These are our recommended books for older readers. We will be adding to this list and welcome your own recommendations and comments on these suggestions.
|THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS – JOHN BOYNE
Nine-year-old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas.
|THE KITE RUNNER – KHALED HOSSEINI
Afghanistan, 1975: Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.
|A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS – KHALED HOSSEINI
Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.
|TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD – HARPER LEE
A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.
|BIRD SONG – SEBASTIAN FAULKS
A novel of overwhelming emotional power, Birdsong is a story of love, death, sex and survival. Stephen Wraysford, a young Englishman, arrives in Amiens in northern France in 1910 to stay with the Azaire family, and falls in love with unhappily married Isabelle. But, with the world on the brink of war, the relationship falters, and Stephen volunteers to fight on the Western Front. His love for Isabelle forever engraved on his heart, he experiences the unprecedented horrors of that conflict – from which neither he nor any reader of this book can emerge unchanged.
|THE WOMAN WHO WALKED INTO DOORS – RODDY DOYLE
This is the heart-rending story of a woman struggling to reclaim her dignity after a violent, abusive marriage and a worsening drink problem. Paula Spencer recalls her contented childhood, the audacity she learned as a teenager, the exhilaration of her romance with Charlo, and the marriage to him that left her powerless. Capturing both her vulnerability and her strength, Doyle gives Paula a voice that is real and unforgettable.
|WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON – JOHN GREEN & DAVID LEVITHAN
One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, Will Grayson crosses paths with . . . Will Grayson. Two guys with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, and culminating in epic turns-of-heart and the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high-school stage.
|THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS – ARUNDHATI ROY
This is the story of Rahel and Estha, twins growing up among the banana vats and peppercorns of their blind grandmother’s factory, and amid scenes of political turbulence in Kerala. Armed only with the innocence of youth, they fashion a childhood in the shade of the wreck that is their family: their lonely, lovely mother, their beloved Uncle Chacko (pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher) and their sworn enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun, incumbent grand-aunt).
|I AM MALALA – MALALA YOUSAFZAI
Raised in a once-peaceful area of Pakistan transformed by terrorism, Malala was taught to stand up for what she believes. So she fought for her right to be educated. And on 9 October, 2012, she nearly lost her life for the cause. She was shot point-blank on her way home from school. No one expected her to survive. Now, she is an international symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner.
|IN ORDER TO LIVE – YEONMI PARK
This book is the story of Park’s struggle to survive in the darkest, most repressive country on earth; her harrowing escape through China’s underworld of smugglers and human traffickers; and then her escape from China across the Gobi desert to Mongolia, with only the stars to guide her way, and from there to South Korea and at last to freedom; and finally her emergence as a leading human rights activist – all before her 21st birthday.
|THE LIGHTLESS SKY – MY JOURNEY TO SAFETY AS A CHILD REFUGEE – GULWALI PASSARLAY
Gulwali Passarlay was sent away from Afghanistan at the age of twelve, after his father was killed in a gun battle with the US Army. Smuggled into Iran, Gulwali began a twelvemonth odyssey across Europe, spending time in prisons, suffering hunger, making a terrifying journey across the Mediterranean in a tiny boat, and enduring a desolate month in the camp at Calais. Somehow he survived, and made it to Britain, no longer an innocent child but still a young boy alone.
|THE UNDERGROUND GIRLS OF KABUL – JENNY NORDBURG
An Afghan woman’s life expectancy is just 44 years, and her life cycle often begins and ends in disappointment: being born a girl and finally, having a daughter of her own. For some, disguising themselves as boys is the only way to get ahead.
|THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING
Compiled from his own words, this history-making autobiography IS Martin Luther King: the mild-mannered, inquisitive child and student who rebelled against segregation; the dedicated young minister who constantly questioned the depths of his faith and the limits of his wisdom; the loving husband and father who sought to balance his family’s needs with those of a growing nationwide movement; and the reflective, world-famous leader who was fired by a vision of equality for people everywhere.
|HEIRS TO FORGOTTEN KINGDOMS – RUSSELL GERARD
Despite its reputation for religious intolerance, the Middle East has long sheltered many distinctive and strange faiths. These religions represent the last vestiges of the magnificent civilizations in ancient history: Persia, Babylon, Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs. Their followers have learned how to survive foreign attacks and the perils of assimilation. But today, with the Middle East in turmoil, they face greater challenges than ever before.