Aaaah, the joy of relaxing with a good book. We tend to read for pleasure at the end of the day when our work is done. We want the story to take us to new places and introduce us to new peoples. A good book helps us forget about the ‘to do’ lists, problems, and deadline issues of the day. Moreover, we know that reading is key to improving our English. However, how many times have you started reading a book in English and not finished it? Or, worse yet – forced yourself to finish it. Reading in a foreign language can be a challenge, and therefore, not very relaxing (I know this because, currently, I am learning Portuguese.). Alas, help is on the way. Here’s today’s reading suggestions so that you can relax with a good book once again.
Although our reading level may not be fully developed, our minds are. We’re adults, and we want to read material designed for adults. I get it. If you’re reading at a beginner level, you don’t want to be reading The Three Little Pigs. If you’re at an intermediate level, you are not interested in your school aged children’s library books. I get it! Even if you’re an advanced speaker, reading can be a challenge due to the pervasive use of figurative speech and idiomatic expressions in fiction. I completely understand! Here’s today’s suggestions:
Before the quarantine, in my in-person training contracts, I used a suitcase on wheels to cart my small library of intermediate books to my clients’ corporate boardrooms for the learners to borrow…and they ate them up. They loved them! The article below offers ten recommendations to source appropriate reading material with publishers and title suggestions so that you can experience relaxing with a good book again. Here’s today’s suggestions:
To source books at your level and in your genre, focus on the classics. These are books that have been around in the original adult version for decades, or even a century or more. However, over the years, they have been revised for different audiences. This means that the character development, plot, and cultural references are engaging to adults. However, the junior version will be written with more literal word choices, and the sentence structures will follow the rules that you learned in English class. You will enjoy an adult story that is relaxing to read, yet stimulates your mind. Here’s today’s suggestions:
The following are some of the publisher’s and titles that I have in my library.
Publisher: If you like Shakespeare, enter https://usbornebooksathome.ca
Titles: The Phantom of the Opera, The Wizard of Oz, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare), Macbeth (Shakespeare), Stories from Shakespeare (11 stories and plays), Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, The Twelfth Night, and Hamlet – a Graphic Novel
Publisher: If you like the fantasy and comedy genres from more recent history (1960’s), try Roald Dahl’s books, published as a set by Puffin Books and available on Amazon.ca.
Titles: Roald Dahl Magical Gift Set (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Matilda, plus 10 more titles.
Publisher: If you like the adventure genre, there’s a fabulous series called Classic Starts, published by Sterling Children’s Books (remember, these are originally adult books). These titles and more can be found on Amazon.ca – just enter Classic Starts Books Series.
Titles: Tales of Adventure Series (comes as a set): The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Treasure Island, The Call of the Wild, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Adventures of Robin Hood
Publisher: If you enjoy historical fiction, explore the website for Great Illustrated Collector’s Classics for 66 great classic titles at a very reasonable cost.
Titles: Little Women, The Wind in the Willows, Anne of Green Gables, Black Beauty, David Copperfield, Frankenstein, Heidi, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Moby Dick, and much more!
There are also authors of adult fiction whose style of writing is more literal, such as Ernest Hemmingway’s. If your reading comprehension is more advanced than the preceding titles, Hemmingway’s books may suit you well. He tends to write stories set in nature or with war themes, as he experienced several wars during his lifetime.
I happen to have a copy of his book, The Old Man and the Sea, on my shelf, and it is published by Scribner; however, you can find many of his books on Amazon. Ernest Hemmingway also wrote: Islands in the Stream, The Sun Also Rises, Farewell to Arms, and To Have and Have Not.
John Steinbeck is another author who writes in a more literal fashion. His books tend to be set in Central California and explore topics, such as the depression years of the 1930’s, fate, and injustice. Many of Steinbeck’s books can be found on Amazon.
Titles: Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath (Pulitzer Prize Winner), and Tortilla Flat
If you like poetry written in modern English with modern themes, you may enjoy “Where the Sidewalk Ends”, written by Shel Silverstein. The 30th Anniversary Special Edition on my shelf is 183 pages of poetry that will delight your senses. You will find several versions of Silverstein’s signature book on Amazon.
My favorite nonfiction genre has to be personal development. There’s a comprehensive personal development book list on https://www.developgoodhabits.com/personal-development-books/. This list offer you links to purchase these books on Amazon or Audible. This is a fantastic opportunity to sharpen your listening comprehension skills while developing your mindset. Click on the link to begin reading today. You can do it – make it happen!
I must give credit to a recent client of mine from Montreal for this particular strategy. Universities, book stores, churches, and community groups often organize book clubs. Book clubs a fabulous opportunity to expand your network of English friends, develop your reading skills, and practice your conversation skills all in ONE venue. A quick internet search will reveal several for you to choose from.
If the books you really want to read are too challenging for you, look for them on Audible or Kindle. I have found reading in Portuguese challenging; therefore, I have created a system for myself. Audible provides the written script for their books – print it off and read it while you listen to the story. There are often additional resources, such as vocabulary lists with stories. Kindle is an on-line book that you read on your computer. You can click on words to learn the definition, which doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story as much as when you have to “look it up” in a dictionary.
Consume one or two reading recommendations per day in my LinkedIn posts over the next couple of weeks, or click on the link to my article below to grab all of them today …and let me know of any good books you’ve read lately!
Enjoy the complete list of recommendations in the article below …and let me know of any good books you’ve read lately!
Summer is almost over – it’s the perfect time to implement a new routine that adds balance to your life. Reading is calming for the spirit, while stimulating the mind. It is the ideal activity for me-time. Now is the time to relax in your favorite chair with a good book – aaaah!