Library & Book Club

Staff Book Recommendations

RGS teachers each recommend three great books for you to enjoy 


Recommended for lower school

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

A review by Mrs Houchin

Michael Morpurgo has been described as a “master storyteller” and if you haven’t yet read any of his books then perhaps this is the one to try! It is the moving story of an incredible friendship that spans many years but it’s more than just that, it’s also a story of war, separation and hope even in life’s darkest moments. We read of events through the eyes of our main character, Joey who has a rather unique perspective on the world. Read the story to discover why…

Finally, if you ever get a chance to see the National Theatre’s production of War Horse brought to life on the stage with the help of Handspring Puppet Co., it is an opportunity not to be missed!

Ann of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery

A review by Mr Hawking

Anne Shirley, whose perspective the story is written from, is one of my favourite characters I have encountered when reading. She begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island and Canada. When the freckled girl realizes that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over. Here she is:

“Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

“Oh, it's delightful to have ambitions. I'm so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them-- that's the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.”

Ann of Green Gables is a wonderfully funny and insightful book.

Anne Shirley, whose perspective the story is written from, is one of my favourite characters I have encountered when reading. She begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island and Canada. When the freckled girl realizes that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over. Here she is:

“Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

“Oh, it's delightful to have ambitions. I'm so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them-- that's the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.”

Ann of Green Gables is a wonderfully funny and insightful book.

Recommended for middle school

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

A review by Mrs Houchin

The first time I read Wuthering Heights I was about 15 years old, and it probably remains my all-time favourite novel. Set against the wild Yorkshire moors and with more than a little Gothic influence, the characters, Cathy and Heathcliff break the social conventions and rules of their time and their love and passions are as dangerous, damaging and compelling as they are themselves. This is a haunting novel that explores the age-old struggle between nature and civilisation. Try it for yourselves and see why it has become known to many generations as ‘a classic’.


Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

A review by Mr Hawking

Gulliver's Travels is an adventure story involving several voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, a ship's surgeon, who, because of a series of mishaps en route to recognized ports, ends up, instead, on several unknown islands living with people and animals of unusual sizes, behaviours, and philosophies, but who, after each adventure, is somehow able to return to his home in England where he recovers from these unusual experiences and then sets out again on a new voyage.

This book is so engaging because, on the surface, it is an adventure story. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll see that it uses humour (satire) to explore the failings and stupidities of man and society.

Recommended for senior school

Beloved by Toni Morrison 

A review by Mrs. Houchin

“124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children.”

What do you do when a baby, killed by her mother’s hand, wishes to claim retribution?

A disturbing, and hugely memorable novel set in Kentucky during the mid 1880s at a time when the abolitionists were trying to bring an end to slavery. You need to read this novel, beautiful and horrifying in equal measure, to understand a little more, about where we seek and find our humanity. You will not wish to forget Sethe, Halle, Paul D and Denver, neither will you be able to forget the devastating magic of Beloved herself. Morrison’s prose has a lyrical quality to it and the novel has been heralded as “an American masterpiece.”


The Odd Women by George Gissing

A review by Mr Hawking

In The Odd Women, Gissing explores Late 19th Century Victorian society’s treatment of women who, for whatever reason, were not married. He describes how these women were regarded as second-class citizens who struggled to find a place in society, portraying people’s failings towards them.

Set in a grimy, fog-ridden London, Gissing's "odd" women range from the idealistic, financially self-sufficient Mary Barfoot to the Madden sisters who struggle to survive in low paying jobs and little chance for joy. Although written over 100 years ago, this is an "intensely modern" work as the issues it raises remain the subjects that are still relevant today. This is a hugely powerful and important book – I urge you to read it.