Most people hate to read the same book twice. I’ve done that about a hundred times. If I really love a book, I read it again and again – seven times is nothing. There’s always some detail you’ve missed, always something new to discover or forgotten things to remember. Rereading books is like coming home. These are some of the English books I’ve read and enjoyed immensly:
The perks of being a wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
Charlie is the kind of boy that lurks around the school alone. The one that is kind of interesting, but so strange that you don’t talk to him on principle. You have no idea what you’re missing!
Hiding behind the mask of a surpemely introspective teenager, a wallflower for short, is a brilliant mind, gentle and sometimes naiv, but someone you would want to know.
Charlie himself doesn’t mind his seclusion, at least he think he does, before he gets to meet Sam and Patrick and things slowly start to change.
I’ve read this book in a great hurry as it’s a present for a dear friend and I need to wrap it. This didn’t prevent me from falling in love with it, however. More than once, I just wished I knew Charlie or that he was real and towards the end of the book I was filled with the kind of sadness that doesn’t make you cry, but rests deep down and stays there for a while as a reminder of what you’ve read.
Maybe this is one of the books that fashionable people read and quote on their tumblr blog and talking about it makes me a cliché, but I don’t care! I only wish even more people would read it, gain strength from it and feel their heart ake when it comes to a close.
Don’t you want to be one of these people?
Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
by Robin Sloan
Yeah, I know, I’ve read that book before. I even published a german review on it. But upon rereading it I found that my love for this heart-warming, bookstorish tale has grown even stronger. So that’s why you get another review.
Clay has just lost his job at „New Bagel“ when he discovers „Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Booksotre“ somewhere in San Francisco. About half an hour later, he has found himself a new job: Clay will work as a clerk on the nightshift. It doesn’t take him longe to discover that his narrow, dusty workplace is anything but normal. Strange customers borrow books that contain only a jumble of letters that seem to be in code. Without really meaning to, Clay solves an ancient puzzle, discovers a secret society and has to deal with the consequences.
I love books about books, so I really couldn’t ignore a book about an ancient bookstore full of secrets. But this book brings up questions, too:
Do printed books have a future? How will we read in a thousand or even a million years? Will we even read?
And, most importantly for Mr Penumbra and Clay’s friend Kat, can books make us immortal?
by Jane Austen
There is more than one good reason to envy Emma Woodhouse: She’s handsome, rich and clever in addition to being the mistress of her father’s household.
But, as always, something is lurking behind her perfection. Emma can’t resist the tempation of finding partners for her closest friends – matchmaking, as Jane Austen calls it.
After having successfully married of her governess and friend, Miss Taylor, Emma is in search of a new object. It soon presents itself in the form of Harriet Smith, a girl from the neighbouring village.
Persuading her to decline an offer of marriage by a farmer, Emma seeks match after match for Harriet, but it never works out.
When Harriert finally falls in love with Mr. Knighley, a true gentleman and Emma’s close friend, Emma herself discovers her own reasons to prevent any thing like a marriage.
Another delightful novel by Jane Austen, full of wit, irony and wisdom that is sure to make you smile more than once!
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
by Thomas Hardy
Born and raised among simple farm-folk Tess Durbeyfield unwillingly draws attention to herself because of her good looks. When her idle father discovers the family’s connection to the ancient family of D’Urberville und Tess loses the family horse Prince in an accident, she is sent to claim kinship with their supposed relatives.
At first, Alec D’Urberville, the good-looking and wealthy heir of his mother’s property seems to be the solution to Tess’s problems. He is quite the contrary. Alec D’Urberville proves to be her downfall.
In a thrilling journey through Thomas Hardy’s Wessex the reader accompanies Tess from “the valley of her birth” to “the valley of her love” and back again, always hoping that some miracle will save Tess from her predicament.
Hardy’s beautiful imagery is one of the good reasons to read this book. I hope that you will discover the others for yourself while reading this fascinating story.
What Jane Austen ate and Charles Dickens knew
by Daniel Pool
Have you ever wondered, when a girl is out? What does that even mean? Let me tell you one thing: in Victorian England the term had scarcely anything to do with clothing.
In this highly interesting book, Daniel Pool unearths facts and figures, traditions and expressions that might confuse the modern reader when he takes up a book from the time of Jane Austen etc.
Though his style of writing got me confused more than once, I’ve learned loads of things that will help me understand victorian novels. (As I’m not a native speaker it will be a relief not having to struggle with weird terms or measurements in addition to the language itself.)
The first half of the book consists of six parts, including information on The Public World, Society, The Country and others. The second half contains a glossary where many unusual terms, phrases or events have been summed up briefly by Daniel Pool.
I’m still working my way through the glossary, but I think I may consider the book read now that I’ve finished the main part.
What Jane Austen ate and Charles Dickens knew is an excellent source for anyone wishing to do some background reading on Victorian novels. What’s also notable about this book: Daniel Pool has arranged his information around quotes of famous Victorian novels, so the reader is always close to the book. Thumbs up!
by Jane Austen
The unhappy marriage of Miss Frances Ward was enough to create a gap between her and her two sisters. Now here she is: poor, uneducated and with more children than she can afford.
Luckily, her sisters, now Lady Bertram and Mrs. Norris, feel a certain surge of sisterly affection. They decide to adopt one of Frances‘ children, the eldest girl. Fanny is to be raised at Mansfield Park, the residence of Lord and Lady Bertram, along with her cousins.
After she has overcome the shock of being torn from her home and beloved siblings only to find herself in a new, cold environment, Fanny finds a faithful companion in her cousin Edmund.
Years go by. Years, in which she is bossed around by her aunt Norris, and sneered upon by her cousins Maria and Julia. Years, in short which would have been quite miserable had there not been a friend by her side at all times.
Fanny has known for a while now that Edmund is more than a friend to her, but how is she ever going to reveal her feelings to him? She’s far too shy.
Fanny does not know that her life is going to take a rather unpleasant turn upon the arrival of Mr. Crawford and his sister Mary at Mansfield Park.
If you’ve read one Jane Austen novel, you know them all. Many people think that way, but they don’t consider that although Austen’s stories have certain similarities, they are all set in different surroundings. Her heroines all face different problems and decisions.
Mansfield Park has been my favourite Jane Austen novel so far. She paints vivid portraits of her characters. Just take bossy, cheese-paring Mrs. Norris. I can imagine her, sitting in a comfortable chair and telling Fanny to do something useful for a change.
You’ll know what I mean when you’ve read the book…
by Charlotte Brontë
Young Jane Eyre becomes an orphan, before she even has the possibility to meet her parents. Raised first by her aunt and later at Lowood school, she knows nothing but misery.
When she takes up a position as governess of wealthy Mr. Rochester’s ward, she soon discovers tender feelings for her master. Her time at Thornfield promises to be the happiest of her life, but strange things are happening there. What is Mr. Rochester hiding in his attic?
Upon discovery of the haunting secret of Thornfield Hall follows Jane’s desperate flight across England.
How can she ever settle down again? How can she ever forget Mr. Rochester?
Jane Eyre is a brilliant tale with a happy ending, packed with passion, romance and thrilling characters.
You are not likely to forget this book, so read it with caution…
English for the Natives
by: Harry Ritchie
Do you like grammar? Really? This is a question you should ask yourself before reading „English for the natives“. Not being a native speaker myself, this book was a challenging read for me, opening up whole new sides of the English language.
I really like English. I like it enough to read a book about the English grammar.
In his book, Harry Ritchie tries to get across that English grammar is nothing to be afraid of. For native speakers at least. He explains everything about the different kinds of words, tenses and so on…
This sounds a little boring and sometimes it is. Although the book contains a highly interesting chapter on how children learn their motherlanguage, reading it was hard work for me.
There’s a similar book about the German language. It’s called „Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod“
In contrast to „English for the natives“ it talks about flaws and difficulties in German grammar by using small scenes or newspaper articles, that you might come across in your daily life. This kind of makes you forget that you’re reading about grammar. I miss this kind of spirit in „English for the natives“…
…but still: I liked it. Sometimes it was hard to focus on what I was reading, because the chapters seemed to go on forever.
I learned loads from Harry Ritchie, anyway. Although he emphasizes that no non-native- speaker will ever reach the fluency of speach that natives possess, I could’nt help but feeling a little proud of myself, when I discovered sublte differences that, according to Ritchie, only a native would spot.
All in all: a challenging, enjoyable, non-fictional read. Sometimes a little boring… but only a little. Have fun reading it!