Keuzelijst Engels, aanvulling 2021-2022

Dit is de printversie van de keuzelijst .

Betekenis symbolen: het aantal boekjes (1, 2 of 3) duidt op de moeilijkheidsgraad van de boeken.

The Island Child

Molly Aitken
2020, 310 p.

Oona grew up on the island of Inis. An island that was a gift for some, but for others, like Oona, a prison. Barely more than a child, she flees the island. The Island Child goes back and forth between Oonas youth on the island and her adult life in Canada. Will she ever be fully able to escape the island? This is a gripping tale with identity, motherhood and freedom as its main themes. The Island Child is Molly Aitkens debut novel. It is atmospheric and full of Irish folklore.

The Vanishing Half

Brit Bennett
2020, 343 p.

The Vanishing Half follows the lives of two twin girls Desiree and Stella, both light-skinned, who run away from home at the age of sixteen. They live in Mallard, a fictional small town in Louisiana in the 1950s and are remote descendants of a slave owner and a slave. They want to create opportunities for a better life for themselves. Desiree marries a dark-skinned man and gives birth to a very dark-skinned girl named Jude. Stella takes on a new identity, that of a white woman. She marries a well-to-do white man and gives birth to a white girl named Kennedy. Stellas husband and child will never know that she is from a black family. One day the nieces happen to meet each other and start a friendship where secrets are gradually revealed and family ties prove to be unbreakable. This story shows that once you start making up lies, in order to take up a new identity, there is no escaping from it. The Vanishing Half was long listed for the National Book Award.


Sarah Blake
2019, 298 p.

Only one family is spared the coming of the Great Flood: Noahs family. Noah built his Ark with his sons and, of course, his wife. This is the story as told by Noahs wife, Naamah, who tells what it is like being trapped on a big boat with lots of restless animals. At the same time Naamah struggles with her beliefs. Why was her family spared? This is a unique retelling of an ancient story in fresh, modern language. A story that sometimes shifts between reality and myth with the help of Sarah Blakes poetical writing style. There is quite a lot of attention for sexuality and some scenes are quite graphic, but it never becomes vulgar. This debut novel by Blake won the National Jewish Book Award.

A Ladder to the Sky

John Boyne
2018, 434 p.

Maurice Swifts ambition is to become a writer. He has already written six short novels, none of which attracted many readers, when he meets the celebrated author Erich Ackermann. Despite his success as a writer, Ackermann is lonely and immediately feels a bond with the young, handsome Maurice and makes him his personal assistant. Maurices problem is that he is technically a good writer, but lacks the creativity to come up with good stories. But when he finds out that Ackermann has a story to tell, he steals this story and uses it for his own novel. This then becomes his first great success as an author. A Ladder to the Sky is the story of an aspiring writer who will go to any length to fulfil his ambitions. But it is also a story about loneliness. These two storylines combine to create a page-turner with an exciting plot.

A Single Thread

Tracy Chevalier
2019, 346 p.

Violet Speedwell suffered the loss of her fiancé and beloved brother in the first world war. In 1932, now in her late thirties, she is deemed a surplus woman, single and without prospects in marriage, expected to care for her aging, impossible mother. Her job as a typist at an insurance firm is poorly paid and she struggles to cover the bare necessities of her sober existence. A Single Thread takes the reader through Violets trials, tribulations and successes in establishing her independence through striking out on her own, learning to embroider in a group dedicated to producing kneelers for her beloved Winchester Cathedral. The friendships she forms along the way broaden Violets horizons, opening her heart and giving unexpected turns to her life story. A richly detailed portrayal of an independent single woman in a world that does its best to ignore their existence.

Master Class

Christina Dalcher
2020, 319 p.

Elena Fairchild has two daughters, sixteen-year-old Anne, who is bright and does very well at school, and Freddie, aged nine, an anxious child who struggles to keep her grades up. Elenas husband Malcolm is partly responsible for an education system where everyone is given a Q score, based on monthly testing. This determines a persons place in society: the higher the Q score, the more privileges are available. When Freddie fails her test and is sent to a state boarding school where parents can only visit once every three months, Elena, who is slowly starting to realise something sinister is going on, decides to give up her job as a teacher at an elite school to try to save her daughter. What makes this novel such a compelling read is the realisation that the events mentioned in the story are not as unimaginable as one might think but instead reflect the American eugenics movement of the early nineteenth century.

When All is Said

Anne Griffin
2019, 326 p.

Maurice Hannigan was a poor young farmhand working for a bullying boss, Hugh Dollard, and his sadistic son, Thomas, in County Meath, Ireland. One day Maurice picked up a precious gold sovereign that had been thrown out of a window during an argument between Thomas and his father and hid it. From then onwards, Maurices fortunes started rising while those of the Dollards began to dwindle. The story starts in a hotel bar, with 84-year-old Maurice looking back on his life. He thinks about the five people who have been most important to him during his long and eventful life and proposes a toast to each of them in turn while reminiscing about what they meant to him. A touching story of a person who thinks he is coming to the end of his life and wants to make a clean breast of everything he has lived through.

The Other Americans

Laila Lalami
2019, 301 p.

Moroccan immigrant Driss Guerraoui is killed in a hit and run accident. The subsequent investigation turns the lives of several characters, divided by race, religion and class, upside down: Nora, the daughter, who is in an unhappy relationship and is trying to make a career as a composer; Salma, Noras sister, who is frustrated by always having had to do her duty; Maryam, Drisss wife, who still longs for her homeland; Jeremy Gorecki, the sheriffs deputy and an Iraq veteran, who is in a difficult relationship with Nora; Erica Coleman, the detective, who is worried about her thirteen-your-old son; Anderson Baker and his son A.J., who own the bowling alley next to Drisss restaurant, and Efraín Acaves, who witnessed the accident but doesnt want to come forward for fear of deportation. As each character is given his or her own voice, an interesting picture emerges of both a family and a town full of secrets and prejudice.

Utopia Avenue

David Mitchell
2020, 561 p.

It is 1967 and the world of pop music is in turmoil. Bands are emerging and rising to fame fast. The recently formed Utopia Avenue is working hard to find an audience for their music, travelling to the ends of the UK, bonding as a band so their music grows in intensity and creating their own original sound. Famous popstars such as David Bowie, Jimmy Hendrix and Brian Jones make an appearance. And through all the troubles the band members experience getting into the Top 10. They share their stories. Dean Moss needs to free himself of his drunk father, Elf Holloway from a lost love and the death of her little nephew, and Jasper de Zoet from the curse of his ancestor Jacob. This harks back to The Thousand Autumns and the creation of Mitchells Über-novel, with many cross-references to his previous books. The swinging sixties brought to life by the wonderful storytelling of David Mitchell. Utopia Avenue not only brings this exciting time alive through the ups and downs of the bands three songwriters, but also brings you into close contact with the in-crowd of that time. A feast for lovers of Mitchells work and an invitation to novices wanting to experience more.

The Offing

Benjamin Myers
2019, 260 p.

In wonderful prose The Offing tells the story of a young man venturing out into the Big Wide World, shortly after the Second World War. Tired of the gloomy mining town where he was raised, he arrives at the North Sea coast, where he is invited to spend some of his young days with a mysterious woman with a poetic secret. While he does odd jobs, she cooks, using the harvest from the garden to create the most wonderful dishes. Such delicacies were previously unknown to him. There is more for the reader to experience, the secret of the sea and this song of summer. And, in this coming-of-age novel, the body of a boy is growing into a man just as his mind learns about literature and the power of words. The Offing is a poetically written, jubilant song of young life. Discover how a secret is revealed and life sings through the summer haze.

Such a Fun Age

Kiley Reid
2019, 305 p.

Emira Tucker, a young black woman, works as a babysitter for Alix Chamberlain, a rich social media celebrity. When Emira takes her three-year-old charge Briar to the supermarket, she is accused of having kidnapped a white child. Although Emira is not all that bothered and more concerned about having little money and no proper job, Alix is horrified by the incident. She realises that she doesnt know Emira very well and decides that is going to change. Finding out more about her babysitter confronts her with events from her own past that turn her world upside down and at the same time change the direction of Emiras future. In addition to friendship, motherhood and class, race is an important theme in this novel. It is described from an interesting angle as it is the white people in Emiras life, proud of themselves for having so many black people among their friends, who are more preoccupied with race than she is.

The Plot against America

Philip Roth
2004, 391 p.

What if the well-known pilot Charles Lindbergh, instead of F.D. Roosevelt, had won the American elections in 1940? In what way would his anti-Semitic ideas have influenced American citizens and their way of life? Philip Roth rewrites a few years in American history and their impact on his own Jewish family and the Jewish community in Newark, where he grew up. What is it like to be a seven-year-old boy, to see and hear things you do not understand, to feel your safe daily life being threatened? How do large political issues affect the small family world? In a sublime way Roth combines true and fictional events, thus creating a convincing alternate history.


Ali Smith
2020, 378 p.

At centre stage in this novel is Sacha Greenlaw, a 16-year-old girl living with her brother and divorced mother, a former actress. Together the three of them lead us through the summer months, sharing stories of the past and future. Words tumble out on top of each other, not always leading to the three living together better. But there are also new friends to meet. These new friends come from Smiths earlier work because Summer is the closing part of the Four Seasons project that she has been working on over the past four years. Making a statement on the world today, but also spinning a fine thread through the lives of her main characters, running from the outbreak of the Second World War and how foreigners were expelled from society and locked away in camps to a refugee seeking asylum today and also touching on Covid 19 and other recent events. Summer is not about a plot, and not even about the plot covering the sequence of her Four Seasons book. It is about prose and about understanding a world we all share. It is about letting in the lightness of the summer season. Making wonderful prose and wondering about the meaning of it all.

Shuggie Bain

Douglas Stuart
2020, 430 p.

This novel is about a young boy and his mother Agnes, who live together with Catherine and Leek, his siblings, in a tenement building in a former mining district in Glasgow in the 1980s. Agness partner, Hugh, is Shuggies father. Agness life is dominated by alcohol. However little money there is, she spends it all on cheap beer and vodka. At the start of the novel Shuggie is five years old and not so aware of the struggles in the family. As he grows older he notices more and is increasingly concerned about his mother, whom he loves dearly. He doesnt give up hoping that one day she will stop drinking. On top of all this, Shuggie is not like most boys. He behaves differently and is being bullied because of it. In this story a laugh and a tear are never far away. The boy Shuggie will find an enduring place in your heart. Douglas Stewart won the Booker Prize 2020.


Tara Westover
2018, 377 p.

This is Westovers memoir of her childhood in Idaho, where Washington is far away and God very close. She was born into a family of Mormon fundamentalists. Her father is the family prophet who lives strictly by the Bible. Dairy products, medicine and hospital treatment are forbidden. Anything official is shunned. Her father does not believe in sending his children to school; the younger ones arent even officially registered. From a very early age, each child has to help father Gene in his scrap metal business, involving long hours of dangerous work. It is from this environment that Tara gradually disentangles herself and, without any formal education, struggles her way to college. A moving story of an almost unbelievable accomplishment, told without sentiment.