Student or Learner
Which is the best for study and reading in order to gain vocabulary and expression. old novels that were written in the 17th or 18th century or new ones.
Ahh, but you assume modern novels contain the same breadth of vocabulary and expression as older ones
I'd suggest a range, personally. There's novels and "novels" and a modern science fiction novel is likely to leave you with some vocabulary that will make no sense to most people, as such novels often have their own "language" for the universe they create.
If you want to read modern fiction, stick to the more realistic stuff, at least at first. Modern detective fiction probably offers a good range of useful everyday vocabulary. Reading some older novels too will probably teach a more elegant use of language, and you are likely to learn a lot about sentence structure and grammar from them, but remember that idioms change over time so be careful with any unusual expressions you might pick up from them.
(But some people will not be dissuaded from seeing us as dyed-in-the-wool dinosaurs - hmm, perhaps that should be 'mammoths'. )
Also reading certain old novels is necessary to understand some modern expressions (as well as watching old movies)!
Thanks everyone. I bought some old novels such as Jane Auston's and Charles Dickens' and fortunately I got all audios of these novels which are recorded by native speakers. I thought it's a good idea to read and listen at the same time without bothering myself and looking up words pronunciation in dictionaries and also to mimic the accent, intonation, sounds etc but the language are hard I can't even guess the meanings. I find it annoying to have to pause the audio every few seconds to look up a dictionary. If it deserves the effort, I'll keep trying.
If you understand what they're talking about, I'd recommend you just listen carefully without putting so much effort into looking the words up. I guess you have limited time, and listening is more worthwhile than looking words up in my opinion. And more pleasant too I guess!
BBC - Drama - Pride and Prejudice
While not perfect (but I love the book so much, no adaptation would truly satisfy me) it was excellent. It remains very faithful to the original text; Austen wrote great dialogue which makes that easy in my opinion. Perhaps watching some of it first would help? It would give you a feel for the characters and storyline, and might make then reading the book a little easier.
But please, do make sure to read the book afterwards - good as the adaptation is, the book is a million times better!
Why not try reading/listening first some simplified texts, like those properly written for ESL learners at various levels? Or some children/teenager literature?
I am currently studying German. My German level is far from my English level. I am eager to read the German classics, some "real" texts, but I know it is not possible at the present time. So I have been enjoying reading simplified texts while listening to the audio recorded by native speakers. I have been really having fun with them - and I have set up an appointment with the German classics for next year.