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Which book for reading do you suggest?

A lot of people enjoy reading and there was a question on the forum about which books other readers might suggest.
In choosing a book for reading you have to consider two things: what is your goal, and which kind of book do you like. If your goal is enjoyment, and you like to read about how people thought and lived 70 and more years ago, old books are fine. They are available at Gutenberg and other sources on the internet for free. But if you like to learn the language as it is spoken and if you want to learn more about modern life, than you should read modern book.
There is nothing bad about old books. Some are really great. But the language that they use is often old fashioned and kind of unnatural. The language sometimes sounds artificial. That is why they are considered as art 🙂 But be careful. That can also happen with modern books that are considered as art.
There is the same problem with fairy tales. I really love fairy tales, and I read them regularly with my daughter, but fairy tales have their own language.
Recently I finished my second “real” book in English. “Real” means not a graded reader. It was a great experience! I chose the book carefully. I went into a book store and read the first two pages to make sure that I liked it. The language that the author uses shouldn’t be too complicated. The book should not contain too many unknown words. The story should be easy enough that I can follow it and it should be entertaining for me. Therefore I chose a funny criminal story and the decision was perfect for me. I’ve just started the third book by this author and I really enjoy it.
I like her books for a lot of reasons:

  • The language that the author uses seems to be common language.
  • I can follow the stories without looking up words in a dictionary. If I miss the meaning of a word I can guess it, or it is not a problem to follow the stories without knowing the meaning of this word.
  • They are written in a funny manner.
  • The stories are entertaining and exciting.

Maybe you ask yourself, “why isn’t she telling us the name of the author?” I don’t do this because my intention is to show which criteria I use to choose a book. You should develop your own criteria. Then go to a book store and I’m sure you’ll find a book that you like.


  • adalbertolito
    May 17, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    I do not agree with the criterion that the book’s language should be easy to understand, day-to-day language. I recently read "On the Origin of Species", by Charles Darwin. Of course, it was a heavy book riddled with scientific terms, but most of them had a latin root so, being italian, I could figure it out pretty easily. The only criterion should be interest. Of course, you can’t just buy a whole book when you start off in a language, but I heard once that buying an authentic book when you are still nowhere in your language learning pushes you to go ahead. That’s what I did for spanish, and it seems to work well. Plus, I have an aversion for modern literature. It seems sterile and come out of sheer marketing. Some weeks ago I flicked through those record breaking crime books by those new Scandinavian authors (I don’t remember their names), but they were rubbish. I read nearly all the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle (true crime stories), and they were masterpieces made by a man who lived in an era where book writing was not already such a "marketized" field.

  • Vera
    May 17, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Hi Adalbertolito,Thank you for your comment. If you read carefully you can read that I said it depends on your goals and what you like. "Interest" and "what you like" is the same. So if you have an aversion for modern literature that’s okay. Choose what YOU like. My final statement is that you should develop your own criteria. It’s in the human nature that we like different things. I describe what I like and I do not expect that other readers share my interests."Easy" cannot be measured. It depends on your level and your knowledge if you consider something as easy. I for myself loose interest, if a book spend me know fun because I’m not able to follow the storyline.There are so many books in the world. I’m sure there are a lot of interesting books. But sometimes they are hard to find. I think there are a lot of rubbish new books as well of old books. So that a book is "old" or "new" is not a criterion that can measure the quality. But it is for sure that the language in old books doesn’t mirror the language that is spoken in our days. They cannot do it.It’s great when you can enjoy "difficult" books. I couldn’t. I work a lot, and I have a job where I have to concentrate a lot. I like to read to relax. That’s why I prefer "easy" books.As I said: develop your own criteria! That’s great.

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