Tag Archives: Reading


Although Marie Lu began working at Disney on their video games, and then went on to making Facebook games she really always wanted to be a writer, and as a writer she is an inspiration for all beginners. She began writing seriously when she was 14, but it was only when she had submitted her manuscript for Legend five times that it was accepted by G.P. Putnam’s Sons publishers. 

One of her pieces of advice for aspiring writers is: “Read. Always. You don’t have to be capable of reading 250 novels every year like some amazing folks are. (I’ll admit that I’m a very slow reader and am probably only capable of really digesting about 25 books a year.) But you have to love to read. You have to constantly keep updated on what other authors are producing in your genre as well as outside of it. Know your industry. And most importantly, you have to read because you have a duty as a writer to support your fellow writers.”

Legend is the start of an exciting trilogy – the three books in the trilogy are:

·       Legend

·       Prodigy

·      Champion

There is no slow build up setting the scene, no explanation of how everything works, you start on page one and you are immediately  dropped into the thick of the action. A war is raging in America and events of life and death are taking place. Each chapter tells the story from the perspective of either June, or Day, two young people who are very similar but on opposite sides of the system.  Legend is a book about false loyalties and misunderstandings. It also about a rich political elite ruling a poor population who are struggling to survive in harsh conditions.  Sarah Rees Brennan, author of The Demon’s Lexicon Trilogy writes that Legend is “A compelling dystopic world, with diverse characters, high tension and political intrigue. It’s a cliche, but really: if you liked the Hunger Games, you’ll love this.” If you are the kind of person that likes to have a soundtrack playing for atmosphere as you read your books, then Marie Lu suggests this music.

Legend may also soon appear as a film. In July 2012 Marie Lu talked to MTV News about a screenplay being completed and passed on to CBS Films who hold the film rights so watch this space.

Mrs H.

10 reasons why to read the book before seeing the movie

Neil Rickards

Photo of cinema queue by Neil Rickards


You can use your imagination and create the world you think is being described. You are not limited by someone else’s idea of the story.


You are taking yourself into a new place, and you can test your reactions against those in the book. As John Flynn writes “In my mind, reading is an investment in a story — it pairs the author’s vision with my own imagination — it’s a deeply personal experience. The inverse — seeing the movie first — leaves me with only the director’s visual interpretation of the story.”


By reading a book rather than just seeing a film you get more information and more detail. Sometimes the author’s voice appeals to you directly [“dear Reader”] which is one of the first things to be cut from the film.


You have time to relax, dream over the choice of words and be transported by the author. If it takes you four hours, or four weeks, you can go at your own pace; you are not limited to two or three hours in the dark.


If you have enjoyed the book, you know what to expect from the film ….and the film rarely delivers 10 out of 10. If it does, then it is a rare bonus.


You can enjoy a book wherever you go – sitting in the garden, in bed, or even in the bath (although I wouldn’t recommend that with your library books!)


When you have read a book first, it stays with you for longer and as a result you remember it better.


When you read the book before seeing a film you can be certain that you are getting the real deal. No one has messed up the plot, cut out huge chunks of the story, deleted characters, or changed the ending.

9.     STOP AND GO

When you read a book you can always stop to find out more – look up a word, hear the music played, look up the location of a town etc. and then carry on with more appreciation.


When you have finished reading a book that you really enjoyed you can immediately put it into someone else’s hands with a personal recommendation.

And if you have been too busy with exams lately to do any reading, then reward yourself and have a look at this list of ten books you need to read before you rush out to watch the movies (put together by Karen Rought) these coming holidays.

Mrs H.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Pond at sunset - medium

Pond at sunset by Michael Loudon

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is an intriguing mystery that started life as a short story commissioned by Jonathan Strahan and grew into a novel. It begins with a man returning to the place where he lived as child, and continues with his childhood memories as he relives a series of unhappy and sinister events. Did they really happen, or was it all boyish imagination in his head?

As a seven-year old he is a self-reliant boy but he has no friends and spends much of his time reading. Does he have an overgrown imagination? We learn that as an adult he “makes art”.

” Growing up, I took so many cues from books. They taught me most of what I knew about what people did, about how to behave. They were my teachers and my advisers. In books, boys climbed trees, so I climbed trees, sometimes very high, always scared of falling. In books, people climbed up and down drainpipes to get in and out of houses, so I climbed up and down drainpipes too……”

I enjoyed the shadowy atmosphere in the book and the descriptions of very normal events perhaps turning into something very supernatural and magical.

Read the book and discover what you think.

These are a few podcasts which you might enjoy. The discussion between Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman includes the books they enjoyed in their youth, the role of fantasy in their work, and their experiences with religion amongst other things.

Mrs H.

Spud – Exit, pursued by a bear

The Spud books are a series of very funny stories about John Milton,  and his experiences at a South African boarding school for boys, not too dissimilar to King’s College. If you want a change from “life and death adventure stories” and you fancy a “laugh out loud” school story you can’t go wrong with Spud.

The story starts on John’s first day at school, and his adventures (both at home with his mad family, and at school with the “crazy eight”) are  written in the form of a diary. Spud, it turns out is the nickname John is given by the boys in his House. You will have to read the books to find out why.  The books in order are are:

  1. Spud
  2. Spud – The Madness Continues…
  3. Spud – Learning to Fly
  4. Spud – Exit, pursued by a Bear

The fourth and final book in the series by John van de Ruit will soon be in the library, and the second film Spud – The Madness Continues was released in South Africa in June.

John van de Ruit on Twitter

John van de Ruit on Wikipedia

Spud The Movie – Crazy 8 interview

Mrs H.

Do you finish a book no matter what?

The Psychology of abandonment

This is an interesting infographic posted on Goodreads .  How do you compare? How long do you give a book before you give up on it? Perhaps you are one of the 25.2%  who just have to know what happens in the end, or the 46.4% who put a book down because it is too slow and boring.

Mrs H.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is a powerful  novel about “the ability of books to feed the soul “.  It is set in Nazi, Germany and was inspired by stories told to the author by his family. The film is due out in November 2013 in the USA, but wont be released in New Zealand until 2014. This gives us all plenty of time to read, or re-read, the book. The film stars Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nelisse, and Ben Schnetzer.  After watching the trailer Markus Zusak (who was born in Sydney, Australia) wrote: “As I said to a few people close by ….”I’m fine! I’ve just got something in my eye!” It looks absolutely stunning, and it’s very hard to hold the emotion at bay.”

“Usually we walk around constantly believing ourselves. “I’m okay” we say. “I’m alright”. But sometimes the truth arrives on you and you can’t get it off. That’s when you realize that sometimes it isn’t even an answer–it’s a question. Even now, I wonder how much of my life is convinced.” From The Book Thief.

Read more about Markus Zusak and how he writes.

Markus Zusak on Facebook

Markus Zusak on Tumlr ” Every morning, in the city, in the dark, I walk two dogs and collect stray thoughts. This is where I put them, before I start work – the only place I write when I’m not writing a book.”

Markus Zusak on Twitter where he describes himself as a “Writer, mistake-maker, and fan of Sam-I-Am…I wrote The Book Thief, but still not sure how. Most tweets are replies.”

Mrs H.

What sort of a reader are you?

Where do you read? What do you read? How do you treat the books you read, and what does this say about you?  Read on and enjoy this graphic by Laura E. Kelly  (Click to view at original large size.)
What Species of Reader Are You?--Infographic
Mrs H.

What sort of reader are you?

Where do you read? What do you read? How do you treat the books you read, and what does this say about you?  Read on and enjoy this graphic by

  Laura E. Kelly  (Click to view at original large size.)
What Species of Reader Are You?--Infographic
Mrs H.

100 best opening lines from Children’s Books

We’ll all have our favourites among the books we had read to us when we were children. And among those we discovered for ourselves as we developed into the readers we are today.

Children's books

This photograph could show some of your favourites – or not.

But here’s a link to the Stylist‘s webpage with a huge selection of classic  favourites. How many of your favourite books are featured? It’s worth a look just for nostalgic reasons – to  remind us why reading is so fascinating.

Mr F



The alphabet

Before we learn to read, we have to learn our alphabet and the sounds they make. It always amazes me how our brains manage to cope with such a complicated and difficult skill. I could not tell you how I did this, or how old I was when I first started to read, but I am very glad I did.

See this developmental spelling – video where each character visually represents the meaning of the word itself. Playing with different techniques and materials into little and big spaces, but always focusing on Helvetica font’s proportions. A collection of words in a delightful spelling-video.

Mrs H.