Last week saw the return of Book Week, happily coinciding with World Book Day on Thursday. A joint effort between the English department and the Library team, Book Week gave us all plenty of opportunities to celebrate our love of the written word.
New cover versions
The week got off to an artistic start with the unveiling of an exhibition of alternative covers for books from the 18 by 18 reading list in the Yeoh Building foyer. These imaginative interpretations breathed new life into these well-known titles, reminding pupils of the breadth of books on the list.
A novel cure
It's always exciting to receive a good book recommendation, and on Monday our pupils had the opportunity to visit a 'Book Doctor' for this very reason. With white coats and stethoscopes, teachers from all departments of the College looked the part as they discussed all things literary with their patients before giving them a thoughtful 'reading prescription'. The demand to see a book doctor was so high that queues built up in the waiting room during peak times!
Harry Baker workshop
“Wie viel Falafel ist zu viel Falafel?” That was the question posed to pupils by poet Harry Baker at Tuesday’s Brigh10 lecture. In a witty and wide-ranging performance, Harry shared anecdotes about his journey through the world of words and poetry and, in particular, his experiences with the German language, leading into an interactive performance of his German tongue-twister poem Falafellöffel which had the audience in stitches. Another highlight was Bumble Bee, a poem based on the fact that according to the theory of aerodynamics, the bumble bee is not supposed to be able to fly which, as you can imagine, offered inspiration to all. The session ended with Harry taking questions from the audience, discussing how he deals with stage fright and his foray into the UK rap battle scene. Many thanks to Harry for an energetic lecture that appealed to those of us well versed in poetry, and those of us less familiar with the ways of villanelles and sonnets.
Harry also returned on Wednesday to deliver workshops to budding poets in the Third, Fourth and Fifth Forms. Pupils began by listing the things they love and then using this as a springboard for writing their own poetry. Waffles, hot-water bottles, bubble tea and being indoors were some of the weird and wonderful sources of inspiration!
"Ideas are like rabbits..."
We were also lucky to have a workshop from award-winning author Paul Marriner. Paul focused on the craft of planning a novel, how to get inspiration from daily observation and developing characters and plot. The pupils added some great questions about how to get published, how to link two distinct events to move the plot forward and how to introduce comedy. “Ideas are like rabbits,” Paul told us, quoting Steinbeck, “you get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
An early morning treasure hunt also took place on Wednesday. Teachers displayed their clues for this year’s treasure hunt in the form of book titles with missing vowels. Pupils tracked them down, solved the puzzles and completed their answer sheets before racing to the library to be in with a chance of winning a prize.
Branching out into new books
As the week went by, book recommendations from all corners of the College were added to a display in the window of the Smith Café. The display gradually began to resemble a great tree of recommendations, perhaps reminding us of the ways in which reading can help us all to flourish.
City Books bring the joy of bookstores onto campus
Independent Brighton book sellers City Books provided a fabulous selection of titles in our pop-up book shop and gave pupils and staff the opportunity to enjoy the real experience of browsing and buying books - with titles to suit all tastes, from fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels and poetry.
There was a real buzz in the shop with pupils recommending titles to each other and generally enjoying a good browse. Over 100 books were sold on the first day requiring the booksellers to bring more stock for day two!
Brighton College best sellers this week included the Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman, and One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus. In non-fiction, The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How it is Broken proved popular.
Brighton College's favourite book is...
All week long our pupils have been voting for their favourite book from a shortlist of five titles. After a week of spirited debate, we're excited to announce the results:
- Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (173 votes)
- Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (115 votes)
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (85 votes)
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (82 votes)
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (78 votes
Our pupils and staff have always been admirers of the Potter books, and it seems like the boy wizard is still casting a spell over us more than 22 years after he first appeared on our shelves.
Thank you to our Library team and English department for organising five fabulous days that truly reflected our love of reading.