Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
Recommended for teenagers and adults C1.2+ and above interested in the English language.
This nonfiction book is an entertaining exploration of English, its origins and its different varieties around the world. The author writes about the fascinatingly complex history of the language and its many roots, showing how they make it so colourful and complex, and how it came to be the world’s most important tongue. He explains the reasons for the curious spellings and pronunciations.
It is a humorous and engaging account made very accessible for the reader, and is an excellent book for students to learn not only English, but about the language and why it is the way it is.
Recommended by Daniel Saron
Daniel has taught English at IH Madrid since 2012 and previously in other parts of Spain. He is currently Assistant Director of Studies for the Off-site department, co-ordinating classes for young learners in our partner schools, and adults in company classes.
My Invented Country
by Isabel Allende
Recommended for adults level C1.1 and above
This is an autobiography of Chilean author Isabel Allende, in which she tells the story of her eccentric family members, quirky Chilean people, the Pinochet regime, and how all of this moulded her life and inspired her to become a writer.
Anyone that has left their country to live abroad can relate to this book. It is about melancholy, nostalgia and about missing an "invented country": a place you love because of all the memories you left there but you can really not relate to because you have lived there for so long. She loves Chile and she is homesick for this "invented country", but does not really feel like she belongs in her homeland anymore, although the memories of it are still a big part of her life.
I have chosen this book because I have my own "invented country": Guatemala, a place that lives in my imagination because I have not been back for so long. I am nostalgic about my homeland and miss my friends and family, but I no longer relate to everything and everyone there.
"My invented country" is my favourite Isabel Allende book and I have read it six times. I usually read it when I am feeling homesick.
Recommended by Ana Segura
Ana has taught English at IH Madrid since 2012, and is also Senior Teacher for Young Learners in the Off-site department. She has wide-ranging experience in teaching both adults and children.