Summer Reading

Angie Jackson
Social worker, Somerset
I will be reading Faceless by Martina Cole
. Her books grab my attention from start to finish.
They are about real life issues and include drug abuse, crime on
the streets and so on. And, believe it or not, one or two include
social services involvement.

Mike Waddington
Head of patient and public involvement, South Essex
We Must Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
(Serpent’s Tail)
: to sharpen up thinking on the nature
and nurture in the freer form of a novel; and some Shakespeare to
dip into for dilemmas and seeding a few speeches I’ve got to

Gerda Loosemore-Reppen
Health and social care consultant

I will be re-reading My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi
Picoult (Hodder)
as I have been working on stem cell research
and the ethical implications. This book is about the dynamics in a
family with an older child suffering from childhood leukaemia. A
crisis develops as the younger donor child (genetically engineered
to support the older sibling) pursues litigation to assert her
rights over her own body. Gripping storytelling.
Colin Standfield
Development officer, Battling Addictions

After a year spent reading (that is deciphering) yards of documents
written in implementation-speak, I think anything that does not
purport to be narrative will fill the gaps between acts at the
Sidmouth Folk Festival. Probably a book of Sudoku and the daily
Simon Colbeck
Fostering social worker, Hertfordshire

I’ve just picked up Borg Versus McEnroe: The Greatest Rivalry,
The Greatest Match
by Malcom Folley (Headline). I
love playing, watching and reading about tennis. My 15 year old
son’s superior energy and technique is starting to give him the
edge on me at singles so I fancy escaping into some fantasy
identification with the heroes of my youth.  Naturally I’m also
hoping Folley can immerse me in a psychological and interpersonal
drama etched against the context of the transatlantic
socio-political ferment of the late 70s and early 80s. He’s chief
sports reporter for the Mail on Sunday so I may be hoping for too
much here, but why not use some holiday reading to test my own
Carolyn Matthews
Team manager, fostering and permanence, Wigan
I have been reading The Da Vinci Code and
Angels & Demons, both by Dan Brown (Corgi). I
am also reading (and reviewing) The RHP Companion To Foster
, edited by Ann Wheal (Russell House Publishing)
because I am earnestly interested in any literature that furthers
my personal development and level of understanding.

Simon Heng
Columnist and service user
I’ll be reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials
trilogy (Scholastic)
. I’m interested to see how children’s
books deal with the themes of good, evil and atheism. My son also
tells me that it’s better than Harry Potter!

Jef Smith
Writer, consultant and trainer

For August, I have been saving Family Matters by
Rohinton Mistry, whose previous two novels I found hugely
inspiring. The book is about a Parsi family struggling to cope with
the failing health of their father. This seems a good time to be
sharing the sensitive presentation of a crisis of relationships in
an Asian culture of which I have little direct experience.

Julie Duncalf
Manager day services, Isle of Man
I recently read Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons
, having enjoyed the author’s The DaVinci
Code (Corgi)
which has the same main character. I’m sure
it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it’s a
well-paced, fairly light read that carries you along in the

Gordon Kennedy
Integrated CMHT manager, Flintshire

I obviously live in a fantasy world as I’ll be reading
Eoin Colfer’s The Opal Deception (Puffin). This is
fantasy for kids of any age. I just haven’t grown up yet.
I’ll also be packing Mao: The Unknown Story by
Jung Chang and Jan Halliday. Well, you’ve got to
take something that’s a little bit taxing, just in case you read
everything else. I took a book of Samuel Becket prose on three
summer holidays before I got around to reading it. Being an ASW,
the nearest I’m getting to work reading will be A Long
Way Down
by Nick Hornby (Penguin)
Mark Sloman
Social worker, Somerset

I will be reading two books: This is Madness edited by
Craig Newnes et al (PCCS Books). It is a critical look at
psychiatry and the future of mental health services. This
continually challenges me on my beliefs and values working within a
medically dominated mental health service. Also, BBC’s
foreign correspondent Fergal Keane’s memoir All
of These People (HarperCollins)
. His book Letter to Daniel
(Penguin) moved me beyond words…and that takes some

Andrew Durham
SIBS, Warwickshire

I have just read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
. Each of the six stories, dating from the 1800s to a
post-apocalyptic story, has subtle links to the other stories with
suggestions of reincarnation – “souls cross ages like clouds
cross the sky”. A great piece of escapism.

Anthony Douglas
Chief Executive, Cafcass

I’ll be reading Erno Goldfinger: The Life of an Architect
by Nigel Warburton (Routledge). I got to know his
buildings in London when helping my daughter cope with her degree,
one project being about the life, soul and times of Mr Goldfinger.
To see his landmark buildings now being lived in by groups of
Londoners hemmed together chaotically like Bosch lookalikes,
brought home the marvellous creativity and diversity of London, my
home city.
Sarah Baalham
Customer care manager, Suffolk

As we are just finishing a major renovation project to our house,
the only book I’ll be reading this summer is my trusty B&Q DIY
Handbook! And sadly I won’t be reading it on the beach either –
although I might manage ten minutes by the pond.

Peter Saunders
Development director, NAPAC

I hope to finish Beauty for Ashes by Joyce Meyer
(Warner Books)
which gives a Christian perspective on dealing
with child abuse. I used to be an Alistair Maclean/Hammond
Innes/Clive Cussler kind of guy but my focus of late has been my

Anne Burnage
Deputy director, Catholic Children’s Society

Among others I will be packing the latest Donna Leon
novel, Blood from a Stone (Weidenfeld & Nicolson). I’m
a great fan of this series set in Venice featuring the captivating
Commissario Guido Brunetti. Leon’s books involve the reader in the
food ,wines, sounds and sights of Venice as well as tackling social
issues such as immigration, and the graft and corruption of Italian

James Churchill
Chief Executive, Association for Real Change

It will have to include JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the
Half Blood Prince (Bloomsbury)
. Whatever else you might think
about JKR’s creation you have to admit that getting young
people reading again must be good news, so I had better be prepared
to join in the debate about it or risk social exclusion as a

Des Kelly
Director, National Care Forum
Reading for leisure too frequently only happens on
holidays! I’m looking forward to The Lives of Lee
by Antony Penrose (Thames and Hudson), which I
picked up at her recent National Portrait Gallery exhibition. The
back cover tantalisingly describes her lives as a young Vogue
model, protégé of Man Ray and innovative photographer.
The idea that all of us are many lives is an appealing one. I also
like the fact the book it is written by her son.

Neil Thompson
Director, Avenue Consulting Ltd
My priority for summer reading will be Drug Induced:
Addiction and Treatment in Perspective
by Phil Harris
(Russell House Publishing)
. Its critical perspective on
addictions issues makes it look like a very worthwhile read.

Jo Tunnard
Independent consultant, RTB

I’m going to read Toast by Nigel Slater (fourth
. I cried when he talked about his sad childhood and
chose “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” as one of his Desert Island Discs.
Unlike him, my mum didn’t die when I was little, and I grew up
knowing my dad loved me. But I do share with him memories of bad
home cooking. And I love his passion for food and his delicious
skills in writing about it.

Mikenda Plant
Senior practitioner, Nottingham

Relaxing in Croatia, I’ll be reading The Bean Trees
by Barbara Kingsolver (Abacus), about a girl who runs away
from poverty in rural Kentucky. Work-related reading will be
Invitations to Responsibility by Alan Jenkins
(Narrative Books)
, which looks at therapeutic engagement with
violent men. Domestic abuse is a factor in so much of our child
protection work and yet we lack of resources for speedily and
effectively engaging with male perpetrators.

Sandra Booysen
Fostering social worker, Hackney

I have just finished the latest Harry Potter. Thanks to my
Master’s degree, I am reading Counselling Children
by David and Kathryn Geldard (Sage). But off course, to
keep in balance, I am planning to read Black Like Me by
John Howard Griffin (Signet) and Celia, A Slave: A
True Story
by Melton McLauren (Avon Books).

Joanna Perry
Policy manager, Victim Support

This summer I will be reading anything I haven’t already read by
Rohinton Mistry. I used to live in India and I love the familiarity
of his detailed descriptions of the colourful, chaotic city of
Mumbai. I also always learn a lot from him about the side of India
that as a sheltered foreigner I did not get to see.

John Burton
Regional manager, English Community Care Association

On holiday, as usual, I will read my one novel of the year. This
summer it’s going to be Dear Future by Fred D’Aguiar
(Chatto & Windus)
, a Guyanese novelist and poet. I’ve read
some of his poetry and I found his first novel The Longest
Memory (Chatto & Windus)
deeply moving – strong stuff,
beautifully written.

Lynne Fordyce
Child and Family Resource Unit, Leeds

I should read Occidentalism: A Short History of
  by Ian Baruma and Avishai Margalit
. I know it’s important to try to understand
what drove young men from my city of Leeds to kill themselves and
so many others recently. But, if I do get to the Whitby folk
festival and find myself with a sunny, music-free afternoon, I am
going to have a go at The Mysterious Affair at Styles by
Agatha Christie (Bodley Head, 1920). This was her first
detective novel and brought Hercule Poirot to the world. I have
never read her novels, even though she was my mother’s favourite
author, and there was always a book or two of hers around the
house. I think it’s about time I did and where better to
start than with her first one. Then, if I like it I will only have
another 70 some to go.

Sandra Gunter
Social worker, Surrey

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Corgi), and
Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
. It is intelligence and success
redefined. Our emotional faculty guides our decision-making.
Hopefully, this book will answer my question as to why children
with high IQs sometimes do not progress well at school. Is it
perhaps as a result of a low emotional intelligence?

Joy Bounds
Retired social care manager
I have recently enjoyed George and Sam by
Charlotte Moore (Penguin). Readers of her inspiring column
in The Guardian about parenting two autistic sons will be delighted
to see a book in the same informative, moving and entertaining
vein. Next up is Living in the Labyrinth by Diana
Friel McGowin (Delta)
, a younger person with dementia. Such
personal experience books add much to the understanding needed by
the social care professional.
Rachael Ellis
Fostering Foundation Training Co-ordinator
Among the books I am reading this summer is Harry
Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Bloomsbury)
. Why? Because my
daughter read the entire book through twice on the day of
publication and I thought I’d better keep up!

Val Brooks
Service Team Leader, Nottingham

I will be reading Collected Stories by Carol Shields
(Harper Perennial)
. Her books are a delight, particularly for
anyone who likes people watching and has an interest in the myriad
of human relationships. She is such a skilled observer and this
translates on to paper so well, immersing the reader in the
stories. I will enjoy every minute of it, and no doubt re-visit her
previous books, as she recently sadly died. Another recent book
Unless (Fourth Estate) is an emotional roller coaster. It describes
the acute pain of adolescence and the reflections of a mother as
she comes to terms with her daughter’s distress, and reflects
on motherhood. A stunning read.   
Julie Murphy
Children’s services manager, Poole

Small Island by Andrea Levy (Headline Review):
not social care but very well written fictional account of people
migrating to post-war Britain from the West Indies both from their
perspective and from the perspective of people from within the
existing community. I have gone on to read another and just bought
a third to read on the beach. Very useful background reading for
anyone working and living in our multi-cultural society I would

Alan Corbett
National clinical director, CARI Foundation, Ireland

Firstly: We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
(Serpent’s Tale)
. This recently won the Orange prize,
and looks as if it will be a fascinating insight into the lives of
two people affected by a high school massacre in the states. The
first person is the perpetrator himself, the second is his mother.
It will be fascinating to read of the struggle faced by the mother
in understanding whatever role her son’s early life
experiences may have played in his crime.

The second book is Psychotherapists as Expert Witnesses:
Families at Breaking Point
by Roger Kennedy (Karnac
. I bought this recently at a conference and have yet to
find time to read it. The role of therapists in the legal system is
a much neglected one. Although this book describes a UK experience,
I am hoping it will provide much needed guidance I can use within
the Irish context.

Ian Crosby
Independent Social Work Consultant
While on two months’ holiday in France I have
returned to my favourite author Charles Dickens’ David
Copperfield (Penguin Popular Classics)
. I still think it’s the
best account of a journey from childhood through to manhood
Also The Longshoreman: A Life at the Water’s Edge by
Richard Shelton (Atlantic) is next to my bed, while I
might be able to steal the new Harry Potter book
(Bloomsbury) off my teenage daughters.
Sharon Rushworth
Co-ordinator, Healthy Living Centre, Bradford
I will be taking a book to help me escape from all the
stresses of work and other people’s problems for a week.
Having to read a lot of social care literature as part of my work,
it is not a holiday to take more of it away with me.

Having just finished a superb novel by Leslie Pearce
called Remember Me (Penguin), which I couldn’t put down, I
have decided to take a couple of her books with me: Secrets
and Till We Meet Again (Penguin). I will
then return back to work, refreshed after having had a total

Samantha Dodd
Project manager, Under One Roof, Kent

I will be reading texts books for my MBA as I have several reports
to write. The bedtime book is currently Sickened by
Julie Gregory (Random House) – an autobiography about
Munchausen by Proxy. So, light reading for me this summer.

Trudy Potter
School liaison officer, Traveller Education, Kent
This summer I will be revisiting the Fionavar Tapestry
(Voyager), a trilogy of Fantasy books that I read every three or
four years by Guy Gavriel Kay. Wonderful descriptive writing
depicting other worlds, colourful characters and a life far removed
from national standards and social care reviews!

Simeon Brody
Journalist, London
I’m reading Star of the Sea by Joseph
O’Connor. Set on a boat full of refugees fleeing the Irish
famine for Americain 1847 it seems quite topical. Moving and

Keith Sellick, Journalist
Community Care
I am reading Leon Trotsky’s1905“. A
hundred years ago the workers and peasants of Russia rose up
against the Tsarist autocracy. Trotsky movingly describes the
energy, bravery and creativity of the masses in struggle while
mercilessly criticising the reactionaries and misleaders of the
movement. I especially recommend the chapter “For an eight hour day
and a gun” for everyone working long hours.

Also I am reading Carson McCullersThe Heart is a
Lonely Hunter
“. Set in the southern USA, the story tells of a
Singer, a deaf man who can’t speak, who befriends four lonely
people. But in him they see only what they want to see –
reflections of their own concerns and passions – leaving
Singer lonelier than all of them. One of the finest books about
disabilities you will find.

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