Claire Wagstaffe is a former secondary biology teacher and is now a self-employed science tutor in York
What I'm reading
A Room Swept White
By Sophie Hannah
I started reading this at the weekend and couldn't put it down. At first it seemed like it was going to be a poignant tale, narrated in a journalistic style, about three mothers wrongfully imprisoned for murder following the deaths of their infants. But as the plot unfolds it becomes more of a suspense thriller. It is giving me shivers and I definitely want to read on.
The book I loved as a child
Island of the Blue Dolphins
By Scott O'Dell
This is based on the true story of a girl stranded for years on an island off the Californian coast. To a 12-year-old city girl like me it was captivating to read about how the main character, Karana, learns to survive after the brutal killing of her father. The novel must have made me grow up rather a lot - it brought a new awareness that different lives exist in the world.
Read this before you die
Maps for Lost Lovers
By Nadeem Aslam
This is one of the most absorbing books I have ever read. It concerns a Pakistani community in England and the family and social issues that arise following the disappearance of a young couple who were disapproved of by the community for cohabiting. The descriptions of the traditions, religious beliefs, literature and culture of Pakistan are fascinating. Aslam's writing style is original and sensitive, and the book contains several shocks and descriptions of such raw sadness that it is quite an emotional experience. I suspect the novel is one of those rare reads that stay with you for a long time afterwards.
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