Lés Miserablés (And I don't mean the bloody musical)
I am a great believer in the fact that the most important things you should learn at school is to read. Forget maths and science, well don't, they are pretty important, but without being able to read it's pretty difficult to learn anything else. Absolutely everything you do in life from telling the time to finding out what's on tv to not getting stitched up when you buy something expensive. It's totally fundamental.
Sometimes though being able to read, and read properly, not just Janet and John stuff, is just a simple pleasure because it allows you to read books where it is a simple pleasure to wallow in the language and soak up beautifully crafted words so poetic and delicious that sometimes you could cry. There are few books that I've had that pure unadulterated pleasure from. The God of Small Things and The Amber Spy Glass are two of them but recently I have discovered Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, one of the greats of French literature has given me that same feeling.
It's not the most cheerful of books I'll grant you as it traces the trials and tribulations of it's often tragic and down trodden characters, but the prose and lyrical manner with it relates the story is simply wonderful. I'll leave you with just one short quote before leaving you to discover it for yourselves.
"The heart, that secret celestial flower, mysteriously blossoms, and one would not exchange ones darkness for all light. The angel spirit is there, always there; if she moves away it is to return, she fades like a dream, to reappear like reality."
Now isn't that just magical?