Thursday, June 01, 2006

An Easy Way In

There are readers who want to read seriously but need an easy way in, in the form of a list of books that are well-written and enjoyable, but not too lengthy or difficult.

The best list of books of this kind I've come across is the list of Easy Reads on the British Council's EnCompass Literature website. It includes reviews of fiction and poetry, as well as links to related websites. Many of the titles on the list are available at the British Council Library. (I put them into the last shopping list I prepared.)

Here's a little taster picked at random:
Douglas Adams The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
William Boyd Fascination
Anita Brookner Hotel du Lac
Mavis Cheek Janice Gentle Gets Sexy
Carol Anne Duffy The World's Wife
Heln Fielding Brigit Jones Diary
Anne Fine All Bones and Lies
Esther Freud Hideous Kinky
Susan Hill A Bit of Singing and Dancing and Other Stories
Nick Hornby About a Boy
Alexander McCall Smith The Number One Ladies Detective Agency
Tony Parsons Man and Wife
Meera Syal Life Isn't all Ha Ha Hee Hee
Fay Weldon Watching You, Watching Me

See? Nothing dumbed down or pulpy about this list. Good stuff, just easier good stuff.

Readership needs to be grown. We all know the school system here doesn't do enough to make this happen, largely because of a lack of funding for school libraries, partly because of a lack of willpower. Many, if not most school-leavers have not learned to fall in love with books, and if there isn't a reading culture in Malaysia, someone has to create it!

I actually think that the bookshops should play a more active role in promoting titles of this kind. (Instead of, she says cynically, giving so much space to Dan Brown, patron saint of marginal readers.)

And talking of well-written popular fiction, Nick Hornby, a writer I enjoy very much, talks about his novel A Long Way Down at The Age website.

Related Post:

Literature for the Sub-Literate (4/3/06)


Sham said...

I think this has been one of the nicest lists ever!!! And am pleased as punch that i have read most of the books on the list!!! Woo hoo

The Eternal Wanderer said...

Nice list! I've only made it through three of the books on the list - The Hitchhiker's Guide, Bridget Jones Diary and About a Boy.

I like the latter best of the three. Nothing like a good book that looks at relationships the way Hornby looked at it.

And I loved the movie too...Hugh Grant made the movie work! In fact, there's not a movie with Grant in it that I don't like.

On a side note, just liked to direct your attention to my article/interview with Tom Doctoroff, author of Billions Link is --->

bibliobibuli said...

hey guys - this is only a taster of the main list - go look at that!

eternal wanderer - thanks for the link, you did a very good job there ... please let me know about other things you write ...

LiempehH said...

wow! what a wonderful bookylicious list! will definitely take note of your recommendations! thanks.

Yvonne Foong said...

I thought of making my little humble library available to friends and family but none of them read much. sigh... apala.

But books are such wonderful possessions. I wish to share them so much, but not to lose them in the process.

Speaking of which, you still have a book with me. haha

bibliobibuli said...

liempehh - i'm glad you like it ... do go to the website and look at the rest of the list

yvonne - agree with you whole heartedly - i lend books mgladly but am so sad when they don't return - will blog about it another day