As part of the prep work for my PGCE course, I have been asked to keep a journal of the books that I’m reading. So here’s the start of that.
I read “Noughts and Crosses” by Malorie Blackman. I’d heard good things about this, and it was on the recommended list sent to me by the University. The premise was interesting – an inversion of the positions of black and white in history. At times the novel is insightful in its descriptions of discrimination and thought processes of minority groups. I do wonder, however, whether teenagers will be completely able to grapple with the subject matter. With young protagonists the novel does feature elements of the coming of age story, which (I guess) gives young people something to identify with.
Fiend by Peter Stenson is a book that I picked up in a local charity shop, after reading it’s blurb. The phrase “Breaking Bad + Zombies” seems to encapsulate the book. Waking from a meth-induced trip, protagonist Chase initially struggles to distinguish between the trip and reality. The only people to survive the zombie apocalypse are meth-addicts. Cue Breaking Bad style drama as he and a group of fellow survivors attempt to score, attempt to get ingredients to score, and then score. Scoring becomes necessary not just because of their addiction, but because they need it to stop themselves turning into the zombies. It’s violent, and contains a heck of a lot of swearing, but it’s a fun read. The only thing that lets it down is the ending, and I’m still two minds about that. Definitely not one for the kids though!
I buy a lot of books off Amazon (Kindle Daily Deals), as well as through HumbleBundles and the like. It was through these that I got copies of “Swarm” by B. V. Larson and “The Lost Fleet: Dauntless” by Jack Campbell. At the end of the novel he discusses his experiences in the American Military and how this affects his writing. It is clear that he has much experience and knowledge about combat. To me, his descriptions of tactics and strategy within the novel are too detailed could have been used to build up more suspense and tension. It’s a shame, because the premise – a mythic hero figure returns and battles with expectations is promising. Other than the drawn out bits, the novel is rather fun to read and is really easy to read. There was nothing in there that teens couldn’t read, although it may not be the best intro to military sci-fi.
While I was working at my previous school, author Julian Sedgwick visited and gave a talk to the students. I picked up a signed copy of his latest book “Ghosts of Shanghai.” I’ve only read the first page, but am intrigued, mainly because it’s written in the present tense which is a little uncommon for children’s literature.
I’ve just started reading “American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis, so let’s see where that takes me…