A choice of three from Mrs Maxted

Summer reading for Mrs Maxted involved non-dissertation-related books, so her choices were purely escapist fiction.  They are:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

“It’s 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can’t think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance, he’s acquired a book that once belonged to her – and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it’s not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realizes that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.” NielsenBookDataOnline

‘I loved this book and thought it captured very effectively post-war London and the concerns of a young woman who becomes intrigued by the goings-on of a literary society on Guernsey.  We discover how the society was founded and quickly develop a sympathy for the hardships endured by islanders under German occupation.’  Mrs Maxted

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

“Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the ‘cemetery of lost books’, a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out ‘La Sombra del Viento’ by Julian Carax. But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from La Sombra del Viento, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax’s work in order to burn them. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind. A page-turning exploration of obsession in literature and love, and the places that obsession can lead.”  NielsenBookDataOnline

‘I began this book whilst staying in Barcelona this summer and as we walked through the streets I was reading about, the city brought the book to life for me.  Zafon’s storytelling is skilful as he draws you into his tale – a must for anyone who has visited Barcelona and been captivated by it…’ Mrs Maxted

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

“At last – another brilliant, original and moving novel from the author of THE TIME TRAVELLER’S WIFE. Julia and Valentina Poole are normal American teenagers – normal, at least, for identical ‘mirror’ twins who have no interest in college or jobs or possibly anything outside their cozy suburban home. But everything changes when they receive notice that an aunt whom they didn’t know existed has died and left them her flat in an apartment block overlooking Highgate Cemetery in London. They feel that at last their own lives can begin …but have no idea that they’ve been summoned into a tangle of fraying lives, from the obsessive-compulsive crossword setter who lives above them to their aunt’s mysterious and elusive lover who lives below them, and even to their aunt herself, who never got over her estrangement from the twins’ mother – and who can’t even seem to quite leave her flat…”  NielsenBookDataOnline

‘This was an extremely interesting novel and one that I quickly warmed to and got into.  Niffenegger’s prose is well-written and made me want to visit Highgate Cemetary, as well as get to know London better.  It was gripping and I found it difficult to put down…’ Mrs Maxted

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Author: Berkhamsted School Library

Main aims for Berkhamsted School Library • to provide a central resource for the whole school curriculum • to encourage an ethos of enquiry and discovery • to assist pupils in becoming confident and independent learners • to develop research and information skills throughout the school • to offer resources which enrich cultural values and experiences for pupils, as well as have a role in their recreational life and promote reading for pleasure as a lifelong activity

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