The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Recommended for teenagers and adults (B2.1 level and above)
This is a mystery novel written in 2003 by Mark Haddon, written from the point of view of a young boy called Christopher John Francis Boone.
Christopher is a 15-year-old boy who calls himself “ a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties”. He may have a form of autism. Christopher knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand being touched and he hates the colour yellow. It's a novel about difference, about being an outsider, and about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way.
One day his neighbour’s dog, Wellington, is killed. Christopher tries to solve the murder in the style of his favourite detective, Sherlock Holmes. To find out more, you’ll have to read it….
This book is very funny and moving at the same time. I loved it. I’ve already recommended it to several B2 students and they’ve all enjoyed it without finding it too difficult to read in English.
In the UK it won both the Guardian Children’s Book Award and the Whitbread Book of the Year. It’s popular with adults and young adults or teenagers, native speakers and language learners. I’m sure you’ll like it too.
Recommended by Charlotte Cole and Cathy Harris
Cathy has taught at IH Madrid since 2004 has been Professional Development Coordinator since 2011. Charlotte has taught at IH Madrid since 2007 and is also School Manager in the Off-site department, where she's responsible for co-ordinating Young Learner classes in several schools across Madrid. She's a keen reader and loves enjoying books with her two-year-old son.
The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo
Recommended for young adults/teenagers, but it is an interesting read for adults too (B2+).
The book is about freedom of speech in Nigeria and the struggles of a family whose father is a journalist and writes about the abusive Nigerian government.
I have chosen this novel because it is nicely-written and it merges two very different cultures: Nigerian and British. Despite the constant internal and external conflicts within and between the characters, it is easy to sympathise with all of them and think about not only what makes us different, but what makes us the same.
Recommended by Santana Poch Butler
Santana has taught English at IH Madrid since 2004 and is also Senior Teacher for Young Learners.
Facing up to Unpleasant Facts (narrative essays) by George Orwell
Recommended for adults or late teens, levels B2.2 or higher.
This is a collection of essays by the author of Animal Farm and 1984. Like his novels many of these deal, on some level, with the themes of class, war, and political language and propaganda. I especially like, and recommend; ‘Why I write’, ‘My Country Right or Left’, ‘Such, Such Were the Joys’.
Recommended by Matt Rueter
Matt is currently Assistant Director of Studies in ih Alonso Martínez and has taught English at International House since 2009.