Blogs
Awards Banner

 

Shenley Road, Woodhall Farm, Hemel Hempstead, Herts. HP2 7JZ
Tel: 01442 253189 | Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

4 minutes reading time (774 words)

Recommended Reading.

Sorry, this is a really long post!

 

As an update to my previous post, we have this week bought 22 new books for Year 6.  These books are by authors that I have enjoyed, including (obviously) Garth Nix, P. B. Kerr and Tom Becker.

 

I'll give you a brief synopsis of these.

 

First of all, Garth Nix.  We already have Mr Monday, the first of the 'Keys to the Kingdom' series.  We now have Grim Tuesday and Superior Saturday (I'm on the look out for Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday, Lady Friday and Lord Sunday and will get them when I can find them at a reasonable price.)

 

The books basically chronicle the adventures of Arthur, a 12-year-old asthmatic boy who is chosen to be the heir of The House: the centre of the universe.  The trustees of the house, the Morrow Days (Mr Monday, Grim Tuesday, etc.) are basically criminals and all want to take control of the House.  Each represents one of the seven sins (Mr Monday - Sloth; Grim Tuesday - Greed; Drowned Wednesday - Gluttony; Sir Thursday - Wrath; Lady Friday - Lust; Superior Saturday - Envy; Lord Sunday - Pride).   

 

The Keys to the Kingdom are objects of power given to the trustees which gives them each control of their part of the House.  As the rightful heir, chosen by the Architect, Arthur must take control of all of the keys.  I won't say any more than that.

 

The books by P. B. Kerr are the Children of the Lamp series.  In these, we follow twins John and Pippa, who have a particularly gifted mother, a very kind father and two dogs, an they live a life of luxury in New York.

 

In the first book, 'The Akhenaten Adventure', their wisdom teeth appear simultaneously and they have an operation to get them removed, during which they both share the same dream.  In the dream, their uncle, Nimrod, asks them to come to London.  He tells them they are djinn (genies), descended from Akhenaten who, as you may have found out when you studied Ancient Egypt, was the husband of Nefertiti and father of Tutankamen, and they must undergo training to use their newly discovered powers.

 

As they struggle to balance the powers of good luck and bad luck in the world, they must battle the evil Ifrit tribe and its leader Iblis.  

 

There are 6 books in the series.  As with most series' of books, it is not essential that they are read in order, but sometimes reference is made to events which happened in earlier books.

 

My one criticism of the first book is that the characters are not particularly well-drawn (Typically a writer of adult fiction, P. B. Kerr had to learn that there are different rules when writing what is essentially teenage fiction, such as character development and the pace of the story).  But it is an enjoyable book and I believe that in the latter books, he is more successful in bringing the characters to life.

 

Tom Becker's Darkside sequence is about a boy, 14-year-old Jonathan Starling, who discovers a world hidden in London.  A horrific version of Victorian London, the Darkside is a world run by Jack the Ripper's family.  The worst of the worst live here; it is a society of murderers theives and of course a werewolf and a vampire.

 

Becker creates an incredible sense of play in the first novel and there are lots of twists and turns in the plot.  If you have read and enjoyed Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere (which I'm sure that's on our boockase), you'll love this book!

 

Lifeblood is the second book in the series; Night Trap is the third, the fourth is Time Curse and Black Jack is the final book in the series.

 

I also bought two Jinx books, which I read the first chapters of while in the shop (warehouse actually: the books were bought from 66 Books, Wood Lane End, Hemel Hempstead).  They read quite well.

 

Anyway, if you're in Year 6, I would really appreciate it if you would have a go at reading all of the new books and letting us know what you think.  As with the previous post, it is always useful to comment on books that you have read and enjoyed.

 

You are welcome to take the books home to read, provided that they are looked after and returned (please try not to fold corners over to keep your page: make a bookmark or use a paper clip or post-it note).

Did anyone else see this?
Favourite books and authors.
 

Comments 22

Guest - Lydia Knight on Wednesday, 12 November 2014 18:40

Thank you for your suggestions on what books to read! As soon as I have finished lirael,I will be grateful if you suggest a book like it.At parents evening you did suggest some books so I will try and read them!

Thank you for your suggestions on what books to read! As soon as I have finished lirael,I will be grateful if you suggest a book like it.At parents evening you did suggest some books so I will try and read them!
Mr Phil Marland on Wednesday, 12 November 2014 21:27

I think you'll really like The Subtle Knife or Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman: We've at least one copy of The Subtle Knife at school and I'm sure that I've seen a copy of Ruby in the Smoke. The Subtle Knife is the second of Pullmans 'His Dark Materials' sequence and it really is an incredible book. The first book in the sequence, Northern Lights, was made into a movie called The Golden Compass (no idea why they changed the name). You may have seen it - it was an awful film and the casting was awful (Dakota Blue Richards who played the lead, Lyra, was awful - I think that at least once during the movie, I wanted Mrs Coulter to sever Lyra's daemon, Pan). The book, The Northern Lights was good enough to make me want to read The Subtle Knife, which has the most exciting opening chapter of any book that I have ever read.

The three books, Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass basically tell a story about Adam and Eve. According to the bible, Eve was tempted by a serpent to eat an apple that she wasn't supposed to eat - this was the original sin and Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden.

Mrs Coulter believes that if children re separated from their daemon (their soul), then 'dust' won't fall on them and the human race will be free of sin and so she tries a way of cutting the daemon away from children. Northern Lights is a great book which takes a while to get going. Once the setting is made clear (about 3 chapters in), it really is a gripping read. I really wish that The Golden Compass hadn't been made, because that really has tarnished my memory of the book.

The 'Subtle Knife' is a dagger which can cut an opening between Lyra's world and Will Parry's. Will's mum is ill and his father is missing and worse than that, people seem to want something that they have. I don't want to tell you any more than that really. Both books are great - they are intended for young adults but only because the plot is very complex. Both books are very satisfying and I guarantee that if you read three chapters of the Northern Lights, you won't want to put it down.

Again, Sabriel, oh my goodness, I've been telling you that Sabriel is the second book but it's actually the first! I read Lirael first I'm sure! Anyway, just goes to show that you don't need to read them in order. Sabriel is an incredible read. I read it in hardback but I've just looked online at the paperback version and I'm almost certain that I've seen it in school. If not, I'll have a word with Father Christmas about whether the children in Year 6 have been naughty or nice and then maybe he can pay HEJS a visit.

I'd really appreciate if you could post a decent synopsis (overview or summary) of Lyrael and how you feel about the book and characters. I know that Pranav's really looking forward to reading it.

Thanks for commenting on the blog posts by the way Lydia (and Pranav).

I think you'll really like The Subtle Knife or Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman: We've at least one copy of The Subtle Knife at school and I'm sure that I've seen a copy of Ruby in the Smoke. The Subtle Knife is the second of Pullmans 'His Dark Materials' sequence and it really is an incredible book. The first book in the sequence, Northern Lights, was made into a movie called The Golden Compass (no idea why they changed the name). You may have seen it - it was an awful film and the casting was awful (Dakota Blue Richards who played the lead, Lyra, was awful - I think that at least once during the movie, I wanted Mrs Coulter to sever Lyra's daemon, Pan). The book, The Northern Lights was good enough to make me want to read The Subtle Knife, which has the most exciting opening chapter of any book that I have ever read. The three books, Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass basically tell a story about Adam and Eve. According to the bible, Eve was tempted by a serpent to eat an apple that she wasn't supposed to eat - this was the original sin and Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden. Mrs Coulter believes that if children re separated from their daemon (their soul), then 'dust' won't fall on them and the human race will be free of sin and so she tries a way of cutting the daemon away from children. Northern Lights is a great book which takes a while to get going. Once the setting is made clear (about 3 chapters in), it really is a gripping read. I really wish that The Golden Compass hadn't been made, because that really has tarnished my memory of the book. The 'Subtle Knife' is a dagger which can cut an opening between Lyra's world and Will Parry's. Will's mum is ill and his father is missing and worse than that, people seem to want something that they have. I don't want to tell you any more than that really. Both books are great - they are intended for young adults but only because the plot is very complex. Both books are very satisfying and I guarantee that if you read three chapters of the Northern Lights, you won't want to put it down. Again, Sabriel, oh my goodness, I've been telling you that Sabriel is the second book but it's actually the first! I read Lirael first I'm sure! Anyway, just goes to show that you don't need to read them in order. Sabriel is an incredible read. I read it in hardback but I've just looked online at the paperback version and I'm almost certain that I've seen it in school. If not, I'll have a word with Father Christmas about whether the children in Year 6 have been naughty or nice and then maybe he can pay HEJS a visit. I'd really appreciate if you could post a decent synopsis (overview or summary) of Lyrael and how you feel about the book and characters. I know that Pranav's really looking forward to reading it. Thanks for commenting on the blog posts by the way Lydia (and Pranav).
Guest - Pranav Kesavan on Friday, 14 November 2014 19:40

Your Welcome, I have been reading the Garth Nix series from the school library but I don't think I have read PB Kerr or Tom Becker or Philip Pullman. I have been looking for the Philip Pullman books that you suggested in Parents evening but I cannot find it in the school library. However, I will still attempt to complete the books that you have bought for us.

Your Welcome, I have been reading the Garth Nix series from the school library but I don't think I have read PB Kerr or Tom Becker or Philip Pullman. I have been looking for the Philip Pullman books that you suggested in Parents evening but I cannot find it in the school library. However, I will still attempt to complete the books that you have bought for us.
Guest - Pranav Kesavan on Friday, 14 November 2014 19:45

You gave Lirael to me as well so I will finish that and then borrow one of the books that you have recommended.

You gave Lirael to me as well so I will finish that and then borrow one of the books that you have recommended.
Mr Phil Marland on Friday, 14 November 2014 20:32

How are you finding Lirael Pranav? How far in are you? What's happened so far? What are the characters like?

We do have a copy of The Subtle Knife at school - I saw it today in someone's tray. I'm sure that I have another copy at home and the other two Pullman books. I'll have a look over the weekend.

How are you finding Lirael Pranav? How far in are you? What's happened so far? What are the characters like? We do have a copy of The Subtle Knife at school - I saw it today in someone's tray. I'm sure that I have another copy at home and the other two Pullman books. I'll have a look over the weekend.
Guest - Pranav Kesavan on Thursday, 20 November 2014 16:47

I am upto page 230.

I am upto page 230.
Guest - kiya lefort on Thursday, 04 December 2014 15:49

I'm having trouble finding exciting books to read can you recamend any books

I'm having trouble finding exciting books to read can you recamend any books
Guest - Lydia Knight on Monday, 17 November 2014 18:03

Don't worry Mr Marland Lirael makes sense and after I have finished Lirael I will try Sabriel or one of the Philip Pullman books!I know that I keep saying it but I am really enjoying my book!

Don't worry Mr Marland Lirael makes sense and after I have finished Lirael I will try Sabriel or one of the Philip Pullman books!I know that I keep saying it but I am really enjoying my book!
Mr Phil Marland on Monday, 17 November 2014 18:52

Did Lirael not make sense before? Why does it make sense now? How far into the story are you? I found a copy of the Northern Lights today. Pranav says that he might read that next. I would advise anyone who wants to read that to try to ignore the movie, The Golden Compass, as comparing the two spoils the book.

Did Lirael not make sense before? Why does it make sense now? How far into the story are you? I found a copy of the Northern Lights today. Pranav says that he might read that next. I would advise anyone who wants to read that to try to ignore the movie, The Golden Compass, as comparing the two spoils the book.
Guest - Lydia Knight on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 16:10

I have got to the part when Lirael creates the dog from the statuette and is a good friend to her.She helping her to defeat the creature she found when she entered the gate with the moon on it.I have completely forgotten the name of the creature! However she becomes really injured and she ends up talking to the clayr's nurse and she told Lirael that what ever she released she should destroy it. IF PRANAV DOESN'T WANT TO SPOIL THE STORY DO NOT READ THIS POST!

I have got to the part when Lirael creates the dog from the statuette and is a good friend to her.She helping her to defeat the creature she found when she entered the gate with the moon on it.I have completely forgotten the name of the creature! However she becomes really injured and she ends up talking to the clayr's nurse and she told Lirael that what ever she released she should destroy it. IF PRANAV DOESN'T WANT TO SPOIL THE STORY DO NOT READ THIS POST!
Mr Phil Marland on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 23:19

I'd like to read the book again - it's a long time since I read it. I do remember that she tries to create a canine sending and accidentally summons the Disreputable Dog. SPOILER: The disreputable dog stays with Lirael throughout this book and the next, Abhorsen. It is made partly from Free magic and partly from Charter magic

I'd like to read the book again - it's a long time since I read it. I do remember that she tries to create a canine sending and accidentally summons the Disreputable Dog. SPOILER: The disreputable dog stays with Lirael throughout this book and the next, Abhorsen. It is made partly from Free magic and partly from Charter magic
Guest - Lydia Knight on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 16:15

I won't watch the film but I might ask for the northern lights book for Christmas! Anyway, why did they rename the film to the golden compass?

I won't watch the film but I might ask for the northern lights book for Christmas! Anyway, why did they rename the film to the golden compass?
Mr Phil Marland on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 00:22

The movie is a real dumbed-down version of the book: there are lots of key events missing and the journey that Lyra takes is out of sequence in the movie. The ending is also completely different - more family-friendly in the movie.

As for the title - His Dark Material refers to the tools that were used by the Creator to build the world and mankind. It refers to a poem by John Milton - Paradise Lost Book 2, from which Pullman drew a great deal of inspiration for the three books.

Anyway, the reason for the title change is largely due to the publishers. Pullman's original name for the series was 'The Golden Compass Says...' and that was the name under which he sent off his first book to the American publishers, Random House. After hearing nothing from Random House for a number of months, he decided to rename the series, 'His Dark Materials' with the blessing of the UK publisher, Scholastic Point.

Random house then send a letter stating that they would be delighted to publish his book, The Golden Compass in the US. When Philip Pullman explains that the name had changed, they insisted that the cover artwork had already been created and would be scheduled to appear publicly the following month, it was too late to change the title.

The Golden Compass is actually called an Alethiometer in the book 'Aletheia' is a Greek word meaning Truth - so basically is an instrument used to find out whether people are telling the truth. It also allows her to see into the past, present and future.

The title, The Golden Compass does fit with the naming pattern of the other books in the series: The 'Subtle Knife' is a knife which Will has, which cuts a doorway between Lyra's world and his own and the 'Amber Spyglass' enables Mary Malone (the tempter) to see Dust or Dark Matter.

Essentially the three stories tell a version of the story of Adam and Eve and how Eve was tempted by the Snake (Mary Malone in the third book) to eat the apple that they were forbidden by God to eat. Adam and Eve being cast out of the Garden of Eden is, I believe, known as the fall from grace. The witches believe that Lyra is going to be the new Eve and that she will cause another fall from grace. The Magisterium plan to kill Lyra to prevent this as they find that Dust is less attracted to children than it is to adults. They link this to sin and believe that by killing her, the world will be free from sin.

There have been parallels drawn between the Magisterium, which is the predominant religion in Lyra's world, and the Catholic Church. There were calls for the books to be banned by religious groups at the time of their release but the story told in each is a very good one. Not sure how appropriate the last book is for you - I might like your mum to read it first.

The movie is a real dumbed-down version of the book: there are lots of key events missing and the journey that Lyra takes is out of sequence in the movie. The ending is also completely different - more family-friendly in the movie. As for the title - His Dark Material refers to the tools that were used by the Creator to build the world and mankind. It refers to a poem by John Milton - Paradise Lost Book 2, from which Pullman drew a great deal of inspiration for the three books. Anyway, the reason for the title change is largely due to the publishers. Pullman's original name for the series was 'The Golden Compass Says...' and that was the name under which he sent off his first book to the American publishers, Random House. After hearing nothing from Random House for a number of months, he decided to rename the series, 'His Dark Materials' with the blessing of the UK publisher, Scholastic Point. Random house then send a letter stating that they would be delighted to publish his book, The Golden Compass in the US. When Philip Pullman explains that the name had changed, they insisted that the cover artwork had already been created and would be scheduled to appear publicly the following month, it was too late to change the title. The Golden Compass is actually called an Alethiometer in the book 'Aletheia' is a Greek word meaning Truth - so basically is an instrument used to find out whether people are telling the truth. It also allows her to see into the past, present and future. The title, The Golden Compass does fit with the naming pattern of the other books in the series: The 'Subtle Knife' is a knife which Will has, which cuts a doorway between Lyra's world and his own and the 'Amber Spyglass' enables Mary Malone (the tempter) to see Dust or Dark Matter. Essentially the three stories tell a version of the story of Adam and Eve and how Eve was tempted by the Snake (Mary Malone in the third book) to eat the apple that they were forbidden by God to eat. Adam and Eve being cast out of the Garden of Eden is, I believe, known as the fall from grace. The witches believe that Lyra is going to be the new Eve and that she will cause another fall from grace. The Magisterium plan to kill Lyra to prevent this as they find that Dust is less attracted to children than it is to adults. They link this to sin and believe that by killing her, the world will be free from sin. There have been parallels drawn between the Magisterium, which is the predominant religion in Lyra's world, and the Catholic Church. There were calls for the books to be banned by religious groups at the time of their release but the story told in each is a very good one. Not sure how appropriate the last book is for you - I might like your mum to read it first.
Guest - Lydia Knight on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 18:44

Thank you for your response! I really hope more people start to comment on the blog because it is really useful. It has help me to decide what to read when I finish Lirael. I really hope that mum gets into the book you gave her after school!

Thank you for your response! I really hope more people start to comment on the blog because it is really useful. It has help me to decide what to read when I finish Lirael. I really hope that mum gets into the book you gave her after school!
Mr Phil Marland on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 22:57

It's good to hear that Lydia. I'm a little disappointed too. I'm sorry for thrusting the book on your mum - the other two books will be fine for you (although the Northern Lights is a little grizzly in places) but I think that the Amber Spyglass may deal with issues that your mum might not feel that you're ready to face yet and so whether you read the book or not has to be her call and not mine (although I'm sure that there's nothing much worse than what you might expect to read in a JW book!). It's just that I heard that a censored version of the book was published in the US making it more suitable for a younger audience but I don't know what or why - as I said before, it's been a while since I read it.

Thanks again (and Pranav) for commenting regularly on the blog.

It's good to hear that Lydia. I'm a little disappointed too. I'm sorry for thrusting the book on your mum - the other two books will be fine for you (although the Northern Lights is a little grizzly in places) but I think that the Amber Spyglass may deal with issues that your mum might not feel that you're ready to face yet and so whether you read the book or not has to be her call and not mine (although I'm sure that there's nothing much worse than what you might expect to read in a JW book!). It's just that I heard that a censored version of the book was published in the US making it more suitable for a younger audience but I don't know what or why - as I said before, it's been a while since I read it. Thanks again (and Pranav) for commenting regularly on the blog.
Guest - Lydia Knight on Friday, 21 November 2014 16:05

Your more than welcome. It is so nice to see more people commenting on the blog. Keep it up everyone!

Your more than welcome. It is so nice to see more people commenting on the blog. Keep it up everyone!
Guest - Pranav Kesavan on Thursday, 20 November 2014 16:48

I also really like the blog. It is extremely useful.

I also really like the blog. It is extremely useful.
Guest - Simi Odumeru on Monday, 24 November 2014 16:44

Mr Marland what books do you recommended for me because I went to waterstones and looked at load's of books but I don't know where to start.

Mr Marland what books do you recommended for me because I went to waterstones and looked at load's of books but I don't know where to start.
Mr Phil Marland on Monday, 24 November 2014 17:32

I recommend anything by Garth Nix or Philip Pullman Simi, or any of the other books that are new to the class. I think you'll enjoy the book that Jessica is reading at the moment. I have a copy of The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman on my desk which you're welcome to borrow. I know that both Lydia and Pranav are really enjoying reading Lirael at the moment - I don't know how much longer they'll be with that book.

Have a look on the bookcase tomorrow, grab a book and read a chapter. If you like it, read it and if not, put it back. I also have a book called Chains that I'd like someone to give an opinion on, which is about slavery - I'm thinking about using it in English later this term.

When I want to buy a book, I sometimes make a note of the books that I see that I like the look of and have a look on book review sites or at reviews posted on Amazon.

Amazon's really good for the 'Look inside' feature which allows you to read an excerpt of the book so that you can make a judgement: if the first chapter isn't very good, the rest of the book is not likely to be very good either.

I recommend anything by Garth Nix or Philip Pullman Simi, or any of the other books that are new to the class. I think you'll enjoy the book that Jessica is reading at the moment. I have a copy of The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman on my desk which you're welcome to borrow. I know that both Lydia and Pranav are really enjoying reading Lirael at the moment - I don't know how much longer they'll be with that book. Have a look on the bookcase tomorrow, grab a book and read a chapter. If you like it, read it and if not, put it back. I also have a book called Chains that I'd like someone to give an opinion on, which is about slavery - I'm thinking about using it in English later this term. When I want to buy a book, I sometimes make a note of the books that I see that I like the look of and have a look on book review sites or at reviews posted on Amazon. Amazon's really good for the 'Look inside' feature which allows you to read an excerpt of the book so that you can make a judgement: if the first chapter isn't very good, the rest of the book is not likely to be very good either.
Guest - Lydia Knight on Friday, 13 February 2015 16:04

Hi Pranav the Garth Nox book that I was telling you about is called Clariel and is set about 600 years before the birth of Sabriel!

Hi Pranav the Garth Nox book that I was telling you about is called Clariel and is set about 600 years before the birth of Sabriel!
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Thursday, 21 November 2019

Our Location

Our Address:
Holtsmere End Junior School
Shenley Road,
Woodhall Farm,
Hemel Hempstead,
Hertfordshire.
HP2 7JZ
Telephone:
01442 253189
Email:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


S5 Box

Login

Register

You need to enable user registration from User Manager/Options in the backend of Joomla before this module will activate.

Location Google Map v2