the weekly newsletter from Dr Ruth Weeks, Headmistress
Librarian's Top Picks
25 January 2019
Don't know what to read next? Stuck reading the same books over and over? Want a suggestion you can trust? These top picks will include books from all genres, new or old and are hand-picked by the librarian to pique your interest. The best bit is they are all available in the school library.
Milkman - by Anna Burns - suitable for Year 9+
“Milkman” is set in an unnamed city, where being interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous. Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.
The Mars Room – by Rachel Kushner – suitable for older readers
Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences, plus six years, at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility. Outside is the world from which she has been permanently severed: the San Francisco of her youth, changed almost beyond recognition. The Mars Room strip club where she once gave lap dances for a living. And her seven-year-old son, Jackson, now in the care of Romy’s estranged mother. Inside is a new reality to adapt to: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive. The deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner details with humour and precision. Daily acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike. Allegiances formed over liquor brewed in socks, and stories shared through sewage pipes. Romy sees the future stretch out ahead of her in a long, unwavering line – until news from outside brings a ferocious urgency to her existence, challenging her to escape her own destiny and culminating in a climax of almost unbearable intensity.
Washington Black – by Esi Edugyan – suitable for all
When two English brothers take the helm of a Barbados sugar plantation, Washington Black - an eleven-year-old field slave - finds himself selected as personal servant to one of these men. The eccentric Christopher 'Titch' Wilde is a naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor and abolitionist, whose single-minded pursuit of the perfect aerial machine mystifies all around him. Titch's idealistic plans are soon shattered and Washington finds himself in mortal danger. They escape the island together, but then then Titch disappears and Washington must make his way alone, following the promise of freedom further than he ever dreamed possible. Inspired by a true story, Washington Black is the extraordinary tale of a world destroyed and made whole again.
The Outrun – by Amy Liptrot – suitable for Year 9+
“The Outrun” is the tale of Amy Liptrot who, at the age of thirty, finds herself washed up back home on Orkney. Standing unstable on the island, she tries to come to terms with the addiction that has swallowed the last decade of her life. As she spends her mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, her days tracking Orkney's wildlife, and her nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy discovers how the wild can restore life and renew hope.
Librarian's Top Picks
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