Blogging book obsessive. Teacher of English, just starting my NQT year. Father of 2. Ex-local government drone. North of 40
whatareyoureadingfor has written 147 posts for What are you reading for…?

H.G. Wells, ‘The Invisible Man’ (1897)

I’ve had a long relationship with Griffin, the invisible protagonist of H.G. Wells’ science fiction classic, even though I’ve only now come round to reading the novella itself. When I was 10, I vividly remember watching the BBC’s version of The Invisible Man, a series that was originally planned to be shown in the tea-time ‘classic serials’ … Continue reading

Matt Haig, ‘How to Stop Time’ (2017)

We own a tortoise called Rocket but have no idea how old he is. He was inherited last summer from my elderly aunt; she acquired him when her son (now pushing sixty) was a teenager – so Rocket is probably close to fifty himself. When we took him to the vet – who also couldn’t … Continue reading

Philip Kerr, ‘Prussian Blue’ (2017)

I can’t think of many fictional characters who have thrilled and entertained me as much as Bernie Gunther. Inspired to create him after wondering what Raymond Chandler’s detective novels would be like if he’d lived not in Los Angeles but 1930s Berlin, Philip Kerr wrote fourteen Gunther novels, of which Prussian Blue is the twelfth. … Continue reading

Bernadette Murphy, ‘Van Gogh’s Ear: The True Story’ (2016)

Whilst I’m now a teacher, prior to changing careers in 2015 I worked for nearly twenty years in local government, specifically in the management of archive and local studies collections. One job came with the title ‘City Archivist’ which one colleague – who shared the same name as me – assumed was a fictional role … Continue reading

On teachers who write poetry; and how worse things happen at sea

This post, by the always readable @Kris32 is well worth a look. When writing with my classes, especially high ability sets, I do my best to get them to evaluate their work critically, and see how they can make it more concise. A common fault in writing is not getting to the point; too often, … Continue reading

What I Taught Today: Word Choices in ‘Dracula’

My school had an Ofsted inspection today. I’d been told that I might be observed (recently qualified teachers being one focus of their visit), so I planned today’s lesson with my top set Year 9 until the pips squeaked. Sadly, the inspector visit didn’t materialise (they actually turned up a lesson early – briefly – … Continue reading

What I Taught Today: ‘Exposure’ by Wilfred Owen

This lesson was to introduce my low ability Year 10 set to Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Exposure’. It’s the second poem from the ‘Power and Conflict’ cluster which we have studied – we started last week with ‘Bayonet Charge’, so this time I thought I’d stick with World War One. To warm the class up I … Continue reading

Ian McGuire, ‘The North Water’ (2016)

‘The air is filled with the foetid air of butchery and excrement. Drax feels pleasure at this work, arousal, a craftsman’s sense of pride. Death, he believes, is a kind of making, a kind of building up. What was one thing, he thinks, is become something else.’ Ian McGuire’s second novel The North Water is centred on … Continue reading

The Tortoise and the Hare

During a six week summer holiday that everyone I’ve spoken to (whether teacher, parent, friend or family member) agrees has gone ludicrously quickly, we acquired a tortoise. Rocket (yes, really – he can properly shift it when he’s of a mind to) came into our lives and generated great excitement that was not just confined … Continue reading

Omar Akbar, ‘The (Un)Official Teacher’s Manual’ (2017)

Last week of the Summer holidays. Time to start thinking about going back to school, and getting ready for the inexorable onslaught of lessons, marking and meetings. It’s easy to say at this distance, but I feel more confident stepping into the classroom – more so, given a terrific GCSE performance by my Year 11s … Continue reading