Must read books for every teacher

100 Must-Read Epistolary Novels

cqqcvdexgaa5wh9

There is something pleasantly, innocently voyeuristic about reading an epistolary novel. They give you the feeling of stumbling on a box of letters left in an attic, but there are no consequences or hurt feelings if you read them. Actually, the author prefers that you read them. Epistolary novels, books told through diaries or letters, have a way of making you feel even closer to story’s characters than the average first-person point-of-view story. You’re not in the character’s head, but you’re reading words that they are writing for the eyes of only one or two other people. You’re seeing a version of the story that has been edited by the fictional people living it.

Epistolary novels have been around almost as long as the novel itself, with the first recorded, Love-Letters between a Nobleman and His Sister, appearing only 80 years after Don Quixote. The popularity of the form dropped off after the turn of the 19th century or so, but in the last few years, the number of epistolary novels has seemed to explode, with stories told through email, texts, and IMs. Epistolary novels have been used to expose real injustices (Letters from a Peruvian Woman, The Houseboy), to solve pretend mysteries (The Documents in the Case, The Woman in White), and to explore developing romances (Possession, Attachments, Everything Everything). They are ideal vehicles for telling coming-of-age stories, because the protagonists are allowed to work out their growing up years without outside input, and that gives us marvelous diaries like I Capture the Castle and Harriet the Spy. For much the same reason, epistolary novels are great for watching the slow, hilarious crazy-making of uppermiddle class folks (Where’d You Go Bernadette, Dear Committee Members).

Some of the most fun epistolary novels to read are the ones that really play with the form, like Ella Minnow Pea (the residents of a small island are only allowed to write letters using characters from a slowly shrinking alphabet), or Griffin and Sabine, a gorgeously (and creepily) illustrated story told in letters and postcards between the two main characters.

In this list of 100 epistolary novels, we’ve included a few books that don’t tell the whole story through diaries or letters, but which use diaries or letters as major plot points. Two, Bats of the Republic and The Jolly Postman, are two very different but beautifully built books that hinge on you pulling physical letters out of actual envelopes that are built into the books themselves. Continue reading “100 Must-Read Epistolary Novels”

Advertisements

The Periodic Table of the Figures of Speech

per-tab

Figurative speech is the language we use to spice up our writing. Besides their aesthetic value , figurative expressions and axioms cast a flavour of ‘writerly professionalism’ on the written piece. It does take so much practice for students to be adept at the use of figurative language and there are no shortcuts to learn that quickly. There are however some useful tips to help them in their learning process. Periodic table of the figures of speech is an example of a very good document students can draw on to consolidate and learn different ways to use figures of speech.

Periodic table of the figures of speech is a work realized by designer Curtis Newbold. The visual features two main genres of figures of speech namely: tropes and schemes. Tropes cover expressions like personification, metaphor, irony, hyperbole..etc and schemes cover things like ellipsis, alliteration, parenthesis..etc. Curtis provides ample explanation of each of these genres and also offers some useful tips on how to use each of them.

At the root of all good writing lies an understanding of how sentences are built. In kindergarten, we learn the fundamentals of grammar and the basic concepts of how sentences are constructed. For most of our elementary and secondary training in writing, we are taught simply to improve those grammatical and mechanical skills.

A good writer, however, understands the complexities and rhetorical effects of how modifying sentence structure (known as sentence “schemes”) improves the flow, interest, and even persuasive qualities of their writing. They also have a firm understanding of the many “tropes” (things like metaphors and similes and ironies) and how the inclusion of them can improve reader engagement, understanding, and overall appeal and effectiveness of their writing.

If you can master these forty basic figures of speech in the periodic table below (broken down by category within the schemes and tropes), you’ll be on your way to becoming a fantastic writer.

This full-size graphic of Periodic table of the figures of speech is available from this link.

6 Vintage books to read before the film