Recommended Books

Words: Nicholas Klein

Ask any teacher, and they will confidently say that reading is fundamental. Reading teaches grammar, vocabulary, and helps people become better writers. There are some books, however, that accomplish this better than others. Boards and newsletters across the nation have produced hundreds of recommended reading lists that give students hints about what books to read.

These lists typically include books that would help the student develop essential reading and writing skills, to further them in their education and help them in their future. These books are usually aimed towards young adults or adult readers, which means that they are ideal for high school students.

Reading lists published by the Board or other sources are not the only places that recommend good novels. English teachers at Centennial have their own favorite books, as well as authors that they would recommend for Centennial students.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is a wonderful coming of age book,” said Mr. Sharbaugh, an English 9 teacher at Centennial High School. “It’s beautifully written, like a fusion of poem and prose. It’s an unconventional novella; snapshots of characters and events that the reader pieces together like a puzzle,” said Sharbaugh.

In addition to The House on Mango Street, Sharbaugh adds that he would recommend, “Anything by William Faulkner, but I would warn students not to read The Sound and the Fury first. He plays with point of view a lot.”

Ms. Cleveland, an English 10 and 11 teacher at Centennial, says that, “One of my favorites is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey.” She also recommends, “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

In addition to those recommendations, Mrs. McDonough says that, “My personal favorite is A Separate Peace by John Knowles. I think it is a book that’s applicable to life. It’s about jealousy between two best friends, and what happens when jealousy takes over. I think it’s relatable to a lot of teenagers.” McDonough also states that, “If students are really into science fiction, then Bradbury is a really good author.”

There are a lot of good books for students to read, whether it be fiction or nonfiction, sci-fi or historical. Just reading will help students learn and grow, and enjoy the experience of the telling of a story. If a student wants to figure out another book to read, they should ask their teachers – all teachers have suggestions about books, not just English teachers. There are also plenty of helpful lists in almost any media center or library that can give recommendations for all genres of literature.

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