My life in books

6th May 2011 at 01:00

Richard Fitzgerald is deputy head at All Saints Catholic and Technology College, Dagenham, east London.

What I'm reading

Newman's Unquiet Grave

By John Cornwell

Most of the non work-related reading I do is of children's books at bedtime, especially those that involve putting on voices. However, not long after the papal visit, a friend at work passed me this biography of Cardinal Newman. It is not light reading, and as biographies go it's hardly "kiss and tell", but it is interesting to see what a political figure Newman was.

The book I loved as a child

Carnacki the Ghost Finder

By William Hope Hodgson

This is a set of Victorian ghost-hunterdetective stories that usually start with the great Carnacki (a supernatural Sherlock Holmes-type) recounting his latest exploits to a group of friends over brandy and cigars. I was eight or nine years old when I found this book at home and read it, and it gave me goosebumps and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I've never come across a copy of it since, nor met anyone else who has read it, but I still clearly remember the name and author.

Read this before you die

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

By Douglas Adams

Dirk Gently is both an entertaining fraudster who uses quantum theory as a cover for outrageous expenses claims and a lateral-thinking genius who reaches answers by unexpected methods. It is highly entertaining, even for those who don't have a degree in physics. I actually used his bizarre theory of "zen navigation" (simply follow a car that "feels" like it's going your way) when lost in a storm with faulty windscreen wipers. And it worked.

- If you would like to share your life in books with other teachers, email

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