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Year 9 Challenge - 6 Books in 6 Weeks

 The 6 books in 6 weeks reading challenge has kicked off. I started by getting into the swing of things with the book / genre of my choice and finished it within 5 days. Remember each time you finish your book you need to create a 6 sentences review capturing the essence of the text.

Genre of Choice - Whit by Iain Banks

I read The Wasp Factory as a 14 Year old and thoroughly enjoyed it but as I've grown older, I've particularly enjoyed the dark humour and descriptions of Scottish countryside of The Crow Road and others alike. Whit focuses on the dark secrets of a religious 'sect', the mission of the 'chosen one' Isis and the corrupting nature of power and belief. I found Bank's satirical take on organised religion particularly entertaining. He has a habit of building up the pomposity of his characters readying them for dramatic falls from grace. Overall the book gave me a nostalgic glance at an area that I grew up in and some great laughs along the way. I'd highly recommend it.

Non-Fiction - Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

After 5 Chapters I was hooked. As someone who seems to permanently injure his knees, some of the description of the mountain top injuries of Joe Simpson made me absolutely squirm. For something so technically written (lots of climbing jargon), there is vivid description and at its heart, an astounding tale of what the body can endure. As the voice inside Joe's head told him to keep going, I'm now channelling that voice at X-Fit class and pushing my body on past its breaking point. I wouldn't recommend a crash diet of severe injury, dehydration and falling over a lot as a way to lose 3 stone. I'll keep Simpson in mind as I hang safely harnessed in the Alps this summer.

Autobiography - Mighty Mouse by Iain McLauchlan

Science Fiction - The Caves of Steel by Isaac Assimov

Here is a turn up for the books - though reading with an open mind, I didn't expect to like Assimov. I've like dystopian fiction but never really sought out Science Fiction. I have read Day of the Triffids and another trilogy called the Tripods Trilogy but they never really stuck in my mind. This was a rip-roaring murder mystery set in a futuristic world and Assimov is startling accurate in his prediction of the future - an unsustainable population (8 Billion) expansion of cities and people living in closer proximity. I loved the antagonistic society hell bent on eradicating robots who 'come to our city and steal our jobs'. Sound familiar? Clearly a man at ease with sociology and the human psyche - I'll read more!

Counter Attack and Other Poems - Siegfried Sassoon

I'd been fascinated with the poetry of Sassoon ever since reading Pat Barker's Regeneration Trilogy as a teenager. The character, born in Barker's fiction based in fact novel, caught my imagination and I have become somewhat a Sassoon fanatic since. I read the last poems in this collection as teaching often limits you to a few set poems. What I love about Sassoon's work is the honest expression of conflict, not in war but in humanity. The beauty of the world captured in parts of his poem is always contrasted with the cruelty of the first world war. My favourites were 'Repression of War Experience' and 'Survivors' (penned at Craiglockart where Barker bases her fiction); what about 'Men who went out to battle, grim and glad; Children, with eyes that hate you, broken and mad.' for a condemning last line - beautiful!

Pre 1914 - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
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