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Books & Reading: Great Reads for Year 10

Check here often for the latest information on anything to do with books and reading.

 

Books recommended by staff at BGS.  Click on each cover to read a review of the book.

 

 

Recommended by Amanda Hart

I loved this book as a young person.  It is about growing up and finding your place in the world.  The book also reveals much about real family life - all the challenges, and the support that those closest to you can offer.
 

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Samuel Finch

It’s a book I habitually return to. Death is a narrator confounded by the horrors of humanity. A subtle yet intensely satisfying read that explores a unique perspective on Nazi Germany.
 

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Jon Hodges

This book discusses the history of this country that we all should know. Pascoe is a celebrated author who has received accolades worldwide.

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Jenn Reed

Short stories. Every story is very different. Something for everyone in this book! It's one of my favourites of all time.

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Stephen Mitchell

As a kid I enjoyed 'fun fact' books. But the inner bookworm in me LOVED the book of fun facts about books! Well, not really books, but it goes all over the place. To this day, I live in hope I could be knighted as well!

 


 

 

Recommended by Greg Howes

The narrator of this novella takes the reader back through his memories as a young child in Montana when he witnessed his father, the town sheriff, decide whether or not to arrest his own brother.  Watson's well-crafted prose offers opportunities to appreciate how simple, clear writing gives access to complex, challenging ideas.

Available as an eBook


 

 

Recommended by Paul Kobez

I like Nick Earls' style and his easy-going approach to really recognisable stories of everyday Brisbane life. This one is about a high school student coming to the end of his schooling.  I've enjoyed using this novel in our Year 11 English course in the past, but I think many boys might enjoy it even more as own-choice reading, without having to do any assessment.

Available as an eBook


 

 

Recommended by Gus Robertson

Ember, a post-apocalyptic underground city is threatened by aging infrastructure and corruption. Lina Mayfleet, and her friend, Doon, follow clues left behind by the original builders of the City of Ember, to try and find safety in the outside world. An evocative story rich in ideas, conspiracy theories and plucky, smart protagonists fighting authority. The first book in the Books of Ember series.


Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Michelle Ragen

In The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire, Chloe Hooper recounts the events surrounding one of the Black Saturday bushfires that was deliberately lit. Tragically, the bushfires resulted in the deaths of 173 people. This is a thoroughly researched, fascinating read that offers considered perspectives of all involved: the police; the families of the victims; Brendan Sokaluk - the man charged with lighting the fire; and Brendan Sokaluk’s family. It’s a real-life thriller enhanced by lyrical prose.


Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Daniel Ritchie

Most of our negative emotions are driven by a worst case scenario or a fear of failure. Whether it is academic, sporting performance or simply trying find your niche, this is a book I wish I read at school and during my playing career.  It looks at how we can process fear and purposefully channel that energy. Boys in Year 10 are starting to think about life beyond school, which can bring a level of stress and uncertainty for some. I believe this book ultimately helps you to discover how to be yourself. 
 

 


 

 

Recommended by Cathy Oxley

What if it was Ebola virus that jumped to humans and caused a pandemic in every country around the world rather than Coronavirus? In this incredible and alarming true story, Richard Preston details what happened in 1989 when a shipment of medical research monkeys, quarantined at a Reston facility just 24 km from the White House in Washington DC, developed what officials thought was Ebola virus. In a frantic effort to keep this information from the media and the general public, the CDC were at the same time unsure if the virus had escaped and infected staff sent in to capture, euthanise and destroy the animals. In this instance they were lucky, as Reston virus only kills monkeys.

 

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Sharee Verdon

De Botton offers an insightful way of applying different philosophies to navigating the complexities of living in the 21st century world.


 

 

Recommended by Andrew Kennedy

A machine is an inanimate object, so why can they seem to have "soul"?  This book looks at different vehicles, their creators, and all sorts of trivia along the way. This book has various humorous and informative chapters that can be read in any order. 
 

 


 

 

Recommended by Patrick Last

Haddon writes in the unique perspective of a 15 year old autistic boy who takes on a Sherlock Holmes-esque quest to uncover the curious murder of his neighbour's dog; the story is both emotional and humorous.

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Samuel Lobascher

A powerfully authentic and confrontingly unsentimental coming of age story. A truly transformative reading experience.

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Andrew Kennedy

A down to earth coming-of-age read, set in Brisbane, with some really funny bits.
 

 


 

 

Recommended by Paul Kobez

I think this is a beautifully written take on friendship and identity. It has interesting depictions of Brisbane and connections to our school. The author is a BGS old boy and one of Australia's great writers.

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Georgina O'Hanlon-Rose

It's an introduction to Hemingway.  The story is moving and stays with you to 'break the ice' within.  The old man, his bad luck, his struggle with the fish of his dreams, his loss, his resilience, his humility...great story.  Introduction to dreams.  Simple language, evocative imagery, wisdom.

Available in the Senior Library catalogue 


 

 

Recommended by Lindy Mackintosh

Trevor Noah is now the host of the Daily Show in the USA. This book is his story of growing up, the child of a mixed race couple, in post-apartheid South Africa. Its humorous approach will appeal. The boys may find his descriptions of a different culture quite an eye-opener. Having just learned about Apartheid South Africa in History, this would be a well-timed read. 

Available in the Centenary Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Cathy Oxley

For anyone interested in pursuing a career in medicine, this is an intriguing look at some of the most baffling medical cases in recent history, and how they have eventually been solved, sometimes by a series of health workers, one of whom finally manages to uncover the final piece in the puzzle. Based on articles written for the New York Times Magazine by Dr Lisa Sanders, this book is now the basis for a popular Netflix series. Each chapter is a different story, so the book is easy to read..

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Scott Deegan

King's short stories are a great place for lapsed readers to find their mojo again. This anthology is especially apt as some of the stories are very short and more reluctant readers can make their way through them before reading the novella 'The Mist' that is also included in the volume. The Mist is a classic of the horror genre. Most Year 10 students are mature enough and interested enough in the horror genre to be hungry for these types of stories. King is also a great writer of character and pretty funny too.

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Stephen Mitchell

Who doesn't know the stories of Frankenstein and Dracula? But the bigger story is how they are related. It's a fascinating story... and a story that's told in more than one book! This was the first time EVER I learned what research was, and how interesting it can be to make a relationship between fiction and fact. All stories mean something to those who wrote them. Sometimes the story behind the story is just as interesting. It was my younger sister who recommended this list, but The Year Without Summer wasn't published at the time... It is a great read and explains the world environment.


 

 

Recommended by Michelle Ragen

Written by a young Jewish German man in just four weeks, immediately after Kristallnacht, The Passenger captures the dehumanisation of the Jews as they were violently rounded up by storm troopers in November 1938. It is a gripping tale as the main character, Otto Silbermann, stripped of all human rights, desperately tries to flee Germany, boarding train after train - but it's illegal for him to cross the border.  As lifelong friends betray and blackmail Otto and other desperate Jewish families, readers are positioned to wonder: How can this be happening? Why are bystanders complicit? Where is the humanity? Filled with tension and dramatic irony, it is not until the very end that we learn of Otto's fate: Will he reach his son in France, or will he be captured by the SS?

 


 

 

Recommended by Lindy Mackintosh

The book is easy to relate to because it’s set in Brisbane and so there are recognisable landmarks. It’s fairly fast paced and exciting, involving a story about a boy, through horrific family circumstances, gets involved in the drug underworld. It is part love story too which would appeal to Year 10s. This book was captivating - I listened to it as an audiobook too. It was well narrated. 

Also recommended by Georgina O'Hanlon-Rose

A real story with other-wordly elements that is relatable (protagonist is a teen/Australian voice and setting), devastating (extraordinary life experiences that take place in a Brisbane backyard), and hopeful (you can survive and thrive, even when those things look like impossibilities).  Not everything will be understood, but curiosity will be sparked and conversations about story, character, ideas will begin.  

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Debbie Rawson

This true story of the cave rescue in Thailand was gripping from start to finish. These two Australian divers were incredibly courageous to do what they did especially as they didn’t know whether the boys would survive. 
 

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Tim Fulton

This incredible books explores the complexity and social fabric of life in country Australia. It is a real page turner crime novel set in the scorched Australian outback; I just loved the imagery and suspense developed throughout the story.

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Andrew Kennedy

A quick, light-hearted pair of autobiographies that give an interesting insight into growing up and being a young man in a previous age.

Available in the Middle School Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Dylan Koopman

A book that displays the ultimate test in strength, perseverance and resilience! 
 

 


 

 

Recommended by Naomi Russell

A different perspective on the Holocaust. I love it because it's so visual (graphic novel) so it brings the stories to life in a very different way, and you are reading images and text. Plus it's WWII history, if you like that sort of thing.  

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Jeffrey Lewis

Despite being published in 1969, this book feels very much of, or for, our time. Our culture seems increasingly obsessed with the way that gender defines us, often in a way that divides or reinforces difference, but in this novel Le Guin challenges some of our foundational beliefs, and emphasises our shared humanity.

Available as an audio book


 

 

Recommended by Rebecca Mills

I really enjoyed this series set in the dystopian land of teenagers from the "wrong" district competing (to the death) for the entertainment of the elite. I think there are a lot of parallels with our society's obsession with reality TV, and I think at the end of Year 10 boys would enjoy the story and considering if there is any potential to the ideas raised in our society?

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Jacqui Zervos

A heart-stopping account of two adventurers who have a terrifying mountain climbing experience in the Peruvian Andes. The decisions that are made in the face of the most unthinkable circumstances go against every instinct in the human body, but ultimately decide the fate of the climbers. This is a true story - of fear, courage, physical endurance and friendship. Strap yourself in for a real roller-coaster of a ride.  
 

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Gus Robertson

Narrated through a series of first-hand progress reports, Flowers for Algernon traces the mental and emotional development of Charlie Gordon, an intellectually impaired young man who becomes the first human test-subject for an ambitious brain experiment. Author Daniel Keyes portrays Charlie's startling progress and eventual decline through the ever-changing clarity and coherence of Charlie's journal entries. A speculative, engaging tragedy and a scientific morality tale.
 

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Cathy Oxley

Recommended to me by a Year 12 student, this compelling and ultimately uplifting book tells the story of Eddie Jaku, a German Jew and skilled machinist who survived the brutalities of Auschwitz and then determined to count himself as the happiest man on earth. He moved to Sydney, established a number of successful businesses and finally retired a few years ago.  At 100 years of age he gave an inspiring TED talk encouraging his audience to overcome adversity by deliberately seeking every day to make themselves and others happy.  

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Tanya Nielsen

The book is set in Apartheid South Africa. The Power of One is a celebration of how the influence of one individual can profoundly change a life. I loved this book as a young person because it highlighted how our experiences allow us to build resilience and inner-strength. 

Also recommended by Lindy Mackintosh

It’s about a boy who faces hardships in life, initially at a boarding school where he faces bullying and then in his family situation. It then becomes about him finding his power. He helps prisoners and becomes a boxer. It’s a delightfully humorous book. I couldn’t put it down. 
 

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Cathy Oxley

If you enjoy history, Brisbane has some fascinating stories to pique your interest. With My Little Eye is the story of a family of spies working for ASIO and based in Brisbane during the Cold War. Dudley Doherty made friends with everyone as he gathered information about potential Soviet infiltration while his wife, Joan, listened to and transcribed intercepted phone calls. The three children thought that their activities, as sometimes willing sometimes unwitting offsiders, were what all children did.

Brisbane journalist Matthew Condon has also written about the criminal underworld operating in Brisbane during the 1970s and 80s, at the same time that corruption existed at the highest levels of the police force and government. He details this in his trilogy Three Crooked Kings, Jacks and Jokers and All Fall Down, while his podcast, Ghost Gate Road, unravels the nefarious life of criminal Vincent O’Dempsey and the events leading up to the murder of Highgate Hill woman, Barbara McCulkin, and her two daughters. O’Dempsey was also involved in the 1973 Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub bombing in Fortitude Valley where 15 people died, and he has only recently been convicted and imprisoned.

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Beate Poida

Sam Watson's journey through puberty is so different from what the majority of boys will ever experience. It would have been an impossible book when I was a teenager. I loved the Australian feel to it, its easy language and humour. And the end...

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Mark Walker

This book explains how to view stress and volatility as desirable. Both living organisms and robust ideas gain strength, rather than breaking, when put under duress; they are much than resilient…they are antifragile. 

 


 

 

Recommended by Andrew Kennedy

Whether you are a believer or not, this book covers some interesting history and makes some dead personalities come alive.

 


 

 

Recommended by Andrew Kennedy

An oldie but a goodie.  An adventure story, full of pathos, humour and insights into all sorts of personalities.  All through the eyes of rabbits.

Available as an eBook


 

 

Recommended by Naomi Russell

I love this book as it's a true story and is very easy to read, giving great life advice in a non-preachy way. It's just an honest man sharing his thoughts about life. 


 


 

 

Recommended by Stephen Mitchell

It's light reading... and funny!... It's one of my favorite books of ALL time. It's a fun read. With such light books you can normally pick the ending. This one - well, I didn't see it.  It's the kind of book you can take to the beach and knock over in a few hours.


 


 

 

Recommended by David Hills

Sharpe was never supposed to be an Officer.  Now the men from the ranks and his fellow officers resent him, to Richard Sharpe though it's just another fight, and he's been fighting all his life.  Great fun and action packed, and filled with a surprisingly accurate information, about the day to day life in the British army during the Napoleonic war.  

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by David Hills

Jim Butcher is one of the leaders in the urban fantasy genre.  The Dresden Files does not take place a long time ago or in a land far away.  It's happening now, in the basements and suburbs of Chicago.  When things go bump in the night, people in the know call Harry Dresden - Wizard.  He doesn't do parties and don't ask him for a love potion, but... when things swarm out of the sewers, you want to hide behind Harry.  Way behind.

Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Sally Loane

Humans have always loved telling, sharing, and hearing stories - who better to inspire the art of storytelling than the ancient Greeks and Stephen Fry?!  As both a paperback copy or audiobook, any of the novels in Fry’s mythology series about Greek legends are an enjoyable and entertaining read. Stephen Fry narrates the audiobooks himself, so if you have a long bus or train ride to and from school, his beguiling storytelling style will make the mundane public transport commute far more tolerable...maybe even enjoyable. 

 


 

 

Recommended by Stephen Mitchell

Pop culture references these stories a lot! And this story collection is SO much darker than I EVER thought. Now, every time I see one of these stories, I think... ah, they are glossing over <insert horrid plot twist here>. You can pick it up and read for 10 minutes or so... then put it down. I HAD to put it down a few times. It was the first book I read where I realised that this is a collection of work that someone thought was important enough to preserve. Why would they do that?

 

Available in the Middle School Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Gus Robertson

During an unnamed time of war, a plane carrying a group of British schoolboys is shot down over the Pacific. The pilot of the plane is killed, but many of the boys survive the crash and find themselves deserted on an uninhabited island, where they are alone without adult supervision. What follows is their descent into brutality and savagery, resisted only by Ralph and Piggy. Many see it as an allegory for civilisation and authority, and what happens when authority without empathy is left unchecked. Besides that, it’s a riveting, tension-fuelled read, powered by Golding’s gripping prose.





Available in the Senior Library catalogue


 

 

Recommended by Cathy Oxley

In 1951, a poor black American woman inadvertently became the first and only person to ever develop an immortal cell line – a strain of cells that has been continuously cultured for the past 70 years, and the holy grail of medical research. In the years since, Henrietta’s HeLa cells have endlessly reproduced and have contributed to the development of drugs for numerous conditions including Parkinson’s disease, leukemia, blood pressure and depression. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like invitro fertilisation, cloning and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.  Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown and is buried in an unmarked grave. While her cells have spawned a billion-dollar industry, her family never saw any of the profits. This is her fascinating story.

Available in the Senior Library catalogue