My life in books

17th December 2010 at 00:00

Dan Clay is a supply English and drama teacher and freelance writer living in West Yorkshire

What I'm reading

Winter's Bone

By Daniel Woodrell

I picked this up knowing the film adaptation would be out soon and only got halfway through before it was shown at my local cinema. Terrific characterisation, bleak descriptions and an atmospheric setting make Woodrell a modern writer in the style of John Irving. Having seen the film, it is easier to picture Woodrell's characters, particularly the central role of Ree, although his prose does a good job of that, too. Recommended.

The book I loved as a child

Famous Five series

By Enid Blyton

I was never a Secret Seven fan; I don't know why. However, I was a huge fan of the Famous Five series, reading them all several times and even writing the opening chapter to one when the copy I bought from a bookshop was missing the first few pages. The mysteries - though slightly hackneyed now - are compellingly entertaining and I have taken great inspiration from them in writing my own teenage fiction. A truly nostalgic reading experience.

Read this before you die

A Prayer for Owen Meany

By John Irving

This was recommended to me by a teaching colleague in my induction year. I have never looked back after reading this modern-day classic and I have read every John Irving novel since. An amazing central character, some wonderfully comic set pieces and Irving's dry wit and clever dialogue make this a thoroughly memorable novel. You will never look at a primary-school nativity in the same way again.

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

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