So you are learning English and every man and their dog has a book they tell you to read. The best books are the ones you are interested in. As with all languages, English is about knowledge. About improving your understanding of the real world and of a fantasy world.
From grammar to visualization, English improves your ability to look at the big picture problems of the world. Through comprehension and phonetics, English can keep you thinking. Be a cheap way of relaxing and building the opinions you will need to complete standardized tests such as IELTS and TOEFL.
The books in this article are a guide to improve all aspects of language. From grammar to create a new world in your own imagination.
Grammar, let's get the boring bit out of the way first.
Grammar is all those little rules that help you understand the knowledge the author is trying to give you. That is it, nothing more nothing less. One of the best things about reading to improve knowledge is your ability to take information from various sources and form an educated opinion. Although grammar should be respected it is not perfect and can change. Commas are fashionable at the moment when a full stop (period) gives the reader much more time to pause, consider the information in the sentence, and add that knowledge to the next sentence being read. When you see a full stop fully stop and consider the information. Reading is not a race. It should be interesting.
For grammar, I suggest using the Cambridge grammar in-use series textbooks. To make it a more interesting look at the information within the sentences and how the grammar rules help you understand the knowledge.
I also suggest something that is very unfashionable at the moment. Learn the British phonetics of the alphabet. On youtube, you will find a children's series called “Alphablocks”. I suggest learning the letter, digraph, and trigraph sounds to help improve pronunciation. Reading aloud is a good way to hear yourself speaking in full grammatically correct sentences.
Current affairs, What is happening in the world around you?
For some, current affairs can be the next war or it can be a baby elephant drawing a picture of itself eating ice cream. Sorry I love visualization while reading. It often gets in the way of my writing.
Whatever your tastes, and interests, they should reflect the current affairs you read. For those who are serious about Anthropology then there are many websites you can use to understand finance, Geopolitics, or how your own community is planning the future.
www.theconversation.com has many articles written by academics all over the world. As English is the global language then The Conversation gives interesting mainstream views from the academic world. I also suggest reading articles from your own country's English language newspaper. For a different perspective read articles from English language newspapers from other countries as well.
History, the culture behind the language.
Have you ever wondered why idioms are different in most languages? To understand the culture and improve society language was created. The language gives knowledge of the culture. I personally enjoy reading books, from all genres, written about 100 years ago. I enjoy Anthropology so learn about how others lived without the technologies of today. Some very dedicated people are taking books that are now out of copyright and transferring them into ebooks.
https://www.gutenberg.org has hundreds of ebooks for free. All are over 60 years old. The great titles such as Great expectations, Gone with the wind and Dot the Kangaroo are all available. Many hours of dedication have been given by people, in their free time, to give us this huge library.
Reading for fun, let your imagination run wild in the happiest, scariest, friendliest, stressfulness (I am not sure that is a word but can you visualize it) places in the fantasy worlds of your choice.
Reading the book is always better than the movie! Have you ever heard that saying? What does it mean?
It depends on your perception. That is the beauty of the word perception. Its definition is “The process or state of being aware of something.” Your perception is how you understand what you read. A movie will give you the picture and the sound it wants you to perceive. You have no choice but to remember the storyline as the director wanted you to.
Books on the other hand allow you to visualize, perceive the knowledge and storyline as you wish. It is the world you are creating through making that little picture in your head as you read the scene. The dark, scaled, furious dragon gently caresses the newborn child as the mother cowers. Scared that her own flesh and blood may become the next meal of this vile creature. Luckily the dragon understood the child was significant to the storyline of the novel so the baby was unharmed.
My favorite author is Neil Gaiman. His ability to help you turn his words into pictures is one of the most amazing talents I have found in an author. His most famous book is “Coraline”. Do not watch the movie as the book is so much better.
Reading makes the world a better place.
Reading gives us much more freedom to learn new things. It gives you the ability to question others through your own perceptions and experiences. It does not give you all the information, like video, but allows you to learn and make a much more informed choice of how you understand the world around you. It is OK to disagree. It is OK to agree. What is more important is our ability to understand cultures from all over this planet and those made up in fantasy. English can give you those skills as it is the global language. Enjoy using it to meet people. To agree or disagree based on your own perceptions.