As we continue on from Part 1 of our English Teacher’s list, discover not only the joy of reading, but the benefits of reading widely.
The books in today’s list will increase your vocabulary and sentence length; stretch your imagination; and help you develop empathy for others with stories of racial prejudice as well as the comedy and tragedy of coming of age.
1. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and six more – Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl is a master story teller for children and adults. Whilst these short stories are not as commonly read or recommended they are timeless and inspiring, yet literary masterpieces. The story of Henry Sugar (one of six in the book) is almost a parable, telling the story of Henry, who masters the skill of seeing without his eyes and discovers almost anything is possible. Be prepared to expand your vocabulary with this book.
2. Arthur & George – Julian Barnes
• Short-listed 2005 Man Booker Prize
This ‘real life’ detective story is based on the true events in the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of one of the most famous detectives in literature. Within the rich detail of Victorian life is the deeper issues of justice and racial prejudice. Sometimes called a literary thriller, or a psychological novel, the surprising twists and turns will satisfy your detective character.
3. The Complete Sherlock Holmes (2 Volumes) – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr Watson are one of the world’s best known and most fully realized literary characters. This complete compendium of 4 novels and 56 short stories are fun to read over and over. Generally considered a literary classic, his sensitive characterization (including well written women characters) and convincing portrayal of life in many different sectors of Victorian era society make this a great bed time read. A firm favorite.
4. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
‘The most perfect of all the Dickens novels’ Virginia Woolf
Reading a Dickens novel can seem like a daunting task for many readers. Widely recognized as a literary giant, his books often come in leather bound volumes that look fantastic on bookcases, but are too intimidating to actually read.
Be brave, open this book and be treated to rich, detailed and penetrating character studies. Sit back and enjoy the ride as this story filled with tragedy and comedy draws heavily on Dickens’ own childhood.
Featured in 10 Best First Lines of Novels
5. The Virgin Suicides: A Novel – Jeffrey Eugenides
A coming-of-age story of five sisters who commit suicide one by one. Eugenides writes with haunting sensitivity and dark humor in precise prose. It won’t be to all readers tastes, but recommended for the deep and developed characters, narrative and juxtaposition of outwardly ‘normal’ suburbia with the dark side of life.
Also by this author: Middlesex featured in 10 modern Books Which Will Be The Classics of The Future