‘A girl should read just as inclination leads her; what she reads as a task will do her little good,’ said Dr Johnson. This reading list is not a task, nor do we want you to stop reading as inclination leads you. Reading should be a pleasure. But (never begin a sentence with ‘but’) we all know that we can get into a rut with our reading; we also know that there come times when it’s embarrassing not to have read a particular book or to know nothing about a particular author. So here is what we think a reasonable list of books and authors that we think it’s time you explored. 1. It’s not too late to fill in any gaps in your acquaintance with so‐called ‘Children’s Classics’, which in any case are ‘classics’ because they bear re‐ reading: Grimm’s Fairy Tales Hans Christian Andersen: Fairy Tales Lewis Carroll: Alice in Wonderland/Alice through the Looking Glass C. S. Lewis: Narnia Kenneth Graham: Wind in the Willows 2. Other ‘standard’ books that always seem to be referred to are: The Authorised King James Version of the Bible The Works of William Shakespeare! Jonathan Swift: Gulliver’s Travels Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe (Defoe wrote other ‘real‐life’ stories) 3. The ‘classic’ novelists. Why are they always so long? Because mostly they were first written and published as serials; their first readers waited eagerly for each number and wanted them to go on for ever! You have to devise your own way of tackling them; probably reading quickly is best, so as not to lose the thread. Apart from length, there’s the problem of vocabulary – you can’t keep stopping to look up every word. Make intelligent guesses and look up those words you see often and not knowing which begins to annoy you. The great English novel began in the eighteenth century with: Henry Fielding: Tom Jones but it was really in the nineteenth century that it took off: Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice Emily Bronte: Jane Eyre Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist Dombey and Son Bleak House Great Expectations ‘George Eliot’: The Mill on the Floss Thomas Hardy: Tess of the D’urbervilles. Other countries produced classic fiction at the same time: Mark Twain: Tom Sawyer Huckleberry Finn Pudd’nhead Wilson (America) F Dostoyevski: Crime and Punishment (Russia) 4. As the nineteenth century wore on, the novel mutated in various ways – into ‘science fiction’, crime, horror, adventure, humour: Mary Shelley: Frankenstein Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray Robert Louis Stevenson: Kidnapped Catriona The Master of Ballantrae Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Joseph Conrad: Lord Jim Typhoon Arthur Conan Doyle: The Sherlock Homes stories Wilkie Collins: The Moonstone The Woman in White Edgar Allan Poe: Tales Guy Maupassant: Short Stories Jerome K Jerome: Three Men in a Boat This variety persisted into the twentieth century: H G Wells: The Time Machine and other stories Aldous Huxley: Brave New World George Orwell: Animal Farm William Golding: Lord of the Flies James Thurber: Stories John Buchan: The Thirty‐Nine Steps 5. More mainstream twentieth century novels are: D H Lawrence: Sons and Lovers James Joyce: Portrait of an Artist Graham Greene: Brighton Rock 6. Finally, a mixed bag of entertaining books: Richard Adams: Watership Down H E Bates: The Darling Buds of May D K Broster: The Flight of the Heron Raymond Chandler: The Long Goodbye Farewell my lovely Agatha Christie: Dozens and dozens of books Roald Dahl: Kiss Kiss Daphne Du Maurier: Rebecca Gerald Durrell: My Family and Other Animals C S Forster: Mr Midshipman Hornblower Anne Frank: The Diary of Anne Frank Esther Freud: Hideous Kinky Dashiel Hammett: The Maltese Falcon Laurie Lee: Cider with Rosie Gavin Maxwell: Ring of Bright Water J R R Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings P G Wodehouse: The Jeeves Books John Wyndham: The Midwich Cuckoos The Kraken Wakes We have listed about 60 books, some of which you will have read already. We hope you’ll enjoy reading the others. Don’t forget to ask the advice of the School Library staff, find out what your friends have enjoyed, and do your own exploring.