Words are possibly the most powerful attribute we have as humans. A single word can make each person go through a rollercoaster of emotions, and then some. Without words, we simply disappear into the silence of a muted world.
From the moment babies are born, the race begins to see who utters their first word, and when. Then comes the reading.
The beauty about an assorted conglomeration of words is that they can take you to the most extravagant and fantastic places or even the most terrifying. This assortment can be done across all languages and, indeed, literary beauty knows no linguistic boundaries. Mono-lingual readers live a thousand lives, but multilingual readers live ten-thousand.
When you are learning a new language, reading is an essential part of the learning process. It works on the level of understanding, improves vocabulary, and gives practical examples of grammatical structures. Learning grammar just from grammar books becomes stuffy, so we explore new worlds in novels. When we read books in a foreign language, for example English, we also gain insight into the culture of the English native speaker. Foreign readers are taken into the minds of the American, who moved from a rural town and has been living in New York for the past year, the Brit, who runs a bar in the heart of Sheffield, or even the Australian, living in the heart of the outback.
I have chosen 5 books, out of the infinite number to choose from, that seem fitting for EFL learners.
13 Reasons Why (2007) – Jay Asher. This novel brings to light the harsh realities of growing up and experiencing American high school, on the other side of popularity. Asher writes about Hannah Baker’s gruelling experiences leading up to her suicide. 13 Reasons Why unapologetically deals with teenage cruelty and bullying. And their aftermath.
Charlotte’s Web (1952) – E.B. White. White takes us through an unusual world of Wilbur, a piglet who is the runt of his litter. Readers follow Wilbur’s adventures of friendship, survival, and life with Charlotte and her web. Thanks to White’s easy-going linguistic flair, Charlotte’s Web is a short novel that can easily be enjoyed by both children and adults, alike.
The Fault in our Stars (2012) – John Green. Admittedly, this book is one that struck a chord with me. Perhaps, it was because of Green’s strong characters, or the linguistic humour, or the dreadful realism of life with cancer. Hazel and Augustus show resilience throughout the novel in refusing to allow their afflictions change their yearning for adventure. The comedic genius flowing through the plot, make the ending all the more heartbreaking when reality hits both readers and characters.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999) – Stephen Chbosky. A novel which took five years to write and was inspired by Rebel without a Cause, Chbosky uses his own personal experiences to put together a poignant story about ‘the love we think we deserve.’ The writer accurately depicts teenage reality in the halls of high school