Monday, January 21, 2013

Back on the book wagon

Sec 3 was a very hectic year for Lesley-Anne. With such a punishing schedule, she barely did any leisure reading throughout the year, which I thought was a pity. So after her exams, I asked her to make a conscious effort to do some reading, to nurture this important habit.

I find that often, reading needs to gain momentum. If I stop for a while or am stuck in an uninspiring book, I usually find myself unmotivated to read for a long time. To get Lesley-Anne's reading juices going, I recommended some books that I personally enjoyed. We don't always like the same types of books but those here turned out to be great hits with her. Considering she barely had any free time in the December holidays, what with the school trip to Shanghai, church camp and our family holiday, I think she covered quite a lot of ground.

I'm sharing the list of books she read during the holidays here, in case you're looking for recommendations for your kids. Do note that some some of them have mature themes like love stories, so I would probably recommend them only for 15-year-olds and above.

I won't bother to write the blurbs, just a short commentary of each. I've provided the Amazon links so you can check the books out in greater detail. 

Jeannette Walls - Half Broke Horses and The Glass Castle.

Both books are memoirs (you'll find that I have loads of memoirs - the kaypoh in me loves reading about people's lives).  After finishing the two books, Lesley-Anne declared Jeannette Walls to be her new favourite author.

Anchee Min - Pearl of China

This is based on the life of legendary writer, Pearl S. Buck. A fascinating read, interweaving fiction with historical events.

Ruth Reichl - Tender to the Bone

Another memoir, this time of the childhood of a famous food critic. It's the quirky parents who always capture Lesley-Anne's imagination.

Frank McCourt - Angela's Ashes

The Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir. Lesley-Anne didn't manage to finish this before the holidays ended.

Vikas Swarup - Slumdog Millionaire

An easy and fun read. We never watched the movie but the book is highly entertaining.

Khaled Hosseini - The Kite Runner

This book totally captivated Lesley-Anne, she couldn't put it down. When she finished it, however, she wailed, "How come all your books so sad? Everybody dies!"  That's me - lover of the dramatic and the melancholic.

These books were an awakening of sorts for her. They're different from what is typical of teenage or young adult fiction and I think they opened her eyes to the standard of writing that's out there.

For me, that's the biggest takeaway you can get from reading - to expand your mind and to see beyond the world you know.  In a way, it's a little like travelling... but without having to pack your bags or spend a bomb. A truly 5-star activity.


NYMacMom w 3 said...

thank u thank thanku....i so needed this list to help L STOP reading too much 'rubbish' that her peers are reading! xoxo

monlim said...

NY: You're most welcome! Peers, unfortunately, still exert the most influence when it comes to reading choices :P All the best!!

Anonymous said...


What are the books that Andre reads? I am at a loss when it comes to giving suggestions for English books.
Little Bao does not read enough "chim" books. Like you said, he is mostly influenced by his peers in his selection of books. NLB visited his school recently and recommended some books to them sec ones. I almost want to give thanks after I saw him reading a thick book full of words in small fonts, and it keeps him captivated while waiting for food when we dine out.


monlim said...

Nutella: Andre doesn't read as much as I would like him to. For now, he's still very much into Anthony Horowitz and fantasy fiction. I made him read A Wrinkle in Time - he said it was ok but he wasn't wowed by it. You can check out my other book recs by clicking on the "books" label.

Yin said...

Yes, yes, do share any more books you find for Andre. Jared has finished the Horowitz books by your recommendation, enjoyed The Hobbit recently and then degenerated back to reading comics :( Ryan on the other hand reads chim books like Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. And I can definitely identify with 'the kaypoh in me loves reading about people's lives' - me too! But I read very little nowadays, could not finish recent reads of Agatha Christie's autobiography, The Lonely Planet Story, so I just read blogs, haha!

monlim said...

Yin: Ryan's reading preferences have always been so sophisticated! I remember he was reading LOTR at such a young age. btw, boys and comics - cannot separate them, Andre is addicted to Baby Blues, of all things!

Miss catching up over our kids. Very happy my blog made it to your reading list :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Mon. Will KIV until dd ready for this. Good teenage reading list is quite a challenge to come up with.


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