Reading is one of the best ways to practice English. It’s fun, relaxing and helps you improve your comprehension skills and vocabulary.

To help you pick out books, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite novels. The stories are full of adventures and exciting characters – and better yet, they are easy to read for language learners.

So here are our top 7 books to help you practise English at home.


1. One Day, by David Nicholls


One Day tells the story of Dexter and Emma who spend a night together after their university graduation. Each chapter revisits the lives of the protagonists on the same date for twenty years. Their relationship evolves over the years: sometimes they’re together, sometimes they’re chasing their individual dreams. It’s a funny, endearing and bittersweet tale of friendship and the unfairness of life.

If you love this easy-to-read novel, watch the 2011 film adaptation that stars Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.


2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon


This mystery novel – with a mysterious title – takes the reader on a journey into the mind of Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old boy who sees the world and the people around him in a different way.

Christopher finds himself in the middle of an adventure after he discovers the dead body of the neighbour’s dog, speared by a garden fork. As the story unfolds, Christopher finds out the truth about his mother. He also travels to London alone and takes an A-level maths exam, all in a frenzy of excitement and fear.

We love this book – and the English level is perfect for intermediate learners.

Bookcase - 7 books you should read to improve your English | Oxford House Barcelona

3. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman


Northern Lights – known as The Golden Compass in the US – is the first book in Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials. It was published in 1995 and has since become a classic in the young-adult fantasy genre.

The novel tells the story of twelve-year-old Lyra Belacqua. She’s a brave and curious girl who lives in a world of mythical creatures and parallel universes. Like all humans in this world, she has a “daemon”, a talking spirit animal that constantly accompanies her. Together, they embark on a journey that is filled with danger and excitement.

If you’re looking for a thrilling but easy book to read in English, Northern Lights is a great place to start. You won’t be able to put it down!


4. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster


Published in 1961, The Phantom Tollbooth is still one of the best books for young adults and language learners.

The novel follows Milo, a young boy who goes on a fantasy adventure after receiving a mysterious package that contains a miniature tollbooth. He drives through the tollbooth in his toy car and finds himself in magical places where he meets all kinds of strange characters.

The text is littered with puns and wordplay, which make the book even more fun – and a great opportunity for language learners to practise their skills.


5. Wonder by R. J. Palacio


Wonder tells the story of August “Auggie” Pullman, a home-schooled fifth-grader living in Manhattan. He has a medical condition that has left his face disfigured. At the start of the novel, his parents decide to enrol him into a private middle school for the first time ever.

Throughout the school year, Auggie faces many challenges because of his appearance. He’s often bullied and beaten by other kids. Against all odds, the kind and courageous little boy manages to make friends.

Wonder made the New York Times bestseller list and was adapted into a hit movie starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as Auggie’s parents and Jacob Tremblay as Auggie.

Reading - 7 books you should read to improve your English | Oxford House Barcelona

6. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi


Persepolis is a graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi. It uses a combination of drawings and text to tell the story of her childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

The novel begins in 1980 and focuses on the impact of war and extremist religious ideology on Iranian people, especially women. Marji witnesses unspeakable atrocities that change her life forever.

Persepolis was originally published in French and later translated into many languages, reaching worldwide audiences. It’s an easy read in terms of language, but difficult in terms of the subject matter.

The graphic novel was made into a beautiful and critically acclaimed adult animated film in 2007. The good news? You can watch it in Barcelona on the 12th of March in the Palacio Nacional de Montjuïc. Click here for more details!


7. Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl


A book that has had an impact on more than one generation of young adults, Roald Dahl’s Danny was first published in 1975. It centres on a young boy living in an old caravan with his father.

When Danny discovers that his father is a skilled poacher, he decides to accompany him on a mission, his most ambitious one yet: capturing 120 pheasants by feeding them sleeping pills. Their mischievous plan leads to all kinds of complications involving a wealthy businessman, Mr Hazell. Will Danny and his father come out triumphant?

Everyone should read this refreshingly sincere and entertaining book once in their lifetime. What better way to practice your English skills?

Can’t get enough of reading books in English? Check out our list of 7 graded readers for all levels.

Glossary for Language Learners


Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Round up (pv): to bring together.

Protagonist (n): the main character in a book or a film.

Endearing (adj): inspiring love or affection.

Spear (v): drive a spear or other pointed object into something.

Frenzy (n): a state of craziness.

Genre (n): a category of literature or music.

Embark on (v): begin.

Tollbooth (n): a kiosk by the side of the road where drivers pay a fee to use the road.

Disfigured (adj): ruined or spoilt, for example by a scar.

Against all odds (exp): despite something that seems unlikely or improbable.

Atrocity (n): an extremely cruel act.

Poacher (n): someone who hunts illegally.

Pheasant (n): a large, long-tailed bird.

Mischievous (adj): naughty.


pv = phrasal verb

n = noun

adj = adjective

v = verb

exp = expression

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