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Top 50 books that will …


It has become commonplace to claim that teenagers read books that are too easy and that they won’t read books that challenge them. Teachers and librarians try hard to push challenging titles to older kids and to help with that cause the organisers of World Book Day have announced a list that might help. Here is an example and you can find further ideas on The Guardian site.

Books to change the way you think:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • A Streetcat Named Bob by James Bowen
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
  • Wonder by RJ Palacio
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  • The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Sunday Quote Day

Sunday Quote Day


Shops are places where your money makes the wealthy wealthier. Libraries are places where the wealthy’s taxes pay for you to become a little more extraordinary.

Caitlin Moran

Why fiction is good for you

At KKC we have lots of passionate fiction readers and I am sure that they know that reading is beneficial but they may be surprised to find out why that is. According to this article, “The beautiful lies of novels, movies, and TV stories have surprisingly powerful effects — and may even help make society tick”.

Is fiction good for us? We spend huge chunks of our lives immersed in novels, films, TV shows, and other forms of fiction. Some see this as a positive thing, arguing that made-up stories cultivate our mental and moral development. But others have argued that fiction is mentally and ethically corrosive. It’s an ancient question: Does fiction build the morality of individuals and societies, or does it break it down?

This controversy has been flaring up — sometimes literally, in the form of book burnings — ever since Plato tried to ban fiction from his ideal republic. In 1961, FCC chairman Newton Minow famously said that television was not working in “the public interest” because its “formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons” amounted to a “vast wasteland.” And what he said of TV programming has also been said, over the centuries, of novels, theater, comic books, and films: They are not in the public interest.

Until recently, we’ve only been able to guess about the actual psychological effects of fiction on individuals and society. But new research in psychology and broad-based literary analysis is finally taking questions about morality out of the realm of speculation.

This research consistently shows that fiction does mould us.

Go here to find out more.

The end of Ron Weasley

For more than half Rupert Grint’s 23 years, he has had another existence as Ron Weasley, Harry Potter’s comedy sidekick. As the final film in the series is released, where to now for the number-two boy wizard? An interesting interview from The Observer. 

Rupert Grint describes it as like watching a row of dominoes falling towards you, and when we emerge from a cellar bar in central London, climbing up to street-level Soho, it’s clear he’s caught it just right.

A few strides in the direction of his hotel and a face among a group of outdoor lunchers flinches in recognition, prompting other heads to turn and look. Quickly a chipper twentysomething is bounding across the road, dodging motorbikes, his cameraphone outstretched as if it’s something Grint has mislaid. “Would you mind, Rupert, if we?” I’m sure this happens to other people with famous faces, but does it happen to quite such a degree?

Grint’s co-star in the Harry Potter film franchise – the boy wizard himself, Daniel Radcliffe – is widely agreed to have the most recognisable face in the world, and is accordingly pitied for it. But Grint appears on all the bus-stop posters too. Grint has also been acting in this seemingly endless series of films, adapted from JK Rowling’s books, since 2000. The 23-year-old’s face has been reproduced a billion times on all the lampshades and Lego boxes and stationery sets and “edible cake toppers”. Radcliffe gets harassed wherever he goes but he gets to be Harry, the hero with a tragic backstory and a dozen glamour moments per film. It has been Grint’s lot to play the abiding best mate, Ron Weasley – on screen about as often as Harry but mainly there to chatter his teeth (cowardly foil to his friend’s breezy grit), or say “bloody hell” (Ron’s the defeatist, working-class one), or get injured, because nary does a film complete without Grint requiring medical treatment. He’s the comedy sidekick who, by my count, waited 400 minutes, well into the third film, before he got his first properly funny line. And still he has to deal with the domino-topple of faces everywhere he goes, the suicide dashes for photos.

“I wouldn’t normally ask,” says the twentysomething in Soho, and soon he’s got Grint in a tight clutch, posing with a finger pointed to say, “Look what I found!” Grint used to quite like going to music festivals, but people there started finding him in the crowd and wordlessly hoisting him up for display. Picture requests are nothing, a breeze, compared to being presented like a weighty fishing catch at a festival, and when we round a corner and Grint is asked to pause for another picture he’s already extending an arm and readying a photo smile before the request is out. We’ve walked less than 100 metres. How does this guy get anywhere? He must have to add half-again to every planned journey, put aside long weekends to get around the supermarket.

Read the rest here.

The most borrowed library books of 2010

I have just read an article in The Guardian about the most borrowed library books of 2010. Here’s a taste:

Trying to explain why the wartime British public were turning to “brutal and sordid” American crime novels, George Orwell suggested that pulp fiction offered “a distilled version of the modern political scene” in an era of “mass bombing of civilians, the use of hostages, torture [and] secret prisons”, and “systematic falsification of records and statistics”. The average man, he proposed, “wants the current troubles of the world to be translated into a simple story about individuals”.


Some such theory is needed, 65 years later, to account for the stunning appetite for evil evinced by people popping into their local libraries, as revealed again by the latest data released by Public Lending Right (PLR), covering the period from mid-2009 to mid-2010. Of the 100 most borrowed titles, close to two-thirds are crime novels or thrillers, including all the top 10, and others (such as Stephenie Meyer’s crime-laden vampire romances) are in related genres.

Read the rest here.

Reading Challenges for 2011

I know that many of you love reading but some of you need ideas and inspiration to get you to pick up a book. This blog is for all readers – the ravenous and the reluctant. We will post about one time book related happenings and longer events. A major focus will be reading challenges which are usually set up over an extended period of time and encourage participants to read a certain number of books or type of book.