Learning a language is much easier when you’re enjoying yourself. When you find a book that has an exciting or moving storyline and interesting characters, your reading skills will improve faster – and you’ll have more fun, too.
Even better, if you’re reading books on your Kindle, you can click on any words you don’t recognise to check what they mean in the dictionary. Many books are also available in audio form, so you can also listen to them as you read to improve your pronunciation at the same time!
There are thousands of excellent English language novels you could choose from, depending on what kind of stories you enjoy reading. Here are four recommendations to get you started.
The Harry Potter Series (J.K. Rowling)
If you haven’t tried to read books in English before, starting with a story that you already know and recognise will seem less scary and help you to build your confidence. The Harry Potter books are extremely popular all over the world and have been translated into hundreds of languages, so it’s likely you’ve already read them in your native language.
Even better, the first books are written using simpler language, with each one getting slightly more difficult as they go along, so you can work your way through the series as your reading skills improve.
Matilda (Roald Dahl)
Although most of his books were written for children, adults also love the English author Roald Dahl. His stories are funny and unique, and his characters are very memorable.
Matilda is one of his most-loved books. It tells the story of a little girl who realises that she is a genius who can also make objects move using the power of her mind. She uses her powers to play tricks on her horrible parents and take revenge on the headmistress of her school, who is a bully that hates children.
If you enjoy Matilda, you might also want to read some other popular books by Roald Dahl, for example Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach and The BFG, or shorter, easy-to-read books such as Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Twits.
Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
You might have read Lord of the Flies when you were at school. It is a powerful novel about a group of young boys who are stranded alone with no adults after their plane crashes on an island. With no rules or boundaries, the boys soon become savage and violent, fighting for power between themselves.
This a very good choice if you would like to try some classic English literature. The story is very engaging and there are many interesting themes and ideas to think about, but it is not a very difficult book to read – you should be able to understand most of the vocabulary.
The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)
The Old Man and Sea is a short novel about an elderly Cuban fisherman, fighting to catch a huge fish (called a Marlin) after months of bad luck where he has failed to catch anything at all. It is one of the best-known American novels of all time.
The author, Ernest Hemingway, was famous for his straightforward style of writing. He believed that novelists should write like journalists, taking out any words that aren’t absolutely necessary. This is very helpful for non-native speakers who want to read his books in English without having to look up every other word in the dictionary!