Not all of us develop our reading habit right from childhood and as adults, we don’t know where to start. It can be a confusing deal because of the amount of books available but you also need to learn where to start so that you can easily start a love affair with books and nurture it as time goes by.
Reading is that one activity that helps you escape reality and immerse yourself into another universe. The books we read help us understand the world better and form ideas. And, well, some of them also give us quotes that affect us so much that we get them tattooed. Books take you to different worlds you’ve never visited before, whether it is the fantasy world of Harry Potter or the world of positivity like in The Power of positive thinking.
Reading can open your mind to brilliant new worlds and take you to a new level of English language learning.
It may feel like a slow process, but it is effective.
Here’s a guide for all those just beginning
The Benefits of Reading English Books
Reading English novels will help improve your vocabulary, general understanding and in some cases it may even give you more knowledge into different countries and their cultures. You also get to move at your own pace. While listening to podcasts and radio, you have to keep up with whoever is speaking. Sure, watching movies to learn English can be a lot of fun, but doesn’t it get tiring to have to read subtitles or pause and rewind? While reading a book, you can read as slowly or as quickly as you desire. If you didn’t understand something, simply look at the paragraph again!
Reading opens the mind.
Reading educates. It opens you up to new experiences and perspectives. What better way is there to understand someone’s way of thinking? You may learn new information about language, culture, society, and history that you never knew before.
Reading is fun!
It is, overall, an enjoyable and relaxing way to learn English without any stress whatsoever. People get frustrated when they choose books that go above their reading levels. By choosing your first English books wisely, you should have a very positive experience.
1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.BUY ON AMAZON
The Alchemist is a novel by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho that was first published in 1988. Originally written in Portuguese, a widely translated international bestseller. An allegorical novel, The Alchemist follows a young Andalusian shepherd in his journey to the pyramids of Egypt, after having a recurring dream of finding a treasure there.
he book’s main theme is about finding one’s, although according to The New York Times, The Alchemist is “more self-help than literature.” The advice given Santiago that “when you really want something to happen, the whole universe will conspire so that your wish comes true” is the core of the novel’s philosophy and a motif that plays throughout it.
So it could be the best book for you to help in walking the path toward success with positivity.
2. The Catcher in the Rye By J. D. SalingerBUY ON AMAZON
This one was originally published for adults but over the years, The Catcher in the Rye has become popular with all the teenage readers going through a phase of rebellion. The protagonist Holden Caulfield has been expelled from his school due to poor grades. He is at a confusing place in life and cannot even imagine telling his parents about the whole ordeal. Quite typical, isn’t it?
The book is the journey of Holden who finds that he is shedding away his childhood to enter the adult world. Like any teenager, he finds it tough and even plans on running away to become a recluse. However, you need to read the book to see if he actually takes the step. Moreover, it will make you live your teenage angst all over again.
3. Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana By Devdutt Pattanaik.BUY ON AMAZON
This book is outstanding for its ability to make the readers warm up to an important twist in Ramayana, a story all of us know by heart. Told through the eyes of Sita, this book will take you through the journey of Ramayana but it will be Sita telling her version of events.
From a loyal wife who follows her husband to the forest to a mother raising her sons alone, this story will bring forth the character of Sita for you and make you respect her even more.
4. The Great Gatsby by F.Scott FitzgeraldBUY ON AMAZON
The story is narrated by Nick Carraway but it is primarily about a mysterious rich man Jay Gatsby. Jay is a millionaire known for his lavish parties but the strangest part is that he never attends them. At least that is what Nick discovers while he is meeting his cousin sister Daisy and her husband Tom.
As the story unfolds, we discover that Gatsby knew Daisy from before. However, when he initially met her, he wasn’t doing so well financially and she was a typical rich girl. But he still fell in love with her and gaining wealth was a part of his plan to become one with Daisy. The extravagant parties are an attempt to become a part of her world. Gatsby is more so obsessed with Daisy than in love with her and is trying his best to make her fall in love. But the question is, does he succeed? Does he finally get a reciprocation for his love?
5. Mieko and the Fifth Treasure By Eleanor CoerrBUY ON AMAZON
This is an emotional story about Mieko. Mieko is a talented artist and calligrapher (handwriting artist). Her hand is badly hurt during the bombings of the war. The scared little girl is sent to live with her grandparents in the countryside where it is safer.
Mieko is worried and afraid that she’s lost her 5th treasure – the “beauty in her heart.” This treasure is the key to her happiness and her beautiful art.
Mieko starts a new school. Her new classmates are mean. They constantly laugh at her and tease her which just makes her angrier. Her grandparents eventually manage to lift her darkness through their patience and wisdom. She also finds a good friend in Yoshi. Yoshi is one classmate who is really kind.
Mieko also grows close to Yoshi’s aunt. Her friend’s aunt is strict, but kind and encourages Mieko to pick up her paintbrushes again
6. The House On Mango Street By Sandra CisnerosBUY ON AMAZON
This book follows the life of Esperanza, a Mexican girl. The novel takes place over the period of one year. Esperanza moves into a new home on Mango Street. The house is much better than her old one. It is the first house her parents have ever owned – all their other houses have been rented. Esperanza is not very happy because she had been dreaming of a different home – a bigger one. Their new house is old and small. The house is located in a busy Latino area of Chicago. In the new home, Esperanza feels like she has no time to be alone. She promises herself that one day she will leave and have her own home.
Throughout the novel the young girl grows up a lot. The story follows her life as she makes friends, her body changes and she begins to have feelings for a boy. With her new friends, she has many adventures. When she goes back to school after the vacation Esperanza is embarrassed about her family being poor. She writes poetry secretly to make her feel better.
There is a lot of focus on other women in the community and Esperanza hopes never to be like them. Through watching the older women and how they are stuck, she knows that she wants to leave.
7. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes By Arthur Conan DoyleBUY ON AMAZON
Sherlock Holmes is perfect if you’re new to classics, particularly the short stories, which are essentially mini-mysteries which you’ll easily fly through in no time. I would recommend beginning with the short stories and then moving onto the novels!
8. Number the Stars By Lois LowryBUY ON AMAZON
This is a story of hope and courage. The year is 1943 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The area has been taken over by Hitler’s army. There are soldiers everywhere. The life of 10-year-old Annemarie has changed a lot. There is little food and everyone is very scared. There is talk about moving all of the Jewish people to another place. This is difficult for Annemarie because her best friend, Ellen, is Jewish.
This is a different book about the war. It shows it was not only the Jewish people who suffered during the war. Annemarie’s family lost their eldest daughter, Lise, a few weeks before her wedding.
Annemarie will later do what her sister, Lise, did. She will join the resistance party to fight against the Nazis. She ends up being a heroine (a female hero) for a few reasons (which I will not tell you because I don’t want to ruin the story
This book would be perfect for any Indian child who wants to indulge in some nostalgia. The narration is simple to read and yet, it carries a very typically Indian childhood in it. It is a compilation of 32 short stories, all located in Malgudi, an imaginary town in South India.
However, the stories are so real that you don’t feel like any bit of it is fictional. It deals with social issues that troubled the older generation and also the issues that the younger generation feels the closest to. A simple compilation that will keep you coming back till you finish the book and even then, you’d be wishing to read more
9. The Outsider By S.E. HintonBUY ON AMAZON
Ponyboy Curtis is one of the main characters. He is a part of a gang of teenagers called the Greasers. After he leaves the movie theater one day, he’s attacked by a rival (enemy) gang. Ponyboy’s friends chase the group away and he is saved.
The next evening, Ponyboy and his friends go to watch a movie again. They sit behind a few pretty girls from the other gang. They end up sitting together with the girls. Ponyboy and Cherry learn that they have a lot of things in common even though they are from different gangs. The boys begin to walk the girls’ home, but on the way they meet the girls’ boyfriends. The girls have to leave so a fight does not begin.
Because Ponyboy arrives late at home his brother becomes angry. This causes them to fight. As a result Ponyboy tries to run away from home. They meet up with the rival gang again and yet another fight begins. This time one of the enemies is killed.
Ponyboy is really scared. They hide in a church and try to hide their appearance by dyeing (coloring) their hair. A number of different fights break out between the two gangs. Eventually Ponyboy wakes up in the hospital.
A trial is set in the courtroom and the judge has to decide Ponyboy’s fate (future). Is he guilty or not guilty?
10. Peter Pan By J.M. BarrieBUY ON AMAZON
Almost everyone knows the story of “Peter Pan” which is why this is an easy read. Being familiar with a story already helps the reader to understand the text better. This book is aimed at children, but it continues to be enjoyed by adults around the world too.
Every night Peter visits the Darling family house and listens to Mrs. Darling tell bedtime stories. He sits on the window listening. One evening, they see Peter trying to escape. As he tries to run away, he loses his shadow. He goes back to get his shadow. He wakes up the daughter of the house, Wendy Darling. Wendy helps him attach his shadow to his body again. Wendy tells him she knows a lot of bedtime stories too.
Peter invites Wendy to return to Neverland with him. He wants her to be the mother of the Lost Boys. Wendy agrees to the mission and asks for her brothers Michael and John to join them.
They have a magical flight as they travel to Neverland and have many adventures along the way. Wendy is nearly killed and the boys build her a house in the trees to recover. After Wendy is okay, she takes the role of the mother.
After all their adventures and fun, Wendy decides that her place is at home with their mother. Wendy helps all the Lost Boys return to London. But Peter doesn’t want her to go. Instead he tries to trick her. He tells her that their mother doesn’t want them anymore. However, he understands how sad their mother must be. In the end, he decides to let them go home.