Year 13 Reading List

Year 13 Reading List

HHawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd

So proclaims Nicholas Dyer, assistant to Sir Christopher Wren and the man with a commission to build seven London churches to stand as beacons of the enlightenment. But Dyer plans to conceal a dark secret at the heart of each church - to create a forbidding architecture that will survive for eternity. Two hundred and fifty years later, London detective Nicholas Hawksmoor is investigating a series of gruesome murders on the sites of certain eighteenth-century churches, crimes that make no sense to the modern mind.


WTWhite Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Balram Halwai is the White Tiger, the smartest boy in his village. His family is too poor to afford for him to finish school and he has to work in a teashop, breaking coals and wiping tables. But Balram gets his break when a rich man hires him as a chauffeur, and takes him to live in Delhi. The city is a revelation. As he drives his master, Balram becomes increasingly aware of immense wealth and opportunity all around him, while knowing that he will never be able to gain access to that world. As Balram broods over his situation, he realises that there is only one way he can become part of this glamorous new India, by murdering his master.

IoSImaginings of Sand by André Brink

A narrative counterpoint between two women, two South Africas. Kristien Muller returns from London to her homeland to fulfil a promise. Her grandmother lies on her deathbed unleashing a turmult of myth, legend and brute fact. Confronted by the realities of a land hurtling towards change, Kristien discovers that the present holds its own moments of savagery. A searing panorama of South Africa's experience, reminiscent in its political and imaginative scope of Marquez's One Hundred Years Of Solitude.

CBThe Children's Book by A. S. Byatt

Famous author Olive Wellwood writes a special private book, bound in different colours, for each of her children. In their rambling house near Romney Marsh they play in a story-book world, but their lives and those of their rich cousins and their friends are already inscribed with mystery. Each family carries its own secrets.

They grow up in the golden summers of Edwardian times, but as the sons rebel against their parents and the girls dream of independent futures, they are unaware that in the darkness ahead they will be betrayed unintentionally by the adults who love them. This is the children's book.

FPFoucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco

Three book editors, jaded by reading far too many crackpot manuscripts on the mystic and the occult, are inspired by an extraordinary conspiracy story told to them by a strange colonel to have some fun. They start feeding random bits of information into a powerful computer capable of inventing connections between the entries, thinking they are creating nothing more than an amusing game, but then their game starts to take over, the deaths start mounting, and they are forced into a frantic search for the truth.


WAIDHWhat am I doing Here by Bruce Chatwin

In this collection of profiles, essays and travel stories, Chatwin takes us to Benin, where he is arrested as a mercenary during a coup; to Boston to meet an LSD guru who believes he is Christ; to India with Indira Ghandi when she attempted a political comeback in 1978; and to Nepal where he reminds us that 'Man's real home is not a house, but the Road, and that life itself is a journey to be walked on foot'.



AThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Santiago, a young shepherd living in the hills of Andalucia, feels that there is more to life than his humble home and his flock. One day he finds the courage to follow his dreams into distant lands, each step galvanised by the knowledge that he is following the right path: his own. The people he meets along the way, the things he sees and the wisdom he learns are life-changing.



HoDHeart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked within itself, and, by heavens! I tell you, it had gone mad.

Charles Marlow, at the behest of his employer, an ivory trading company, travels to the heart of Africa with a simple order: seek out an important trading post headed by a man named Kurtz. On his steamboat down the Congo River, Marlow begins to discover a developing lore surrounding Kurtz, who has reached a near mystical and divine status among the natives, yet feared and intimidating all the same.


BWThe Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins

The watchmaker belongs to the 18th Century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be purposefully designed. Charles Darwin's brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte. Natural selection - the unconscious, automatic, blind, yet essentially nonrandom process Darwin discovered - is the blind watchmaker in nature.


CaPCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Raskolnikov is an impoverished former student living in Saint Petersburg, Russia who feels compelled to rob and murder Alyona Ivanovna, an elderly pawn broker and money lender. After much deliberation the young man sneaks into her apartment and commits the murder. In the chaos of the crime Raskolnikov fails to steal anything of real value, the primary purpose of his actions to begin with. Raskolnikov is racked with guilt over the crime that he has committed and begins to worry excessively about being discovered. His guilt begins to manifest itself in physical ways as if he subconsciously wishes to be discovered. As suspicion begins to mount towards him, he is ultimately faced with the decision as to how he can atone for the heinous crime that he has committed.

EEngleby by Sebastian Faulks

Mike Engleby says things that others dare not even think. When the novel opens in the 1970s, he is a university student, having survived a traditional school. A man devoid of scruple or self-pity, Engleby provides a disarmingly frank account of English education. Yet beneath the disturbing surface of his observations lies an unfolding mystery of gripping power. One of his contemporaries unaccountably disappears and as we follow Engleby's career, which brings us up to the present day, we are led to ask: is Engleby capable of telling the whole truth?


CCFCold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

A resourceful young heroine finds herself in the gloomy, overwrought world of a Hardy or Bronte novel and proceeds to organize everyone out of their romantic tragedies into the pleasures of normal life. Flora Poste, orphaned at 19, chooses to live with relatives at Cold Comfort Farm in Sussex, where cows are named Feckless, Aimless, Pointless, and Graceless, and the proprietors, the dour Starkadder family, are tyrannized by Flora's mysterious aunt, who controls the household from a locked room. Flora's confident and clever management of an alarming cast of eccentrics is only half the pleasure of this novel. 

DDDaughter of the Desert by Georgina Howell

At a time when women were still largely excluded from both education and the workplace, Gertrude Bell was an archaeologist, spy, Arabist, linguist, author, poet, photographer and mountaineer - but until the Iraq War of 2003 few people had heard her name. During the course of her extraordinary life she not only abandoned her privileged background of country house parties and debutante balls to become one of the first women to graduate from Oxford; she also travelled into the desert as an archaeologist, where through her command of Arabic and knowledge of tribal affiliations she became indispensable to the Cairo Office of the British government.


ToSThe Turn of the Screw by Henry James

An intense psychological tale of terror, the novella begins in an old house on Christmas Eve. A governess comes to live with and take care of two young children, whose parents have recently died. The governess loves her new position in charge of the young children; however she is soon disturbed when she begins to see ghosts. While once regarded as just a scary story, modern criticism has reinterpreted the ambiguity of the narrative to possibly suggest a deeper thematic intent. Regardless, The Turn of the Screw remains a hauntingly gothic tale.


SaLSons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence

Paul Morel is a second son who must discover his own identity in the shadow of his mother’s overwhelming presence and influence. A budding artist, Paul must choose between his responsibility to his mother and his desire to explore the world and fall in love. Faced with the chance for a future with two different women, Paul must decide what he truly wants and whose opinion, his own or his mother’s, matters most.


PoCPack of Cards by Penelope Lively

In Pack of Cards, Penelope Lively introduces the reader to slivers of the everyday world that are not always open to observation, as she delves into the minutiae of her characters' lives. Whether she writes about a widow on a visit to Russia, a small boy's consignment to boarding school, or an agoraphobic housewife, Penelope Lively takes the reader past the closed curtains, through the locked door, into a world that seems at first mundane and then at second glance, proves to be uniquely memorable.


FBA Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

India, 1975. Desperate to preserve her independence from her abusive brother, Parsi widow Dina Dilal turns her cramped city apartment into a sweatshop. But when her eyesight begins to fail, she hires two tailors, uncle and nephew Ishvar and Om, who have fled from caste violence in their native village. She also takes in a lodger - Maneck, a reluctant student from the mountains. Initially wary of each other, the four strangers soon form a close bond of friendship, loyalty and love. But their lives are about to be turned upside down. Dina and her makeshift family find themselves struggling to survive and facing an uncertain future.


UUtopia by Sir Thomas More

More’s Utopia is a complex patriarchal island kingdom, innovative and penetrating contribution to political thought, culminating in the famous description of the Utopians, who practiced religious tolerance, in which everybody worked, no one has more than his fellows, all goods were community owned and violence, bloodshed, and vice are nonexistent. 


GoSTGod of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

This is the story of Rahel and Estha, twins growing up among the banana vats and peppercorns of their blind grandmother’s factory, amid scenes of political turbulence in Kerala. Armed only with the innocence of youth, they fashion a childhood in the shade of the wreck that is their family: their lonely, lovely mother, their beloved Uncle Chacko (pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher) and their sworn enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun, incumbent grand-aunt).


LoIDA Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

This brutal, shattering glimpse of the fate of millions of Russians under Stalin shook Russia and shocked the world when it first appeared. Discover the importance of a piece of bread or an extra bowl of soup, the incredible luxury of a book, the ingenious possibilities of a nail, a piece of string or a single match in a world where survival is all. Here safety, warmth and food are the first objectives. Reading it, you enter a world of incarceration, brutality, hard manual labour and freezing cold - and participate in the struggle of men to survive both the terrible rigours of nature and the inhumanity of the system that defines their conditions of life.

UTCUncle Tom's Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe

The story centers on the lives of several slaves of a Kentucky farmer named Arthur Shelby. Mounting debts forces the farmer to sell two of his slaves, Uncle Tom, a middle-aged man with a wife and children, and Harry, the son of Eliza, the family’s maid. Fearing separation from her child, Eliza runs away with her son to try and reunite with her husband George, also an escaped slave by travelling north to Canada. Meanwhile Tom is sold and placed on a Mississippi river boat where he befriends a young white girl named Eva, whose father Augustine St. Clare purchases him and takes him to their home in New Orleans. What follows for Tom is a tragic set of circumstances which highlighted the brutal reality of slavery in early 19th Century America.

WaPWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace begins at a glittering society party in St Petersburg in 1805, where conversations are dominated by the prospect of war. Terror swiftly engulfs the country as Napoleon's army marches on Russia and the lives of three young people are changed forever.

The stories of quixotic Pierre, cynical Andrey and impetuous Natasha interweave with a huge cast, from aristocrats and peasants to soldiers and Napoleon himself.

BHRBrideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Through the story of Charles Ryder's entanglement with the Flytes, a great Catholic family, Evelyn Waugh charts the passing of the privileged world Charles knew in his own youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities.

At once romantic, sensuous, comic, and somber, Brideshead Revisited transcends Waugh's early satiric explorations and reveals him to be an elegiac, lyrical novelist of the utmost feeling and lucidity.


AIHAn Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde

An Ideal Husband revolves around a blackmail scheme that forces a married couple to reexamine their moral standards, providing along the way, a wry commentary on the rarity of politicians who can claim to be ethically pure. A supporting cast of young lovers, society matrons, an overbearing father and a formidable femme fatale continually exchange sparkling repartee, keeping the story moving at a lively pace.


Nicky Raddon - September 2021