In no particular order:
1. The Casual Vacancy -J.K.Rowling (South Leeds Community Radio)
A BIG NOVEL ABOUT A SMALL TOWN …
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils … Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
2. Complete Ghost Stories – Charles Dickens – own choice
Interest in supernatural phenomena was high during Charles Dickens’ lifetime. He had always loved a good ghost story himself, particularly at Christmas time, and was open-minded, willing to accept, and indeed put to the test, the existence of spirits. His natural inclinations toward drama and the macabre made him a brilliant teller of ghost tales, and in the twenty stories presented here, which include his celebrated A Christmas Carol, the full range of his gothic talents can be seen. Chilling as some of these stories are, Dickens has managed to inject characteristically grotesque comedy as he writes of revenge, insanity, pre-cognition and dream visions, he indulges also in some debunking of contemporary credulity
3. Jane Eyre -Charlotte Bronte – Leeds Bookclub xmas read
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed. With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte’s innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers
4. The Wee Free men -Terry Pratchett -LBC Puffins
“Another world is colliding with this one,” said the toad. “All the monsters are coming back.”
“Why?” said Tiffany.
“There’s no one to stop them.”
There was silence for a moment.
Then Tiffany said, “There’s me.”
Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home. Forced into Fairyland to seek her kidnapped brother, Tiffany allies herself with the Chalk’s local Nac Mac Feegle – aka the Wee Free Men – a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny. Together they battle through an eerie and ever-shifting landscape, fighting brutal flying fairies, dream-spinning dromes, and grimhounds – black dogs with eyes of fire and teeth of razors – before ultimately confronting the Queen of the Elves, absolute ruler of a world in which reality intertwines with nightmare. And in the final showdown, Tiffany must face her cruel power alone….
In a riveting narrative that is equal parts suspense and humor, Carnegie Medalist Terry Pratchett returns to his internationally popular Discworld with a breathtaking tale certain to leave fans, new and old, enthralled.
5. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, Rod Bradbury -own choice
It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The Mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not… Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan’s earlier life in which – remarkably – he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century. Already a huge bestseller across Europe, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is a fun and feel-good book for all ages.
6. The Fault in our Stars – John Green -own choice
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
7. Wonder by R.J. Palacio -own choice
I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?
R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels
8. A Kestral for a Knave – Barry Hines -My own choice, read this a school and loved it
Life is tough and cheerless for Billy Casper, a disillusioned teenager growing up in a small Yorkshire mining town. Violence is commonplace and he is frequently cold and hungry. Yet he is determined to be a survivor and when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk he discovers a passion in life. Billy identifies with her proud silence and she inspired in him the trust and love that nothing else can. Intense and raw and bitingly honest, “A Kestrel For A Knave” was first published in 1968 and was also made into a highly acclaimed film, “Kes”, directed by Ken Loach
9. A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng – Leeds Book Club
Winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, the biography of Robert Enke, the international footballer with the world at his feet who took his own life Here, award-winning writer Ronald Reng pieces together the puzzle of his lost friend’s life. On November 10, 2009, the German national goalkeeper, Robert Enke, stepped in front of a passing train. He was 32 years old. Viewed from the outside, Enke had it all. He was a professional goalkeeper who had played for a string of Europe’s top clubs, including Jose Mourinho’s Benfica and Louis Van Gaal’s Barcelona, and was destined to be his country’s first choice for years to come. But beneath the bright veneer of success lay a darker story. Reng brings into sharp relief the specific demands and fears faced by those who play top-level sport. Heartfelt, but never sentimental, he tells the universal tragedy of a talented man’s struggles against his own demons.
10. A Stone’s fall by Iain Pears – LBC Outlaws
A return to the form that launched Iain Pears onto bestseller lists around the world: a vast historical mystery, marvelous in its ambition and ingenius in its complexity. In his most dazzling novel since the groundbreaking New York Timesbestseller An Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears tells the story of John Stone, financier and arms dealer, a man so wealthy that in the years before World War One he was able to manipulate markets, industries, and indeed entire countries and continents. A panoramic novel with a riveting mystery at its heart, Stone’s Fall is a quest to discover how and why John Stone dies, falling out of a window at his London home. Chronologically, it moves backwards–from London in 1909 to Paris in 1890, and finally to Venice in 1867– and in the process the quest to uncover the truth plays out against the backdrop of the evolution of high-stakes international finance, Europe’s first great age of espionage, and the start of the twentieth century’s arms race. Like Fingerpost, Stone’s Fall is an intricately plotted and richly satisfying puzzle–an erudite work of history and fiction that feels utterly true and oddly timely–and marks the triumphant return of one of the world’s great storytellers.
11. Regeneration – Pat Barker LBC White Swan
Regeneration, one in Pat Barker’s series of novels confronting the psychological effects of World War I, focuses on treatment methods during the war and the story of a decorated English officer sent to a military hospital after publicly declaring he will no longer fight. Yet the novel is much more. Written in sparse prose that is shockingly clear — the descriptions of electronic treatments are particularly harrowing — it combines real-life characters and events with fictional ones in a work that examines the insanity of war like no other. Barker also weaves in issues of class and politics in this compactly powerful book. Other books in the series include The Eye in the Door and the Booker Award winner The Ghost Road
12. Matilda – Roald Dahl -SLRC bookclub December read
Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she’s knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she’s a super-nerd and the teacher’s pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda’s world. For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there’s the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Mrs. (“The”) Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.
She warms up with some practical jokes aimed at her hapless parents, but the true test comes when she rallies in defense of her teacher, the sweet Miss Honey, against the diabolical Trunchbull. There is never any doubt that Matilda will carry the day. Even so, this wonderful story is far from predictable. Roald Dahl, while keeping the plot moving imaginatively, also has an unerring ear for emotional truth. The reader cares about Matilda because in addition to all her other gifts, she has real feelings.
13. Awakenings by Oliver Sacks -own pick
This is an extraordinary account of a group of twenty patients, survivors of the great sleeping-sickness epidemic, which swept the world in the 1920s, and the astonishing, explosive ‘awakening’ effect they experienced forty years later through a new drug, L-DOPA, administered by Dr Sacks. The stories he tells of these remarkable individuals are moving, often courageous and sometimes tragic.
Now hailed as a medical classic, Awakenings was first published in 1973 and won the Hawthornden Prize of that year. It has since inspired a TV documentary, radio and stage plays and a major feature film. For this revised edition the author has written much new material, including a section about Awakenings on stage and screen.
14. -Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies by Rob Willson, Rhena Branch
17. Social Media Marketing for Dummies by Shiv Singh -own choice
And not forgetting the Enid Blyton Challenge for Leeds book club
18. Mr Galliano’s Circus
When Mr Galliano’s circus comes to town, Jimmy is very excited. He soon makes friends with Lotta the circus girl and the other fascinating circus folk. Then, when Jimmy’s father is asked to join the circus as odd-job man, the little boy is delighted. Follow his adventures as he learns all about the circus, trains his very own circus dog, rescues an escaped chimpanzee and helps capture a thief. A wonderful story of circus life from one of the world’s best-loved children’s authors, Enid Blyton
19. The Naughtiest Girl in the School
Elizabeth Allen is spoilt and selfish. When she’s sent away to boarding school she makes up her mind to be the naughtiest pupil there’s ever been! But Elizabeth soon finds out that being bad isn’t as easy as it seems…
20. The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat
When the manager of the Little Theatre is robbed one night, the Five Find-Outers and Dog set off to solve another mystery, and it seems that only one person could have committed the crime – Boysie, the Pantomime Cat.
21. The twins at St Clare’s
When Pat and Isabel first go to St. Clare’s they are determined not to enjoy themselves, but by the end of term they have had to admit that school can be surprisingly good fun.
22. First term at Malory Towers
Scared and excited, Darrell Rivers has just arrived at Malory Towers. It’s fantastic – but huge. How is she going to remember everyone’s name, let alone find her way around? And will she ever have a special friend of her own?
and just for me as I found the book with the cover I remember and it has my name in it!
23 The Silver Sword – Ian Serrailier -own choice
The classic tale of a journey through war-torn Europe. Alone and fending for themselves in a Poland devastated by World War Two, Jan and his three homeless friends cling to the silver sword as a symbol of hope. As they travel through Europe towards Switzerland, where they believe they will be reunited with their parents, they encounter many hardships and dangers. This extraordinarily moving account of an epic journey gives a remarkable insight into the reality of a Europe laid waste by war
22 Books to finish by the end of the year as long as I don’t get distracted 😀
all descriptions & photos from Goodreads.com
Thank you for reading