My life in books

22nd October 2010 at 01:00

Stephen Calladine-Evans

Stephen Calladine-Evans is assistant principal at St Richard's Catholic College in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

What I'm reading


By James Barrington

I like to have a page-turner lined up for the start of the term. The only criterion is that it has to be utterly gripping so that I want to read just one more chapter in bed before switching the light out. This book fits the bill very well. I'm two-thirds of the way through, but it doesn't matter that I have only a light grasp of the names of the characters. The plot is rolling along from one barely plausible event to another. There have been grisly deaths, dark conspiracies and high-speed chases. Silly, distracting stuff.

The book I loved as a child

The Swiss Family Robinson

By Johann David Wyss

My brother and I shared a bedroom and mum would read to us before switching the lights out. The saga of the Robinson family stranded on their desert island required so many instalments that it wove its way into the fabric of our family life. I can still remember the illustrations and the heart-stopping excitement of their adventures. I also have a tremendous gratitude for the love of reading that such early experiences instilled.

Read this before you die

The English Patient

By Michael Ondaatje

This is an intensely romantic novel. Each character is a convincing whole, their lives so vividly portrayed that it is painful to finish. The passion of the central relationship is so intimate that it is, at points, uncomfortable to read, feeling like an intrusion. I started the book on a long journey to the French Alps with a group of pupils one summer holiday. To read the final chapters I had to slip away. I don't mind admitting that I wept.

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