Recommended Books


What follows is a list of books that I think you may read and enjoy. The titles are organised in alphabetical order according to  their authors’ names and they cover different styles and genres. Most of them are available in the school library and those that are not will eventually be .

If you have read a book you would like to recommend, please post a comment and share you ideas with us!

One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson

One Good Turn_ Jackson Brodie _ A Jolly Murder Mystery_ Kate Atkinson_ Books

It is the Edinburgh Festival. People queuing for a lunchtime show witness a road-rage incident – an incident which changes the lives of everyone involved. Jackson Brodie, ex-army, ex-police, ex-private detective, is also an innocent bystander – until he becomes a suspect. With “Case Histories”, Kate Atkinson showed how brilliantly she could explore the crime genre and make it her own. In “One Good Turn”, she takes her masterful plotting one step further. Like a set of Russian dolls each thread of the narrative reveals itself to be related to the last. Her Dickensian cast of characters are all looking for love or money and find it in surprising places.

Read the beginning of One Good Turn here.

The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster

Nathan and Tom are an uncle and nephew double-act – one in remission from lung cancer, divorced, and estranged from his only daughter, the other hiding away from his once-promising academic career. Matters change when Lucy, a little girl who refuses to speak, comes into their lives…

Read reviews and more information about The Brooklyn Follies here.

Read what other students thought when they read this book.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières

When the Axis powers reach the Greek island of Cephallonia, a young Italian captain is billeted in the doctor’s house. Captain Corelli turns out to be an accomplished musician, and for a while the war seems to suit themwell. But then the brutality of the conflict catches up with them.

Read more about Captain Corelli’s Mandolin here.

RestlessRestless by William Boyd

It is 1939. Eva Delectorskaya is a beautiful 28-year-old Russian emigree living in Paris. As war breaks out she is recruited for the British Secret Service by Lucas Romer, a mysterious Englishman, and under his tutelage she learns to become the perfect spy, to mask her emotions and trust no one, including those she loves most. Since the war, Eva has carefully rebuilt her life as a typically English wife and mother.
But once a spy, always a spy. Now she must complete one final assignment, and this time Eva can’t do it alone: she needs her daughter’s help.

Read reviews and more information about Restless here.

Read a review in The Observer

Watch William Boyd talking about how Restless came about while researching about the spying world

Engleby by Sebastian Faulks

When the novel opens in the 1970s, Mike Engleby is a university student, having survived a ‘traditional’ school. A man devoid of scruple or self-pity, Engleby provides a disarmingly frank account of English education. Yet beneath the disturbing surface of his observations lies an unfolding mystery of gripping power. One of his contemporaries unaccountably disappears, and as we follow Engleby’s career, which brings us up to the present day, the reader has to ask: is Engleby capable of telling the whole truth?

Watch a video with Sebastian Faulks discussing his latest novel, Engleby.

Read a review in Times On Line

Read the first chapter.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Summoning up more than 20 years of Japan’s most dramatic history, the geisha’s story uncovers a hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation. It moves from a small fishing village in 1929 to the glamorous and decadent Kyoto of the 30s and on to postwar New York.

Read more about Memoirs of a Geisha here

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

High Fidelity_ Nick Hornby_ Books

Is it possible to share your life with someone whose record collection is incompatible with your own? Can people have terrible taste and still be worth knowing? Do songs about broken hearts and misery and loneliness mess up your life if consumed in excess?

For Rob Fleming, thirty-five years old, a pop addict and owner of a failing record shop, these are the sort of questions that need an answer, and soon. His girlfriend has just left him. Can he really go on living in a poky flat surrounded by vinyl and CDs or should he get a real home, a real family and a real job? Perhaps most difficult of all, will he ever be able to stop thinking about life in terms of the All Time Top Five bands, books, films, songs – even now that he’s been dumped again, the top five break-ups?

Read more about High Fidelity here. Read a review by a fellow student.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Kathy, Ruth and Tommy were pupils at Hailsham – an idyllic establishment situated deep in the English countryside. The children there were tenderly sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe they were special, and that their personal welfare was crucial. But for what reason were they really there? It is only years later that Kathy, now aged 31, finally allows herself to yield to the pull of memory. What unfolds is the haunting story of how Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, slowly come to face the truth about their seemingly happy childhoods – and about their futures. Never Let Me Go is a uniquely moving novel, charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of our lives.

More information about Never let me go here. Read a review by a fellow student.

Thinks… by David Lodge

Ralph Messenger is an international academic star in the highly trendy field of language and thought research. Novelist Helen Reed arrives at the university to teach creative writing and to recover from the unexpected death of her husband. Despite huge differences in belief and temperament, they begin a secret affair – with complicated consequences, comic and tragic, for those around them. Witty, elegant and timely, THINKS is a dazzling exploration of love and deception, the enigmas of consciousness and the intricacies of the human heart.

Read more about Thinks... here. Read a review by a fellow student.

On Chesil Beach by Ewan McEwan

The year is 1962. Florence, the daughter of a successful businessman and an aloof Oxford academic, is a talented violinist. She dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, the earnest young history student she met by chance and who unexpectedly wooed her and won her heart. Edward grew up in the country on the outskirts of Oxford where his father, the headmaster of the local school, struggled to keep the household together and his mother, brain-damaged from an accident, drifted in a world of her own. Edward’s native intelligence, coupled with a longing to experience the excitement and intellectual fervour of the city, had taken him to University College in London. Falling in love with the accomplished, shy and sensitive Florence – and having his affections returned with equal intensity – has utterly changed his life.

Their marriage, they believe, will bring them happiness, the confidence and the freedom to fulfill their true destinies. The glowing promise of the future, however, cannot totally mask their worries about the wedding night. Edward, who has had little experience with women, frets about his sexual prowess. Florence’s anxieties run deeper: she is overcome by conflicting emotions and a fear of the moment she will surrender herself.

From the precise and intimate depiction of two young lovers eager to rise above the hurts and confusion of the past, to the touching story of how their unexpressed misunderstandings and fears shape the rest of their lives, On Chesil Beach is an extraordinary novel that brilliantly, movingly shows us how the entire course of a life can be changed – by a gesture not made or a word not spoken. (Extracted from Ian McEwan Website)

Read an excerpt here.

Eureka Street by Robert McLiam Wilson

Eureka Street

Belfast, in the six months just before and after the ceasefire. Chuckie Lurgan – fat, Protestant and poor, suddenly becomes wealthy by various means; Jake Jackson – reformed tough guy – is looking for love; and the strange letters “OTG” appear all over the city to the ignorance of all.

Read reviews and more information about Eureka Street here.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

In a Dry Season by Peter Robinson

During a blistering summer, drought has depleted Thornfield Reservoir, uncovering the remains of a small village called Hobb’s End – hidden from view for over 40 years. For a curious young boy this resurfaced hamlet has become a magical playground …until he unearths a human skeleton. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is given the impossible task of identifying the victim – a woman who lived in a place that no longer exists, whose former residents are scattered to the winds. Anyone else might throw in the towel but Banks sets out to uncover the murky past buried beneath a flood of time..

Read reviews and more information about In a Dry Season here.

The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale by Diana Setterfield

Vida Winter, a bestselling yet reclusive novelist, has created many outlandish life histories for herself, all of them invention. Now old and ailing, at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to biographer Margaret Lea – a woman with secrets of her own – is a summons. Vida’s tale is one of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family: the beautiful and wilful Isabelle and the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline. Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida’s storytelling, but as a biographer she deals in fact not fiction and she doesn’t trust Vida’s account. As she begins her researches, two parallel stories unfold. Join Margaret as she begins her journey to the truth – hers, as well as Vida’s.

Read reviews and more information about The Thirteenth Tale here.

Read what other students thought when they read it.

The Secret History by Donna Tart

A misfit at an exclusive New England college, Richard finds kindred spirits in the five eccentric students of his ancient Greek class. But his new friends have a horrific secret. When blackmail and violence threaten to blow their privileged lives apart, they drag Richard into the nightmare that engulfs them. And soon they enter a terrifying heart of darkness from which they may never return.

Read an excerpt of The Secret History here.

You will find a more extensive list of recommended reading with this link.

Synopsis and other information extracted from several sources, including Amazon, New York Times, Times on Line, Books: NPR

Recommended Reference Books


7 thoughts on “Recommended Books

  1. Good afternoon.
    I am sure I will read all these fiction books during this course, but I had ordered “Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy” in Cervantes last month, so I’ll start reading the books you’ve recommended us when I finish reading this one.
    I find it very funny.
    Thank you.

  2. Hi!
    I had the great chance to visit Powell´s Bookshop, one of the biggest bookshop in USA, when i travelled to Portland, Oregon, last Summer. I was fascinated with it!!!!! it´s very very big, millions of books, magazines, dictionaries… Amazing!!! And, obviously i took advantage of buying some English-written books and very useful and cheap!!! dictionaries. I think reading in English is a good way to improve our vocabulary, in spite of the difficulty at the beggining. So i recommend you to read two of the books that i got there: Changing places by David Lodge (Maria recommend us to read “Thinks” by the same author) and “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel. Enjoy your reading!

    I’ve just finished reading Brooklyn Follies and I want to share my opinion with all of you (If someone is not sure about which of these books to read I hope my opinion can help).
    I chose this book because it was the only one I found in the public library of Gijon, Oviedo and La Corredoria…then I remembered the library of the EOI hahaha (in public libraries there are too many old-fashioned books, what a pity 😦 )
    Well, at the beginning I thought that this book was going to be a bit BORING but I was completely wrong.
    Brooklyn Follies is really easy to read and although I couldn’t understand the 100% of the vocabulary I understood the main idea from the first page.
    In the plot you can find love and death, old books, family problems, betrayal, some ‘hot’ paragraphs (maybe a bit hard for people underage, or maybe not…) and a dozen of different stories with surprises in every chapter. What’s more, it has a shocking end that you could never imagine.
    In my opinion, it’s the best reading for the train or the bus.

    Small size, easy to read, a quick plot and only 10 Euros if you want to buy it, it seems interesting, doesn’t it?

  4. When the classes started I was travelling and I couldn´t come to the presentation and I couldn´t come to class the first Monday and Tuesday.
    I´ve heard these days in class that we have to read at least 2 books of the ones the teacher recommend here. But I don´t know if we have to give her a writing of the books we read and if we have to do that, when do we have to do it??
    Well, I suppose that somebody could answer my questions.
    Thanks in advance!!

  5. You will soon find information about what you have to do with the books you read in the Course Information page. The deadline for the first book is the last week of January, so don’t worry.

  6. But, could we read other books that aren´t recommended by you on this page??
    The ones recommended for advance level of the library, for example?

  7. You can read whatever you want as long as it is not adapted or abridged for English learners, so the book cannot be classified as Advanced on the cover. The list of suggested books is there to help you choose. But as you can imagine there are thousands of books you can read and you can make you own selection if you want.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s