What are you reading? 2018/2
Bodyguard – Fugitive*
by Chris Bradford
This book is the sixth in the Bodyguard series and is about a boy called Connor, who goes to a school where children and adolescents train as bodyguards. In this sixth instalment, the headquarters – in other words, the school – is involved in an attack and all the people there, apart from Connor and his friend Amir, are captured and taken away. After he receives a message from the school’s head, the Colonel, he travels to China. He looks for clues about his missing friends in the foreign land and only just manages to escape from his unknown pursuers. This time, Connor is the one who urgently needs protection and help.
I found the book very exciting, not least because Connor is roughly my age and has a lot of adventures. Apart from that, the book is well written, because the author, Chris Bradford, has his own training as a bodyguard behind him and can draw on this experience. I certainly recommend this series of books, especially to anybody who likes action.
*Read in German
Finn, 15 years old, year 10 at the Phorms Campus Hamburg
by Italo Svevo
I found this yellowing, dusty novel in a second-hand book shop in Florence. Upon discovering that the author was a friend of my favourite author, James Joyce, I immediately snapped it up, got hooked and devoured it over the course of the next few days!
The book takes the form of a ‘therapeutic’ diary written by our hero, Zeno, which is then published by his doctor out of spite when Zeno decides to discontinue his visits. The diary draws upon Zeno’s desire to stop smoking as a vehicle to escort the reader through key moments in his life, such as his father’s death, his marriage and his tumultuous business partnership. We find ourselves back in the years before World War I, in the setting of Italo Svevo’s hometown of Trieste. This is where Svevo came into contact with James Joyce, author of Ulysses. This friendship allowed both budding authors to finely craft a unique style of writing, which emphasises the internal narrative going on inside us all – a style that brings the reader not just closer to the protagonist but inside his mind. This all-too-honest, first-person ‘confession’ allows the reader to revel in the delight of Zeno’s wit and plumb the darker crevasses of the human conscience. A must-read for fans of Joyce, Camus or Nietzsche!
Daniel Barrett-Wood, primary school teacher of English, maths, science, art, ICT and PSHE at the Phorms Campus Berlin Süd
Birds Without Wings*
by Louis de Bernières
I love historical novels, and this one even relates to my roots. The setting for this power
ful epic of war and peace, love and hate, shame and blame, honour and cowardice is the fictional small town of Eskibahçe. The author tells the stories of Philothei, the beautiful Greek girl who falls in love with Ibrahim; Iskander, the potter, and Karatavuk, who defends the Ottoman Empire at Gallipoli; Ruştem Bey, who discovers his wife is having an affair and has her stoned to death, before buying himself a Circassian lover. The story of Kemal Atatürk’s aversion to both the Quran and convention completes the hundred interwoven tales. And the overarching story of the Balkan War eventually eclipses all the others.
The melting pot of different cultures and customs in the book prompts a wry smile: Christians, Muslims, Greeks, Turks and Armenians were all living more or less peacefully alongside each other. But sadly, religion only needs the slightest spark to turn friendly neighbours into sworn enemies, whereupon those neighbours lose respect for one another and, eventually, so does everybody else.
*Read in German
Linda Asimyadis, whose daughter is in year 1 at the Phorms Campus Frankfurt City