Reading Force Book of the Month…
More Than This by Patrick Ness
In my opinion, More Than This is Patrick Ness’s greatest book. The story follows a sixteen year old, Seth Wearing, through his life as it is distorted in strange ways, beyond his own imagination. It begins with him drowning. Helpless. The sea’s plaything, he is rammed into a cluster of rocks, breaking his shoulder, the second time his skull, splintering into his brain. He dies. There is no possible recovery. And then he wakes. Starving, thirsty, restrained from moving, but alive. In a haze of disbelief, unconsciousness falls on him again – this time, when he comes back to reality, he is outside a house, cuts all over him, and overcome with such tremendous fatigue that he is afraid standing will kill him. Looking around himself, Seth realises that his surroundings are vaguely familiar. As time passes, more and more images are recalled, and flashbacks of his life come to him as disturbingly realistic dreams. The story unfolds – Seth meets a hostile figure, clad in black, hunting living things. He finds two teenagers, as surprised as he is to meet them. And as he explores his strange second life, he must make a decision – is this his imagination – or real life?
Chosen by JG, aged 12
Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver
Torak is a stone-age boy who is tall, taller than his friend. He has fair hair and a fringe. The best at the skill of tracking, he can follow almost any path. Likeable and good at befriending people, he has many friends. He’s loyal to his companions, as well as helping anyone in need. Torak carries his mother’s medicine horn, made from a bit of the antler of a god, and his father’s blue flint knife. Clanless, but taken up by the Ravens, he travels and stays in different places. Torak finds adventure, new people, different culture, and learns new skills in every one. He took up many hardships to track down and defeat the Soul-Eaters whose fiendish, terrible ambitions involve many people getting killed.
- Wolf Brother is the first book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver
- The story takes place six thousand years ago during the Middle Stone Age, and tells the story of Torak, a boy who can talk to wolves
Chosen by Albert, aged 9
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
This has apparently been the fastest-selling debut crime novel in the history of British publishing: the author is well-known from his appearances on BBC Countdown. The setting is really original – a group within a residential community for the elderly who have a weekly get-together to solve crimes. They emerge as sprightly and fun, and one of the most enjoyable aspects of the book is the sense it offers of what lively places these can be. As a crime novel, however, I found the machinations of the various suspects both too complicated and unconvincing. Murder-mysteries can offer a really satisfying read – we are taken into a complete world, and all the ends are tied up. While Osman may give reader a taste for further adventures, for me this is not a patch on PD James, Val McDermid, Dorothy L Sayers or Agatha Christie.
- A celebration of life in residential accommodation for the elderly – and it looks far more fun than you may have imagined
- This is your chance to think about how you might end up using the skills accumulated over a lifetime. I enjoyed the backstories of all the characters.
Chosen by Alison Baverstock
The Island, Victoria Hislop
This book has sold 5 million copies and, although published ten years ago, continues to attract new readers. Right now, it feels startlingly relevant as it’s about a group of residents on an island to which they are banished because of their leprosy.
It’s a well told story of small-community gossip, local intrigue and long-term relationships, where no amount of good luck or monetary privilege can hide who you really are from those who live alongside. Hislop is a born story-teller and I found it absorbing. This was my first experience of her writing; several other books are now available.
- If you’ve ever holidayed on a Greek island, this is a great way to learn about what life was – and is – like there all year round, from temperature and food to relations with the mainland
- Living in a close community requires tolerance and generosity. How would you cope?
Chosen by Alison Baverstock