Sir Francis Bacon said some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.
I do agree with him. I hope my English reading materials will develop my in-depth analysis skills, cultivate my taste, and cleanse my soul (ah, no Bible please).
I have read I have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King, White Bird by Yeats, O, Captain!My Captain!, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, A Red Red Rose, My Last Duchess, Of Studies by Francis Bacon, … I can enjoy these works because they are good thought and relatively simple English for me to understand them basically. I also dipped Treasure Island; Catcher in the Rye; Great Expectation (just a half), Jane Eyre (a little), well, though those are tougher for me. I have to give up some articles like - An Argument against Abolishing Christianity by Jonathon Swift because the English is tough for me.
Life is short; I think it is important to choose learning materials which is both good and suitable for me rather than thumbing them at random as I am doing currently.
If a foreigner wants to study Chinese language, I would recommend him/ her to start from the Chinese textbooks from elementary school to high school step by step because they are all well-chose articles from simple classic poems, essays, and excerpts of classic Chinese novels according to the levels of a learner’ language and mentality. I think there’s not short-cut for learning Chinese language genuinely. Without learning those works, even a foreigner speaks Mandarin fluently, needless to mention about Chinese culture, s/he might not really understand the sentiments of Chinese. For example, almost every Chinese can recite a small poem titled Homesick by Ancient Poet Li Bai, and we would probably think of it especially in the night of Moon Festival –a traditional Chinese festival for reunification if we could not go back and stay with our family.
I am wondering whether it is similar about learning language for Britons or other native English speakers or not. If yes, should I start from learning English articles from the textbook from Grade 1? Could you please especially recommend a few English articles which are suitable to chewed and digested?
English is my second language, and my English is not good enough to read long English novels or articles in Old English though I tried but often had to give them up halfway. So I hope they are:
* Works/ articles in modern English, suitable for ESL
* Available online
* Not too long
* Not too difficult
* Not about fairy tale
Your suggestions or comments are highly appreciated.
Last edited by thedaffodils; 31-Jul-2008 at 20:32. Reason: repeated words
Thank you for yoru contribution. Good newspaper articles indeed help me to understand the world and I try to browse through them everyday. To be frank, I am not very interested in them genuinely because many of them are about political mudslings, bombing, killing, murdering, chicanery, scandals, and sensational news something like man bites dog. I am upset by such news.
Yes, read anything that can sustain your interest. There's no point going into old classics which make you doze off after the first few pages. Having said that, I think it's good to try some of the old classic novels if you can by these authors:
H G Wells
Pearl S Buck (novels with settings in China)
D H Lawrence
Most of them are available free online.
not a teacher
Thank you for your recommendations. I'd like to start works with the setting -China so I probably can keep on reading easily. I choose Pearl S. Buck's first.
Last edited by thedaffodils; 31-Jul-2008 at 10:25.
Last edited by thedaffodils; 31-Jul-2008 at 20:33. Reason: grammatical errors
Another writer whose books were set in China is Daniele Vare - they will not be easy to find, but they are beautifully written. Try Abebooks for copies if you can buy books.
Also, you could try "The Empire of the Sun" by J.G. Ballard.
The problem with books available online is that they are out of copyright and therefore are likely to be old. Is there a British Council library within reach? If so you may well find newer novels to borrow.