Do you know what many students with a high level of English have in common? As teachers, we've often found that our students with the highest level also read regularly in English.
Think about how much reading you did when you were in school! For most people, reading is the single most effective thing they can do to improve their English.
But what should you read? We have an article on this topic and we also wanted to find out what all of you think. What books can you recommend for people who are learning English? Have you read one that you think other people would enjoy?
Below is a selection of different books the LearnEnglish team recommends.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
This dystopian sci-fi novel begins when Klara is for sale in a store. Klara is an AF – an artificial friend – and one day she is bought for a teenage girl, Josie. As we read about the friendship which develops between Klara and Josie, we also discover a much darker and more sinister side to this future society, where children have robots for friends. The story is written in quite simple language (around B2 level), but the questions it raises are more complex. How will artificial intelligence and genetic engineering affect our human lives in the future?
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
This short novel tells the story of a few days in the 16-year-old narrator Holden Caulfield's recent life. You get to follow his complex thinking as Holden tries to deal with some serious life issues. Although he is clearly struggling, Holden's insightful and critical descriptions of people and situations are also so funny that they made me laugh out loud. The book is a classic of 20th-century American literature, and I think anyone with a B2 or higher level of English would enjoy it.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This dark crime thriller about a wife's sudden disappearance is such a page-turner! It has some challenging vocabulary at first, but once you've read the first couple of chapters, you're totally hooked. First you get the story from Nick, who discovers that his wife, Amy, has suddenly disappeared. Then you hear from Amy, through her diary. Their versions of events are different, and their marriage is not as perfect as it might seem. Who is telling the truth? And where is Amy? The mysteries of this toxic couple keep you reading until the end.
Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle
Sherry Turkle has spent the past decades studying the psychology of people's relationships with technology. Reclaiming Conversation is a fascinating read and really makes you think about how you use tech and how it can change relationships with other people. The first book I read by this author was Alone Together, another brilliant book – but now it may seem quite dated as things have moved so quickly in the digital world. I love the way Sherry writes and supports her ideas with data and research. I think learners with a B2/C1 level of English could learn a lot from it, and it will make you think twice about how you use your phone!
Love for imperfect things by Haemin Sunim
Haemin Sunim is a monk, so, as you can imagine, he's done a lot of thinking about the mysteries of life! In this book he reflects on the challenges of everyday life and how to love and care for yourself. The chapters are really short, so you can read it bit by bit, and his writing is clear and simple. I think B1-level learners would be able to read this book without many problems.
Now it's your turn
- What books (in English) would you recommend? Tell us the title, the author and what it's about.
Have you read any of the books people mention? Reply and let them know!
Between our recommendations and other people's recommendations in the comments, we hope you find something new to read!