‘A boy won’t read shark books forever’- Jon Scieszka, author and founder of GuysRead.com.
We all know that children are made bookworms on the laps of their parents but how do we sustain that momentum, particularly with the classic ‘reluctant boy reader’? The key seems to be to avoid parental dictatorship. It may be a bitter pill to swallow but they’re often not interested in what you read when you were twelve! With this in mind, we’ve selected a lovely mix of books for boys. Here’s hoping they find their very own book magic.
Seems like travelling this summer is going to have to happen mostly in your head, so to help we’ve collected a list of books that will transport you to your favourite holiday destinations. Our first stop is Greece…Italy, Spain and France to follow!
Getting a perspective sometimes make things feel better. These great books should do the job.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. The ultimate ‘hard times’ book, written during the Great Depression. Classic Steinbeck with unforgettable characters.
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. Remember this one? A heart-wrenching but also very funny memoir by the Irish-American author who grew up in extreme poverty in Limerick, Ireland.
Blood River – A journey into Africa’s Broken Heart by Tim Butcher. A gripping non-fiction story of a journalist’s journey through Congo, one of the most dangerous countries on earth.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. Set in Korea during the Japanese occupation, this family epic vividly describes the one-bowl-of-rice-a-day-existence.
The Five – the Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold. Being a poor, divorced or single woman in Victorian times is the last thing you’d ever want to be after reading this superbly researched Baille-Gifford prize winning non-fiction book.
…and, of course, ANYTHING Charles Dickens.
More than ever, this is the time to be there for your local bookshop. However tempting it might be to just click the buy button on Amazon, please think twice. Can you imagine emerging from your house in a few weeks/months time only to find it gone? You can make a difference right now by buying online from them. Here’s a photo of one of mine – Daunt on Holland Park Avenue in London ([email protected]). Get in touch with yours and see if they take online orders. Here’s a local bookshop finder if you don’t have a favourite yet LocalBookShops.co.uk
We thought a list of utterly addictive, read-while-you’re-brushing-teeth, stay-up-all-night books might be called for at this point. Here are our top ten:
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
North Water by Ian McGuire
Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
The Porpoise by Mark Haddon
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
And then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
The Shardlake Series by CJ Samson
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Personally, I’m a bit of an escapist, but for those of you who feel like reading about it here are some of the best books featuring plagues. From Daniel Defoe’s memoir from the 1665 bubonic plague to Stephen King’s The Stand where no less the 99% (!) of the population dies there should be something for every brave reader here.
Before museums start closing down due to the Coronavirus, don’t miss ceramic artist and author Edmund de Waal’s Library of Exile opening today at the British Museum. It’s a temporary library, located in one of the British Library’s gorgeous oak panelled reading rooms, which houses 2000 books written by authors in exile. The idea came about as de Waal, while scanning his own bookshelf, realised how many of the books there had been written by authors living in exile, far from home, surrounded by a foreign language and sometimes hostility, as we see in our own times. It’s also a celebration of libraries (amidst a wave of closures in the UK) and a monument to destroyed ones (many are named on the walls of The Library of Exile). After a six month stint at the British Museum, the books in the library will end up in Mosul, Iraq where the university library was burnt to the ground by ISIS in 2015. A poignant and moving piece of book art. Go see it.