Recommended Reading for English Learners
Fiction for Adults
These are popular English novels from many different genres that appeal to many adult readers. Some of these are taught in high school and post-secondary school courses. English learners may want to look for abridged versions of these books if the reading level is too high.
- Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
A memoir by an Irish-American who spent his childhood in poverty with an alcoholic father.
- Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
A mystery thriller about a plot to destroy Vatican City.
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
A satire about corruption related to the Russian Revolution and the Stalin era.
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
A series about a young Canadian orphan who is adopted by an elderly couple in PEI.
- Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
A satirical story about an aging writer and a car salesman.
- Bridget Jones’s Diary Helen Fielding
The personal diary of an English woman who is tired of single life.
- Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
A Canadian painter reminisces about her childhood friendships.
- Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
A mystery novel about a murder at the Louvre Museum. Explores the history of Christianity.
- Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
A fictional memoir of a man who reminisces about his past while looking for meaning in his life.
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
A Tamil man recounts his childhood experience of being stranded on a boat with a Bengal tiger.
- Mysteries by Agatha Christie
Over 60 detective stories.
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
A story of two migrant field workers who dream of having their own land. Set in California during the Great Depression.
- Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Stories about a detective from London, recorded by friend and biographer Dr. Watson.
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
A story about female black women in the American South in the 1930s.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
A science fiction novel about a future America where women's rights are removed.
- The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
A story about the relationships and family secrets of four Chinese women living in America.
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
A story of friendship that explores the history of Afghanistan.
- The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
The story of an old, Cuban fisherman who is on a mission to make the catch of his life.
- The Pearl by John Steinbeck
A novella about the adventures of a pearl diver.
- The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
A coming-of-age story set in the American South during the year of the Civil Rights Act.
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
An African novel about a wrestling champion and his community in pre-colonial Nigeria.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A classic American novel about racial injustice in America's Deep South.