What are you reading? 2017/1
Oryx and Crake
by Margaret Atwood
My favourite book of all time is titled ‘Oryx and Crake’, written by the renowned Canadian author Margaret Atwood.
The book tells the story of Snowman, a decrepit hermit who lives with a colony of purring, green-skinned beings he calls the Crakers. Weaving through flashbacks, Snowman explains how his post-apocalyptic world came to be.
Atwood’s novel, first published in 2003, is well researched. Some of the scientific advancements predicted in the novel have even come to fruition to some degree, including lab-grown organ farms and spider-goats. The novel critically examines the ethics and boundaries of genetic modifications and pharmaceutical interventions. The world Atwood creates is futuristic and sometimes improbable, yet every day we seem closer and closer to it. Atwood is often noted for her strong feminist messages in novels such as ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. This novel, too, comments on issues around gender, sexuality and pornography. Therefore, it is not a recommended read for younger students. Dystopian literature is worth reading because it gives us pause and makes us question where our choices lead.
Ashley Davidson, secondary school teacher for English Literature at the Phorms Campus Hamburg
The Land of Stories - The Wishing Spell: Book 1
by Chris Colfer
I’m a little bookworm and I really like reading. My absolute favourite books are the Harry Potter series. I’ve read them all. My mum and I brought back ‘The Land of Stories’ from our last trip to America. It was recommended to me there because I like Harry Potter so much. The book is about two twins, Alex and Conner (a girl and a boy), whose Grandma gives them a book for their birthday. They soon realise that the book is special. The book magically transports them to another world – the world of fairy tales. There they meet lots of well-known fairytale characters and end up on an exciting quest to find eight things that will activate the ‘wishing spell’ so that they can go home. They get to experience a lot of exciting adventures along the way – in the mines of the seven dwarves, Cinderella’s castle, Rapunzel’s tower and lots of other places! I think this book is great, it’s about magic, fairy tales and two siblings who have lots of adventures. It’s a really brilliant book and I can't wait for the sequel.
Noah, seven years old, year 2 at the Phorms Campus Berlin Süd
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
by Elizabeth Gilbert
I am currently reading ‘Big Magic’* by Elizabeth Gilbert, who is well known for her bestseller ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, which was written almost a decade ago.
In her latest book Elizabeth Gilbert encourages the reader to live a creative life which does not necessarily mean ‘pursuing a life that is professionally or exclusively devoted to the arts.’ This could mean anything from raising goats, figure skating to drawing or writing. She believes creativity is inside all of us and she says living a creative life is living a satisfying life – it is about being passionate. Gilbert encourages us to live a life through curiosity, not fear, led by creativity. She is giving advice on setting your own agenda, overcoming self-doubt and avoiding perfectionism. ‘Big Magic’ is a celebration of creativity. It is inspirational, honest, has wit and humour and is easy to read for everyone who wants to stay hungry, dedicated and passionate on their creative journey, despite the odds.
I love that book and I personally enjoy living the creative journey and it makes me always happy to meet people who live a creative life as well.
*Read in German
Maike Thoma, whose children are in years 4 and 7 at the Phorms Taunus Campus