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Tuesday 12 December 2017
Commentary

Leisure reading that gives a lift

Today I feature books that exercise your brain. At the end of a long day, everyone needs a relaxing book that will also stimulate learning. Students are no exception.

Reading helps to build the skills students need to succeed in school and in life. Students also need books that will entertain and offer an escape from the pressures of their academic lives.

So, here’s the perfect end of the day and back-to-school leisure reading list for everyone. It features some of my favourite books that offer what I like to call a reading lift.

The Beguiled by Thomas Cullinan – The Beguiled offers a tense story of deceit from multiple point of views. When a young student from the Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies brings a wounded Union soldier to the school, the Southern, Confederate women and girls smother him with charm. As the young soldier abuses their feelings, the girls’ goodwill takes an unexpected turn that causes everyone to fight for their lives.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly – The inspiring story of the Afro-American women who worked for NASA during the early days of the US space programme is a must-read, inspirational biography/history for girls who study science and math.

Green Days by the River by Michael Anthony – Students are in for a big treat when Michael Anthony’s Green Days by the River opens in MovieTowne on September 27. This novel about a teenage boy trying to find his place in a new village is a timeless Trinidad classic because of the astute way in which Anthony deals with relationships and Shell’s dilemma about which of the two girls he will choose.

Paper Towns by John Green – Reluctant readers who wish to take a literary plunge can’t go wrong with a John Green, Young Adult (YA) novel. Here, a popular teenager girl runs away from home and leaves clues for the nerd next door to find her. Green presents a fun-filled mystery wrapped in a story about teen relationships.

The Gunslinger by Stephen King – Stephen King loosely based his Dark Tower series on the French classic The Song of Roland so that gives this fantasy/alternative world thriller some important clout. Once again, students will learn how easy it is to build reading speed, comprehension and analytical skills while reading an entertaining novel. Talk about an escape. This book allows readers to escape to a parallel world where good vs evil at every turn.

Will’s Red Coat: The Story of One Old Dog Who Chose to Love Again by Tom Ryan – If you want a heart-warming, inspirational, non-fiction book, try Will’s Red Coat, the story of a blind, deaf and partly-crippled dog rescued by the author. Will’s story, first featured in a blog, had thousands of followers.

The Promise by Robert Crais – An action-packed detective story can be the perfect skill-building escape at the end of a long school day. When it comes to delivering a tense tale, The Promise never disappoints. Here, Los Angeles police officer Scott James fights his way back from an injury and the ambush of his police partner with Maggie, a marine dog who is traumatised after she loses her handler. You will also want to read The Suspect, a sequel to The Promise.

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Koreans by Barbara Demick – Through interviews with North Koreans who made daring escapes to live in South Korea, Demick presents a brilliant piece of journalism that presents the horrors of North Korea, a country that is in always in the news.

Happy reading!

Next week:

Look out for the 2016 Bocas Literature Festival-winning books.

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