Advanced Reading Challenge

A number of students have already completed the Reading Olympics challenges set earlier this year. This post is a follow up advanced challenge for the avid readers who want some guidance for good books.

The following list is compiled from many teachers from multiple faculties suggesting the extremely good books they’ve read in various genres. See how many books from this list you can read and suggest any great ones you’ve read that aren’t on the list!

Not all books will be appropriate for all ages. This list was compiled and aimed for mature high school students with a good base of previous reading (e.g. you’ll notice Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and some other books are not on the list as they are presumed read!).

Remember each book read is worth Reading Olympics points which will eventually be tallied towards your house points!

More books will be added to the list over the coming weeks so stay tuned!

Fantasy/Science Fiction genre

  • The Magician – Raymond E Feist {The epic beginning to a multi-series 29-book fantasy world – Mr R Jackson’s favourite fantasy book of all time}
  • Daughter of the Empire – Janny Wurts & Raymond Feist {the ‘enemies’ side of the story – older readers – trilogy]
  • Obernewtyn – Isobelle Carmody
  • The Inheritance Cycle- Christopher Paolini {four book series, first book is Eragon}
  • The Mistborn trilogy – Brandon Sanderson {first book is Mistborn}
  • The Kingkiller Chronicle – Patrick Rothfuss {three book series, first book is The Name of the Wind – last book not published yet}
  • The Belgariad – David Eddings {five book series, first book is Pawn of Prophecy}
  • The Malloreon – David Eddings {five book series, events after the Belgariad, first book is Guardians of the West}
  • Out of the silent planet – C S Lewis
  • The Wheel of time – Robert Jordan {Epic 14 book saga, final tome just released, first book is The Eye of the World}
  • The Wars of Light and Shadow – Janny Wurts {11 book series, first book is Curse of the Mistwraith}
  • The Cycle of Fire trilogy – Janny Wurts {first book is Stormwarden}
  • The Dragons of Pern – Anne McCaffrey {16 standalone sequential books set in the same world, first book is Dragonflight}
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams {the infamous four book trilogy…}Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • The View from the Mirror – Ian Irvine {an excellent four book series, fantasy written just a little bit different, Australian author, first book is Shadow on the Glass}
  • Trinity – Fiona McIntosh {first book is Betrayal, trilogy}
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • Wolfskin – Juliet Marillier {Historical fiction}
  • Rameses – Christian Jacq {5 book series Historical fiction}
  • The Witches of Eileanan – Kate Forsyth {six book series, first book is Dragonclaw}
  • Watership Down – Richard Adams
  • The Power of One – Bryce Courtney {fantastic historical novel, major film based on this book}
  • Robinson Crusoe – Defoe
  • Parkland – Victor Kelleher
  • Master of the Grove – Victor Kelleher


A mixture of classics ranging from ancient mythology to 20th century modernity.

  • 1984 – George Orwell {One of the greatest books of the 20th century and Miss Smith’s favourite} 1984
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • Keep the Aspidistra Flying – George Orwell
  • Darkness at Noon – Arthur Koestler
  • Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  • The Great Gatsby – F.Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – F.Scott Fitzgerald.
  • The Odyssey – Homer
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  • Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  • North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Cranford – Elizabeth Gaskell
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  • Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  • Bleak House – Charles Dickens
  • Middlemarch – George Elliot
  • In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  • Daniel Deronda – George Elliot
  • A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Wolf
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  • Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Victor Hugo
  • Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
  • Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
  • Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  • The Time Machine – H.G.Wells


  • Through Gates of Splendour – Elizabeth Elliot
  • Surprised by Joy – C.S. Lewis
  • The Hiding Place – Corrie Ten Boomthrough_gates_of_splendor__37591_zoom
  • The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun – Brother Yun
  • Tortured for Christ – Richard Wurmbrand
  • Hudson Taylor – J. Hudson Taylor
  • Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy – Eric Metaxas
  • John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace – Jonathan Aitken
  • I Dared to Call Him Father: The Miraculous Story of a Muslim Woman’s Encounter with God.
  • The Confessions of St.Augustine – Augustine of Hippo
  • Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
  • Einstein: His Life and Universe – Walter Isaacson
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
  • A Beautiful Mind – Syvia Nasar
  • Shakespeare: The World as Stage – Bill Bryson
  • Henry VIII – David Starkey


Standard Resource

  • New Bible Dictionary (IVP) (2)

Biblical Theology

  • Graeme Goldsworthy According to Plan (2)
  • Graeme Goldsworthy Gospel and Kingdom (2)

Old Testament

  • Longman and Dillard An Introduction to the Old Testament (2)
  • Tyndale OT Commentaries or Bible Speaks Today Commentaries (for daily Bible Reading) (2)

New Testament

  • Paul Barnett Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity (2)
  • Paul Barnett The Birth of Christianity: The First Twenty Years (2)
  • Paul Barnett Paul: Missionary of Jesus (2)
  • John Dickson The Christ Files (2)
  • Carson, Moo and Morris An Introduction to the New Testament (2)
  • Tyndale NT Commentaries or Bible Speaks Today Commentaries (for daily Bible Reading) (2)
  • David Jackson Crying out for Vindication: The Gospel According to Job. J (1)


  • Richard Pratt Every Thought Captive (2) (Read this one first)
  • Don Carson The Gagging of God Zondervan (2) (Essential reading)
  • John Frame Apologetics to the Glory of God (2) (Essential reading)
  • The Francis Schaeffer Trilogy: The God who is there, Escape from Reason, He is there and he is not silent (2)
  • John Dickson If I were God I’d make myself clearer (1)
  • John Dickson If I were God I’d end all the pain (1)
  • Cornelius Van Til The Defense of the Faith (3)
  • Timothy J Keller Reason for God: Belief in an age of Scepticism (2)


Reading Olympics update

A big congratulations to some of our students who have completed the entire Reading Olympics challenge!


  • ‘Washington D.C’ is currently in 1st place with 359 points earned.
  • C24 is currently in 2nd place with 353 points earned.
  • ‘Kyoko’ is current in 3rd place with 299 earned.

The Reading Olympics is running throughout the year, so you still have plenty of time to earn some points! Only 120 points are needed to be awarded a gold medal.

Remember, books read for the Premier’s Reading challenge count for 2 points each in the Reading Olympics.

Collect a booklet from either the library or the HSIE staffroom.