Title: The Doctor
Author: Dr Karl Kruszelnicki
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
About the book: Have you ever wondered why alcohol makes you speak louder? Or how to tell which part of a movie the audience is watching – without looking? Well, Dr Karl is your man.
This collection of random science facts and questions, answered in an easy-to-read and understandable format, is sure to amaze you and leave you awestruck!
What I thought: I really loved how approachable this book was. It is not set out like a textbook or a big boring scientific volume. Instead, it is set out in sections, with each describing and explaining one concept.
Dr Karl has brought his signature humour to an otherwise not-very-funny subject, making it entertaining and informative. He is one of my favourite non-fiction authors, alongside Adam Spencer.
I would recommend this book for ages 12+ as younger readers may find it hard to follow or be disinterested in the subject matter. If you’re looking to learn something new, or you just love science, you will enjoy this book.
Buy The Doctor.
Title: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Little, Brown/Hachette
About the book: Newt Scamander is on a trip to America with a case full of magical beasts. When some of the animals from the case escape, it is up to Newt, his non-magical friend Jacob and Tina from the American Ministry of Magic to find them.
This screenplay is about what happens next.
What I thought: I thought that this screenplay flowed very easily, although I didn’t think it would due to its format. J.K. Rowling has brought many of her famous writing elements to this screenplay, making it truly feel like another wonderful Harry Potter story.
I read this before I saw the movie, and it felt like I’d read a Harry Potter book and then watched the movie, not like the whole story had been given away in advance. I think that doing this showed me how much a filmmaker’s imagination develops the story.
I would recommend this book for ages 10+, as younger readers may find the story and format a little bit confusing.
Buy Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.
Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
About the book: Quentin is a nerd in his last year of high school. Nine years ago, he and his friend Margo discovered a dead body together, but since then have drifted apart. Now she is edgy and cool and he is not.
When Margo takes Quentin on a night of mayhem and madness, and then vanishes in the morning, Quentin is left with a series of clues to try and track her down before it is too late.
What I thought: This is one of my new favourite books. I really liked the voice of Quentin and I could relate to him. The story, although about complicated things, flowed quite easily and was not hard to read.
I really liked the conversations that Quentin and his friends Ben and Radar had, because they added a touch of comedy to an otherwise serious book.
I recommend this book for ages 14+ because it contains some strong themes and coarse language.
Buy Paper Towns here.
With Christmas fast-approaching, it won’t surprise anyone to know that I’m hoping for books this year. Lots of books.
As I do every year.
These are the six books at the top of my wishlist this year – and, yes, it was hard to narrow it down to just six!
• The Invention Of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
I saw the movie Hugo, which is based on this book, and would like to see if the book is as good as the movie. I think The Marvels by the same author also looks great.
• The Fever Code by James Dashner
I read the rest of The Maze Runner series and really enjoyed them, so I would like this prequel.
• Brotherband #6: The Ghostfaces
John Flanagan’s writing style is so engaging and I would like to see where this next book takes Hal and the gang.
• Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them by J.K. Rowling
I read The Cursed Child, a script based on a story by J.K. Rowling, and now would like to read a screenplay actually written by her.
• Adam Spencer’s World Of Numbers
Adam Spencer’s Big Book Of Numbers is my favourite non-fiction book, so I would like to add to my collection.
• The Amateurs by Sara Shepherd
I don’t know much about this one, but the description is so intriguing that I cannot pass it up! And it’s book #1 of a new series, which is always good!
Title links will take you to Booktopia (see ‘About This Site’ for details).
Title: Adam Spencer’s Big Book Of Numbers
Author: Adam Spencer
About the book: This book contains all the weird, wonderful and wacky facts about the numbers 1 to 100. It includes quizzes and problems so that you can test your maths skills as you learn.
What I thought: I thought this book was brilliantly surprising and funny. Yes, funny. Maths can be funny. I really thought that the addition of quizzes was helpful as it helps people to learn if they actually do it for themselves. This is the best non-fiction book that I’ve read.
I would recommend this book to everyone, although it would be helpful to be a little bit older (10+) as some of the problems are difficult. If you really like numbers, or you’d like to know more about them, you’ll love this book.
Younger readers may like to start off with Adam Spencer’s Enormous Book Of Numbers, which is aimed at the 7+ age group.
Buy Adam Spencer’s Big Book Of Numbers
Title: The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Author: Mark Haddon
Publisher: Vintage Children’s Classics
About the book: Christopher is 15 and has Asperger’s Syndrome. He knows a lot about maths and he likes counting and prime numbers. He also hates the colours yellow and brown.
When Christopher is on one of his late-night walks, he comes across a dead dog with a garden fork stuck in it and his whole world is turned upside-down.
What I thought: I thought that this book was unique, funny and clever. I liked how the story unfolded as you read. I particularly liked the character of Christopher, and his unusual perspective of the world.
The book is a mystery – in more ways than one – and, while it doesn’t go out of its way to be funny, it is.
I recommend this book for ages 14+ as it contains disturbing images, adult themes and coarse language.
Buy The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time.
Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Penguin Books
About the book: Sixteen-year-old Cassie is living through an alien invasion. So far there have been four waves of attacks, killing over four billion people. Now she’s on her own, and facing the fifth wave.
What I thought: This book sucked me in from the first page. It’s a fast-paced thriller that’s also thought-provoking. The plot unfolds cleverly as you read, making you want to read on and on.
I liked the character of Cassie because she likes books, to the point of making room in her survival kit for them. I also liked the first-person narration because it feels very immediate, like you’re experiencing the danger with her.
I recommend this book for ages 14+ because it has adult themes, violence, science fiction elements and it can be scary in places.
Buy The 5th Wave here.