Thursday, March 31, 2011

10 Characters from 'Hamlet': 9. Osric

The penultimate 5-minute talk in our series on minor characters is on Osric, the 'waterfly' courtier who arranges the fencing match between Hamlet and Laertes. This talk deals with how Hamlet's meeting with Osric, at a critical time in the story, tells us a lot about the Prince's state of mind as he faces the defining moment of his life.

Get our Audioboos as podcasts on iTunes here. Our Audioboo page is here. Listen to today's talk via the player below. Listen to the first 5 talks on one podcast here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The latest edition of our TinyLetter newsletter goes out tomorrow. It's called the Spring Forward edition, and there's still time to sign up for it here. It's books, books, books all the way this time, particularly dealing with our World Book Day survey and our Library.

In other news: the annual Shakespeare Prize was held today, and we hope that both junior and senior pupils are working away on their poetry prize entries, due in the coming weeks.

And a big shout-out to Humphrey, Jeremy and the other amphibians on winning the 'Best Science/Education Blog' at the recent Irish Blog Awards. Only proper. Go and read The Frog Blog...

Monday, March 28, 2011

'The Submarine', March 2011

The latest edition of our excellent Library magazine, 'The Submarine', edited by Mr McConville, is now out. A bumper 12-page publication, it can be read online below via Issuu. Click on the window to see it closer, and again to navigate around it full-screen.

It opens with an editorial about the importance of JCSP Librarians, reminding us how lucky we are to have such a fine facility at St Columba's. There are recommendations of Emma Donoghue's Room, Patrick Leigh-Fermor's A Time of Gifts, Delphine de Vigan's No and Me (previously posted here) and Jodi Picoult's House Rules (in both Irish and English), a list of some of the new books in the Library, an entertaining 'What's Reading Me' section (featuring some pretty dithery teachers), some quick recommendations by junior pupils, and, on the back page, Miriam Poulton's essay on 'visceral alternatives to mainstream Twilightis'. Enjoy...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

10 Characters from 'Hamlet': 8. The Player King

The eighth character in our series on (relatively) minor characters in Hamlet is in fact a character in the play within the play, The Mousetrap. What the Player King says chimes with some of the main ideas of the whole play.

Get our Audioboos as podcasts on iTunes here. Our Audioboo page is here. Listen to today's talk via the player below. Listen to the first 5 talks on one podcast here.

The Technical Road to our Reading Recommendations

The 79 recommendations of good books from our World Book Day survey (embedded again at bottom of this post) were created using these tools :-
  1. A Google Form to survey visitors, the back-end of which was a spreadsheet of responses,
  2. Twitter to spread the word all over the world,
  3. Blogger to post these recommendations over the weeks in individual posts,
  4. Microsoft Word to copy and paste them all into a separate document,
  5. Cute PDF to turn this into a PDF,
  6. Issuu to embed it online,
  7. and next year we'll probably include the list in our third book via Lulu.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

79 Great Book Recommendations

Our online World Book Day survey included: 'If I had to recommend one book it would be...' We've been blogging these responses for some weeks. Now here's an online magazine of them all, via Issuu- 79 recommendations from all over the world, covering all sorts of books. Enjoy!

Click for a closer view, and click again for an even closer one. You can also download it to your own computer or print it out.

WBD Survey 19

And so we come to the final post of recommendations from our World Book Day Survey earlier this month (well, unless there's a flood of extra ones). Coming soon, a 'special issue' of recommendations and some stats.

MikeBrawer: The Ugly Little Boy by Isaac Asimov
It is a 30-page short story that leaves you with your jaw on the floor.  It is a great story by a master of literature not just the Science Fiction Genre.  It is, like most great literature, about normal people in unusual circumstances.

Anseo A Mhuinteoir : Bernard Dunne's autobiography
I can almost hear him speak while reading this book. That's a rare talent - to be able to write as you speak and still sound professional.

Sarah: Lightning by Dean Koontz
It's been one of my favourite books for years.  It's a great combination of horror - scare the pants off you, science fiction - time travel but written so it seems completely achievable, funny - you laugh one minute then hide under the covers the next - just a great book overall!  I can read it again and again and never tire of it.

@fboss: Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre
This was the plan that fooled the Nazis and turned the tide of World War II in the Allies' favour. It's crammed with great accounts and details from the period and really brings it to life.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

10 Characters from 'Hamlet': 7: Ophelia

This 5-minute from our series on characters from Hamlet is about the haunting figure Ophelia, one of the few totally innocent victims of the play.

Get our Audioboos as podcasts on iTunes here. Our Audioboo page is here. Listen to today's talk via the player below. Listen to the first 5 talks on one podcast here.

WBD Survey 18

The penultimate post on book recommendations from our World Book Day 2011 Survey:

Lisa: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Zafon
The Shadow of the Wind was able to depict beautiful and extraordinary characters.  Zafon was able to intertwine historical fiction, romance, mystery, a thriller and a coming of age novel splendidly.  I would say this would be my all-time number one book.

Anonymous: Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fourner

Gently inspiring book - never leaves you once it's read.

mscoxenglish: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is a story that amuses and thrills, mystifies and enlightens, warms your heart and stokes your anger.  It's a must  for any avid reader.

Monday, March 21, 2011

World Poetry Day

Today is World Poetry Day. Some of our poetry resources feature in the latest Times Educational Supplement English resources (including that Shakespeare sonnets Wordle) including the Patterns of Poetry audioboos, so here are the first eight again, embedded below. Our Poem of the Week is one read out recently by Mr McCarthy in a Chapel talk, J.C. Squire's 'Caravels'.

Podcast Powered By Podbean


Friday, March 18, 2011

WBD Survey 17

We're coming to the end of book recommendations from our World Book Day 2011 survey, but there are still a few more after this post.

Liam C : The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
Beautifully written with excellently drawn characters. It opens up a place and a perspective in WW2 Europe that is an unusual one. Reading this is a strongly visual experience but all the other senses are also challenged to grasp the sense of space and light integral to this place. What is even more interesting is that is a building that exists as a national architectural treasure to this day on the edge of the city of Brno. 

(below, an earlier Audioboo review of the book)

debzanne: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
It's part romance, part science fiction, part drama, and part adventure, with a little humor thrown in.  When my book club read it, I stayed up the night before the meeting to finish it, and began crying around 2am because the characters were just so beautiful.  This is a novel when, truly, the little moments are the most touching; the author does a nice job of writing them without calling attention to them.  In recent years, I've convinced two men and one woman to read it, and they've all loved it.  Gorgeous book.

Anonymous: The Curative by Charlotte Randall

This book takes place in a cell in Bedlam, and reveals, eventually, why the narrator/protagonist is there. It is a snapshot too, of the 'medical' practices of the time and is beautifully written. My only niggle is at the end- the main character is incarcerated in chains in damp conditions for a long time, yet he walks... I don't buy that bit, but was absorbed by the rest.

Anonymous: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Haunting, imaginative, and full of truth about one of the darkest periods in human history.  I could not stop reading it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Library Update

This is the latest update from our Librarian, Mr McConville:-

With our strong reading ethos the Library has been concerned for a while at the narrow options available for those among us with reading issues. After consulting with the English department (thanks to Mr Jameson and Ms Smith) and Learning Support (likewise Ms McEneaney) we decided to provide a selection of books from the Barrington Stoke gr8reads series.

Barrington Stoke specialise in books for people with dyslexia or other reading difficulties. Physically the books are printed on off-white or ivory paper with generous line spacing, and use a font that has been specifically designed to reduce distraction. Most importantly the subject matter is not simplified or patronising, but is age appropriate; the short, punchy stories range from humour (Theresa Brerslin’s Alligator) through fantasy adventure (Alien and Alien Betrayal) to the gritty urban realism of teen gangs (Blade, Snapshot), human trafficking (China Girl) and dysfunctional lives (Come on, Danny). First reports are positive, and it looks like we will be revisiting the Barrington Stoke catalogue for further titles.

World Book Day was held on 3 March this year. As well as our well-established Favourite Book survey (thanks as always to the English department) the Library provided a Junior crossword puzzle and Senior “Dewey Tale” quiz. €10 book tokens will be distributed shortly to our lucky randomly-selected winners.

As for St Columba’s favourite book this year, 147 votes were returned, listing 101 individual authors and 115 separate book titles, a testament once again to the broad and vigorous reading tradition in the school. Our top choices were How Many Miles to Babylon? by Jennifer Johnston and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, both with 4 votes each. Then with 3 votes each came Class A, The Recruit and Mad Dogs, all by the supremely popular Cherub author Robert Muchamore, Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, and Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant. As for our favourite author, yes it’s that man again, Robert Muchamore, with a whopping 14 votes, followed by Michael Morpurgo with 5 votes, Jennifer Johnston and Suzanne Collins with 4 votes, and Malorie Blackman, Derek Landy, Jodi Picoult and Morris Gleitzman, all with 3 votes.

The annual 5th Form Library Quiz is always good fun. This year it was held on Thursday 17 February in Muckross Park, Ranelagh. Eighteen schools took part in the brain-fest which was won by Alexandra College. Our team of Lorcan Maule, Lingfan Gao, Patrick Tice, Rosie Agnew and Ciara Conway did “reasonably well”, finishing in the middle orders.

They enjoyed the refreshments supplied, as did our supporters Oyinda Onabanjo and Leonard Dihlmann. The gracious and humorous Paul Howard—Ross O’Carroll-Kelly’s author—was the celebrity quizmaster, and signed the Library’s copy of The Oh My God Delusion as well as posing for a photograph with the team.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who Wrote Shakespeare?

Aoise Keogan-Nooshabadi of V form recently wrote an essay examining the Shakespeare authorship question, concentrating on the claims of those who suggest Sir Francis Bacon did:- 

Shakespeare is acclaimed to be one of the greatest poets and writers in history and his work has undoubtedly withstood the test of time. Scholars universally agree that Shakespeare lived and died in Stratford-upon-Avon. But some say this is false, untrue and due to their skepticism and questioning, many theories and ideas have been raised concerning the authorship surrounding his works. In this essay I hope to explore these concepts and through extensive study of these views come to a definite answer to a question asked by so many: Who wrote Shakespeare?

Click here for Aoise's full essay.

Teaching 'The Great Gatsby'

The New York Times has a terrific resource for those teaching and studying The Great Gatsby (which we'll be doing next term with V form as part of the comparative module).  Click here for their page 'Teaching The Great Gatsby with the New York Times'. It includes links to lesson plans, crossword puzzles, historical background, and lots more.

Monday, March 14, 2011

WBD Survey 16

Here are five more recommendations from our recent World Book Day Survey (still open):-

@dkdykstra: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
I love how the novel unfolds from the different female characters' points of view. A man takes his family to Africa to serve as missionaries, then stays even though the political climate is dangerous. Each segment starts with narration from the mom, then continues with each sister. The images they paint are still vivid in my mind (I read the book 10 years ago). The anger I felt toward the father when I read it is still palpable, too.

Libwithattitude: The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak
I enjoy reading books set in the 2nd World War and this one kept me enthralled, although it is quite a long read. It had excitement and sadness and made me cry. I liked that it is based on fact and would read it again.....but there are so many other books I want to read!

@SpandrewQ: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
They say revenge is a dish best served cold.  Edmond Dantes serves it sub zero.  The way in which he takes his revenge on those who betray him beggars belief.  A must read!

clouter1 : To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Read this when in school and it never really got my attention. Read it 10 years later when a bit more mature and couldn't put it down, an amazing book! A must-read for everyone

@matthljones: Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Satire at its best. Ever wondered where Yahoo came from...?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

5 'Hamlet' Audioboos

This podcast gathers together the first five short 'audioboos' from our series 10 Characters in 'Hamlet', which deal with six characters: 1) Fortinbras, 2) Horatio, 3) Laertes, 4) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, 5) Polonius. Another podcast will put together the remaining four when complete.

The series looks at the 'lesser' characters in the play, in five-minute chunks. Note that there is a brief gap between each talk. Listen via the player below:-

Podcast Powered By Podbean


You can also listen to this podcast via the player on each post, or the 'widget' on the sidebar to the right, or by visiting our podcast page here (if you have iTunes on your computer you can also subscribe by clicking here, and so download our episodes to your MP3 player, or by searching for 'SCC English' in the iTunes Store).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

10 Characters from 'Hamlet'. 6: Polonius

In this 5-minute talk in our series on (relatively) minor characters in Hamlet, Polonius is considered - harmless old buffoon or head of the Danish Stasi?

Get our Audioboos as podcasts on iTunes here. Our Audioboo page is here. Listen to today's talk via the player below.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

TES Connect

We now have our own page on the Times Educational Supplement Connect site. We have uploaded several of our poetry resources, such as the Patterns of Poetry talks, an interview with Professor Terry Dolan about Geoffrey Chaucer, and Wordles of Shakespeare's sonnets and Wordsworth's 'Tintern Abbey'. Lots more coming in due course.

The poetry resources are currently featured by TES English in their monthly newsletter, which covers World Poetry Day resources for March 21 2011.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

WBD Survey 15

Plenty of catching up to do with all the excellent book recommendations from our World Book Day 2011 Survey: here's another batch.

Dazzld: Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
This is the darkest, funniest book I have read this year. It is laugh-out-loud funny and achingly sad and captures the teen years in all their glory!  [our own review is here]

tgaletti: Bill Bryson's Down Under (or if kidlit any book by Michael Morpurgo)
Bill Bryson's book about Australia is simply the most hilarious - while very informative - book I have ever read. I re-read my favorite parts over and over again. When recommending the book I always warn people not to read the book in public - it can get embarrassing if you laugh out loud and uncontrollably. The book is a real treat and will definitely make the reader want to see Australia.
    For children I always recommend master storyteller Michael Morpurgo - nothing beats his amazing stories and I yet have to meet the kid who does not get hooked by his books.

Jenny: War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
It's a complete novel covering many facets of Russian life before and during the Napoleonic wars. It has something for everyone - romance, comedy, drama, action and history.

Anon: The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
A great book to appeal to teenagers.

Penny: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
Unusual: it makes me laugh out loud (horse is brilliant). I love stories which challenge time - it is very thoughtful.

Irish Blog Awards 2011

We're delighted to be, along with our colleagues in the Frog Blog, among the final 5 in the Science / Education category of the 2011 Irish Blog Awards, to be held on March 19th in Belfast.

The details:

Best Science/Education Blog

Monday, March 07, 2011

Programme for Government

Programme for Government, March 2011
Another in our series of 'public wordles', using to analyse speeches and official language in documents:- here is Towards Recovery: Programme for a National Government, which yesterday was agreed on by the Labour Party and Fine Gael following their successes in the recent General Election (click on the image to examine it more closely). As always, the largest words are those most used in the document (of 220). Below, two more images - of the same parties' general election manifestos (interesting comparisons to be made).
Fine Gael Manifesto 2011
Labour Party Manifesto 2011

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Irish Blog Awards 2011

Re-posting from our colleagues at the Frog Blog:

"We are delighted to see that the Frog Blog [aka SCC Science] is listed amongst the finalists (Top 10) for the Irish Blog Awards in the Science / Education category. We are delighted to share the category with some excellent blogs, including our colleagues over in SCC English! The Irish Blog Awards takes place in Belfast on March 19th (might make a weekend out of it) with more information available here. Below is the list of finalists in the Science / Education category! Good luck to all!"

Saturday, March 05, 2011

WBD Survey 14

The latest batch of book recommendations from our World Book Day 2011 survey, from visitors to this blog-

Anne: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Brilliantly written. Gripping story that turns your head (and heart) inside out. Thoughts of McCarthy's world as a possible reality will stay with you for days/weeks/months after you've put it down. Unforgettable, really.

DonnaDB : To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (again!)
I first read Mockingbird as a high school sophomore in the early 60's. It was the first novel that really engaged me at both a story and a moral level. Later, as a teacher of English, I taught the novel several times. By then, it was through the lens of the civil rights movement. Later still, the background of the story started to become a little foreign. In the Northeast, Jim Crow laws were historic footnotes; civil rights marches almost relegated to WW II status. However, the novel itself and the character of Atticus Finch have continued to inspire readers. It is, above all, a story of choosing to do the right thing, regardless of the consequences.

Peter Lydon: The Day the Universe Changed, by James Burke
Just such a good read about the modernisation of the world.

Cristina: What Makes Us Human, by Charles Pasternak
Because it is a wonderful combination of scientific data from neurology, evolutionary psychology and humor!

George: Swimsuit by James Patterson
It is a fast action packed page-turner, which gives the reader little or no choice in making the decision to put the book down. However it is graphic and not for the squeamish. 

Also: Nat - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Friday, March 04, 2011

WBD Survey 13

Lots of book recommendations to catch up on, even though it's the day after World Book Day - and there will be plenty more in coming days (our survey remains open here). This time, all the recommendations are from SCC staff and pupils:

Dr Stone: An Ice-Cream War, by William Boyd It is a novel set in a fascinating time and place (East Africa during World War I), brilliantly written with wonderful use of words and an interestingly structured approach to time and narrative. The characters are brilliantly drawn and the evocation of the human condition in all its vagaries is sympathetic and well conceived.

Mrs Heffernan: Room, by Emma Donoghue
If you enjoy books in which the content allows your mind to grapple and question long after you have finished then this is for you. It, on initial read, begins playing with your emotions from the first page. It's sad! However it slowly develops into a happy and occasionally funny, in part, ending. It's about a mother and aon living in captivity after she was abducted many years before. It's set in America, so the subject matter is quite relevant in view of recent real cases of the same thing there. I can't think of any one word that will explain to a prospective reader what this book encapsulates - maybe just 'must read'.

Tristan: 1,000 Years Annoying the French by Stephen Clarke It's a grown up version of the Horrible Histories I used to read as a child. A very humorous, and only slightly biased, look at Anglo-French relations for the past thousand years.

Viva-Bavaria: The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank Anne and her family moved to Amsterdam in 1933 after the Nazis gained power in Germany, and were trapped by the occupation of the Netherlands, which began in 1940. It tells the story of a Jewish girl, hiding in a office building, in her early teens and describes both the joys and torments of daily life. Anne Frank's diary is often said to be "classic" and a book of the contemporary world literature and yet no lesser designation serves. The book speaks for itself. It gives another perspective to World War II. This is the true story of a group of people who are living in hope and fear. It is a truly remarkable book.

And two more - Sarah-Jane Johnson : The Life and Death of Charlie St Cloud, by Ben Sherwood. A pupil: The Alchemist, by Michael Scott

Thursday, March 03, 2011

World Book Day Survey

We've been posting recommendations from our reading survey for many days now (and there are plenty more to come). The survey will remain open for quite a while. Meanwhile, here are some interim results (full results in due course).

This is now many books I read each month...
1-2: 37%
3-5: 43%
6-8: 9%
More than 8: 11%

I like to read...
In bed: 78%
In a comfy chair: 63%
On my travels: 61%
On the beach: 31%
In the bath: 21%
In the kitchen: 13%
(more than one choice allowed, thus more than 100%)

I like reading...
(Auto)Biography: 55%
'Literary' fiction: 50%
Detective/Crime fiction: 46%
Short stories: 45%
Thrillers: 33%
(more than one choice allowed, thus more than 100%)

WBD Survey 12

On World Book Day itself, here are more recommendations to add to our growing list of excellent books from our survey. Do fill it in! Coming later today, some stats...

@antheald: Waterland, by Graham Swift
I wouldn't want to say this is the best book ever, but it caught me at an important time (I read it in the sixth form) and it tapped into aspects of my life at the time, my having left a school with the scientific bias of like that of Tom's, the schoolteacher narrator.

The novel opened up for me some of the themes and ideas that would become important in my further studies, my teaching and indeed my life. It is at one level a crackingly well-told story that can be seen in the tradition of Dickens (I would later see the connection with Great Expectations) or, perhaps more closely, Hardy, but it is also very much a novel of ideas, about the very nature of storytelling and of the nature of man, who "tells, if only to himself, if only to an audience he is forced to imagine, a story." Thus I see it as leading me on to other works that have become favourites and that I considered for my 'desert island' book, by the likes of Umberto Eco, and Milan Kundera, as well as showing me the way back via the Victorians to Sterne, Chaucer and beyond.

Simon (SCC pupil): The Cherub series
I enjoyed these books and they are very popular now but I only found out about them last year and I have read twelve books already and I didn't get bored once. The author is Robert Muchamore for those interested and the names of the books are;
1) The Recruit- 2) Class A- 3) Maximum Security- 4) The killing- 5) Divine Madness 6)Man Vs Beast- 7) The Fall- 8) Mad Dogs- 9) The Sleepwalker- 10) The General- 11) Brigand MC- 12) Shadow Wave... These books are for ages 12+

Allison: Half the Sky, Nicholas Kristoff

This book is a moving account of the tragedy of human trafficking and the terrible living conditions of countless women in the developing world.  Reading it has made me more aware of how blessed, and has left me looking for ways to make a difference. 

Emma Dawson: The Graveyard by Neil Gaiman
It's a very clever, witty story which is just a bit different to most.

LizzySiddal: Effi Briest, by Theodor Fontane
It's the best German novel of the nineteenth century .... and knocks the spots off Madame Bovary.

Brendy (SCC pupil): Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney

New Books in the Library

On World Book Day, here is a list of books recently bought for our Library. It includes Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games, much recommended in our World Book Day survey, and John Healy's classic autobiography The Grass Arena.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

WBD Survey 12

We're almost at World Book Day, and here are more books from our survey (there will be plenty of recommendations after it too - they're really stacking up). Still time to fill in the form here. Popping up again and again are To Kill a Mockingbird and the Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins.

Margie: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
It considers everything- growing up, parents and children, moral and ethical choices, racism, the "other," suspense, law and order, strength of character, unselfish love- through rich characters you love and hate and a plot filled with suspense and emotion. I can't think of much more that could be created so skilfully within the covers of one book.

CAN : Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

I loved the writing, the characters, etc. All linger with you long after the book is over. Several of the stories - "Starving,' "Little Burst," "Incoming Tide" - have imprinted themselves on my heart. My students have loved them as well.

Maggie: Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Elsewhere could easily fit in the category of coming-of-age novel, but for the problem that the main character is dead and she is growing younger every day. Still, Liz learns all kinds of important lessons in Elsewhere!  I've never met anyone who didn't enjoy this book, and I have shared it with nearly 1000 students since it was published.

JY: The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

It is a cross between 1984, Mad Max Thunderdome and reality T.V. It grabs you from the start and then is full of twists and turns. I usually don't like reading series books because the second and third are usually knock-offs of the first book, but with this series, I could not stop until I had read all three!

And also recommended by Karen:

I choose this series because it seems to be universally appealing - to readers and non-readers alike. Some of my students who have never finished a book before on their own often read this entire series. The story and characters are captivating to people of all ages.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

WBD Survey 11

The latest recommendations from our World Book Day 2011 survey, which you can contribute to here. We'll be studying the first book with our V formers next term.

Tweeter of Wit: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
As a tale of love and dreams set against a backdrop of recession and corruption, this is a timeless novel which resonates today as it did in 1920s America. Gatsby is a tragic hero for the twentieth century, and in Nick Carraway we have the template of the involved narrator. Some of the imagery is sufficiently beautiful to be moving, and the lyrical ending is a stunning resolution, following a denouement which has revealed the moral bankruptcy of many of the characters.
Caragh Little,  Head of English, Loreto College Coleraine

Teresa: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
There's something for everyone in this book-- action, adventure, psychology, friendship, manipulation, surprise... I've read it and reread it tens of times and every time I like it more!

Jennifer: Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

This book never fails to send shivers down my spine. It's beautifully written and poetic, full of both hope and despair. I never get tired of rereading it and I take something different away from it every time.

Christopher North Jr: Njal's Saga
I love the literature of Iceland. They have the oldest standing sort of democratically elected parliament, the Althing, which dates back to the ninth century. Their sagas contain bits of history; they are exciting stories and very novelistic, and Tolkien stole much of the Lord of the Rings from these stories. I could go on to recommend Egil's Saga, The Volsunga Saga, The Prose Edda (or The Deluding of Gylfi, that does for Germanic myth what Ovid does for Greek and Roman myth in The Metamorphoses). We learn stuff about the Vikings from these stories we might never have known.

English Companion Ning Member: Steppenwolf, by Herman Hesse

It is first among equals, since you are only allowed one [recommendation].