Year 10 - 11 Suggested Reading List
The Ghosts of Heaven, by Marcus Sedgwick
The spiral has existed as long as time has existed. It’s there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin. There centuries later in a pleasant green dale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch. There on the other side of the world, where a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors they hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny. Each takes their next step in life. None will ever go back to the same place. And so their journeys begin…
One Day, by David Nicholls
Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY.
‘I can imagine you at forty,’ she said, a hint of malice in her voice. ‘I can picture it right now.’
He smiled without opening his eyes. ‘Go on then.’
15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows?
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell
Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies . . .
Six interlocking lives – one amazing adventure. In a narrative that circles the globe and reaches from the 19th century to a post-apocalyptic future, Cloud Atlas erases the boundaries of time, genre and language to offer an enthralling vision of humanity’s will to power, and where it will lead us.
Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts
A novel of high adventure, great storytelling and moral purpose, based on an extraordinary true story of eight years in the Bombay underworld.
‘In the early 80s, Gregory David Roberts, an armed robber and heroin addict, escaped from an Australian prison to India, where he lived in a Bombay slum. There, he established a free health clinic and also joined the mafia, working as a money launderer, forger and street soldier. He found time to learn Hindi and Marathi, fall in love, and spend time being worked over in an Indian jail. Then, in case anyone thought he was slacking, he acted in Bollywood and fought with the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan . . . Amazingly, Roberts wrote Shantaram three times after prison guards trashed the first two versions. It’s a profound tribute to his willpower… At once a high-kicking, eye-gouging adventure, a love saga and a savage yet tenderly lyrical fugitive vision.’ Time Out
The Bottle Factory Outing, by Beryl Bainbridge
Freda and Brenda spend their days working in an Italian-run wine-bottling factory. A work outing offers promise for Freda and terror from Brenda; passions run high on that chilly day of freedom, and life after the outing never returns to normal.
Inspired by author Beryl Bainbridge’s own experiences working at a London wine-factory in the 1970s, The Bottle Factory Outing examines issues of friendship and consent, making the novel timelier than ever. Readers will be dazzled by this offbeat, haunting yet hilarious Guardian fiction prize-winning novel.
The Colour Purple, by Alice Walker
A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia.
Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown. Abused repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, Celie has two children taken away from her and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny.
Gradually Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves. Beloved by generations, The Color Purple broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery.
Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
The classic novel about a daring experiment in human intelligence
Charlie Gordon, IQ 68, is a floor sweeper and the gentle butt of everyone’s jokes – until an experiment in the enhancement of human intelligence turns him into a genius.
But then Algernon, the mouse whose triumphal experimental transformation preceded his, fades and dies, and Charlie has to face the possibility that his salvation was only temporary.
The Seventh Cross, by Anna Seghers
Seven prisoners escape from Westhofen concentration camp. Seven crosses are erected in the grounds and the commandant vows to capture the fugitives within a week. Six men are caught quickly, but George Heisler slips through his pursuers’ fingers. It becomes a matter of pride to track him down, at whatever cost.
Who can George trust? Who will betray him? The years of fear have changed those he knew best: his brother is now an SS officer; his lover turns him away. Hunted, injured and desperate, time is running out for George, and whoever is caught aiding in his escape will pay with their life.
The Seventh Cross is one of the most powerful and influential novels of the twentieth century, a tense thriller that helped to alert the world to the grim realities of Nazi Germany.
Saint Death, by Marcus Sedgwick
Anapra is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the Mexican city of Juarez – twenty metres outside town lies a fence and, beyond it, America – the dangerous goal of many a migrant. Faustino is one such trying to escape from the gang he’s been working for. He’s dipped into a pile of dollars he was supposed to be hiding and now he’s on the run. He and his friend, Arturo, have only 36 hours to replace the missing money, or they’re as good as dead.
Watching over them is Saint Death. Saint Death (or Santissima Muerte) – she of pure bone and charcoal-black eye, she of absolute loyalty and neutral morality, holy patron to rich and poor, to prostitute and narco-lord, criminal and police-chief. A folk saint, a rebel angel, a sinister guardian.
Midwinterblood, by Marcus Sedgwick
Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar even though you’ve never been there before, or felt that you’ve known someone, even though you are meeting them for the first time?
Eric and Merle loved and lost one another, and have been searching for each other through time ever since. This novel comprises seven short stories and travels in time, from 2073 back to the days of Viking sagas. Across the different tales, the two souls appear as lovers, mother and son, brother and sister, and artist and child as they come close to finding each other before facing the ultimate sacrifice…
Revolver, by Marcus Sedgwick
1910. A cabin north of the Arctic Circle. Fifteen-year-old Sig Andersson is alone. Alone, except for the corpse of his father, who died earlier that day after falling through a weak spot on the ice-covered lake. His sister, Anna, and step-mother, Nadya, have gone to the local town for help.
Then comes a knock at the door. It’s a man, the flash of a revolver’s butt at his hip, and a mean glare in his eyes. Sig has never seen him before but Wolff claims to have unfinished business with his father.
As Sig gradually learns the awful truth about Wolff’s connection to his father, his thoughts are drawn to a certain box hidden on a shelf in the storeroom, in which lies his father’s prized possession – a revolver.
As the stakes rise and Wolff begins to close in, Sig’s choice is pulled into sharp focus.
Should he use the gun?
The Crow Road, by Iain Banks
‘It was the day my grandmother exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach.’
Prentice McHoan has returned to the bosom of his complex but enduring Scottish family. Full of questions about the McHoan past, present and future, he is also deeply preoccupied: mainly with death, sex, drink, God and illegal substances…