Our Reading Doctor is back!
We introduced our Reading Doctor service last year and we welcome your questions again in 2021.
Read more about Dr Louise here. Send us your questions for her by emailing us: firstname.lastname@example.org
School's back for the year! What can we read to get in the mood?
The school year has begun, sending students back to the classroom, though the summer yet beckons. In these books, schools are settings with their own particular sets of rules, their own cultures and power structures, bringing often disparate people together for both better and worse, forming characters and determining fates. And that’s just the parents…
· A journalist returns to Oxford and enrols his young son in the prestigious Phoenix School which he himself attended as a child, in Nicholas Shakespeare’s The Sandpit, where complex and increasingly threatening politics play out amongst the influential parents who gather on the sidelines of the weekly school football matches.
· In a biting comedy of manners, Jane Smiley sets her novel Moo in the midst of a divided and disharmonious university community in the American midwest.
· The University of Oxford during the Blitz exists at a strange remove in Alan Hollinghurst’s The Sparsholt Affair, where friendships are forged which endure for decades to come.
· Written by an old boy of Rugby, Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown’s School Days is semi-autobiographical and set in the 1830s at the famous English public school, featuring both cricket and caning.
· Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is the boarding school attended by J K Rowling’s most famous character, Harry Potter.
· A vicious military academy is the setting for Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Time of the Hero, in which the theft of an exam paper has fatal consequences.
· Tobias Wolff’s novel, Old School, is narrated by a middle-class student at an elite boarding school in north-eastern America in the 1960s, who aspires to be a writer.
· Columbine High School is the setting for Wally Lamb’s gut-wrenching novel The Hour I First Believed, in which a school becomes a war zone.
· John Irving has set multiple novels in and around Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, including The World According to Garp and A Widow for One Year.
· Zadie Smith offers a homage to E M Forster’s Howard’s End in her 2005 novel On Beauty, which is set in the fictional Wellington College, loosely based on Harvard University.