Aww yeah! What's going on? I'm Ethan, your 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
but quickly before we do, I will let you know that if you are new here,
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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 book, I 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 sings” made a huge impact on me when I had to study it in high school.
A free bird leaps on the back of the wind, and 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 books, then 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 below. All 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 on a journey 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 as I said, 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 like… god bless my parents… it 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, and I think 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!