The Best 10 Books to Learn English [Intermediate to Advanced]


Aww yeah! What's going on? I'm Ethanyour RealLife English Fluency Coach  

and in today's lesson we're going  to look at one of the best ways  

to improve your English vocabulary. And that of course is through reading, alright

So we're going to look at a bunch of different  books that go from intermediate to advanced level  

and cover all sorts of genres. So pretty much anyone who's watching  

this will be able to find something  that you're really going to love.

Now we won't be looking at any children's  books, because I don't tend to recommend  

these to English learners as they'll have kind  of strange obscure vocabulary which isn't so  

practical for your actual English use. So we'll get right into the list  

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Alright, so the first one that we're  going to look at is an American classic

I actually had to read it when I was in high  school and I have to tell you it was one of my  

favorite reading assignments during that time. Now this one is more advanced, it's actually  

satirical like many of Vonnegut's books  and that basically means that it uses  

humor in order to criticize. Now, it's about some of the  

atrocities during World War II and it takes into  account some of Vonnegut's own personal experience  

in that war and it also ties in some aspects  of science fiction like aliens and time travel

And because of the satirical nature of this bookI actually found myself laughing out loud during  

certain moments which is kind of a way that he  breaks some of the deeper parts of this book

Now, it has some more controversial  language in it which actually got  

it banned in some schools and  libraries when it first came out,  

but now it's considered an American  classic that many people like me  

will actually read while they're in high school. So I highly recommend that you either check out  

Slaughterhouse 5 or any other book  by this legendary American author

So the first one we looked at was an  American classic and this one that  

you've probably heard of is a British classic. Now this is really great for intermediate learners  

because it includes novels and short stories. And short stories because they're shorter,  

if you're actually trying to kind of like study it  and learn from it then you'll find this much more  

accessible than something that's really long. And what's great about a mystery like this  

one is that it'll keep you curious  to find out what is the solution  

to the mystery that they're trying to solve. So you'll be wanting to keep reading  

even late into the night. Now, a really great way that you could learn  

with this would even be combining it by watching  the incredible series from the BBC starring  

Benedict Cumberbatch and you can watch that at  the same time or maybe after you finish the books

So I highly recommend that you check this out. Sorry. Which was it Afghanistan or Irak

All right! So our next one is  another more advanced book

Now this one is a fictional story  that takes place in Afghanistan,  

and when I read it the USA was actually at war  in Afghanistan and I found it really interesting  

to learn some aspects of that culture. Especially because it was in contrast  

to what was being said in the media a lot. Now this is a book about friendship, betrayal  

and redemption, and it includes some  really graphic and powerful scenes,  

so it's definitely not for the faint of heart. But if you're looking for a book that will  

have a big impact on you then I highly  recommend that you give this one a read

All right! If you're like me, maybe you don't  have a lot of time to sit down and read,  

so a really great solution for this  is actually listening to audiobooks

I love doing this every morning while I'm  making my breakfast and kind of getting ready  

for the day and it's a really convenient  way to kill two birds with one stone.  

Especially for you as an English learner, you  can actually listen to the audiobook and read  

at the same time and this would be a way that  you can not only improve your vocabulary in  

your reading, but also improve your  listening and your pronunciation

And another exercise I highly recommend to  my students is actually recording yourself  

reading and then listening back to  it and comparing it to the original

It's gonna be a really great way to  get some speaking practice in as well

So you can try any of these books on today's list  as audiobooks absolutely free with Audible by  

clicking the link down in the description below. You'll actually be able to get a free  

30-day trial and two audiobooks for free. So I highly recommend that you try that out  

because this could be a super convenient way to  improve your English, listening and your reading

Alright, so our next one is definitely advanced  and I was split whether or not to actually include  

something from this author. But the reason that I did  

is because Shakespeare had such a huge  impact on English as it's spoken today

In fact, he invented over 1700 words  that are still used in modern English

Now, as I said this is very difficult to read even  for natives but it's really for any of you who  

love literature and you really want to  see English at its highest expression of  

use. Now, of course this won't be so practical  vocabulary for your everyday English speaking,  

but of course a lot of the other books in  this list will be more along those lines

Now, the reason that I chose Romeo and Juliet for  this list is because you probably already know the  

story and that's going to help you a lot in your  understanding of it. Now, a hack that you could  

do, sort of a little trick that even natives  will do when they're studying this in school,  

is to buy the No Fear version. Now, basically what this is it's  

the original play but on one page it'll have the  original text and then on the next page it will  

have kind of a translation to more modern English. So this can be a really great way that you can  

kind of see this beautiful use of the  language and then directly understand  

it through a more clear explanation in  modern English that you're learning

Or another thing that you could do, if you really  want to just challenge yourself with that original  

text, is just buy the Cliff Notes which kind  of give you the academic explanations of what  

different things mean, so that you can read and  then you can kind of take those to really see if  

you're understanding everything that you read. Finally, after you finished reading you could  

go ahead and watch the famous  film starring Leonardo DiCaprio

All right! Let's take a look at another advanced  one, that's going to give you another view  

of English used in a really beautiful way. You know, probably the highest expression  

of any language can really be through poetry. And a really great thing about it is  

that poems can be really short. They can be even just a few phrases  

but you can spend hours reflecting on them. So one thing I might recommend to you if you  

like poetry is just try reading  one poem in English per day

Now the reason I chose this one is  because Maya Angelou is revered as  

one of the best American poets. Actually her poem “I know why the  

caged bird singsmade a huge impact on  me when I had to study it in high school

A free bird leaps on the back of the windand floats downstream till the currents end,  

and dips his wings in the orange  sun rays and dare to claim the sky

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage  can seldom see through his bars of rage  

his wings are clipped and his feet are  tied so he opens his throat to sing

The free bird thinks of another breeze and  the trade winds soft through the sighing trees  

and the fat worms waiting on the dawn  bright lawn and he names the sky his own

But a caged bird stands on the grave  of dreams and his shadow shouts  

on a nightmare scream his wings are clipped and  his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill  of things unknown but longed for still  

and his tune is heard on the distant hill  for the caged bird things of freedom

Now the history of African Americans in  the country is really truly fascinating,  

but it's something that not many learners  are actually in touch with or even aware of

Kind of a darker part of American history

So Maya Angelou's writing is a really great  way to kind of get some insight into this

All right! So let's move over to  something a little bit lighter

Now this intermediate book, I actually  just read this year and it's absolutely  

hilarious. So it mixes aspects of humor  and self-development in a fictional story

So it's a story about a poor young boy who grows  up to become a rich and successful businessman  

in rising Asia, which basically just  means that it's some city in Asia within  

an economy that is quickly developing. Now I actually was laughing out loud  

at times reading this one, guys. So I really think that you'll enjoy  

it. It's a quick read and it's really great if  you enjoy reading books about self-development  

but want something that's a bit lighter  that you could even read before bed.  

And if you do enjoy self-development booksthen I highly recommend that you check out  

this lesson I recently made giving you six books  that will change your English and your life

So you can find that by clicking up  here or down the description below

Alright! So next on our list, we  have another intermediate read

I actually listened to the audiobook of  this, which is really wonderfully narrated,  

on a trip to Brazil and it made it fly by. Now this is a young adult book technically,  

but I highly recommended it to all  of my students because Neil Gaiman  

is just such a beautiful writer. So I think that any adult really  

could enjoy this captivating story. Now, it's about a boy whose family is  

murdered and he somehow ends up in a graveyard  where the ghosts who live there raise him

So we kind of see his adventures  growing up in this graveyard

So it's light, it's enjoyable and you'll  learn some really great vocabulary

So if you love books about adventure and I highly  recommend that you give this one a read or listen

And another way that you can really take  your English vocabulary to the next level,  

which is obviously going to also help  you to read some of your favorite books,  

is with our free three-part masterclass! So I highly recommend that you check that  

out! You're going to have a ton of fun. You can learn more and sign up by clicking  

up here or down in the description belowAll right, so this is another advanced one  

and it's actually the only book on this  that is not actually a native English book  

but it has a really great translation. Now it's from Brazilian author Paulo Coelho  

and it's on this list because it  could really make a huge impact on you  

and also I recommend it because it was the  first ever book that I read in Portuguese

Now it's about a man who goes onjourney searching for a treasure,  

but really the real treasure are the  lessons that he learns along the way

Now another book that I almost added to this  list, but I didn't include because it's quite  

similar to this, is called Siddhartha. So it's another really great read  

because it includes a lot of great lessons for  your life. So I highly recommend that you pick  

up and read either of these if you want something  that you're not only going to highly enjoy reading  

but they can also help you to change your life. Alright, we are down to the last two  

which may or may not surprise you. So the second to last one is Harry Potter

Now many of you, I know will have already  read this, but it could be really great  

for you to reread it again in English. Now depending on which book you pick up, these  

could be from intermediate to advanced, and assaid, they're really great for language learners

This was actually the first book  that I read in Spanish and German

I've heard that you learned, basically, how to  speak English from Harry Potter, is that correct?  

Yes. My uncle taught me to read and to speak  at the same time with the Harry Potter books

So is that mean that maybe some of your first  English that you could speak was spell-based

Yes. I was such an annoying child, I likegod  bless my parentsit means that I was either  

casting spells continuously or using  very annoying words. Like I was such a  

precocious annoying little kid, it's like  “Mummy, I clean the dishes meticulously” 

Now young adult book series like this are really  fantastic because the author tends to develop them  

as the audience does, which means that kind of  as you go on reading the first couple books you  

might find really easy but then as you go  on, they become more and more difficult

So if you're right now at an intermediate level  and you start with the first book, kind of as  

you're going by reading more and more books your  English will be progressing as you get further in  

the story and they become more difficult. And something really great you could do  

is actually combine reading the  books with watching the movies

So a great place for you to start is actually  with this recent lesson that Andrea made,  

where she teaches you with the first book which  is called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's stone,  

if you read it in the USA, or Harry Potter and  the philosopher's stone, if you read it in the UK

So you can check that out by clicking  up here or down the description below

But if you've already read Harry Potter  and you want to read something similar  

but new instead, then I highly recommend  the series called The tales of the Otori

Now I absolutely love Japanese culture. I grew  up watching anime and playing Nintendo games,  

and this one takes place in feudal  Japan but it's a fictional story

So I highly recommend that you check that one  out as well, if you want another really great  

series that might remind you a little bit of  Harry Potter because it's also coming of age

But that is not the last book series  on this list the last one is actually

Hunger Games. So this one is number  one and it's an intermediate read

The reason that I placed it before Harry Potter is  actually because I find it a bit more accessible

It's only three books instead of seven, andthink that it's a really easy and fast read.  

Now as always when learning English, the most  important thing is to keep it fun and this is  

definitely true of the hunger games. It's actually the only book that I  

personally have ever read in less than 24 hours. I remember I was reading it at night and I looked  

over the clock and it was already 3 am and I was  almost finished with it and I just kept on going

So as I mentioned, this one is a quick  read you can learn so much from it and  

we also have a lesson with the movies  if you want to learn with that as well

Alright! I hope you really enjoyed today's list. Now quickly before you go, I want to just give  

you a couple of tips that will  help you with your reading

So first off, I recommend that you always  choose books that are aligned with what you  

already love reading in your native language. In fact, you could choose a book that you've  

already read in your native language and  read the translation of it in English

Now this is really great because it's easier  to understand when you already know this story

Now if you want some more tips on how to  improve your reading, then all you have  

to do is give this video a like to let me  know and I will create that video for you

And if there's any books that you think that  I missed or that you absolutely loved reading  

English, then comment that down below so you  can help other learners from around the world,  

who love reading just as much as you  do, to discover their next great book

Now it's time to go beyond the  classroom and live your English