For our second Drop Everything And Read post, we hear from one of our English teachers, Mr Harrison, who writes about his choices for the day: Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie, The diary of a young girl by Anne Frank, and The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald:
“I read the opening of the final chapter of ‘Cider with Rosie’ to my Lower 6th students – here is a snippet of Lee’s wistful conclusion to one of my favourite narratives of all time:
“The last days of my childhood were also the last days of the village. I belonged to that generation which saw, by chance, the end of a thousand years’ life…Myself, my family, my generation, were born in a world of silence; a world of hard work and necessary patience, of backs bent to the ground, hands massaging the crops, of waiting on weather and growth; of villages like ships in the empty landscapes and the long walking distances between them; of white narrow roads, rutted by hooves and cartwheels, innocent of oil or petrol, down which people passed rarely, and almost never for pleasure, and the horse was the fastest thing moving. Man and horse were all the power we had – abetted by levers and pulleys.”
My Year 11 boys listened to the final diary entry of Anne Frank… they related so much to Anne’s musings on adolescence: ‘I know exactly how I’d like to be, how I am… on the inside. But unfortunately I’m only like that with myself…’
My Year 9 boys were treated to the ‘whisperings and the champagne and the stars’ with the much-celebrated opening of Chapter 3 from Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’.
All wonderful books to read, and beautifully described… Each makes me want to read them again.
Continuing with our theme, more of our colleagues reported their successes back to us:
Mrs Pickles, teaching Food Technology, sent me this message:
“I shared Northern Lights with my Year 7 food group as this is a memorable book for me and we shared lots of ideas about “daemons” and “dust”! We went on to make parsley dust whilst making our Couscous salad. Ailis wanted me to carry on reading it as we obviously only achieved the first paragraphs.” I am so impressed that Mrs Pickles was able to take ideas from Philip Pullman‘s novel into the kitchen, sounds like a fun lesson!
Mr Atkinson, a Religious Studies teacher told us this:
” I told the boys that Harry Potter got me into reading, gave them a book token and suggested they give a new book a try especially if they are not into reading as it may spark something. I then suggested that they could read one Harry Potter book a year in order to grow up with the characters…” Here’s hoping that gets them started.
Our final entry for part 2 comes from Mrs Inchenko, who works in the Old Berkhamstedians’ Office:
“I have just started reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – the fictional story of the relationship between Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley. The book is written in the form of a Hadley’s memoir. So far I am only at the stage where they are beginning to fall in love, still living in Chicago – yet to move to Paris. I am looking forward to ‘reaching Paris’ when the Author describes Paris in the 1920s, with characters such as Gertrude Stein, F Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce.
On the theme of Paris, I have just read Pure by Andrew Miller. A wonderful book, which describes the destruction of ‘Les Innocents’ cemetery in Paris during 1785, through the words of the Engineer who is put in charge of the project. The author brilliantly describes the atmosphere in Paris at that time. The characters are well formed and I felt a strong connection to them. I haven’t read any other books by Andrew Miller, but I will certainly be on the look out for them now.”
It’s so good to receive such recommendations from people we work with, and opens up more avenues for us – I am keen to read all of the books listed here!