted to know more about Mao’s regime and how its still affecting  China today, I know so little about such an interesting country and period, and I would love to explore the area further.

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (the first one) by Douglas Adams

This is the funniest, most plot hole ridden “book” of all time. I absolutely adored it when I first read it and keep loving it today. It’s just so quirky and different in every way.

Captain Bluebear

Read this. It’s the most charming and creative book ever. Its like a hyperactive imagination went wild but was then tamed by clear concise writing and beautiful turns of phrase.

Music: Macklemore, Drug Dealer

It’s such a soulful song and makes me really focused

Luxury: Spaghetti Bolognese

On the island there would probably be food, it’s just Spaghetti Bolognese would be better than anything I could find.

Jane Austen 200

And finally – our enthusiastic English Department and Literary Society is holding a celebration of the bicentenary of Jane Austen next week with Regency High Tea, music and readings from her novels.


The ‘Extreme Reading Photo Competition’ is back this summer!

Get reading – Get extreme!

Here’s my first Extreme reading photo of the summer holidays. Cycling along the Thames Path we ended up in Hyde Park and sought out the amazing ‘Still Water’ statue of a horse’s head by Nic Fiddian-Green.

I was reading ‘My Name is Leon’ by Kit de Waal. This debut novel was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2016 and it’s not difficult to see why. Funny, moving and engrossing I immediately warmed to 9 year old protagonist Leon. The brilliantly evocative opening of the book shows Leon’s love and care for his newborn brother Jake. The boys’ mother is incapable of looking after for her children and Leon takes on the role of caring for his brother. Although the book deals with tough themes – depression, sibling separation and identity it was ultimately uplifting. The feeling I had of foreboding and disaster was time and again proved wrong and I was left feeling positive and optimistic at the end of the book and ready to read it all over again!

Here’s more from the Penguin website:

Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers. Since Jake is white and Leon is not.

As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile – like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum.

Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a heart-breaking story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how – just when we least expect it – we manage to find our way home.

Take a photo of yourself reading in an ‘extreme’ place (without endangering yourself!) Be as creative or imaginative as you like – extreme can mean unusual!

We are looking forward to receiving your photos which will be displayed in the Library at the start of the Michaelmas Term 2017.

Entries welcome from staff, pupils and parents. Prizes for all categories.

Email your photos to the Library:

Or Tweet them to @welly_library

By: Tuesday 12th September 2017

Stating your name, book title and location. You can add more information or a book comment in the email if you wish but it isn’t essential.


We love to hear your about your favourite summer reads!






Final book recommendations from the Big Book Vote – Summer reading inspiration!

Here is the remainder of the enormous list of favourite books we collected in our ‘Wellington College Big Book Vote’ in March this year to coincide with World Book Day.

As we head towards the long summer holiday it seemed an apt time to reveal all the books which received one recommendation from a staff member or student – nearly 500 in total.

Apologies for the incomplete nature of the information – not all voters supplied authors or full titles but for the time being it is an intriguing and wide ranging list of personal favourites!

100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

11 Kinds of Loneliness – by Richard Yates
41: A Portrait of My Father (George W. Bush)
A brief history of time
A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)
A court of thorns and roses by Sarah J Maas
A Fine Balance by  Mistry
A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly
A god in ruins by Kate Atkinson
A heartbreaking work of staggering genius – Dave Eggers
A History of the World in 100 Objects (Neil McGregor)
A Little Life
A million little pieces
A Murder of Quality (John Le Carre)
A People’s Tragedy by Orlando Figes
A Room with a View, E.M. Forster
A Separate Peace
A Study in Scarlet
A tale of two Cities
A Town Like Alice
A Year of Marvellous Ways (Sarah Winman, an old friend)
About a boy – Nick Hornby
Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart
Aesop’s Fables
Alan Bennett Diaries – Keep on Keeping on
Alan Turing and the Turing machine
Alex Cross
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
All My Secrets
All the Bright Places- Jennifer Niven
All the truth that’s in me
Altered Pasts: Counterfactuals in History
Am I normal yet?
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
An abundance of Katherine’s
An unsuitable job for a woman – PD James
Andre Agassi autobiograpy
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Antony Beevor, Berlin the Downfall
Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan
Arabian Sands, by Wilfred Thesiger
Archangel: Robert Harris
Around the world in 80 days, Jules Vernes
As I Lay Dying
Assassin’s Apprentice
Augustus- Allan Massie
Auschwitz by Miklaos Nyiszli
Bad Pharma – Ben Goldacre
Ballet shoes
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates)
Beware of Pity – Stefan Zweig
Beyond Good and Evil
Beyond the Deepwoods
Black Box Thinking (Matthew Syed)
Black Water Lillies – Michel Bussi
Blood Meridian
Born to be wild
Brighton Rock, Graham Green
Britons: Forging a Nation by Linda Colley
Bunker Diary – Kevin Brooks
Casino Royale
Charlie and the chocolate factory
Chickenhawk – unknown
Child 44
Churchill Factor
Cinnamon Shops – Bruno Schulz
Collected Poems 1909-1962, by T S Eliot
Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens
Collected Poems, by Philip Larkin
Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K.Rowling
Danny the Champion of the World – RD
Daphne du Maurier – Jamaica Inn
Daring greatly
Death In The Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway
Death Note
Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney
Department 19 series by Will Hill
Dick Francis’s collection
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
Diving Adventure – Willard Price
Diving Bell and the Butterfly – Jean-Dominique Bauby
Don Kişot
Dulce et Decorum Est
Earth’s Children series (6 books) by Jean M Auel
Eat Sweat Play: How sport can change our lives – Kessel
Economix – graphic novel explaining Economics
Edge of nowhere
Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene
El principito – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Emma (JAusten)
Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas
Empire, by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri
Empress Orchid (Anchee Min)
Ender’s Game
Engleby – Sebastian Faulks
Enigma, Robert Harris
Escape by Kate Cann
Falling Leaves (Adeline Yen Mah)
Famous Five by Enid Blyton
Farseer Trilogy
Fatherland – Robert Harris
Fiction – The count of Monte Cristo – Dumas
Fight like a girl
Find her
First Test (Tamora Pierce)
Fluke – Joseph Mazur
Fragments of Sappho
Freedom (Jonathan Franzen)
General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales – Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Girl online
Gone with the Wind
Good Omens’ by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Goodbye to All That – Robert Graves
Goosebumps – Ghost Camp
Green Eggs & Ham – Dr Seuss
Green Flag by Robert Kee
Gustav Heningsen, The Witches Advocate, Basque Witchcraft and the Spanish Inquisition
Half Hidden
Hamlet, by William Shakespeare
Happiness by design
Heir of fire by Sarah j Maas
Here we lie
Hidden Killer – Lynda La Plante
History as an Art of Memory – Patrick Hutton
History of God – Karen Armstrong
Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives – Alan Bullock
Holding Up the Universe- Jennifer Niven
Hope in a ballet shoe
House Rules, Jodi Picoult
House with the Green Shutters
How To Be A Study Ninja by Graham Alcott
How to Watch Football by Ruud Gullit
Hunt for the wilderpeople
I am Malala
I, Claudius
I Coriander
Illustrated Encyclopedia of British History
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
In the heart of the sea
In the killing woods
Into that forest
Introducing Quantum Physics – A Graphic Novel
Is it just me? By Miranda Hart
Itch – Simon Mayo
It’s kind of a funny story
It’s Quacking Time
J G Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
Jack Reacher
Jeffery Archor books
Jessica Ennis biography
John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress
John Milton, Paradise Lost
John: The Gospel of Wisdom by Michael Card
Johnny Be Good by Paige Toon
Journey to the river sea
Journey’s End
Jung Chang- Wild Swans
Jurassic Park
Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami
Kane and Abel
Ketchup Clouds
King Richard III by William shakespeare
King Soloman’s Mines’ by H. Rider Haggard
Kreutzer Sonata – Tolstoy
La fille d’un héros de l’URSS (Andreii Makeine)
La Lionne Blanche, Henning Mankell
La verite sur l’affaire Quebert, Joel Dicker
Lady chatterley’s Lover
Lamentation- C.J.Samson
Lanark – Alastair Gray
L’Arrache Coeur, Boris Vian
Last Train to Babylon by Charlee Fam
Les animaux denatures, Vercos
Letter To the King: Tonke Dragt
Life’s Too Short by Helen Rollason
Little Women, L.M. Alcott
London Orbital – Iain Sinclair
Longbourn by Jo Baker
Lorein Legacys
Lost and Found
Lost at sea: the jon ronson mysteries
Lost Japan
Love Does Bob Goff
Love in the Time of Cholera
Lustrum by Robert Harris
M Train – Patti Smith
Magic in Numberland – Alex Bellos
Mallory Towers series
Mao’s Last Dancer
Mapp and Lucia (EFBenson)
Margaret Brown’s Goodnight Moon
Marley and Me
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Maus, by Art Spiegelman
Meditations (Marcus Aurelius)
Memoirs of a Geisha
Miss Pettigrew Lives for the Day
Molecules at an Exhibition
Molecules, Peter Atkins
Mortal Engines
Most of the Kay Scarpetta books by Patricia Cornwell
Muhammad Ali – Autobiography
My sister lives on the mantlepiece
My sword hand is singing
Never Let Me Go
Night Runner by Tim Bowler
Not in God’s Name
Not without my daughter
On Beulah Height – Reginald Hill
On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwan
On politics
One Day Event – Josephine Pullein-Thompson
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)
One-Inch Warrior
Oscar and Lucinda’ by Peter Carey
Out of my mind
Paradise Lost
Paul Krugman- End this depression now
Paul O’Connell (The Battle) book on Rugby
Perks of Being a Wallflower
Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi
Persian Fire
Peter Rabbit
Phaedrus (Plato)
Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
Polar Bear Pirates and the quest for Fat City (Adrian Webster)
Pompeii – Robert Harris
Prodigal’s daughter
Provided You Don’t Kiss Me: 20 Years with Brian Clough – Duncan Hamilton
Queen of the desert by Georgina Howell
Red Rising – Pierce Brown
Requiem for a Dream
Ring of bright water by Gavin Maxwell
Robinson Crusoe
Roll of thunder hear my cry
Rudyard Kipling – IF
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics under Hitler
Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo
Shakespeare by Bill Bryson
Short History of nearly everything-Bill Bryson
Silly Verse for Kids   Spike Milligan
Silver linings playbook
Sir Thomas Malory, Morte Darthur
Sister missing
Six Dinner Sid – Inga Moore
Six Not So Easy Pieces by Richard Feinman
Six Poets, Alan Bennett
Sleep in early modern England- Sascha handley
Smart – Kim Slater
Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder
Squash and a Squeeze – Julia Donaldson
Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor
Stick Man
Stoner – by John Williams
Storm Catchers
Stuff Matters’ by Mark M
Summer of ’49 – David Halberstam
Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior
T S Eliot, Selected Poems
Tarzan of the Apes – Edgar Rice-Burroughs
Taxi – Karen Duve
Team of Rivals: the political genius of Abraham Lincoln – Doris Kearns Goodwin
Temperance Brennan (Bones) books by Kathy Reichs
Tender is the Night – by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The graveyard book – Neil Gaiman
The 100 dollar horse
The 48 laws of power
The adventures of Paddington, Michael Brown
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Annals – Tacitus
The Art of Meditation, by Matthieu Ricard
The Baroque Cycle (Neal Stephenson)
The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B
The BFG – Roald Dahl
The Big Necessity – Rose George
The Birth of the Pill
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
The Boy At The Top of The Mountain
The Boy with the Lightning Feet
The Bricks That Built The Houses
The Butterfly lion
The Call of the Wild – Jack London
The Confessions of an Economic Hitman
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Crossing
The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper)
The Dark Knight Returns
The Day of the Jackal
The Dead
The Disappearing Spoon
The Economics of Good and Evil
The Ego and its Own – Max Stirner
The empty pot
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
The fastest boy in the world
The fifteen lives of Harry August
The Fifth Elephant – Terry Pratchett
The Fight – Norman Mailer
The garden of evening mists
The Girls by Emma Cline
The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein)
The glass castle
The Glass Menagerie, Tenessee Williams
The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh
The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins
The good earth
The Grace to Race by Sister Madonna Buder
The Hand That First Held Mine
The Handmaid’s Tale   Margaret Attwood
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The House of the Scorpion
The Hundred year old man who climbed out of a window and disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
The Hungry Caterpillar
The Iliad
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The invention of Wings
The Japanese Mind
The Last Enemy
The Last of the Wine – Mary Renault
The Last Temptation (Nikos Kazantzakis)
The liar
The lie
The lies we tell ourselves – Robin Talley
The life-changing magic of tidying by Marie Kondo
The Lightless Sky – Gulwali Passerlay
The Line of Beauty – Alan Hollinghurst
The Little Drummer Girl   John Le Carre
The Locust Effect (Gary Haugen)
The Loney
The Long Walk
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat (Oliver Sacks)
The messenger bird
The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton
The moaning of life – Karl pilkington
The Mortal Instrument Series by Cassandra Clare
The Mysterious Haunting of Charity Delafield
The Nicomachean Ethics
The Night Rainbow
The Number Devil
The Ocean At the End of the Lane- Neil Gaiman
The Odyssey: Homer
The One and Only Ivan
The Outsider
The Painter of Shanghai (Jennifer Cody Epstein)
The Palliser Novels (6) – Anthony Trollope
The Particle at the End of the Universe
The Penguin History of Latin America
The pill
The Pit and the Pendulum – Edgar Allan Poe (do short stories count?)
The Poisonwood Bible
The Princess Bride
The Prophet, by Khalil Gibran
The Quiet American     Graeme Green
The Railway Children
The Reader, Bernard Schlink
The rest of us just live here
The Restless Earth   Nigel Calder
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – William L.Shirer
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Roman Revolution’ by Ronald Syme
The Romanovs by Simon Montefiore
The school for good and evil
The Scotland Street Series – Alexander McCall-Smith
The Screwtape Letters, by C S Lewis
The sea of tranquility
The secret life of bees
The Secret of Atlantis – Otto Muck
The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton
The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
The Shock Doctrine
The Silver Sword
The Sky is Everywhere
The Space Race by Deborah Cadbury
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John Le Carre
The State We’re In
The Swiss Family Robinson Johann David Wyss
The Tales of Beedle the Bard – JK Rowling
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
The Things They Carried
The Third Reich
The Thornbirds – Colleen McCullough
The time machine (H.G. Wells)
The Trial – Kafka
The Trouble with Physics
The Universe versus Alex Woods – Gavin Extence
The Valley of Adventure – Enid Blyton
The War Of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts – Louis de Bernieres
The Wealth and Poverty of Nations (David Landes)
The Weapons Shops of Isher – A E Van Vogt
The White Spider – Heinrich Harrer
The Why Cafe, John Strelecky
The Wind in the Willows
The witch craze- Lyndal roper
The World According to Bob – James Bowen
The Worldly Philosophers
The Years of Lyndon Johnson (4 vols) – Robert Caro
Thief by Malorie Blackman
Thinking, Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman)
Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
Three Cups of Tea
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Time of Gifts
Touching the void
Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh
Trapped series
Trash – Andy Mulligan
Treasures of the snow
Trump on Trump
Trust in me
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Unreliable memoirs by Clive James
Varjack Paw – SF Said
Vicious by Victoria Schwab (it’s fantastic, please put it in the library)
Wabi sabi
Wallander Series (Henning Mankell)
War Music (Christopher Logue)
Watership Down – Richard Adams
We are all made of molecules
We Were Liars- E. Lockhart
What is the what
What milo saw
Where Are the Children by Mary Higgins Clark
Where Rainbows End, Cecilia Ahern
Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
White dolphin
Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Why Do Chemical Reactions Happen: Peter Wothers and James Keeler
Why Leaders Eat Last
Winnie the pooh, AA Milne
Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s The Culture of Defeat
Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
You by Caroline Kepnes
Young Samurai series
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig
Flambards series K.M Peyton
Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende
The Rosie Project
The Code of the Woosters
The Magic Mountain
Barchester Towers
The miracles of Santo Fico by D L Smith
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman
The sword in the stone by T H White
The moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy
Alone in Berlin
On the Road – Jack Kerouac
Avocado Baby
Miles: The Autobiography – Miles Davis
Hit Me, Fred – Fred Wesley
The Glass Bead Game – Hermann Hesse
Draplin Design Co. Pretty Much Everything – Aaron James Draplin
Colony of Thieves
This Thing of Darkness
Thousand Splendid Suns
Everything Everything
Young James Bond series

Hay Festival – #Hay30BOOKS – Summer reading inspiration!

Last week saw the 30th Hay Festival  – a vibrant tented gathering of writers, thinkers and readers of all ages in the beautiful Welsh countryside and ‘Book Town’ of Hay-on-Wye. This year in addition to the fascinating talks and bookshop, the festival was promoting #Hay30Books:

To celebrate our 30th Hay Festival in Wales, we asked our audiences to recommend 30 books from the last 30 years that deserve more attention.

These #HAY30BOOKS will be discussed and celebrated at our festivals around the world – in Mexico, Peru, Spain, Colombia and Denmark – and on our digital channels throughout the year.

It was a chance to re-evaluate, rediscover, and honour the essential reads from the last 30 years across fiction and non-fiction.

The list is diverse and thought-provoking and would make an interesting source of reading for our students over the summer.  All the books will be available in the Library shortly and a number of them are available as e-books.

Come and browse the display in the Library! What would you read first?


Full list here:

  • A Gentle Plea for Chaos by Mirabel Osler (1989)
  • Wise Children by Angela Carter (1991)
  • Kid by Simon Armitage (1992)
  • A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (1993)
  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (1995)
  • Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond (1997)
  • Any Human Heart by William Boyd (2002)
  • Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation by Olivia Judson (2002)
  • The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad (2002)
  • Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver (2004)
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (2004)
  • How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (2004)
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006)
  • A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam (2007)
  • Finding Violet Park by Jenny Valentine (2007)
  • God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens (2007)
  • The Road Home by Rose Tremain (2007)
  • The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein (2007)
  • Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman (2009)
  • Oblivion: A Memoir by Héctor Abad (2010)
  • There but for the… by Ali Smith (2011)
  • How To Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell (2010)
  • The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert Macfarlane (2012)
  • Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon (2012)
  • Pink Mist by Owen Sheers (2013)
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)
  • Brooklyn by Colm Toíbín (2015)
  • Headscarves and Hymens by Mona Eltahawy (2015)
  • One by Sarah Crossan (2015)
  • East West Street by Philippe Sands (2016)


Y9 reading and preparation for the19th century novel

Ms Gutulan, Head of English has just found a really useful blog post on The English and Media Centre entitled:

Preparing students for the 19th century novel – what to do at KS3?

Written by Kate Oliver it suggests ways of preparing Y9 students for the 19th Century novel aspect of GCSE. She concludes:

A working theory… Might an enjoyable experience of reading books which are relevant in the broadest sense be a great way to prepare KS3 for their GCSE novel?

With this in mind, we have put together a booklist which could be used to guide students towards some independent reading. The list starts with suggestions focused on the two most commonly taught 19th-century novels (A Christmas Carol and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde). This is followed by a short list of modern books set in Victorian times to help with contextual knowledge as well as suggestions for good ‘first classics’ to get students used to Victorian style and vocabulary, or have a first taste of the author they will study later.

It’s a varied book list and I like the inclusion of modern books set in Victorian times – The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge is a thrilling read – very atmospheric and evocative of the period with a great plot. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is a fantastic book which is likely to appeal to students as it is set in the present and has an immediacy and honesty which is compelling. It ‘follows Junior a teenager who leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation  to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.’ It has been included because it explores ‘identity and peer pressure in diary form’. It would be a perfect starting point for students who are reluctant to read or don’t read much at all.

Try our reading lists page for more book suggestions and book recommendations page for student and staff reviews.

See also Post exam reading suggestions from IB students who have already finished their final exams!



Freed to Read – post exam comfort reading!

As the majority of our students settle into their A level and GCSE exams in earnest it’s hard to believe that most of our IB (International Baccalaureate) students have already finished.

Now they are freed from the constraints of text books and revision notes we thought we’d gather some of their reading suggestions – books they’ve been desperate to read but had to put on hold until after the exams.

Good luck to all students still in the thick of exams – just think of all the amazing books awaiting you over that long summer holiday!

One of our Y13 Politics students told me he was looking forward to reading Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence by Jonathan Sacks. He was also keen to re-read classic books such as Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.

My son has been desperate to continue the Giordano Bruno historical murder mysteries I discovered through London City Read  this year. Prophecy is the second in the series and is set in London. The series starts with Heresy, set in Oxford. We have the whole series in print form in the library and the first two novels available as e-books. These books have everything – intriguing plot, maverick characters, well-researched history and humour!

He won’t thank me for the cheesy staged photo though!

Another queuing up to be read is The wind-up bird chronicle by Haruki Murakami as so many people have recommended this one to us.

Clemente, an avid library user and proposer of many titles as additions to library stock ranging from political biographies to Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino is looking forward to re-reading Papillon by Henri CharriereWhen asked for his top post-exam read he offered to email a list of 20 books on his TBR(to be read) pile! If you enjoyed Papillon you might also like Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.







Richard Atherton, Director of IB Diploma recommends any of Robert Harris’s novels as guaranteed to be a good read. Pompeii is particularly readable and provides interesting insights into Ancient Roman life.

Sophie is embarking on William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair followed by Jung Chang’s Empress Dowager Cixi  and also recommends The man who mistook his wife for a hat by Oliver Sacks for would-be medics. Rob is going to enjoy Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy after his A levels.

Sam is about to read The Big Screen: The story of the movies and what they did to us by David Thomson (this weighty book received glowing reviews when it was published in 2013 and is described as Probably the best overview of the cinema ever written. It sparkles with insight, is packed with anecdote, and pulses with passion … a glorious celebration of one of humankind’s great inventions (John Banville Guardian BOOKS OF THE YEAR)

Mark is keen to get stuck into the whole of the Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin.

Ryan will read When breath becomes air by Paul Kalanithi when he finishes his A levels. This remarkable, heartbreaking and insightful autobiography was shortlisted for The Wellcome Book Prize 2017

Olivia has always meant to read The power of now by Eckhart Tolle 

For thriller fans another recommendation was Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith.

What would you read first? The Sports department recommend Watership Down by Richard Adams and any of Lee Child’s thrillers!

More of the Wellington College Big Book Vote 2017 revealed!

Wellington College Big Book Vote 2017

We do love a big list of books and hope all of you are just as keen to spot your favourites and find new reading inspiration in the next chunk of the poll. Below we have listed all the books that polled more than vote. The next blog post will reveal all the remaining books voted for by one person. Thank you to everyone who voted and enjoy this incredibly eclectic list of books. Happy reading! Visit the library to borrow copies of these books.

Here is the list of our top 20 most popular books:

1st           Harry Potter by J.K Rowling

2nd          Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

3rd          1984 by George Orwell

4th          Gone by Michael Grant

5th          Cherub by Robert Muchamore

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  • His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • One by Sarah Crossan
  • The boy in the striped pyjamas by John Boyne
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Inheritance Cycle (Eragon) by Christopher Paolini
  • The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan
  • Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

Tied in 21st position

Bodyguard series by Chris Bradford

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Tied in 27th place

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Chaos Walking series (Knife of Never Letting Go) by Patrick Ness

 Tied in 37th place

Any Human Heart by William Boyd

Girl Missing by Sophie McKenzie

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

More than this by Patrick Ness

Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Pig Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman

Sapiens: a brief history of humankind by Yuval N. Harari

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

 Tied in 52nd place

Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Everything everything by Nicola Yoon

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Perfume by Patrick Süskind

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

The circle by Dave Eggers

The Far Away Tree by Enid Blyton

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The outsiders by S. E. Hinton

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

Wild Swans by Jung Chang

Young Bond – Silverfin (and first book) by Charlie Higson

Tied in 72nd place

12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss

All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr

Alone on a wide wide sea by Michael Morpurgo

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Candide by Voltaire

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Children of the Lamp by P. B. Kerr

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevksy

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Freakonomics: a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

Holes by Louis Sachar

How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran

How to build a girl by Caitlin Moran

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Long walk to freedom by Nelson Mandela

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Once by Morris Gleitzman

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Paper Towns by John Green

Papillon by Henri Charriére

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

Poor Economics by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo

Private peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Room by Emma Donoghue

Rubicon by Tom Holland

Shantaram by Gregory David

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Steal like an artist by Austin Kleon

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

The Boy on the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

There will be lies by Nick Lake

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Watchmen by Alan Moore

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

When breath becomes air by Paul Kalanithi

Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? by Dave Eggers

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

The Siege by Helen Dunmore

The History Boys by Alan Bennett

Maya Angelou autobiography books (7)

What If? Serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions by Randall Munroe

When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan