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The Easter holidays present the perfect time to get stuck into a new book, and who better to recommend a book than your English teacher?

The Times Educational Supplement (TES) recently held a survey asking 500 teachers what their favourite books were, what they read and what they believed their students should read. The result was a highly varied list of 100 books featuring British classics next to modern phenomena such as the Twilight series.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, novels such as Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights topped the chart, but picture books such as The Gruffalo and The Hungry Caterpillar also featured highly. Many curriculum set texts also made appearances such as To Kill a Mocking Bird and The Great Gatsby, reflecting the impact these books have on the teacher as well as the student.

Here is the top 10 list as compiled by TES. Does your favourite book appear?

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice follows Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, to-kill-a-mockingbird2_9855education and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

3. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
A series of fantasy books that chronicle the adventures of the young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends during their time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

wuthering heights4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights is the eponymous farmhouse on the Yorkshire Moors where the story unfolds. Its core theme is the enduring love between the heroine, Catherine Earnshaw, and her father’s adopted son, Heathcliff, and how it eventually destroys their lives and the lives of those around them.

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead and subjected to the cruel regime at Lowood Institution, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, meets and falls in love with Mr Rochester but discovers that all is not as it seems…

19846. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skillfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience, and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.

7. The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien
This high fantasy epic follows Frodo Baggins, a young Hobbit, who finds himself faced with an immense task when his elderly cousin entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.

the book thief8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Narrated by Death, The Boof Thief is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. Soon she is stealing books from wherever they can be found: from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library…
With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbours during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

9. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Bilbo Baggins is a Hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of the great gatsbythirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey ‘there and back again’. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon…

10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Set on Long Island during the Roaring Twenties and narrated by Yale-graduate Nicholas “Nick” Carraway, The Great Gatsby is the story of the fabulously wealthy, society-king, Jay Gatsby, and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan.

Picture c/o The Guardian Online

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2 thoughts on “Teachers’ Top 100 Books

  1. The Book Thief is the only one here I haven’t read (I read the first Harry Potter book so I would know what all the fuss was about, and I hated it)… perhaps I should correct my omission. My favourite of these is To Kill a Mockingbird, though I also have affection for Austen’s masterwork and The Great Gatsby, believe Nineteen Eighty-Four (my birth year) to be essential reading, and devoured Tolkien in ecstasy as a child. Jane Eyre should be read with Wide Sargasso Sea for dessert, though it’s more bitter than sweet.

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    • Yes, we were all saying that in the office too – no one seems to have read The Book Thief! It sounds like a good read though.
      It’s very interesting that apart from Harry Potter and The Book Thief, all the books featured are in the British syllabus somewhere.
      Perhaps we enjoyed those GCSE and A-Level years a lot more than we thought at the time!

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