Learning a language can be a long and tedious process for some people, but it will always be rewarding. If you are in the process of learning English, congratulations! you are opening a door to great opportunities, both professional and personal. Nothing opens more doors for you than mastering a second language to perfection. In today’s globalized world, mastering the English language has become almost a necessity. More and more jobs require English, and some universities make it mandatory to speak English to enter certain programs.
Likewise, if you want to travel anywhere in the world, English could save you more than one problem. The good news is that it’s also easier than ever to learn a new language because we have endless resources on the web. In just seconds you can get in touch with someone on the other side of the world and practice.
But, let’s take it one step at a time, the first thing you have to do is get a good English course. It is always a great help when starting your learning process to have the help of a professional. On the other hand, once you have the basics, there are a number of activities you can do on your own to accelerate your learning process, one of the most important of which we will talk about now is reading.
Just as when we learn our mother tongue, reading enables the reader to feel more comfortable with words, their uses and grammar rules, giving you time to reflect and see things that you don’t usually have in conversation. In addition, reading exposes you to more sentences per minute than the average movie or TV show. That’s why readers tend to have a better use of language than non-readers.
However, reading in a second language can seem difficult when you don’t have advanced language skills. Doing so is definitely a challenge, however, once you get used to it you will notice that your language skills and proficiency improve much faster than the rest of your classmates.
The key is to be patient and choose the right English books, have a dictionary on hand and be ready to open your mind to great literary adventures. And to make it even easier for you, here are ten books in English that are ideal for starting your adventure in English literature.
1. Ulysses, James Joyce
This novel, Joyce’s masterpiece, is one of the jewels of world literature and what better than to read it in its original language. Considered by many as the most important novel of the 21st century, Ulysses is a book that offers a lot to its readers. More than a long novel, it seems to be a compilation of many interconnected stories, full of symbolism, adventure, and humor, despite being a book that seems challenging. Reading it will not represent a titanic task since it is a fluid, enjoyable and exciting book, it is one of the most read books in the whole world.
2. Animal Farm, George Orwell
This allegory to communist Russia made by Orwell is one of the most popular basic readings for any university student. As well as being an entertaining and thoughtful book, it is ideal reading for practicing your English. Orwell was a writer known for his clarity and simplicity of style, never using extra words so his texts are direct, concise and clear while still being interesting and of a high intellectual standard. Although Rebellion on the Farm can sometimes be mistaken for a children’s book because of its simplicity and fable-like tone, it is a more than serious book, so much so that many British publishers tried to sense it before it came out. For this reason and more, Animal Farm is a must on your English reading list.
3. The Giver- Lois Lowry
The Giver is an exciting read that will grab your attention right from the start. This book tells of a mysterious community that lives by strict rules until one of its young people begins to learn some of the secrets of its people and takes an unexpected turn in the community’s life. A reading full of metaphors and mystery, as well as a simple and easy to understand grammar. The book is written in a concise manner without long sentences, with simple language and time management that is easy for an English student to understand. Despite being a long read, it is so fluent that you will finish reading it in less time than you expected.
4. The Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
This story about a group of young people lost on the island became a classic of modern literature. This reading offers a captivating and mysterious story that will make you want to turn the page. The book tells the adventures and misfortunes of a group of young people, their life as castaways and their confrontation with the darker side of themselves in isolation. Considered an allegory of society, Golding’s story remains as provocative today as it was when it was first published in 1954. No doubt an entertaining and interesting read that will keep you motivated at all times to continue reading.
5. Tuesdays With Morrie, Mitch Albom
When Mitch Albom reunited with his former college professor, Morrie Schwartz, he learned some of the most important lessons of his life. He shares them with his readings in this valuable book full of wisdom and sensitivity of a woman living in the last months of her life. In addition to its reading value, this book offers a valuable tool for reading a conversational and practical writing style, while remaining profound and entertaining.
6. Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl’s books are essential reading for young readers in Anglo-Saxon countries. Yes, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a book for children, so it is written in simple, easy-to-follow language. However, that doesn’t mean it’s boring. This book is a fable that tells the story of a mischievous wolf, who sneaks onto a farm to steal food for his wife and children until the three cruel farmers discover them. This short but fun and vocabulary-rich novel is an excellent choice for readers who are beginning to venture into the English language.
7. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
This book tells the story of Rob Fleming, a music lover, obsessed with creating lists, who after a romantic breakup, decides to take an inner journey by contacting all his old girlfriends. Set entirely in a music store in London, this book is an excellent choice for intermediate readers and music lovers. It is fresh, fun, cheerful and easy to digest read.
8. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time, Mark Haddon
One of the characteristics that stand out at first sight about this novel is its particular style of narration since it is narrated in the first person. This allows you to be exposed to a rich, widely descriptive and personal vocabulary. The book tells the story of Christopher, a 15-year-old boy who suffers from autism. Christopher is an intelligent and noble boy, however, due to his illness, he has great problems in relating to others. When the young man learns of the murder of his neighbor’s dog, he decides to investigate the case and becomes involved in an unprecedented series of adventures and mysteries. It is definitely an entertaining and light story with a rich vocabulary, ideal for intermediate students.
9. The Outsiders, H. E. Hinton
This book is a short novel but full of emotion. Ideal for students who are just starting to read in English. The Outsiders is one of the favorite books of middle and high school literature teachers in the United States. The novel tells the story of a group of young people who belong to two opposing “gangs. In addition to the adventure and drama, the book talks about the differences between social classes in the United States. At one point it even got banned from high schools for its references to alcohol and tobacco use and for “promoting” gang violence. It is ideal if you also want to learn street English and terms used by young people.
As a curiosity, there is a film adaptation directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Watching the film and then reading the book will help you not to lose the line of the story.
10. Midsummers Night’s Dream, Shakespeare
It may sound too sophisticated to read Shakespeare in English, and it is. It doesn’t mean it’s difficult, though. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is an ideal novel to begin to delve into the works of this genius of English literature. It’s a story full of magic, humor, love and adventure and is also the most presented play by the English author, so you probably already know what the story is about and it won’t be difficult to follow it.