It’s a new year and it seems like a good time to recommned some books for our students that our teachers and staff love. Dublin is famous for its writers and literature so it makes sense that while you are here, studying with us at City Language School, you take the opportunity to read something that might be based in the city you are living in.
Our Director of Studies, Aoife Harrington, has chosen Fallen by Lia Mills exactly for that reason.
”This is a good book to read while you’re living in Dublin,” she says. “It follows the life of a young Dublin woman as she occupies herself with a project documenting the history and meaning of Dublin’s monuments in 1914. This was a time of great unrest in Dublin and the novel describes the main character’s world in the run-up to the 1916 rising, the greatest turning point in the fight for Irish independence.”
Maria Sanchez is another fan of Dublin based books. Much of the book she has chosen takes place just down the road from our city centre campus.
“I really enjoyed reading Conversation with Friends by Sally Rooney,” she says. “It’s about a student at Trinity College and her relationship with Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend, and the way their relationship changes when they are interviewed by a well-known journalist. The story takes place in Dublin, so I enjoyed picturing the scenarios in my head in the places I know. When you are living in a place it’s a nice idea to read a book that is set in the same place. I think it helps you build an understanding of the place and can help with understanding the language and how it is spoken.”
For Andrea Martinez, inspiration comes from an old Dublin classic.
“I really love Dubliners by James Joyce,” she says. “It is a book of short stories. Although it may be challenging for some students, I really liked the connection to the streets of Dublin and the way the characters are portrayed in each of the stories.”
Of course there are lots of books set outside of Dublin that can really help English Language Learners to develop their English reading skills in 2023.
“I think one of the best books that you can read even if you’re at a slightly lower level is Animal Farm by George Orwell,” says Social Media Officer, Johnny Butler. “The language is quite simple but of course the message is very strong and the characters, a bunch of farm animals, are very easy to empathise with. It has everything – love, death, rebellion, decadence, indulgence, pity, redemption and much more.”
Teacher, Sophia Leontitsi says that reading any book in English is the best way to get going and improve your level of English.
“One of my faves is Purple Hibiscus; a novel written by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,” she says. “The story is set in postcolonial Nigeria, a country beset by political instability and economic difficulties and explores the themes of religious hypocrisy, finding one’s voice, and the persistence of love. The story is told through Kambili Achike, a young Nigerian woman struggling to find her way in a world beset with conflict and strife. It is an exquisite novel about the emotional turmoil of adolescence, the powerful bonds of family, and the bright promise of freedom.”
For those wishing to choose their own book, Catherine Berglund McLaughlin has some good advice.
”I think the important thing about books is choosing a book that’s interesting to you,” she says. “It’s important not to get stuck with one someone else assigned. The best books are ones written for native speakers, but those can be very hard for students. If you can find a book in your mother tongue and the same book in English, you can try reading them concurrently. It’s also interesting to see the choices the translators have made. Also, don’t be afraid of non-fiction. Sometimes learning something true while you read can be more engaging than just digesting a fictional story.”
City Language School in the Heart of Dublin
City Language School is right in the heart of Dublin City Centre. Dublin is the proud and vibrant capital of Ireland and with its cosmopolitan and modern feel, it has repeatedly been voted Europe’s friendliest city by Trip Advisor. Dublin boasts strong links with literature, music, dance and storytelling. As you walk through the streets of Temple Bar, you can absorb the musical tradition which spills onto the streets from the many bars and restaurants; truly a city of enormous beauty! Dublin is surrounded by breath-taking natural scenery that will leave you with lifelong memories. It is perfectly located on the eastern coastline of Ireland and is a convenient gateway to the rest of Europe.