The World is a Book – Top 10 Geographical Reads

Jun 23, 2014


This quote might be familiar to you. Have you seen it in your inbox or found it on a postcard in your pigeon hole yet? If not look out for it.

I love this quote. Anything that extols the virtues of travel is alright in my book (no pun intended). There is so much to be learnt and appreciated from exploring the globe and there is such a vast amount to see.

Unfortunately we can’t spend all our time travelling so I started to think about the importance of reading to open eyes and minds to the possibilities of a vast and changing world. As a teacher I would always try to encourage my students to read but it was mostly an uphill struggle. Many were reluctant to even read a paragraph from a text book or newspaper article. Some took pride in telling me that at the age of 18 they had never read a book. I think they took great delight in the look of absolute horror and despair that would cross my face. Maybe you had more success. Do you have any inspirational ideas to get your students to read?

To my mind the best way to develop knowledge and understanding, the ability to think critically and reflectively, with an awareness of different attitudes and values is to read extensively. I would suggest reading ideas that I thought might suit or entice my students, ranging from geographical publications to works of modern literature. I can still hear their groans when I would give them reading to do for homework. You’d have thought I was asking them to go home to stick pins in their eyes!

I thought I’d share my “top 10 geographical reads” (in no particular order). These are books I’ve really enjoyed and that I would have loved my sixth formers to have read.

  1. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
  2. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  3. I am Malala – Malala Yousafzai
  4. The Million Death Quake – Roger Musson
  5. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
  6. Half the Sky – Nicholas D Kristof & Sheryl Wudunn
  7. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  8. Notes From a Small Island – Bill Bryson
  9. Three Cups of Tea – Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
  10. Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts

Well what do you think? Have we lost the reading battle completely or should we continue to fight? Do you have any suggestions of books I can add to my reading list? I’d love to hear your ideas.