Review - Books - My life in books

21st January 2011 at 00:00

Len Parkyn has taught in special education for 33 years and is now working with pupils with autism in West Sussex

What I'm reading

The Sacred Vault

By Andy McDermott

This is a gripping, bloody all-action adventure about Dr Nina Wilde (finder of Atlantis and the Garden of Eden) and her unlikely husband Eddie Chase (ex-special forces). Rarely subtle, it is never boring. A fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of book with a fast-paced story, intrigue, violence, riddles and problems to be solved on almost every page. Compelling reading - I await the next adventure with anticipation.

The book I loved as a child

Magic and Mystery in Tibet

By Alexandra David-Neel

I read this wonderful book when I was 11. It tells the story of one of the first European women to enter Tibet and the forbidden capital of Lhasa and be made a lama. Astounding stories of mystics, psychic events, fantastic feats of endurance and physical prowess are explored. How Buddhism was practised in the Himalayas captured my imagination and I was left with a thirst for a greater understanding of religions and faith. This book motivated me to take religious studies as my main subject at teacher training college.

Read this before you die

The Education of Henry Adams

By Henry Adams

At times written with wry sarcasm - when detailing the American experience - this incisive commentary won Adams the Pulitzer Prize. His critique of economic expansionism and his dynamic theory of history are a revelation. The book is not at all dry and is packed with useable quotations. My favourite is: "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."

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

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