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.

7 Popular Books You Will Be Recommending To All Of Your Friends

7 Popular Books You Will Be Recommending To All Of Your Friends

There are books that have such an impact on you, that when you finish them, you can’t wait to tell everyone about them and you stop short at jamming the thing down their throats. These books are so good, as soon as you’re done, you’ll be recommending it to all of your friends.

7 Popular Books You Will Be Recommending To All Of Your Friends

1. Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

Popular Books

Magic is absolutely rooted in the book’s world. Nothing seems contrived and the consistency is excellent.

The characters are very well realized which means that when the protagonist does something clever, it’s believable. And when he does something youthfully dumb, it rings just as authentically true. This one is well worth some of your precious reading time.

2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Popular Books

This is science fiction made to laugh at itself while honoring its rich tradition, but it is much more than that. Adams’ peculiar humor also draws deeply from the well of sociology, philosophy, and science. Beneath the surface of utter hilarity, Adams actually used his sarcasm and wit to make some rather poignant statements about this silly thing called life and the manner in which we are going about living it. This may well be the funniest novel ever written.

3. Neverwhere: A Novel – Neil Gaiman

Popular Books

In the field of Science-Fiction/Fantasy, there is no greater accomplishment than creating a unique and intriguing universe. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is a pretty unmistakable attempt at creating a universe. The universe of this novel is London Below, a dark world existing beneath the UK’s sprawling capital. It’s inhabited by a feudal aristocracy, lonesome warriors and a religious cult that talks to rats.

4. Enders Game – Orson Scott Card

Popular Books

From our previous post:
Ender Wiggin is a special boy. He is the youngest of a family of child geniuses. This story is set in the future where aliens have tried to invade the earth twice. Twice the Earth defeated them, but at a great cost. The government is scrambling to make sure this never happens again by training the next set of star fleet commanders from childhood.

5. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal – Christopher Moore

Popular Books

The Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John leave a gaping hole in the story of Jesus. They tell of the shepherds, the angel, the virgin, the manger, and the wise men, then jump to Jesus as a thirtysomething rabbi. What did Jesus do during his formative years? Christopher Moore has an answer in his latest novel Lamb.

6. Mistborn Trilogy – Brandon Sanderson

Popular Books

Mistborn has the best, most well-thought-out, most original magic system of any fantasy book series ever written. Nothing comes anywhere close to rivaling its intricacy and intelligence. Despite its complexity, Sanderson has such a firm grasp on his magic system and is so clearly enjoying himself when he writes in it that it comes off the page so beautifully, so fluidly.

7. The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

Popular Books

From a previous post:
The Count is a masterful work. Charting the story of Edmond Dantes and his betrayal, the book shows his incredible comeback as a force of vengeance, fighting for the good guys and punishing the bad.

The 10 Most “Mind Fuck” Books Ever Written

The 10 Most “Mind Fuck” Books Ever Written

Mind altering, state shifting, world shaking books that leave you with an eerie feeling about the world and everything that you knew about it. These books will mess with your mind and induce a heavy dose of a mind fuck.

1. The Illuminatus! Trilogy – Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

Mind Fuck Books

Illuminatus! is pershaps one of the most wonderful books you will read. The combination of occultism, anarchism, and outright strangeness carries the reader through the most mind altering conspiracy theory ever dreamt of. This book will make you laugh, rage, and probably cause you to become a bit paranoid.

2. House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski

Mind Fuck Books

This book could be described as the book of The Blair Witch Project. Danielewski’s genius is his deft mix of great storytelling, insightful emotional reckoning, and playful word games. “House of Leaves” is a book that’s bigger on the inside than it is outside. It isn’t a book to be read from the first page to the last and is very frightening.

3. Naked Lunch – William S. Burroughs

Mind Fuck Books

This book is truly a trip to the dark side. Dream, hallucination, reality and drug visions blend and merge and disperse. Naked Lunch allows you to put yourself inside the tormented and confused mind of a drug addict as he loses lucidity and visits demons.

4. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

Mind Fuck Books

The Wasp Factory describes murders of young children and torture of small animals. And in all of this it manages to be a very captivating novel with an air of mystery that only resolves itself at the end of the book. Narrated by a psychopathic 16 year old boy, Banks takes the reader on a tour of a family with a psychotic past, a town where no one’s dog is ever safe, and the mind of a killer.

5. A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick

Mind Fuck Books

Bob Arctor is a junkie and a drug dealer, both using and selling the mind-altering Substance D. Substance D(eath), gradually splits the user’s brain into two separate halves, corroding the interaction between the hemispheres and rendering one a split-personality veering chaotically close to schizophrenia. A Scanner Darkly is a melancholic and mad masterpiece.

6. From Hell – Alan Moore

Mind Fuck Books

From Hell is the story of Jack the Ripper, perhaps the most famous serial killer of all time. Moore takes an interesting twist on the story – and one he himself admits that he believes is false – but the point of the book isn’t so much a whodunit as a treatise on the combining of fact and fiction into myth, and the nature of sensationalism in the 20th century.

7. The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield

Mind Fuck Books

Vida Winter, England’s most famous and reclusive writer, is nearing the end, and before she goes she wants her life story to be recorded. For this, she engages a lonely young biographer, Margaret Lea, who has a few secrets of her own. When these two women meet, the stage is set for a series of shocking surprises.

The back inside flap of the book jacket promises that Setterfield will, “in the end, deposit you breathless yet satisfied back upon the shore of your everyday life”. She keeps her promise.

8. Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut

Mind Fuck Books

Slaughter House Five follows a young man, Billy Pilgrim through his life. Billy believes aliens have abducted him. We assume that it’s through these aliens that he learns to time travel, a skill he frequently uses. He bounces around time to all the various portions of his life, many times returning to World War II where he was captured, taken prisoner, and held in slaughterhouse five in Dresden, Germany.
The story of Billy Pilgrim is enjoyable to read, and contains more than dry philosophy that some antiwar novels are filled with.

9. Blindsight – Peter Watts

Mind Fuck Books

Blindsight tells of an expedition to investigate the arrival of aliens in the Solar System. A ship, crewed by four strangely enhanced humans arrives in the far Oort cloud, and discovers an unusual and environmentally hostile object.

The book throws out conventional views of first contact and posits human self awareness as a costly evolutionary misstep. It dispenses with the idea that alien life needs to be anthropomorphic, or even care about us.

10. Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace

Mind Fuck Books

Infinite Jest is a book about a movie that is so addictive that anyone who starts watching it has no choice but to keep watching it forever – foregoing food, water, and sleep, and suffering as much pain as is necessary to keep watching.

The book’s length will discourage all but a few readers, but it handsomely rewards the patient.

6 Gripping Page Turners You Won’t Be Able To Put Down

6 Gripping Page Turners You Won’t Be Able To Put Down

A major part of the success of these books is how gripping they are. We wanted to make a book list that showcased the books that made you forget to eat, forget to sleep and forget to pick up your kids from school. This is the list we came up with.

6 Gripping Page turners You Won’t Be Able To Put Down

1. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

gripping books

Don’t hate us for including this one. If you haven’t read it, you must do before watching the movie. In fact, give the movie a miss. Its pointless and the book is far better. There’s no denying its success and Dan Brown will keep you turning those pages until there are no more pages to turn.

2. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

gripping books

Another gripping page turner, The Time Travelers Wife will keep you going just to figure out whats going on. The romantics will enjoy the relationship between the two main characters, and everyone else will enjoy the time travelling storytelling.

3. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

gripping books

A book which tells of the horrors of living under Nazi control, told from the perspective of a young book thief who befriends a Jewish man, before he is sent off to a concentration camp.

4. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen

gripping books

A phenomenal story told from the perspective of an orphaned and penniless, Jacob Jankowski. He joins the circus for an adventure and an adventure is exactly what he gets, albeit with more danger than he could have anticipated.

5. The Road – Cormac McCarthy

gripping books

A beautifully written post apolocalyptic story told from the perspective of a father and son in search of food, warmth and ultimate survival. What they encounter along the way is shocking and an indication of what people will do to survive.

6. Animal Farm – George Orwell

gripping books

If like me you were forced to read this in high school and therefore hated it, I urge you to read it again. George Orwell found an incredible way to show how the power structures of the world work, how revolutions come about and how absolute power can corrupt, absolutely.