@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