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Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Do you read 50 books per year???


So Michael Gove has now told us that children should be reading 50 books per year.

Despite putting up tuition fees and slashing funding to local councils (hence libraries and other public services), Michael Gove had this to say:

“One of the biggest problems in the English state education system is that only a minority can follow an academic education and that only a minority can go to university. Quite wrong. Our expectations have been too low for too long. The aspiration for someone to read 50 books a year isn’t from a school in the poshest part of Manhattan where they are all going to have bound copies of CS Lewis, this is a school where 83 per cent of the kids are on the equivalent of free school meals, but they still expect them to read 50 books a year.”

Hmm, thanks Michael. Although I think it is a good thing if anyone promotes more reading, I think this idea doesn't really take into account the varying interests of people. Perhaps a child won't read 50 books per year but is achieving high marks in science, or maths, geography, or on their apprenticeship course. And what if they read but the books they choose are not deemed the 'right' type of book i.e.: graphic novels, non-fiction, biography? Also, what if a person prefers to read comics, magazines, newspapers or online articles?

Gove's suggestions of authors includes: JK Rowling, CS Lewis, Philip Pullman, Kenneth Grahame, Rosemary Sutcliff, Alan Garner and Ursula Le Guin.

I have only read Rowling, Lewis and Pullman. I have however, read a lot of books in my life. And as a child/teenager, I probably wouldn't have been any cause for concern for Mr Gove. However, do I really read 50 books per year?

It got me thinking... So here is all I can remember reading in the last year (not including newspapers, magazines etc. I will however include poetry collections, which are usually shorter than fiction novels!)

1. Little Women
2. Pigeon English
3. Comedy in a Minor Key
4. The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes)
5. The Hunter
6. The Devil's Whisper
7. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
8. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk
9. The Woman Before Me
10. Ellipsis (several times!!!)
11. The Killer Inside Me
12. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
13. Norwegian Wood
14. Taropoetics (poetry)
15. Strangers
16. Unhooking the Moon
17. No and Me
18. Farewell, My Lovely
19. Now You're One of Us
20. Invisible
21. In the Country of Last Things
22. Wuthering Heights
23. The Music of Chance
24. Light Boxes
25. Crime and Punishment
26. Past Continuous
27. The Book Thief
28. After the Quake
29. Like (poetry)
30. Y chromosomes (poetry)
31. The Art of Racing in the Rain
32. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
33. 253
34. Helpless
35. Even the Dogs
36. Prop (poetry)
37. High Performance (poetry)
38. Cutting Movement (poetry)
39. What a Carve Up!
40. Vox
41. I am the Messenger
42. The Ruined Map
43. Zygal: A book of mysteries and translations (poetry)
44. Coconut Unlimited
45. A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian.

...That's all I can think of actually!

I also re-read and started these other books:

1. Hunting Unicorns (re-read)
2. Howl and other poems (re-read)
3. The Satanic Verses (unfinished)
4. Last Exit to Brooklyn (unfinished)
5. Ghost Stories of M R James (unfinished)

So according to Michael Gove, I don't meet his targets! There may well be a few books I have completely forgotten but overall, this is quite a comprehensive list. I think it would be a struggle to read 50 books a year as I feel like I've read a lot as it is!

So, how many books have you read this year?

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