Written by: Tina Qu and Tiffany Cheung (Grade 11)
Photos by: Anderson Gao (Grade 8)
Ever wonder what Mrs. McGee’s top three favourite books are? Look no further!
As the rain pours outside, cozying up with a hot cup of tea, wearing fluffy socks, and reading a mesmerizing book is the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon for us book lovers. If you’re looking for a new novel to add to your reading list, take a look at these recommendations we’ve received from the English teachers at WPGA! They’ve each given us their top three favourites along with why they enjoy them so much.
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Ms. Meneilly, our beloved English and AP World History teacher, is an avid reader and creative writer. Among all the books she’s read, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen remains one of her favorites. She describes it as a smart, comedic, and insightful romance novel that isn’t silly. Ms. Meneilly loves the way Austen sketches particular characters, such as the Bennett family’s mother, who is supposedly ridiculous, superficial, and should know better. Ms. Meneilly also enjoys the relationship between Jane and Elizabeth, the two older sisters, and she definitely recommends this novel to anyone who enjoys a beautiful, well-written romance novel.
- Home Going by Yaa Gyasi
Home Going by Yaa Gyasi is an amazing dual story between two girls with the same mother but never meet. While one is shipped to America as a slave, the other lives in Africa as the country wife of a slave trader. The story revolves around two families that evolve through place and time and is a beautiful, poetic piece of work.
- The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (now a major motion picture)
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is built upon the Tabet Buddhist philosophy that a dog’s next step after death is to become human (in terms of their soul). Enzo, a dog and narrator of the story, understands that he will reincarnate as a human in his next life. According to Ms. Meneilly, the novel is sweet, remarkable, and makes her cry every time she reads it.
- This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
Mrs. Rosen, our English, French, and AP Language teacher, has also read a variety of books. Her first book recommendation is This Is How It Always Is by Laurel Frankel, which is about a boy who decides very young that he’s meant to be a girl. The book is beautifully written and addresses a topic that is so timely today in a way that isn’t Hollywood cheesy or silly.
- hello i want to die please fix me by Anna Mehler Paperny
Ms. Rosen’s next book recommendation is a non-fiction book about a journalist who tried to kill herself multiple times and decided to write the book because she realized that nothing existed to help people dealing with crippling depression and mental health issues. But according to Ms. Rosen, the narration is funny. Horrifyingly funny. The you-cover-your-face-you-can’t-believe-she-said-it-that-way funny. The jolting, jarring tone of the story doesn’t fit the topic at all, yet that’s what makes it so interesting to read.
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
And, finally, Ms. Rosen’s all-time favourite book is Beloved by Toni Morrison. It’s a fictional story set in a real period in history about a slave woman who is released from slavery but believes the slave catchers are coming back for her children. In order to protect them, she tries to kill the slave catchers, managing to kill one before she is stopped. Ms. Rosen’s love for both this book and its author is clear as she describes it as “incredibly written” and “masterfully beautiful.”
- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Last but definitely not least, Mrs. McGee is our English and AP Literature teacher. Her favourite books are the ones that she returns to time and time again because they have depth and show how to live a good life. Les Miserables demonstrates how someone who was treated unjustly in life and developed a rightful grudge against society responded positively to the generosity of a Bishop. Mrs. McGee especially loves the fact that, as Hugo says in his introduction, the Bishop was based on a real person. This, to her, is inspiring.
- The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either but right through every human through all human hearts.” Mrs. McGee’s second book recommendation, The Gulag Archipelago, challenges those who think that the purpose of life is to attain happiness, and argues that the purpose is to develop one’s soul, instead.
- Red Notice by Bill Browder
Red Notice by Bill Browder is a story of a shallow man and his Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnisky, who publicizes the fact that the Russian government gave a $230 million tax rebate to people who don’t deserve it and is arrested and killed. Browder, an atheist, writes that Magnitsky was a religious man who claimed that the more pressure his torturers put on him, the stronger he became. As Mrs. McGee believes that this book will be enjoyable for many people, she even plans to put it on the next summer reading list.
With so many different books of different genres to choose from, we hope that you were able to find one that appeals to you. Happy reading!