English Reading Lists and Competitions

KS3 Reading list

Reading is one of life’s pleasures. It is also incredibly important to read to develop a more sophisticated vocabulary and to improve your writing skills.  

  Highly Recommended *            A challenge**                       Easy Read +


Modern Fiction




Richard Adams – Watership Down


Peter Abrahams -
Down the Rabbit Hole


Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl


Louisa May Alcott – Little Women*


Alison Gray-Allen – Unique+


Nigel Slater – Toast*


Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol


Isabel Allende - City of the Beasts


Adeline Yen Mah – Chinese Cinderella


Frances Burnett Hodgson – The Secret Garden


Malorie Blackman – Noughts and Crosses* (3)


Helen Keller – The Story of My Life


Daphne Du Maurier – Rebecca*


Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games Trilogy


Malala Yousafazi – I Am Malala


Daphne Du Maurier – Frenchman’s Creek


William Nicolson – The Wind Singer


Ibtisam Barakat: Tasting the Sky


J.R.R. Tolkien – The Lord of the Rings**


Jamila Gavin – Coram Boy*


Andrea Warren: Surviving Hitler


George Orwell – Animal Farm


John Green – The Fault in Our Stars+


Laura Hillenbrand - Unbroken


P.G. Wodehouse – The Mating Season*


Anthony Horowitz – Stormbreaker


Karen Blumenthal – Steve Jobs


Evelyn Waugh – A Handful of Dust


Michelle Magorian – A Little Love Song


Bear Grylls – Mud, Sweat and Tears


Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice*


Dodi Smith – I Capture the Castle*


Cece Bell – El Deafo


Jane Austen – Northanger Abbey


Yann Martel – Life of Pi**


Jung Chang – Wild Swans


Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre**


Philip Pullman – The Northern Lights Trilogy*


Roald Dahl – Boy+*


Emily Bronte – Wuthering Heights


Philip Reeve – Mortal Engines


Nick Hornby – Fever Pitch


Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird+


Veronica Roth - Divergent


Laurie Lee – Cider with Rosie


J.R.R. Tolkien - The Hobbit+


Stephanie Meyer – Twilight Series+


Barack Obama – Dreams from my Father


Alexandre Dumas – The Three Musketeers


Marcus Zusak – The Book Thief*


Frank McCourt – Angela’s Ashes


Mary Shelley - Frankenstein


J.K. Rowling – The Harry Potter Series


Thura Al-Windawi – Thura’s Diary


Homer – The Odyssey


Stephen Chobsky – The Perks of Being a Wallflower


Zlata Filipovic – Zlata’s Diary


William Golding – Lord of the Flies


Mark Haddon - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time*


Bill Bryson – The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid


More Reading Options:

Humour (Fiction and Non-Fiction)

Crime and Mystery



Douglas Adams -The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Series*


Anne Cassidy – Forget Me Not


Bernard Ashely – No Way to Go


Bill Bryon – Notes from the Small Island+


Raymond Chandler – The Lady in the Lake


Kevin Brooks – Martyn Pig


Eoin Colfer – And Another Thing…


Agatha Christie – Cat Amongst the Pigeons


John Buchan – The Thirty Nine Steps*


Keren David – Lia’s Guide to Winning the Lottery


Agatha Christie – Sleeping Murder*


Lauren Child – Look Into My Eyes


Sue Townsend – Adrian Mole Series


Agatha Christie – The Moving Finger


Jack Higgins – The Eagle has Landed


Terry Pratchett – Discworld Series


Agatha Christie – Death in the Clouds


Robert Harris – Enigma*


Alexander McCall Smith – The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency


Sandra Glover – Don’t Tell


John Le Carré – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy*


Gabrielle Zevlin – Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac


Mary Hoffman – The Falconer’s Knot


Andrew Motion - Silver



Anthony Horowitz – The House of Silk+

Set in the Past/Historical


Ian Beck – Past World


Elmore Leonard – Get Shorty


Theresa Breslin – Spy for the Queen of Scots


Holly Black – The Red Glove


Sophie McKenzie – Close My Eyes


Philippa Gregory - Changeling


Cassandra Clare – Mortal Instruments Series


Rupert Wallace – The Dark Inside


Robert Harris – Imperium


Jason Delany – The Spook’s Series


Tim Wynne-Jones – The Boy in the Burning House


Mary Hoffman – David


Raymond Feist – The Riftwar Series


Rachel Ward – The Drowning


Mirjam Pressler – Shylock’s Daughter


Patrick Ness – Chaos Walking Series


P.D. James – The Private Patient


Chris Priestley – New World


Brandon Sanderson – The Mistborn Series


P.D. James – Death Comes to Pemberley


Cynthia Ozick – Bear Boy


Carlos Ruiz Zafon – The Prince of Mists


Caroline Green – Hold Your Breath


Mary Renault – The Alexander Trilogy


Carlos Ruiz Zafon – The Shadow of the Wind*


Marcus Sedgwick – White Crow


Steven Saylor – Roma


Barry Jonsbery – Being Here


Catherine Webb – Horatio Lyle Series


Ann Turnbull – No Shame, No Fear


Robert Jordan – The Wheel of Time Series


Lili Wilkinson – A Pocket Full of Eyes


Rafael Wilson – Saving Rafael


KS5 Reading List


Guardian's 100 Greatest novels (not on main list)
Title Author
Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift
Tristram Shandy Laurence Stern
Dangerous Liaisons Pierre Choderlos De Lados
Nightmare Abbey Thomas Love Peacock
The Black Sheep Honore De Balzac
The Charterhouse of Parma Stendhal
Sybil Benjamin Disraeli
David Copperfield Charles Dickens
Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray
Moby Dick Herman Melville
The Way We Live Now Anthony Trollope
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Portrait of a Lady Henry James
Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson
Three Men in a Boat Jerome K Jerome
The Diary of a Nobody George Grissmith
The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers
The Call of the Wild Jack London
Nostromo Joseph Conrad
The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
In Search of Lost Time Marcel Proust
The Rainbow DH Lawrence
The Good Soldier Ford Maddox Ford
Ulysses James Joyce
A Passage to India EM Forster
Men Without Women Ernest Hemingway
Journey to the End of the Night Louis- Ferdinand Celine
As I Lay Dying William Faulkner
USA John Dos Passos
The Pursuit of Love Nancey Mitford
The Plague Albert Camus
Malone Dies Samuel Beckett
Wise Blood Flannery O'Connor
Charlotte's Web EB White
The Lord of the Rings JRR Tolkien
Lucky Jim Kingsley Amis
Lord of the Flies William Golding
The Quiet American Graham Greene
On the Road Jack Keouac
The Tin Drum Gunter Grass
Herzog Saul Bellow
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont Elizabeth Taylor
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy John Le Carre
The Bottle Factory Outing Beryle Bainbridge
The Executioner's Song Norman Mailer
If on a Winter's Night Traveller Italo Calvino
A Bend in the River VS Naipaul
Waiting for the Barbarians JM Coetzee
Housekeeping Marilynne Robinson
Lanark Alasdair Gray
The BFG Roald Dahl
The Periodic Table Primo Levi
An Artist of the Floating World Kazuo Ishiguro
Oscar and Lucinda Peter Carey
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Milan Kundera
Haroun and the Sea of Stories Salman Rushdie
Wise Children Angela Carter
Northern Lights Philip Pullman
Austerlitz WG Sebald



Modern Library's 100 best novels (not on main or Guardian's list)
Title Author
The Sound and Fury William Faulkner
Darkness at Noon Arthur Koestler
Sons and Lovers DH Lawrence
Under the Volcano Malcolm Lowry
The Way of All Flesh Samuel Butler
I, Claudius Robert Graves
To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf
An American Tradegy Theodore Dreiser
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter  Carson McCullers
Invisible Man Ralph Ellison
Native Son Richard Wright
Henderson the Rain King Saul Bellow
Appointment in Samarra John O'Hara
The Wings of a Dove Henry James
The Ambassadors Henry James
Tender is the Night F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Studs Lonigan Trilogy James T Farrell
The Golden Bowl Henry James
Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
A Handful of Dust Evelyn Waugh
All the King's Men Robert Penn Warren
The Bridge of San Luis Rey Thornton Wilder
Howards End EM Forster
Go Tell it on the Mountain James Baldwin
The Heart of the Matter Graham Green
Deliverance James Dickey
A Dance to the Music of Time Anthony Powell
Point Counter Point ous Huxley
The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway
The Secret Agent  Joseph Conrad
Women in Love DH Lawrence
Tropic of Cancer Henry Miller
The Naked and the Dead  Norman Mailer
Portnoy's Complaint Philip Roth
Pale Fire Vladimir Nabakov
The Maltese Falcon Dashiell Hammett
Parade's End Ford Maddox Ford
The Age of Innocence Edith Wharton
Zuleika Dobson Max Beerbohm
The Moviegoer Walker Percy
Death Comes for the Archbishop Willa Cather
From Here to Eternity James Jones
the Wapshot Chronicles John Cheever
Of Human Bondage W. Somerset Maugham
Main Street Sinclair Lewis
The House of Mirth Edith Wharton
The Alexandria Quartet Lawrence Durell
A High Wind in Jamaica  Richard Hughes
A House for Mr Biswas VS Naipaul
The Day of the Locust  Nathanael West
A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway
Finnegans Wake James Joyce
Kim Rudyard Kipling
The Adventures of Augie March Saul Bellow
Angle of Repose Wallace Stegner
The Death of the Heart Elizabeth Bowen
Ragtime EL Doctorow
The Old Wives' Tale Arnold Bennet
Loving  Henry Green
Tobacco Road Erskine Caldwell
Ironweed William Kennedy
The Magus  John Fowles
Under the Net Iris Murdoch
The Shltering Sky Paul Bowles
The Postman Always Rings Twice James M Cain
The Ginger Main JP Donleavy
The Magnificent Ambersons Booth Tarkington