A Bookworm’s Heaven: Recommendations from the English Department

Article by Meg Barraca

Photos by Sarah Daniels

Fiction or nonfiction, from mystery to romance to adventurous novels- there’s no doubt that books are integral for today’s society, an outlet for some to escape today’s stress and troubles and get lost into an alternate universe. And what better individuals to get great book recommendations from than English teachers themselves! Having read a plethora of novels, these teachers know a mind-boggling book when they read it. Fortunately, ISM’s High School English department has compiled a list of their own personal must-reads.

Ms. Gough

One book that Ms. Gough highly recommends is British author Chris Cleave’s most recent novel, Everyone Brave is Forgiven. Set in London right after the start of World War 2, this novel follows heroine Mary North as she leaves her education behind in France to take part in the war. “The characters in it are very compelling, and the dialogue is very sharp and witty”, Ms. Gough excitedly exclaimed. She recommends the book to all her students, especially those interested in fiction of different time periods. She also recommends other books by Cleave include #1 New York Times bestseller, Little Bee.

Ms. Thompson

“I really like war novels, I don’t know why!” Ms. Thompson exclaimed eagerly. Besides also recommending Everyone Brave is Forgiven, calling it “extremely phenomenal”, she recommends war novels of any kind. “I think they shed light on interesting aspects on humanity,” she says. She particularly finds intriguing the novel Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy, a story told through characters in multiple settings in the Second World War. Another of these would be Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, which won the 2016 National Book Award- which she describes as “unbelievable and amazing”.

Ms. Mazarakis

Ms. Maz recommends Hope Jahren’s novel Lab Girl, a memoir about a woman geobiologist in a male dominated field, studying the evolution of old plants. “She mixes some chapters about plants with some chapters about her life, using plants as a metaphor,” Ms. Maz says. Lab Girl is a story about struggles, but also about friendship and working extremely hard- one recommended to everyone, especially students studying biology.

Whenever you’re out of the house, having down time, or just need an outlet from the concrete world in general, there are always these novels to turn to- worlds so unusually different and enchanting that you wouldn’t want to escape.