August 27, 2010


Well, the last weekend is upon us. Summer is almost over for the students. Monday, at least here in Taiwan, is back to school.

Another couple of weeks, I’ll be heading back to Canada for a holiday. I’ll just be getting going on classes, get to know some new students, then off for three weeks. When I get back, it’ll be like starting all over!

So, to continue, here is another in the ‘Sentence Series’…

I choose a book by its…

Well, there are a couple of ways I choose a book. The first, and usually most important, is word-of-mouth. This is probably the most simple way of choosing a book. A friend has read something, and as long as it’s of a topic that is interesting to me, I will either borrow the book from them, or alternately, go and buy it. I must admit that I don’t always buy books. Being in Taiwan, it’s not always easy to find English novels. There are a couple of stores in Tainan that do sell English-language novels, but they do, in my opinion, tend to cost a little more than they would if bought in Canada.

The next choice of book is author. I have a couple of favourite authors – Stephen King and Charles Dickens. Both of these writers are very different in a lot of ways. Stephen King is an American writer. Most of his stories are set in the state of Maine, and many times, in or near the town of Derry. Don’t try looking looking for Derry, Maine, as it doesn’t exist – I’ve already looked!

The genre of the stories are not really horror, but more like suspense. If memory serves me, the first story of his that I remember reading was, “Carrie”. I found out years ago, that one of my brothers and even my mother also read his books. A bit of a surprise.

One of the best stories of his that I read, was “It”. Over the years though, I’ve read so many of his books now, that I can’t even remember which I have and haven’t read. He does seem to be a prolific writer. I have also watched some of the movies based on his books. Like most people (I would assume) that read books, I find that the books are much better anyway. You use your imagination; you become part of the story; you associate yourself with one of the characters.

Again, one of the first Stephen King based movies I watched, was “Carrie”. Okay, so everything, or most everything, from the book was shown on the screen. However, you had to deal with the characters and what they looked like. No imagination. It was someone else’s image of what these people in the story looked like, or how the acted.

Charles Dickens on the other hand, is an older writer. He is no longer with us. He died in the late 1800’s. I remember in school, having to read some of his books. Back then, trying to understand the language, even though it was English, it was ‘olde’ English. Many of the words used by Charles Dickens, are no longer used today. I really could not ‘get into’ his stories, and thus, my grades sort of suffered.

However, now I do understand some of this language. Words that I haven’t seen, I can now understand through context. I can also understand his style of writing. Even though the stories are about life in England during the mid-1800’s, when, compared to today, life was not as comfortable as we have it, he is able to describe life in a way that is interesting.

It may not be the life that I would have enjoyed living, but the stories do help me to understand what life was like, and in a way, just how good we have it today – even though we may not think so.

Another way I choose a book, obviously, is by genre. Stories that depict life in a ‘real’ way, suspense, and even what life COULD be like (future/space/science fiction), are all genres that do interest me.

The final way I choose books, is what can be helpful to my students. These types of books are obviously books that I would use in class – either school or private teachings. The topic has to be somewhat interesting to me, because, how can I get a student to enjoy reading English, if I don’t find the story interesting.

We all choose stories or books for a variety of reasons. I’m sure that my reasons are probably no different than anyone else. The one thing that I would suggest to anyone is, no matter how or why you choose a book, do it! Read. Use that imagination of yours.

In my opinion, your imagination is a lot more interesting than someone else’s!

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1 Comment

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One response to “August 27, 2010

  1. This comment was left by my second cousin, Joyce O’Connell…

    Joyce O’Connell October 4 at 2:37am Report
    Hi William: I just finished reading your blog, very interesting. My favorite author is Nicholas Sparks. I started collecting his books about 5 yrs ago, I now have half of his collection.
    It was nice that you were able to make it home this year. Sorry I missed seeing you.
    You are a very intersting young man, and I enjoy reading your escopades……..lol lol All the best…your second cousin Joyce.

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