only is reading a great way to relax and escape into the lives and stories of others, it’s also one of the best ways to improve your English. Once you have a basic grasp of English comprehension, reading English language books is a sure-fire approach to giving your language learning a boost. You can pick up new vocabulary, learn new phrases and get a feel for the language structure and the flow of conversation. That being said, choosing a book that’s too hard can make the experience discouraging and frustrating, so here we have a short list of great fiction and autobiographical books that are easy-reading for English learners.
- His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
- Going Solo by Roald Dahl
- High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
- Love Story by Erich Segal
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding
1. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
Philip Pullman’s award-winning epic fantasy trilogy follows two children, Lyra and Will, through adventures involving witches, armored polar bears and dæmons; animals that represent their human owner’s inner-self. Although the books center on children, the sheer imagination, not to mention the philosophical and scientific insight, woven into these books make them a treat for readers of any age. Accessible and insightful, these books are truly hard to set down.
2. Going Solo by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl is the author of such beloved children’s books as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The BFG. Going Solo is a continuation of the autobiography of his childhood, Boy, and it recounts the author’s travels to Africa and adventures as a World War II pilot. Although this book is suitable for pre-teen children, even for adults this is an easy read and a great insight into the incredible life of an equally incredible writer. His exploits involve plane crashes, snake bites and the experiences of bravery, fear and love that inspired one of the greatest storytellers of his generation.
3. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
Rob Fleming is a 35-year-old record shop owner who has had little relationship success. After his girlfriend, Laura, leaves him, Rob re-examines his past failed relationships through a list of his top five most memorable break-ups. In exploring these relationships and the reasons they failed, Rob explores his own fear of commitment, emotional immaturity and the twists of faith that introduced them. Through all of this, he considers why he can’t seem to get over Laura. A deep dive into a pitiable man’s midlife crisis, High Fidelity is all the more interesting because Rob is an unreliable narrator, so one can easily finish the book feeling unsure of how to judge him.
4. Love Story by Erich Segal
This is one for the romantics. A classic story of two young people who come from very different worlds. Erich Segal’s 1970 follows Oliver, a Harvard jock from a vastly wealthy background and Jenny, a working-class girl who’s not afraid to knock him off his high horse. Their unlikely love story is one of devotion, resilience and heartbreak, that went on to become a hit movie in the same year as its publication. Segal has a straightforward, uncomplicated writing style to bring across this simple but beautiful story. Although the dialogue can be a little cheesy, this is one of the easiest adult fiction novels to read that is nevertheless a romantic classic.
5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
This 1950s allegorical novel is a classic of modern English literature, written by the Nobel Prize winner Willam Golding. It tells the story of a group of British schoolboys who become stranded on an uninhabited island. The story quickly takes a grim turn as the boys begin to turn on one another and resort to dangerous and tribalistic habits. Golding’s classic tale explores the faults of society as reflections of the flaws of human nature. Nevertheless, it is an easily readable and comprehensible piece, complicated only by the odd twist of old British English language slang.
Moral of the story
With these and many other great English books for language learning available, you have good reason to pop down to the library or local bookshop and get started on your reading challenge. In combination with podcasts and movies, these can help you start building strong English language comprehension while enjoying a story, learning new things and having a blast.
Leona has her roots in the South of Ireland, where she grew up on her family farm. She went on to study World Politics at Leiden University College, The Hague and then completed her MPhil in International History at Trinity College Dublin. Leona has now settled in Berlin, having fallen in love with the city. In her spare time she is working on perfecting her German in anticipation of her doctoral studies, during which she plans to study modern German social history. Her hobbies include bouldering, dancing and reading a healthy mix of history books and corny fantasy fiction. You can find more info about her on LinkedIn.