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Abridged versions are terrible for literature, so please, if you use an abridged version, don't chose a classic or a good novel, because you won't be reading that novel, just a kind of plot summary of that novel.

What to read?
bullet Check out the Literature section on Talking People to put together your own group of short stories from those available. You can check with your teacher in case they're too difficult.
bullet On Michelle's Projects for English Learners there is a list of Novels & other books external link you can read and work on.

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Examples

If you pick a story that also has an audio reading, you would be able to exploit the piece in numerous ways!

Let's take Leonora Carrington's "The Debutante", a Surrealist story. On the Talking People Podcast we also have the audio, which includes a brief biography (recorded before Carrington died, in 2012)

You can use this story to work on your...

  • bullet reading skill - understanding a creative type of text
  • bullet listening skill - understanding what you are listening to
  • bullet speaking skill - 1) your pronunciation and intonation: listening & repeating, reading aloud after having listened to it a few times, 2) re-telling: trying to tell the story in your own words or introducing the story (imagine you are a teacher, or a speaker)
  • bullet writing skill:
    • •  write a summary of the story in an 100-word paragraph. (Here is a philosophy page for Upper Secondary Education which explains really well how to write a summary external link in Spanish)
      •  write a review of the story for your local newspaper, to hand in when you do your oral presentation.
      •  write your interpretation of the story, for example, as if you were writing a letter to a friend who you think would like the book or who you think would feel the same way as you do about it. (Revise informal letters.)

Another example

2004-2005 READING PROJECT. Year 4. Read some of the following works. Write a book review or a report on your different readings. Do an oral presentation (OP) in class (5 minutes minumum) and design an activity to share with your classmates some of the vocabulary, expressions or ideas you've learnt.

Fiction
means we are dealing with literature, so textual structure is freer. Non-fiction samples include an argumentative, informative, and instructional texts at the moment. Instead of reading a novel, you could read a Study Guide on a novel. Study Guides may be easier for you to understand than literature itself, depending on your practice and interests. So you could also work on a Study Guide devoted to a work you know/have read. I suggest some below, so that you can prepare a little study of a work you may have already read or heard about or watched the film. What are people chosing for their Oral Presentation?

FICTION - More in Literature
Novels 1984, by George Orwell (see what Patricia analyzed in this story)
To Kill a Mockingbird
(1963), by Harper Lee (1926) More info book/film
The Catcher in the Rye
, by JD Salinger (1919)
The Canterville Ghost, by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Novellas The Body. Fall from Innocence (1982), by Stephen King
The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935) The Yellow Wallpaper Site, where you can listen to a play (30 min) they did based on this short psychological terror story. About 6.200 words, 8 pages
Collections of Short Stories you could buy, with one as an example There Will Come Soft Rains, by Ray Bradbury, from The Martian Chronicles 3 pages
Seven Short Stories
, by Katherine Mansfield (New Zealand, 1888-1923): "The Swing of the Pendulum, Prelude, Bliss, At the Bay, The Garden-Party, The Fly." Published in 1996 by Cideb, series Reading Classics*, with and introduction on Modernism and the author and with two complete stories in audio tape. Mansfield was one of the first Modernist writers.
The Garden Party, by Katherine Mansfield. About 5.350 words, 7 pages
You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down (1981), collection of short stories by Alice Walker (US American Black writer, b. 1944).
How Did I Get Away With Killing One of the Biggest Lawyers in the State. It Was Easy, by Alice Walker. About 2.000 words, 2 pages
The Seventh Horse, by Leonora Carrington (Surrealist UK writer/painter; b. 1919). The Debutante. As They Rode Along the Edge (just the beginning of the story)
On-line stories... A Dark Brown Dog, by Stephen Crane (1871-1900). About 2.300 words, 3 pages
Cat in the Rain, by Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961). About 1.100 words, 2 pages
A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud, by Carson McCullers (1917-1967). About 3.000 words, 4 pages
NON-FICTION - More in Reading, People & Culture, Articles & More...
Biography Life and Adventures of Calamity Jane by herself (1852-1903)! A frontierswoman in love with adventure
About 2.000 words, 2 pages
Articles Reflections on a "Black, Militant, Lesbian Poet" - Audre Lorde. 2 pages, about 800 words + poem by Audre Lorde
Dogs, Sex and Drugs. Some Thoughts on Happiness, Freedom and Being Independent 
Poetic Essay? Women and Honor -- Some Notes on Lying (1975), by Adrienne Rich
from her book On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose
Argumentative The Introduction of A History of their own. Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present, vol. I. by Bonnie S. Anderson and Judith P. Zinsser. 11 pages. Ask your teacher.
Informative
(pedagogical)
Reading a Study Guide: Go to BiblioMania, select Study Guides, and the author and the novel you're interested in. When you click on any of the parts of the analysis, you will be asked to register. It's free. You just fill in the form and then you have immediate access to what you clicked on.
If you want to choose a work that is not here, please tell me before. I need to have access to the text you use, I need to have read it. That's why. Some suggestions:
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, so you learn about its symbolism.
The Pit and the Pendulum or The Black Cat or any other, by Edgard Allan Poe, so you learn about the master of mystery and terror.
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë, a 19th c. novel around love and passion.
The Canterville Ghost, by Oscar Wilde, a novel cf US and UK cultures.
1984 (see what Patricia analyzed on this book), by George Orwell, the novel with Big Brother. Or Animal Farm...
Is the following informative or instructional?!!! Checkout Steve Campsall's website. This British teacher includes a Free Printable Guide in every theme:
Writing Essays (intro)
The best way to begin an essay
Writing to argue
Writing to persuade

Writing to inform
Writing to explain, review & analyse
Instructional
(how-to)
Work on the BBC's instructional texts on how to write a CV -- it includes types of CV, sample job description and sample CVs -- and how to apply for a job -- example of job adverts, application forms and covering letters.
(Remember to click on the left, where the navigation bar is, for a Printable version)