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Old 06-05-2009, 02:35 AM   #1
mgph
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fictions for a beginner?

Hi,

Can someone advise which English fictions should be read to improve for language learners ?

English is as my foreign language and I'm still trying to make the language barrier gap smaller but still, having difficulties occasionally. For you to suggest me which books I should read, my English skill level is (I think) somewhere around pre-intermediate/intermediate (got IELTS 6.0). I know this is not the right place to discuss/request for English learners but I believe reading English fictions/books/short stories can greatly improve (vocab, grammar, usage) as well as enjoy while learning. I've tried some fictions but cannot understand fully (understand around 50-70% only for each page in average).

Hence, can someone tell me which English fictions should be read for a language learner ?

Last edited by mgph; 06-05-2009 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:36 AM   #2
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You might enjoy some of the "Sherlock Holmes" short stories.
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:33 AM   #3
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When learning a new language by reading, it is important to start to read a subject which you understand. This way, the concepts are not difficult, only the words for them. Are you interested in Sports or Biology or Outer Space or Police or Mythology or Military/War or the Ocean or Flying or Computers or Music? There are easy fictions about all of these subjects.

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Old 06-05-2009, 01:45 PM   #4
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Maybe get a easy to read (young adult?) book that is available in English and in your native language, that way you can compare both versions while reading to understand the context of the language/grammar better.
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Old 06-05-2009, 01:49 PM   #5
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Welcome to MobileRead, mgph.

Let us know your interests, and we could perhaps suggests some books you would enjoy.
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
You might enjoy some of the "Sherlock Holmes" short stories.
Perhaps something with more modern usage would be a better idea?

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Old 06-05-2009, 07:20 PM   #7
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wow, thanks so much for your invaluable advice for me.

@ BinaryTB, the area I'm quite interested in is something that related to Computer which I'm currently attending as a bachelor course. I've tried some fantasy fictions but so far only the Lords of the Ring by Tokkiens (my bad if mistakenly wrong but bet you all know which one I mean) could make me fully enjoy as movie + fiction, there is no way to get confused (yet only some plots settings like telling background themes). Others, well, I understand only the stories' backbone roughly but never get sucked into their flows because of my language barriers.

@ desertgrandma, thanks grandma, I'm very glad being here where everyone is very kind and active to help.

I know at starting level, it's always tough (for every area, not only in this language field), read page by page or chapter by chapter, take notes for unknown words or phrase, search using dictionary or online websites, and memorize them would make even a dumb like me to improve. But, you know, read, search and translate into what I understand is cumbersome and a bit inconvenient for me. I just want to have fun while learning even though it cannot give 100% enjoyment.

Thanks guys, really appreciate your help.
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:28 PM   #8
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Well if you like movie fiction, you can't go wrong with Harry Potter either, I enjoyed the books and the movies. As for something with a computer science touch, there's tons of sci-fi out there, you could maybe try out some science fiction short stories first, see if you can get into them easily, then move onto some harder (both in fiction and writing) novels. Get some science fiction mags (Analog Science Fiction or Asimov's Science Fiction) or check the Locus and/or Nebula awards for some good sci-fi short story recommendations.
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:49 PM   #9
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What about reading your favorite book in your native language in English translation. You will be very familiar with it which will help with comprehension.
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:09 PM   #10
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@BinaryTB, thanks again, well, about to go to library to borrow HP series

@toomanybooks, yes, I'll do it so soon too.

thanks a dozen of millions, guys !
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:40 PM   #11
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If you saw the last Star Trek movie, you could read the ebook too !
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:30 PM   #12
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I was going a little different direction

I suggest:

First read a fiction or two in English which you already read in your language or have seen the movie version.

Then you might try -

Wyrm by Mark Fabi

Hackers - a book of short stories edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois.

Z4ck - Kevin Milne

Legends - A book of Fantasy short stories edited by R. Silverberg

A book of Science Fiction short stories by Larry Niven
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:26 AM   #13
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English is also not my mothertongue. I noticed that the difficulty level of a given book depends on whether it is an _english_ book or an _american_ book. For me, english books are harder to read than american ones, I guess mainly because I'm more used to american. But somehow the structures of the sentences seem more complicated to me in english. For instance, in the Harry Potter series, when I switched to reading them in english (at the fifth one I think), the first sentence took me a long while to figure out because the structure was strange to me (something about the hottest day of the summer so far coming to an end).

So maybe it would be the opposite for you, but I suggest you consider the nationality of the author when choosing a book.

If you like re-reading books, I also suggest that you read in english a book that you read in your mothertongue and enjoyed.
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgph View Post
wow, thanks so much for your invaluable advice for me.

@ BinaryTB, the area I'm quite interested in is something that related to Computer which I'm currently attending as a bachelor course. I've tried some fantasy fictions but so far only the Lords of the Ring by Tokkiens (my bad if mistakenly wrong but bet you all know which one I mean) could make me fully enjoy as movie + fiction, there is no way to get confused (yet only some plots settings like telling background themes). Others, well, I understand only the stories' backbone roughly but never get sucked into their flows because of my language barriers.

@ desertgrandma, thanks grandma, I'm very glad being here where everyone is very kind and active to help.

I know at starting level, it's always tough (for every area, not only in this language field), read page by page or chapter by chapter, take notes for unknown words or phrase, search using dictionary or online websites, and memorize them would make even a dumb like me to improve. But, you know, read, search and translate into what I understand is cumbersome and a bit inconvenient for me. I just want to have fun while learning even though it cannot give 100% enjoyment.

Thanks guys, really appreciate your help.

I would like to suggest the Narnia fantasy books by C.S. Lewis. They are for younger readers, but they have themes that even adults need to understand. (And trust me, there are some adults with horrible manners who have no idea about courtesy, thankfulness, enrichment of life, forgiveness - the entire scope of what it means to be Human.)

The set (7 books) is a wonderfully and beautifully developed fantasy that showcases what we can accomplish when we combine love and courage against fear and tyranny. It touches upon all that is triumphant and noble in the Human Race.


Don
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:45 AM   #15
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I suggest In the Beginning...Was the Command Line by Neal Stephenson, which is a humorous book about Linux vs Windows.

Also The Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric S. Raymond, which is available free via this link to the authors web page or you can buy the commercial ebook from O'Reilly. This might be harder to read, but ESR has shorter works on his web page and the language used is likely to be similar to what you will come across talking to others with a computer background.

I agree with wayspooled that Larry Niven's science fiction would be a good choice. FictionWise has many of his best short stories as individual titles. If you like them, then Baen's Webscriptions has several of his novels (the ones written jointly with Jerry Pournelle). I like The Mote in God's Eye best, but Oath of Fealty might be a better introduction.

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