Whenever I am at the school library, English students often ask me this question, ‘What reader shall I take and read?’ I often give them some quick ideas about what steps to take in order to choose well.
As you probably know, readers are written specifically for learners at a particular learning level and therefore they introduce grammar and vocabulary in a very targeted way. These books are graded according level and if the student chooses the right level, they can be read more easily , without the constant help of a dictionary.
Sometimes they have been adapted from ‘real’ books
but other readers have been written specially for learners of English.
Nowadays a lof of them also come with audio recording; that way students can learn pronunciation and improve their listening skills as well.
If you haven’t tried reading graded books yet, come to our school library and choose one to start with. But if you have already read one or more, you could tell us what books would you recommend.
As I told you in class, I’ve chosen a book of short stories by Roald Dahl: Man from the South and Other Stories, Penguin Readers Level 6.
It’s the same book, but the first is an older edition and you must have read it by 23rd April.
I’ve probably told you that I’ve always liked many of his short stories. They often have unexpected endings, and I love that – his powerful ability to ‘shock’ the reader. You can judge for yourselves by reading and/or listening to his version of the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood.
TITLE: This time it´s Personal
AUTHOR: Alan Battersby
Nathan Marley, a private investigator in New York, gets involved in a case of Russian Community illegal immigration. It all begins when José De La Cruz, the brother of Stella Delgado who is Marley´s personal assistant, is charged with the murder of Alexei Romanov, a Russian community man with a fine reputation.
In this situation, and with José inhospital, seriously injured and unable to remember anything, Marley and Stella work side by side searching for the truth, to clear Jose´s name because they are sure that he is only a harmless boy, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Finally, with NYPD and Romanov´s widow help, they not only find out the real murderer, but they also make a connection between the murder and lots of dead young Russian men, who were found out on the beach. In this way, they also uncover a huge illegal immigration and dirty money operation; and fortunately, José is declared innocent.
Nathan Marley: he describes himself as “an ordinary-looking guy, bald, overweight and on the wrong side of forty”. He works as a private investigator in New York City, but in the past he used to be a NYPD officer. He is intelligent because he does his job very well and has a lot of contacts in the NYPD.
Stella Delgado: Stella is a young Puerto Rican woman in her late twenties, who works as Marley’s personal assistant. She is a woman who never gives up, because she had a really difficult childhood, but then it took her years of night school study to catch up on her education. During the story, she works hard to prove her brother’s innocence.
José De La Cruz; he is Stella’s brother, a young Puerto Rican harmless boy, who has had a really tough childhood. Nowadays he is looking desperately for a job for the summer season.
Mrs. Romanov: he is the Alexei Romanov’s widow, and as she has a lot of contacts in the Russian Community, she is a precious help to Nathan and Stella investigation.
I really enjoyed the story because it is a thriller book, which is the genre that I usually read in the Spanish language.Besides, the author knows how to keep the intrigue throughout the story.
The best part of the story, is for me, when that the dangerous criminal Mossolov is found to be a woman.
From this story I have learned how important the Russian Community in the U.S.A. is. Also I have learned important things about illegal immigration.
I would read more books by this author because as I said before, he knows how to keep the intrigue, and it is easy to read his story without confusing parts. So I would recommend this book to everyone, because reading books is a funny way to learn English.
Autor: John Steinbeck
Kind of book: Novel
The book describes the trip across America of the Joads, a farming family that are forced to moved from Oklahoma to California as a result of The Great Depression of the 1930s in The United States.
During that period many small farmers, ruined and starved too, had decided to go to California looking for a better life. They wandered from place to place trying to find work and food for their families. But there were thousands of other families and the Californians were afraid that all those people would take their land, so they treated the Okies badly.
The main character is Tom Joad, the elder son, who has just gone out of prison and joins his family in this journey. He looks for a job and supports his family with the money he gets.
The story is very interesting because it shows us a part of The United States history. There was a time of oppression suffered by migrants who had to fight for their rights.
I like that, in spite of their situation, the Joads continued trying to help others, even when things in their own life were so horrible.
The book is easy to read, although there are a lot of American expressions used in a colloquial way, but they are explained in a section at the end of the book. There is plenty of dialogues and it´s a good story, so I would recommend this book.
Cambridge University Press
Genre: Murder Mystery
Detective Chief Inspector Jane Honeywell: the new head of the Criminal Investigation Department. She’s a well-trained policewoman who has decided to break down with her boyfriend in order to be promoted to a better job.
Detective Inspector Pete Fish: He’s a good policeman, but he’s jealous of Jane Honeywell because he wanted to get the job of Detective Chief Inspector. At first he doesn’t seem very kind nor wants to cooperate properly, but finally he’ll do his best to help in the case.
Mervin Peck: a sheep farmer, quite simple and bad-tempered. He’ll become a victim too.
Jack Peck: Mervin’s brother, a scientific director at Hunter Products. He’s an ambitious and unscrupulous person who doesn’t hesitate to commit serious crimes.
Jo keane: the managing director at Hunter Products and Jack’s Peck accomplice.
Susan Peck: Jack’s Peck wife.
Rose Carter: a part-time teacher and statistician found dead at Chittleham farm.
Elisa Scott: a member of Project for Animal Welfare.
A young policewoman moves to a quiet and small village because she’s been offered a job as a detective chief inspector. She expects a peaceful and boring life there, just interrupted by some car thefts and house break-ins, but soon she has to deal with a strange case of murder.
When Jane Honeywell arrives into Pilton, she thinks that it is the kind of place where nothing exciting can happen. However, she’s going to discover that she’s wrong when a woman is found dead at Chittleham farm. She starts the investigation questioning the people who had found the body and they tell her that they had never seen the victim before.
After making some inquiries, the police discover the victim’s identity. She’s Rose Carter, a teacher and defender of animal rights, who had been having a relationship with Jack Peck, who then becomes the first suspect.
During the investigation, Jane finds out some sick sheep at Mervin’s farm, but she’s discovered by Mervin who, surprisingly, tries to escape after threatening her with a gun.
He’s finally arrested and… you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens at the end.
The prologue made me feel interested and I was ready to read a very entertaining mystery novel, but the first part of the book turned out a bit boring with the typical stereotyped characters and situations. I read the first part of the book without finding out any special change in the predictable plot; however, the story becomes more interesting when a new murder is committed.
Despite being a fairly predictable plot, I enjoyed the book. You’ll find that there are some suspicious coincidences, like the part when Jane is watching a television program that gives her, and the reader, an idea about the motive of these murders. Nevertheless, from this point the reading becomes more enjoyable and you want to reach the end just to discover if you were right about your prediction.
Are you the kind of person who needs a bit of love in the story? Well, you’ll have just a little; one more common situation is waiting for us on the last page of the book when Jane and Pete seem to be about to start a relationship.
Title: He knows too much
Author: Alan Maley
Publisher: CAMBRIDGE University Press
Level: Intermediate; Cambridge English Readers Level 6
It is a mystery book because you can´t find out what will really happen to the character until the end. Furthermore it keeps you intrigued in each chapter.
The story takes place between England and India during the 80’s and 90’s, a time of abundant capitalism.
The book is about an English executive, Dick Sterling (the main character of the book), who tries to discover why he was unjustly dismissed from the company where he had been working for 20 years. During his research he discovers that his boss and other workers were committing tax fraud in their company, and also they kept other secrets. In the course of his investigation his marriage breaks up, but finally he manages to find love again and he realizes that revenge is not always good.
- Dick Sterling à He is the general manager in Madras, India, of Trakton, a multinational manufacturing company. He is a hard worker and he doesn´t support the injustice. He is the main character.
- Keith Lennox à Dick´s boss at Trakton. He is very ambitious and a big liar.
- Visvanathan (Vish) à He is the office manager at Trakton. He is an unscrupulous person who could do anything to achieve his aims.
- Molly à Vish´s wife. She also works at Trakton. She is a big liar and cajole.
- John Verghese à He is the son of Molly and Keith.
- Sally Sterling à Dick´s wife. She is rich and a very independent person.
- Barbara Lennox à Keith´s wife. She is living a big lie.
- Ramanathan (Ramu) à Dick´s personal assistant at Trakton. He is an honest man who helps to Dick with his investigation.
- Nagarajan and Ned Outram à Nagarajan is in Accounts at Trakton, and Ned is a former employee at Trakton. Both were dismissed in the same way as Dick.
- Lakshmi à Nagarajan´s daughter. She and Dick fall in love, and she is a great support to him.
- Sir Percy Hanock à Former chief executive of Trakton, once head of Delhi office.
- Sir Jeremy Jackson (Jacko) à retired professor of comparative philology at Cambridge. He helps to Dick with the investigation about John Verghese.
- Personal opinion and Conclusion
It is an entertaining and surprising book, because in each chapter you can discover a new clue that helps you to get hooked on the story little by little.
For me, the best part of the book is the end, because you think that Dick is going to take revenge on his enemies, but finally he doesn´t need to use the information that he has discovered, because everything is discovered by chance.
After reading this book I learned that revenge isn´t the best way to resolve the problems, because I think that eventually everyone is put in their rightful place.
Finally I would recommend reading this book because it is easy to understand and is entertaining; moreover, the book makes you think about how we should act against injustice.
The title of the book is: “Man from de South and other stories”, and it was written by Roald Dahl. In the book, we can find seven classic short mystery stories. Although the stories are not connected to one another, all of them have incredibly ends and this aspect is the most I like about Roald Dahl’s tales.
The first and the most exciting one for me is “Man from the South”. The plot is about an elderly man who offers a boy his car if he can strike his lighter ten times in a row. The catch to it is that if the lighter does not light ten times in a row, the man will cut off the boy’s left little finger.
I have liked “The Landlady”, “Pig” and “The Vicar’s Pleasure” very much, too.
The characters remind me of those in Alfred Hitchcock’s films, and in all Dahl’s stories there are ironic and wry men or women who seem undefended and kind people. Sometimes this is true, like the boy in “Pig”; but in other ones, they are criminals, for example, the woman in “The Landlady”, the nurse in “Beware of the dog” or the old man in “An African Story”.
These stories make me be alert and keep my ears and eyes open to people, tricks and traps. We can also see how “clever” some people are, and how lucky or unlucky others are.
These are mystery stories, but on the other hand, they are also comedies because of the common mistakes and the cheats that the characters produce.
I think that Roald Dahl prefers young people because he describes them as innocent guys who are slaughtered by corrupt experience.
I had not read stories from this author before this one and I would recommend everybody this book. It lets you have a good time reading it.
“Deadly Harvest” is a fiction book about two murders. It´s written by Carolyn Walker.
In a quiet small English town, a woman and a man, Rose Carter and Mervin Peck, were found killed in a short period of time, only a few days. The young female detective Jane Honeywell, who has just moved to this beautiful town, is the person responsible for the cases. She works together with her partner Pete Fish trying to find a connection between both murders. So they and the rest of the staff of Criminal Investigation Department have to find out all possible suspects. Among them, there is Jack Peck, the murdered man´s brother, and his wife Susan Peck, and a woman called Jo Keaning who woks at the same factory where Jack works. The factory is dedicated to the scientific research in animal vaccines. But it seems they have some rather shady practices there.
Personally, I think the story is quite dull and rather predicable. In fact, there are two killers and only three main suspects. The rest of the people can be easily dismissed by yourself. Besides, the events happening are not exciting. At the end, and due to the writer’s futile purpose to give some emotion to the story, there´s a police pursuit without much enthusiam.
On the other hand, it´s a book which is difficult to read; there are too many phrasal verbs and complicated expressions. Definitely, I didn´t like it.
The title of the book is ‘Cry Freedom` and it was written by John Briley. It’s a drama which affects the lives of a white man called Donalds Wood, the editor of an important newspaper (the Daily Dispatch), and a black man called Biko, who is a political leader that wants to bring together the black and white people in South Africa.
The story begins when Ken Robertson, one of the journalists in the Daily Dispatch, presents his boss, Donalds Wood, a series of photos that show the police beating several black people.
Woods decides to put them on the front page of the newspaper although he knows it is illegal. One of these blacks beaten by police is Biko. Woods will write a report talking wrong about him and saying that the white people and the black people are separated due to ‘the blacks’ prejudices’ against the white people.
At this time it’s when Mamphela Ramphele appears in the story. She is a doctor who works for Biko in a clinic for black people because she thinks that Woods was wrong in his report and he talked about things that he didn’t know. She tells him that he can go to the black area with her one day to see with his own eyes the way they really live.
Woods accepts this proposal and goes to Biko’s house to know him personally. Biko lives in a church. He is always escorted by two policemen. When they finish the conversation, they feel good because they can see they don’t have such different ideas.
Over the days they begin a friendship and Biko, personally, shows the way they really live and they think… Woods realizes that the truth is not that the blacks are prejudiced against the whites; the truth is that the white people think that the blacks must be at their service and they must be their slaves. For them there are only duties and not rights. Due to this reason, Wood offers a job in his newspaper to Biko, Manphela and Tengy, the mother of a black family. That way they can express their ideas about their lives and be read by millions of people.
The police don’t agree with that then, and after trying to put them in jail and not managing to, they killed to Biko and Mamphela. However, they never admit to being responsible for their deaths.
Finally, Woods wants to write a book about the biography of Biko, and since he knows that he will never be able to publish it there, he has to go with his family to another country where can will.
For me this book is great because of its story. I love to read books about events which happen in real life, and stories like this, unfortunately, have occurred on numerous occasions. Although, at last, nowadays the situation has changed, and we can see that the president of the United States of America, called Barack Obama, is a black man.
I recommend this book to everyone to know the way black people lived in the past.