A really great way to improve your vocabulary and reading skills is by reading a good book and getting completely absorbed in the story. If you’ve ever wanted to read some English stories, but weren’t sure where to find books suitable for your level, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are my recommendations for some great English books for language learners.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
This book tells the story of Christopher Boone, a young boy with Asperger’s syndrome. Christopher’s condition means that he finds it difficult to connect with other people, and has trouble understanding some of the more complicated aspects of human relationships. Written from Christopher’s perspective, the book is a really interesting description of what it’s like to live with a learning disability, but also presents the world from a different point of view, giving us a new understanding of some things which we might take for granted.
The language in The Curious Incident is simple and easy to understand because Christopher speaks and thinks in an extremely logical and straightforward way. I would recommend this book for intermediate levels and above.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Animal Farm is a book about farm animals.
The interesting thing about these animals is that they can speak to each other, think complex thoughts, and form governments similar to our own. The story focuses on a group of animals on one particular farm, using the way their society develops as a metaphor for the corruption and dishonesty of human politicians. Animal Farm is a classic story of revolution, power and corruption, told through the prism of a simple fable.
The language in Animal Farm is a little bit more complicated than in The Curious Incident, as it was written about seventy years ago and some of the language might seem a bit old-fashioned. With the help of a good dictionary, I think this book would be suitable for strong intermediate students.
Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger
This is a collection of short stories by one of America’s most famous and influential authors. Focussing on a number of different topics and characters, Salinger explores the pain and suffering associated with our loss of innocence when we grow up. In almost all of the stories, children are compared with adults, the children often possessing the real wisdom and knowledge that the adults fail to see.
This is one of my favourite collections of short stories. Salinger’s language is relatively simple and easy to understand, but is also very expressive and evocative. I would recommend this book for intermediate levels and above
Penguin Graded Readers
If all of these books sound a bit too complicated for your level, a good idea would be to get one of the penguin graded readers. These are English novels which have been adapted to various different levels. The story is the same, but the language is simpler, so they are a good way to introduce yourself to English literature if you aren’t a confident reader.