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A great way to speed up your English learning is to find a good book to read in English in your free time.  It will help you to absorb grammar structures and learn lots of new vocabulary.

If you are choosing a book to read in English for the first time it may be a good idea to select a book you’ve already read and enjoyed in Spanish.  The Harry Potter series are great books to start with if you are familiar with the characters and storylines.  Why not read them in the language they were originally written in.  Likewise, you can try other popular book/film series such as The Hunger Games and Twilight.

Books that adult English learners may enjoy are UK authors David Nicholls and Nick Hornby.  These books typically have lots of dialogue so are great for learning and revising colloquial language and idiomatic expressions. Their stories are set in the UK so include plenty of English cultural references.  Or, in the case of David Nicholls’ most recent book ‘Us’ the story is mainly set in England but also includes a europtrip that concludes in Madrid.  Enjoy how the English characters describe their first impressions of Madrid.

Another option is to go for a modern classic from authors such as George Orwell, Ernest Hemingway or William Golding. All three writers are known and beloved for their clear, direct and concise writing style. Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ is a short novel in which farmyard animals represent what happened during the Russian revolution.  The animals speak in very short sentences, making it easier for the non-native speaker to understand.  Hemingway sets many of his stories in Spain, for example his novel, ‘Fiesta: the Sun Also Rises’ which is set during the fiestas of San Fermines and follows one man’s week of partying. Again, Spanish readers may enjoy how their country and traditions are explored from non-native eyes. Finally, Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ is the classic story about a group of school boys stranded on a desert island and the drama and violence that unfolds.  A book regularly chosen by teachers for English school children to read around the ages of 13-15, it is perfect for intermediate learners of English to try.

If this has inspired you to get reading in English ask at GNP for a book to borrow from our library. Or, get yourself down to one of Madrid’s second hand English bookshops.  You can find second hand books at J&J’s bookshop just by Noviciado metro. Or explore the English Spanish used book shop Desperate Literature, near to Opera metro, and meet the shop cat while you’re there.

Vocabulario de interés

(phrasal verb) to speed up: to move faster/quicken

(adjective) beloved: adored, loved a lot

(verb) to set: to place a story, book or film, in a specific place

(adjective) stranded: left somewhere without escape

(verb) to unfold: the way actions and events develop

(colloquial expression) get somebody down to: go to

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