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 Top Three All Time Favourite Reads


The results from the GGP 'All time three favourite reads' are in and have been calculated and verified:


Stephen King comes out on top with several titles, most notably The Green Mile and It.


Harper Lee nabs the second spot with 'To Kill a Mocking Bird'.


With J. R. R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings), Roald Dahl (Danny the Champion of the World & Matilda) and Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities) fighting it out for third place.


A big GGP thank you to everyone who participated in the vote here are a sample of the votes we received:


The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

(Chosen by Mark Gatto - Author of 'Metro Rider')


13 Clocks by James Thurber

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

(Chosen by L. Vera - Author of 'No Criminal')


Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

Book of Judges in the Bible

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

(Chosen by K. M. Indovina - Author of 'Driving Home' )


Goddess of Spring by PC Cast

The Host by Stephanie Meyer 

Shadowmarch by Tad Williams 

(Chosen by Debbie Behan - Author of 'The Secret Witch')


Will There Really Be a Morning by Frances Farmer

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

(Chosen by Samantha Hunter from Redcar)


Romeo And Juliet by William Shakespeare

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

Smile by Graham Taylor

(Chosen by Sam Burniston from Redcar)


Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Horns by Joe Hill

1984 by George Orwell

(Chosen by Carol Batty from Worcestershire)


Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt

Five Go to Mystery Moor by Enid Blyton

(Chosen by Sally Bowdler from West Sussex) 


The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Dissolution by C. J. Samsom

The Client by John Grisham

(Chosen by Margaret Rowe from Redcar)


To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Ripley Under Water by Patricia Highsmith 

Jupiter's Travels by Ted Simon 

(Chosen by Jo Hiley from Sheffield)


Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

(Chosen by Dawn Mackay from West Sussex)


The Bible

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Butterfly House by Marcus Preston

(Chosen by Lisa Winter from Whitby)


Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger

The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan

(Chosen by Jonathan Rogerson from Newcastle)


Fevre Dream by George R.R Martin

Junky by William S. Burroughs

Love of Worker Bees by Aleksandra Kollontań≠

(Chosen by Michelle Fox - Film Producer)


The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk

The Night Thoreau spent in Jail by Robert Edwin Lee & Jerome Lawrence

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostevesky

(Chosen by Yasmin Radwan from Cairo, Egypt)


Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

Perfume by Alexender Suskind

Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd

(Chosen by John Kennedy from Middlesbrough)

It by Stephen King

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

(Chosen by Callum Gibson - Author of 'Buckle')

Chasing the Monsoon by Alexander Frater

 The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

 Red China Blues by Jan Wong 

  (Chosen by Allison Davies - )

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

Man In The Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas

(Chosen by Jim Passman from Brotton)

The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder

The Woman In Black by Susan Hill

(Chosen by Nutty-nat from Redcar)

HMS Ulysses by Alistair Maclean

Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

Severed by Simon Kernick

(Chosen by Graham Smith - Author of 'Eleven The Hardest Way')


To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Matilda by Roald Dahl

(Chosen by Victoria Watson - Author of 'Letting Go')


Kane & Abel by Jeffery Archer

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

The Green Mile by Stephen King

(Chosen by Graham Taylor - Author of both 'The Vino Kid' and 'Smile')





Here you will see what other readers and writers think of the latest books, films and theatre out there. Maybe you have a review you would like to share with us or a book you would like to recommend, if so please do get in touch.




The Hunger Games – Prose or Pictures? by Mark Gatto 

I, like many people in the last few weeks, went to the cinema recently to enjoy the latest franchise that ‘everyone is talking about’ – The Hunger Games. As a huge fan of all things dystopian, the premise of this story was something that really interested me and promised to break free from the typical stomping ground of recent family blockbusters. The Hunger Games is modern, fresh, and importantly, challenging.


 Once I left the cinema after a Friday night viewing, both my fiancé and I were very impressed. We have different taste in a lot of cinema so it was great to find something that we both enjoyed. One of the main elements I really enjoyed was the strong and credible female lead, Katniss Everdeen, such a refreshing change from the usual young, teen boys. As a consequence, I decided I would like to read the book and explore any themes or story lines that the film had omitted.


The film uses the typical fly on the wall style with our focus and sympathies firmly drawn to Katniss, who is the protagonist and heroine of the piece. We are shown her progression from independent hunter in a deprived district in the future USA. There are hints at a romantic interest prior to the main plot development of her involvement in the Hunger Games. We see a lot of Panem, the Capitol, and its associated characters, especially the excellent Woody Harrelson. These are developed to fit in with the cinematic approach and are a definite directorial choice. We get a definite and highlighted contrast between the deprived poverty of District 12 and the lavish vulgarity of the Capitol. Although it is compelling viewing, there is a lot of the capitol shown before the main course of the arena. Jennifer Laurence is really believable as Katniss and shows her ability to lead a film with integrity and power. There are, however, elements of the Katniss character that are withheld from the viewer.


In contrast, the novel is written in first person from the intimate thoughts and perspectives of Katniss. I think this gave the story a subtle tonal shift; from the action heroine character in the film, to a girl who is vulnerable and innocent, but with the skills to survive earned through her difficult upbringing. The narrative voice throughout the novel achieves this through (what felt like) an authentic teenage girl’s insecurity and interaction. The story seems slightly less grand in the novel, which I liked, as it reflected the drudgery and acceptance of things that is imposed on the proletariat. We also get a sense of her growing self-belief, the importance of friendship and loyalty and the start of a changing force in this oppressive society. 


What the film was able to capitalise upon, was the reality TV satirical element. Some aspects of the political voice of the story were also explored using the president character and the class structure. The controlling use of the hunger games for annual appeasement of the masses had disturbing similarities with current reality TV especially the ritual baying for the blood of those less fortunate than ourselves. The novel, in contrast, only ever hints at this through the reported speech of Katniss. Events are certainly more intense and focussed from the first person perspective, a true coming of age story.


 Finally, we have the love story element, which is crucial to the character development of Katniss. Though more understated than the twilight three-way torment; both the novel and the film play with audience expectations and the usual role of the female lead. It is a plot line that is certainly contrived, but also touching in its innocence. The potential to deliver a memorable romance is there, even amid such an important dystopian struggle.


I found both mediums to be very enjoyable. The blockbuster treatment was appropriate to the material and they really captured the innocence, vulgarity and brutality that are major themes in this story. The novel is definitely a teenage fiction story and makes no pretence of anything else. The first person teenage protagonist carries the story effectively and we follow her journey and inner monologue with a closeness that the film cannot replicate, however, I am sure they had no intention of trying to compete on that front. Definitely worth a watch or a read or both, depending on your preference! 






‘Silent Running’ a retrospective review by Mark Gatto

There must be a generation of film goers, like me, who are swamped by the constant flow of films that enter the popular market today. Box office is big money and formulaic plots with big stars are the order of the day. I had heard about this film through listening to the film critic, Mark Kermode, who is a huge fan. I finally saw it this week and must report it was a treat that left me invigorated. A simple, but powerful premise unravels into a fascinating and moving story. The director, Douglas Trumble, blends the best of a universally recognisable science fiction backdrop with an in depth character study of a man, so passionate and dedicated to his purpose, that he is willing to go far beyond the call of duty to preserve his ideals. I loved the cinematography in this film.


As a fan of such classics as 2001, Alien and in modern times, Moon, I was delighted to be presented with one of the founding stories in this genre of cinema. The dialogue was, at times, superb. I don’t want to spoil the film by giving away plot lines or discussing characterisation, but I must give special mention to the lead actor Bruce Dern, who defines the unhinged archetype performance; so genuine and committed to the role. I was totally invested in his character and the journey he went on.


This film is rated ‘U’ and, though it does touch on some sensitive themes, I believe the message of hope and emotional sacrifice makes it a family film must! The struggle to preserve your beliefs against those who would oppress you, holding on to a dream, no matter what obstacles get in your way are messages that endure and affected me profoundly. Please make the time to watch this film. If we continue to press on, swallowing the dull repetitive themes of big bangs and fast action, we might forget what makes science fiction great. It is the freedom afforded by this genre that allows a film maker to produce a story of scope and depth beyond the restraints of our daily reality. I am going to continue searching for gems in the film archives, there are so many more to be discovered!


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