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Island Games special - what are they reading?

3rd July 2023
Island Games special - what are they reading?

The Island Games are about to get underway in Guernsey, welcoming sportspeople from 24 islands. With 204 events across 14 different sports, there's lots to see and plenty to cheer for!

The Library is the home of stories, so what better way to celebrate the Island Games than to share the stories of those taking part! We caught up with six sportspeople from team Guernsey ahead of the games, to find out what they're reading. Click the titles to borrow them from the Library.


Name: Ross Allen
Sport: Football

I've just finished reading The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. I was immediately hooked on this tale about an elderly couple setting out on a journey across a slightly fantastical version of post Roman Britain; surrounded by a mysterious mist which seemingly makes people forget their past.

I enjoy most books which are underpinned with some sense of adventure, but in this one I particularly loved how the story lingers on the theme of memory, and the feelings stirred within us depending on how we remember things. And ultimately how these memories and feelings shape our decisions moving forward. The magical elements of this book also seem to drift off the page like the aforementioned mist, leaving the reader under a hypnotic spell, desperate to read on to its finale.

This book is about a simple journey which doesn't turn out as you, or the characters, would have expected. A metaphor for life maybe? A good lesson if nothing else, and it's these characters, and their internal struggles which really make the journey, as a reader, worthwhile. Ishiguro writes beautifully and I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone. I feel it will stay in my thoughts for a long time.

Name: Maddy Russell
Sport: Swimming

The book I’m currently rereading is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. This classic is one of my favourite books I’ve ever read because of the way it explores the values of different women in the 1800s. Also I love reading about how the March sisters view the world, and how these views contrast to each other. As a lover of history you don’t see as many older texts about women simply trying to navigate their way through the world, to be able to accomplish their aims in life, regardless of what these aims are.


Name: Rochelle Mullen
Sport: Basketball - this will be my sixth games

I'm a massive fan of thrillers, my favourite author is currently Harlan Coben. When I have some spare time, usually before bed, I'll have my head in one of his books.


Name: Helena Duguid
Sport: Cycling - I'm taking part in the road events in the Island Games for the first time

I love reading but sadly don’t have much time due to training for the games and just finishing my A-Levels. When I do read, I love autobiographies and dystopian novels (like The Hunger Games). At the moment I'm reading Tom Daley’s autobiography - Coming Up for Air. I love the way the book is written and the honesty he puts into the pages. The way he talks about the adversity he's faced and the struggles of being a professional is so inspiring. I'm hoping to read Geraint Thomas next - Tour According To G – I think it will be a great book!

Name: Patrick Ogier
Sport: Tennis (Men's Team Event, Men's Singles, Men's Doubles) I've competed at 5 different Island Games in the past - Rhodes, Aland, Bermuda, Jersey and Gotland

I recently read Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It's a distinctive, funny and quirky novel about a 36 year old Japanese woman who views herself - despite the many odd elements of her character - as a "cog" in society through her job at a convenience store in Tokyo where she's chosen to work for 18 years. 

I was lucky enough to spend some time in Japan earlier this year and absolutely loved being there. It is a fascinating country. Even though Convenience Store Woman is a short novel, Murata manages to depict and explore an impressive number of themes - conformity and individualism, social expectations, loneliness and independent thought, the "Japanese work ethic", gender roles in Japanese society, and many more - and does so in a way which is likeable and memorable, light and yet profound. I recommend both the book and a visit to Japan!

Name: Michael Burrows
Sport: Archery - I'm taking part in the archery competitions and at 72 I'm possibly the oldest competitor in the Guernsey team

I'm currently reading Central Park West by James Comey, who is the ex head of the FBI who was sacked by Donald Trump for asking awkward questions. It's a good story but very American. My daughter gave it to me for Father's Day. One of my favourite books is the Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman about an unlikely group of elderly people who solve crime that confounds the police. They are very witty stories.  Anything by John Le Carre is excellent.


You can find out more about the Island Games here.