The title of this post has just teletransported me back into my A Level English Lit class (circa 1993). At the time the expression really just meant reading something you chose rather than the books from the syllabus, on which you would later write an essay. Surely I should have forgotten this by now, but I remember writing about Thackeray's Vanity Fair, something about the similarities and differences between Amelia and Becky. In fact I must read the novel again as it is a brilliant piece of work.
I'm not going to talk about literary works here as this blog is supposed to be about teaching and I am also no literary expert. What I would like to do is to ask for recommendations for ELT wider reading. I am not a big non-fiction reader and I am also more of a bedtime reader (ELT books hardly making ideal bedtime reading) but I would like to compile a list of ESSENTIAL ELT works that myself and others could pick and choose from. The list could also be suitable for schools looking to update their library. Any kind of book is welcome as long as you think it would be of interest to ELT professionals, whether they are teachers, materials writers, teacher trainers etc.
If I get enough responses I would then like to categorize the entries, e.g. methodology; resource; teacher training and development; young learners; course books; exams etc.
So what would you put on the list?
At the moment I have listed your suggestions in two categories, although if I get any more suggestions I will update the list.
Language and Linguistics
The English Verb by Michael LewisPractical English Usage by Michael Swan
Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhorter
Language Myths edited by Bauer and Trudghill
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage
The Teacher’s Grammar of English by Ron Cowan
Learner English by Michael Swan and Bernard Smith
Language, Context and Text: aspects of language in a social-semiotic perspective by M.A.K. Halliday and Ruqaiya Hasan
The Language Web by Jean Aitchison
The Fight For English by David Crystal
Teaching Tenses by Rosemary Aitkin
Teaching Grammar Creatively by Puchta, Gerngross and Thornbury
Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener
Young Learners by Sarah Phillips
Implementing the Lexical Approach by Michael Lewis
A Framework for Task-Based Learning by Jane Willis
Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching by Richards & Rodgers
How to Teach Speaking by Scott Thornbury
Language Assessment – Principles and Classroom Practices by H. Douglas Brown
Principles of Language Learning and Teaching by H. Douglas Brown
The Techniques of Language Teaching by Lionel Billows
Teaching Collocation edited by Michael Lewis
I don't think I've come across many of these books before but there are certainly some interesting titles here that I would like to have a look at. I would recommend anything by David Crystal, who is a genius! If you have any favourite resource or course books I will create another section. There are so many thousands of ELT books out there, mostly available on Amazon, and it really can be difficult to choose a book to buy, so I really appreciate your help in compiling this list, which is by teachers for teachers.