Welcome to World Book Day 2021! Students and staff from Portadown College have been writing about books that have inspired them, books they’ve always remembered, or books they’ve simply enjoyed reading.

Lockdown has been very tough for so many people, but one thing is has done is given many of us time to go back to reading, or even pick up a book for the first time. Two hundred million print books were sold in the UK last year, the highest number since 2007. Books have never been more popular!

One of our Year 11 students has provided a wonderful review of “Schoolgirl” by Osamu Dazai. Read her review below and click on the links provided to read a great selection of reviews from both our students and our staff. Perhaps they will inspire you to pick up a book and discover the joy of reading.

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WBD 2021 Student Book Reviews

WBD 2021 Staff Book Reviews

Schoolgirl by Osamu Dazai

I love this book for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s not very long at all (as it is a novella) and reading it felt like a good way to introduce myself to Dazai’s writing. It was the work that established his career as a writer, and also the one that caused me to become interested in his other books.

Despite being written in 1933, the writing is very timeless and hardly anything about the book seems to have aged. The things that can be taken away from reading this novella and the themes that are explored in it are still very relevant today.

The book follows an average day in the life of a Japanese schoolgirl, written almost entirely like a long stream of consciousness. Even though it is short, it is very engaging, and it delves into the consciousness of a teenager in a way that doesn’t feel dated at all and remains interesting. The fleeting feelings, views on the world and various trains of thought the protagonist has as she goes about her day are all captured in a way that I found fascinating.

The protagonist experiences intense emotions, spontaneously changes her mind, thinks about both the mundane and the more ‘pressing’ questions about her life and the world around her (and also how she fits into it), in a way that makes her character seem very interesting and real. I think that Dazai captured the inner workings of this teenager’s brain beautifully and in a way that didn’t seem forced or fake at all, and I found the character’s thoughts and views to be similar to my own at times. It felt refreshing to see them written down on paper in such an eloquent and sophisticated way.

I found Schoolgirl to be thought-provoking, unique and interesting. I’m very glad that I picked it up and discovered Osamu Dazai’s work. I think that, while it may not be for everyone, other people (especially other young people such as myself) might also enjoy this book and find it interesting or relatable.

Alice Simpson (Year 11)