Have you read? Readers recommend their favorite books.

Position:Recommended readings

STAYING POWER

Natalie Quick lives in Canada.

I am a school teacher with a passion for literature. Unfortunately, the students in my class are only seven years old, so I can't press any of these titles on them--but maybe there are some simple retellings of these new and old classics! On average I read 30 books a year, but I find that only two or three are compelling and stay with me for many years. Here are a few of those titles.

ROOTS By Alex Haley

I read this epic novel when I was in high school. It is a poignant, realistic portrayal of some of the many trials faced by generations of African slaves. The stories are haunting and will get you thinking about the history of slavery and its emotional impact on both the enslaved and the enslavers.

BRAVE NEW WORLD By Aldous Huxley

I come across references to this novel every week. As we move further in the 21st century, I see more and more similarities to Huxley's book, which was shocking when it came out in the mid-20th century. This spooky read addresses issues of cloning, lack of privacy, and many other contemporary topics.

THE POISONWOOD BIBLE By Barbara Kingsolver

Although this book is fiction, it will open your eyes to some of the ludicrous undertakings the Christian church attempted in Africa. Told by four women accompanying their radically religious fathers/husbands, the reader is given the gift of experiencing four different writing styles. Although the novel resembles William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying in its use of multiple narrators, it is much more readable.

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA By Arthur Golden

A page-turner from the opening paragraph, this is the story of how a young girl gets sold into slavery and then later trains to become a geisha. You will see the life of a geisha in a way that differs from the traditional stereotype.

MARY, CALLED MAGDALENE By Margaret George

Like Arthur Golden's Geisha, this novel, which retells the life of Mary Magdalene, moves away from the traditional stereotype. The author puts a fresh and positive spin on the life of Mary from her youth to her death, including her experiences at the Last Supper and her frustrations with Judas.

BLACK BEAUTY By Anna Sewell

The life of a horse told from the perspective of a horse. How fascinating! Not only is this a classic "must read," but it will also make you much more sympathetic to horses. Who would have thought that horses had such difficulties?

ALIAS GRACE By Margaret Atwood

Each sentence has such beauty that you can't...

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