Tag Archives: Reading

One College – One Book: ‘Frankenstein’

The book of the month for Franciscan College Gormanston is Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus’. This book is part science-fiction and part Gothic and was first published anonymously in 1818.

The narrative is introduced by Captain Walton, an explorer who encounters the emaciated Victor Frankenstein. We become as curious as Walton to discover more about the mission that Dr. Frankenstein is on.

The novel has been the subject of many adaptations and hold the imagination captive.

It is available to read free online:


As always, we encourage as many students, parents, past-pupils and staff members to comment here and let us know your opinions on the book.

Gormanston: One College – One Book September

With a new academic year just beginning, it is time to get reading again. This month, the whole college community is being encouraged to read the same book at the same time. We hope to see staff, students, parents and past pupils sharing the enjoyment of a good book.

For September 2012 the book is ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro. This dystopian novel was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 2005 and charts the relationship between Ruth, Tommy and Kathy. We first meet these friends when they are at Hailsham boarding school and we see how their time there affects the rest of their lives.

This novel may prove to be quite a challenge to some junior students but there is plenty in it to keep the interest of seniors. It deals with the difficult topic of bullying and it also has a science fiction element.

As always, post a comment here to let us know your thoughts on the book.

Enjoy reading!

One College, One Book: April

A large number of students and staff from Gormanston College read ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins over the month of March. For April, we are going to join in with the whole of Dublin. Dublin’s book for the month of April is ‘Dubliners’ by James Joyce, a collection of short stories all set in our capital city.

See www.dublinonecityonebook.ie for a list of events during the month of April and for discussions on ‘Dubliners’. Comment here if you read any of the short stories over the Easter holidays or if you have any questions.

Reading after ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’

When you have read ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’ you might like to read one of more of the following novels which contain similar themes to Mildred Taylor’s book:

‘The Friends’ by Rosa Guy
Phyllisia comes from the West Indies to stay in Harlem, New York, where she becomes a friend of Edith who is poor and neglected. It is an unusual alliance, but both girls need each other in order to survive the city.

‘Hal’ by Jean MacGibbon
Hal has her own problems, and her strict parents are only one of them. She takes pity on Barry, a friendless and suffering boy who is a mere onlooker at teenage life.

‘Walkabout’ by James Vance Marshall
Mary and Peter are the sole survivors of a plane crash in the Australian desert. An aboriginal boy saves them and brings them back to civilisation, but tragedy strikes as they reach safety.

‘Basketball Game’ by Julius Lester
When Allen’s family move to Nashville, Tennessee, they discover that they are the only black family in the street. Neither Allen nor Rebecca, the girl next door, take any notice of this until racial prejudice places barriers in their way.

‘No Tigers in Africa’ by Norman Silver
Teenager Selwyn Lewis emigrates from South Africa to England, hoping to leave a guilty past behind. But his strict upbringing prevents him from making friendships and his inherited prejudice creates his own problems. The effect of a white South African upbringing is seen quite starkly in Selwyn’s dilemma.

‘The Keeper of the Gate by Beverley Birch
When twelve-year old Sarah comes home to Kenya after a holiday in England she sees Africa in a different light. A mystery develops around the figure of Muniri, and the truth about the Africa she loves lies beyond the solution to this mystery.

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee
Set in the Deep South. Scout and Jem Finch help their lawyer father to defend a Negro charged with the rape of a white girl. A remarkable novel that captures the atmosphere of a hostile town and its way of life. Like Mildred D. Taylor’s book, the story is seen through the eyes of children.

Who is your favourite Irish writer?

With St Patrick’s day around the corner, it is worth thinking about who is your favourite Irish novelist, playwright, poet or director.

Here are a few suggestions:


  • James Joyce (1882-1941)
  • John McGahern (1934-2006)
  • Brian Moore (1921-1999)
  • Jennifer Johnston (b. 1930)
  • Bram Stoker (1847-1912)
  • Roddy Doyle (b. 1958)
  • Emma Donoghue (b. 1969)
  • John Boyne (b.1971)
  • Maeve Binchy (b. 1940)
  • Cecelia Ahern (b. 1981)


  • Brian Friel (b. 1929)
  • John B. Keane (1928-2002)
  • Sean O’Casey (1880-1964)
  • John Millington Synge (1871-1909)
  • George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
  • Oscar Wilde (1845-1900)
  • Hugh Leonard (1926-2009)
  • Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816)
  • Samuel Beckett (1906-1989)


  • Seamus Heaney (b.1939)
  • Eavan Boland (b. 1944)
  • Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967)
  • Thomas Kinsella (b. 1928)
  • Austin Clarke (1896-1974)
  • William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
  • Francis Ledwidge (1887-1917)
  • Michael Longley (b. 1939)
  • Derek Mahon (b. 1941)
  • John Montague (b. 1929)


  • Neil Jordan (b. 1950)
  • Damien O’Donnell (b. 1967)
  • Jim Sheridan (b. 1949)
  • Gerry Stembridge (b. 1958)
  • Kenneth Branagh (b. 1960)
  • Rex Ingram (1892-1950)

Of course this list is not exhaustive. Feel free to mention any other writer and tell us what novel, play, poem or film you liked and why.

Literature’s feistiest females

On International Women’s Day it is worth a thought to consider who you think are the most admirable / interesting / provocative female characters in literature.

www.stylist.co.uk has made a list of 40 gutsy fictional heroines. They include:

  • Elizabeth Bennet
  • Lisbeth Salander
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • Scout Finch
  • Catherine Earnshaw
  • Connie Chatterley
  • Emma Bovary

See http://www.stylist.co.uk/books/literatures-feistiest-females for the full list.

Are there any other female characters that should be added?

One College, One Book: March

The book that our whole college will (hopefully!) be reading for the month of March is ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where children aged from 12 to 18 are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle where only one person can survive. Since its first publication in 2008, it has been translated into 26 different languages and sold in 38 countries across the world.

It is the first book in a trilogy and a movie adaptation will be released in the United States later this month. The trailer for the movie is on www.thehungergames.co.uk

I encourage all students, staff and other members of the College Community to read this book and post a comment here if you would like to tell us what you think of it.

Gormanston: One College – One Book February

A little late for me to make this post, but never too late to start reading!

For the month of February we will be encouraging every student and member of staff in the college to read ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ by Erich Maria Remarque. This is a novel about a young man named Paul Baumer who joins the German army shortly after the start of the First World War. While fighting, Baumer and his colleagues have to engage in frequent battles and endure the squalid conditions of warfare.

It was first published in 1928 and sold two and a half million copies during its first 18 months in print. It was one of the books banned and burned by Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

In 1930 the book was adapted as an Oscar-winning film of the same name, directed by Lewis Milestone.

Enjoy reading!

Simon Lelic’s top 10 lawyers in fiction

Novelist Simon Lelic compiled the following list of literary lawyers for The Guardian newspaper:

  1. Atticus Finch in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. Heroically decent, Atticus is the lawyer you would want on your side.
  2. Matthew Shardlake in ‘Dissolution’ by CJ Sansom. A melancholic hunchback with a heart, Shardlake is a terrific guide to the seedy politics of the 16th century.
  3. Sandy Stern in ‘Presumed Innocent’ by Scott Turrow. Ruby Sabich is the main protagonist, but Sandy Stern is the star of the show. His cigar habit means he doesn’t come cheap, but he’d be worth every cent.
  4. Sergeant of the Lawe in ‘The Canterbury Tales’ by Geoffrey Chaucer. He is prudent, wise and knowlegeable to the point of self-importance. He uses all of his lawyerly tricks to invoke sympathy for the heroine of his tale.
  5. Dr Gonzo in ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’. His legal skills are questionable, probably blunted by the contents of the trunk of his car.
  6. Sydney Carton in ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens. A young, self-pitying but brilliant lawyer, unlucky nevertheless in life and love. His redemption in Dickens’ tale is complete when he takes his former client’s place on the guillotine, declaring ‘It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.’ One of the great last lines.
  7. Tom Hagen in ‘The Godfather’ by Mario Puzo. A ‘family’ lawyer, who has only one client. Tom is the man you call, even if your problem isn’t exactly . . . legal. An all-round fixer and consigliere, who only shows his limitations when it’s ‘time to go to the mattresses’.
  8. Mitch McDeere in ‘The Firm’ by John Grisham. Callow and loaded with debt, Mitch is seduced by the promise of more money than he can imagine. His decision to join Bendini, Lambert & Locke, however, almost costs him his life. Ultimately he proves himself as being more capable than even his employers had hoped.
  9. George Edalji in ‘Arthur and George’ by Julian Barnes. A lawyer accused, this time, and championed by a writer: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle no less. George is a Birmingham solicitor, content in hardworking obscurity until he is swept to national prominence – and infamy – by The Great Wyrley Outrages. His story reads like a thriller, all the more gripping because it is based on real events.
  10. Herr Huld in ‘The Trial’ by Franz Kafka. A man with ‘a considerable reputation as a defending counsel and a poor man’s lawyer’, according to Joseph K’s uncle. In reality, Herr Huld is pompous, verbose and, from K’s point of view, worse than useless. Huld is ostensibly on K’s side, but turns out to be very much part of the nightmare. The advocate, to finish on, you wouldn’t want to end up with.

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