9 Great Novels to Improve Your English : By Steffanie Zazulak
Reading is one of the most fun and effective ways to improve your English language skills. It can help to expand your vocabulary and expose you to different sentence structures, all while you enjoy some wonderful stories.
E-readers and tablets make learning English even easier because if you don’t know a word, you can simply click on it to read its definition. On the Kindle you can even add new words you’ve learnt to its Vocabulary Builder feature which is stored on the device. Others recommend listening to and reading text at the same time as an excellent way to enhance the learning process. Kindle’s Whispersync for Voice is designed for just this purpose and includes audio with selected books, so you can listen and follow the text as you read.
Here is our selection of nine great novels to help improve your English.
1. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
This classic tale takes place in the English countryside and shares the adventures of the animals that live by the river. Grahame’s simple use of language with imaginative stories makes this a pleasurable read for both adults and children.
2. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
This book is a modern classic and a popular study text for schools all over the world. When a group of boys are isolated on a desert island, the society they create descends into ruthless behaviour. Golding uses dramatic and descriptive language, almost like poetry, that makes you feel as though you’re in the scenes yourself.
3. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway is well-known for his clear, straightforward writing style and short sentence structure, which is great for English language learners and many people have read it in school. It’s the courageous tale of a Cuban fisherman and his battle to land a giant marlin and it’s a perfect introduction to Hemingway as an author.
4. Animal Farm – George Orwell
This short, allegorical novel tells the story of animals rebelling against their human masters and is a satire of Stalin era in the Soviet Union. Orwell uses simple English to appeal to all reading levels with a less is more approach and the animals speak in short, clear sentences.
5. Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
When Mitch Albom reconnects with Morrie Schwartz, his former college professor, he learns valuable life lessons and shares with readers all the funny, insightful wisdom that Morrie reveals in the last months of his life. It’s a great book to pick up a more conversational style of reading and writing. It’s also a great book to be read aloud.
6. High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
A must-read for any music lover. This modern story uses a casual style of language and is written from the point of view of the main character, Rob, a heartbroken vinyl record storeowner living in north London. It has a quick-pace feel with short, funny conversations between characters that really keep the story moving.
7. The Giver – Lois Lowry
Lowry uses short sentences and simple grammar to create a story that’s attention-grabbing right from the start. It’s about a boy called Jonas and the community he is part of – where freedom, individuality and choice don’t exist.
8. Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl is one of the greatest children’s authors and very popular with adults too. Beginning with a children’s book is a good way to begin reading English novels, as they often have exciting plots and fun dialogue.
9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
This is the story about the adventures of a young boy with autism, Christopher. When he discovers the murder of his neighbour’s dog, he decides to investigate it. As it’s told from Christopher’s point of view, his matter-of-fact explanations for everything he sees are clear and easy to understand and take you on an intriguing journey.