Midterm Report

Top of the class

Wow, how are we half way through the year already? In solidarity of all the teachers knee deep in report writing right now we thought we would produce our own report on the books that have made it to the top of the class so far this year.

Book Social’s Fiction Report

Best crime

The Lost Man is Jane Harper’s latest offering of crime set in the Australian outback. Moving away from the very good Aaron Faulk we are introduced to Nathan Bright, one of my favourite characters this year. Harper’s previous two books (The Dry and Force of Nature) were good, The Lost Man is better.

“He had started to remove his clothes as logic had deserted him, and his skin was cracked. Whatever had been going through Cameron’s mind when he was alive, he didn’t look peaceful in death.
Two brothers meet at the remote border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of the outback. In an isolated part of Australia, they are each other’s nearest neighbour, their homes hours apart.
They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old that no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish.
Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he choose to walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…”

The Lost Man
The Lost Man

Most emotional

I had to stop reading The Soldier’s Home by George Costigan as I was afraid I was going to start crying in a trampoline park. It may be a sequel to The Soldier’s Home, but I read it as a standalone and my heart is still bruised by the account of life for former World War Two veteran Jacques and the love of his life Simone.

“The war is over and his home was re-built … but a home is just a set of empty rooms without people and love. After surviving the war under German occupation, can a community now rekindle their lives, and rediscover their reasons for surviving?
As the soldier waits for the return of his love, the world keeps moving, threatening to leave his hopes and dreams behind.
History, secrets and painful truths collide in his troubled soul until peace arrives finally from a very unexpected source …”

The Soldier's Home
The Soldier’s Home

Biggest ‘OMG’ moment

Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories series is one of the most unique on the market right now. Featuring Scott King, a journalist who rehashes ‘cold cases’ via six podcasts. Changeling is the third offering following on from Six Stories and Hydra. Wesolowski’s writing just keeps getting better and better and the ending of Changeling just BLEW MY MIND. I did not see it coming, I still haven’t gotten over it and I can’t wait to see what book four will bring.

“A missing child
A family in denial

Six witnesses
Six stories
Which one is true?
On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the dark Wentshire Forest Pass, when his father, Sorrel, stopped the car to investigate a mysterious knocking sound. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.
Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. Journeying through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there, he talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know what happened to the little boy…”

Changeling
Changeling

Best Non Fiction

If poetry isn’t your thing then you need to read The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt. I did and it made me look at poetry in a totally different light. I’ve since gone on to read two further poetry books (which is two more than last year) and have a new favourite poet.

“What s the point of poetry? It s a question asked in classrooms all over the world, but it rarely receives a satisfactory answer. Which is why so many people, who read all kinds of books, never read poetry after leaving school. Exploring twenty-two works from poets as varied as William Blake, Seamus Heaney, Rita Dove and Hollie McNish, this book makes the case for what poetry has to offer us, what it can tell us about the things that matter in life.
Each poem is discussed with humour and refreshing clarity, using a mixture of anecdote and literary criticism that has been honed over a lifetime of teaching. Poetry can enrich our lives, if we ll let it. The Point of Poetry is the perfect companion for anyone looking to discover how.”

The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt
The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt

Best Young Adult

To those that follow Book Social it will come as no surprise that Holes by Louis Sachar comes top of the class in this category. A contender for book of year this one, watch this space!

“Stanley Yelnats’ family has a history of bad luck, so when a miscarriage of justice sends him to Camp Green Lake Juvenile Detention Centre (which isn’t green and doesn’t have a lake) he is not surprised. Every day he and the other inmates are told to dig a hole, five foot wide by five foot deep, reporting anything they find. The evil warden claims that it is character building, but this is a lie and Stanley must dig up the truth.”

Holes by Louis Sachar
Holes

Best Middle Grade

Given that The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q Rauf was our Children’s Book of the Month for June, it only just made it into this Midterm report. An uplifting, heart warming story about friendship, it was loved by all of the children’s book club and was awarded 5 out of 5 Tintin pencil cases. A worthy last minute addition to the report.

“There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a new boy called Ahmet is sitting in it.
He’s nine years old (just like me), but he’s very strange. He never talks and never smiles and doesn’t like sweets – not even lemon sherbets, which are my favourite!
But then I learned the truth: Ahmet really isn’t very strange at all. He’s a refugee who’s run away from a War. A real one. With bombs and fires and bullies that hurt people. And the more I find out about him, the more I want to help.
That’s where my best friends Josie, Michael and Tom come in. Because you see, together we’ve come up with a plan. . .”

The Boy at the Back of the Class
The Boy at the Back of the Class

That concludes our Midterm Report for January – June 2019. We would love to hear what books have made the grade in your camp.