What You Should Read In High School – an English Teachers List (part 4)

What You Should Read In High School – an English Teachers List (part 4)

Many of us are a bit conservative in our reading – preferring to stick with one genre, or author that we know and trust. Yet there are many reasons why reading widely is important, other than pleasing the teacher.

Reading widely will expose you many styles of writing and ideas. It does of course increase your vocabulary. Not just big words, but different ways of using words to express yourself.

Reading a wide range of genres will expand your thinking, improve understanding and boost your creativity. Whilst many of us read for relaxation and entertainment, reading a wide range of books will cover a wider range of emotional responses and boost emotional intelligence.

Reading using many regions of the brain, and is a very complex activity. Reading outside your normal comfort zone will increase concentration and neural connections, or ‘connectivity’ in your brain. The more you do it, the longer the ‘extra’ connections will last.

Our English Teachers list continues with five more books to broaden your perspective on life.

1. Love in the Time of CholeraGabriel Garcia Marquez

Written by a Nobel Prize Literature winner, this book has been on Oprah’s book list. We have featured his earlier, landmark book, One Hundred Years of Solitude in many posts including 15 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Life.

This story examines love in all its forms through a love story spanning many decades. Written with passion, humour and a bit of magic, you can expand your awareness of relationships and people, or just enjoy an amazing piece of literature.


2. 1Q84Haruki Murakami

Is this book sci fi? Or perhaps a mystery? Maybe just another dystopian future?

However you choose to categorize it, this book will pull you in, intrigue you with its characters and strange realities. Described as a ‘mega-novel’, it re frames and re-imagines our world with a deep plot that unfolds gradually in his unique and distinctive writing voice. An incredible fantasy-realism novel with shades of Dickens and Louis Carroll.



3. Norwegian WoodHaruki Murakami

Also by Murakami, this novel sold 4million copies in Japan to the horror of the author. A coming of age story, the author has denied it is autobiographical. Poetic writing that is simple yet conveys complex characters makes this a quick and easy read.




4. Cloud AtlasDavid Mitchell

Cloud Atlas is more than just a sci-fi gimmick or an exercise in narrative structure. It is a truly profound novel about the eternity of the human condition. It is an emotional roller coaster that will make you laugh, cry, and smile uncontrollably, all at the same time. Cloud Atlas changed my life, opening me up to all the possibilities of what fiction can do to change the world. It is a multitude of drops that have merged into a vast ocean of a book, and a beautiful one, at that.

(Guest review by Amanda Grace Su)


5. 1984George Orwell

Another book set in 1984, Orwell’s classic was written in 1948. Still relevant today as the internet grows and ‘big data’ becomes a reality, is Big Brother now watching us? With the flexibility of the internet who knows what “truth” is anymore? Then, a terrifying glimpse into the future that could be, but is it coming true?

On every English Teacher’s list – if you haven’t read it, or even if you tried at school, read it now.



Read also part 1, part 2 and part 3 of our English Teacher’s List.

What You Should Read In High School – an English Teachers List (part 3)

What You Should Read In High School – an English Teachers List (part 3)

Part 3 of our English Teachers List covers authors from F-K.  Has anyone else noticed there are more authors (and books) in the first half of the alphabet?

Six books to broaden your mind, with a mix of historical drama from WWII, ultimate spy stories through to short stories by the master of horror, Stephen King – although these are not horror.

Click here for Part 1
Click here for Part 2

1. Birdsong: A Novel of Love and WarSebastian Faulks

This historical drama holds nothing back in its gruesome and overwhelming descriptions of the German battlefields. Balanced by a bitter sweet love story and accomplished prose, this book is a rewarding read.

Also a movie staring Eddie Redmayne, Clemence Poesy, directed by Philip Martin




2. The Day of the JackalFrederick Forsyth

“The Day of the Jackal makes such comparable books such as The Manchurian Candidate and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold seem like Hardy Boy mysteries.” The New York Times

Step up to the ‘grown up’ level of espionage, suspense and intrigue with what is considered by many to be his best novel. Based on the true attempt of the life of French President Charles de Gaulle in the early 1960’s, Forsyth spins a brilliantly conceived and intricately detailed story.

Read the book first, then watch the movie made in 1983 starring Edward Fox (avoid the remake with Bruce Willis).

3. The Maltese FalconDashiell Hammett

Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade is one of the most famous detectives from American literature and his novel is packed with action and mystery. In The Maltese Falcon, Hammett nails every element of the detective genre so precisely, that it’s a wonder anyone ever tried to write another detective novel after him.




4. Catch-22Joseph Heller

CATCH-22 is masterful in so many ways.  Another WWII story, it begins as comic farce, proceeds to the increasingly surreal, and then transforms into a nightmarish tragedy before ending triumphantly.




5. For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway

Whilst WhyToRead has featured several of Hemingway’s books, this is the first list to include the classic “For Whom The Bell Tolls”.

An action story told by one of the most famous twentieth-century American writers. It wraps love, loyalty, courage and defeat around idealism and honor. Written only three years after the end of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) where it is set, the authors personal experiences seep through.



6. High FidelityNick Hornby

An original and interesting book about a London second hand record store (vinyl music records – before Cd’s and mp3).

You will laugh out loud at the biting wit & humor, hopefully you will get the pop music and movie references as he examines relationships and what makes them work.

Made into a movie featuring John Cusack in 2000.



6. Different SeasonsStephen King

Four novella/short stories, all quite different, not in the horror genre although still dark in places.

The films Stand by Me, The Shawshank Redemption and Apt Pupil are based on three of the stories from this collection. Oddly enough no one has made a movie of the fourth story, ‘The Breathing Method’, about a woman calmly giving birth despite having been decapitated in a car accident.

Books for Young Boys That Will Entertain Parents Too.

Books for Young Boys That Will Entertain Parents Too.

Many parents read aloud to their very young children as a bonding experience. Bed time stories have been around for centuries.

Research shows that reading aloud to young children is important to develop their reading and thinking skills.  Often as children start to develop their own reading skills, parents stop reading aloud to them.

Yet young boys often struggle more with reading and frequently lag behind in literacy skills. They are much more interested in physical activities like football.  Finding books to interest them can be a challenge.

This list is guaranteed to bring back story time for young boys (and girls – our daughters loved these too) and entertain you as a parent.  Don’t stay up too late finishing these books.

1. The Ruins of Gorlan (The Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 1)John Flanagan

Originally written to encourage his own ten year old son to read, the series (now 13 books) follows Will, who is apprenticed to Hal, a Ranger.  The mysterious cloaked Rangers are trained to be independent and resourceful, protectors of the kingdom.

These books have also caused a renewed interest in archery so be prepared for a few trips to the range. Guaranteed to make bedtime story time a daily highlight.



2. The Outcasts: Brotherband Chronicles, Book 1John Flanagan

An offshoot from the Ranger’s Apprentice series, the Brotherband series has it all with a viking flavor. A group of outcast misfits come together with teamwork and adventure where brains and skill beat brawn and bullying.

Parents will sneak off to finish them after lights out.


3. Redwall (Redwall, Book 1)Brian Jacques

Animal stories have long been popular with young kids. Magical & mystical with a quest for a legendary weapon, these stories are humorous medieval-style adventure where good triumphs over evil.

Quality writing, in depth characterization and language will develop the young reader and entertain the parent at the same time.



3. The TwitsRoald Dahl

Anything by Roald Dahl is excellent bed time story material and should be read by all ages regardless. The Twits, with their gross hygiene issues, practical jokes and monkeys will appeal especially to young boys, hiding an underlying moral that it doesn’t matter what you look like, true character/beauty will shine through (and the reverse too).



4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneJ. K. Rowling


A bedtime story list for boys wouldn’t be complete without the most famous young wizard of our time, Harry Potter.

Even if you’ve seen the movie, reading the book aloud will help literacy skills and make the characters grow in their (your) imagination. Don’t skip this one either.