My life in books

3rd June 2011 at 01:00
Penny Ward is a learning support teacher at Carnoustie High, Scotland

What I'm reading

The Uncommon Reader

By Alan Bennett

I have just finished reading this totally hilarious account of the Queen and her encounter with books recommended by one of her servants, Norman - a "Ginger-stick-in-waiting". He is gay, which sways his choice of book somewhat, but it is a wonderful look behind the scenes of Buck House, and far more entertaining than any film about her Maj. Alan Bennett is a wonderful writer. The book is hard to put down and yet an easy read when you are tired and just need to switch off the day.

The book I loved as a child

Sunset Song

By Lewis Grassic Gibbon

I was a Heidi girl - an Anne of Green Gables and the local Pollyanna. I yearned to be Jo from the Chalet School, or George from The Famous Five. I was the girl with big dreams. By age 14 I had read A Town Like Alice, and by 15 had discovered Peyton Place. Then, on my 16th birthday, I was given Sunset Song and that marked my ascent from childhood into womanhood. Chris Guthrie (the central character) taught me about love and hate, motherhood and loss. I wept and felt my heart melt and longed for my own Ewan. Happy days.

Read this before you die

Arms and the Girl

By Stevie Davies

This is one of the most beautiful and painful books ever written. It is set on an Army camp in bleak north-east Scotland, and tells the tragedy of January Cahill, abused by her father and betrayed by society. She is the child you can't abide in school, the rudest, most uncaring kid you come across. She is the reason we must look behind the facade and see the frightened small person cringing there. I defy any teacher to read it, and not be changed by it.

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