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Popular books about major themes

To improve my English, I read novels, but, sometimes, I think there is a better way of spending my time studying English, but also other branches of knowledge.
"Expliqué à" is a very good collection of books written in French. This collection is about major themes of society, politics, civic education, philosophy and history, in the form of questions and answers between a specialist, recognized in his field, and a child.
Is there anything similar written in English?

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AussieInBg profile picture AussieInBgW zeszłym miesiącu

The basic question of ”what to read to improve your English” is all about what level your language is, your knowledge of specialised vocabulary for specific topics and so on.

From what I can see of several examples of ””Expliqué à”, it seems to be at about B2 level. It’s not so bad for my very rusty French smile.gif

There doesn’t seen to be all that much around about specific ”good non-fiction books for practising English”. I’ve seen a few adapted texts, but nothing which really inspires confidence for me.

Most ”books for English learners” are generally fiction. The reason for that is the hugely disproportional numbers of native speaker literature graduates who end up teaching English as a second language (many have no clue about linguistics and the structure of language, the consequence of which is very poor teaching. But that’s another issue...).

If your English level is at about B2 and you wish to read something substantial and more specialised, then I would recommend high school text books on the subject of interest.

For British English, I’d in general suggest textbooks targeted towards students somewhere around the 14-16 year age group whereas for American English, textbooks for the 17-18 year-old high school group and even 1st year college text books. I suggest the age-group difference here because, for whatever reasons, the American education system has really dumbed-down the quality of their written texts - in terms of both vocabulary and grammar - and this even extends into tertiary education.

If you are already a specialist/expert in a particular field, then university texts in your area might be appropriate. More difficult grammar and general vocabulary is compensated for by bringing context and specific vocabulary from your professional field to make reading easier.

Generally, for whatever you read - make sure you are reading from a paper book if you are serious about improving your language skills. Computer screens are something like 25% less effective for learning. Companies such as Microsoft have spent billions and decades on research to try to find alternatives to paper which replicate "dead tree format" in its success. But old-fashioned books are still here for serious reading.

  • AussieInBg profile picture AussieInBg4 tygodnie temu
    If the level of what you are reading feels a bit too ”easy”, then you can try something a little more difficult.

    There’s no rule stopping you from reading something ”easy” - after all, it’s not just about improving your English, but enjoying what you are doing!

    What was missing from my first post was ”The most important criterion when choosing a book is that it is enjoyable!!!”.

  • angelopaganini profile picture angelopaganiniW zeszłym miesiącu
    Thank you!
    I will look for GCSEs books.
    I have already read ”GCSE modern world history” by Ben Walsh and I have found it easy and interesting.