Libros para leer en inglés

Reading novels in English should be enjoyable and not seen as work or as studying, so it’s important that you choose books that interest you and which you will enjoy reading.

Books, and especially novels, are also a great way to consolidate grammar knowledge and learn new vocabulary.  Therefore, choosing a novel set in an area or field of interest can be beneficial for learning vocabulary that is useful for you.  For example, I learned a lot of legal vocabulary in Spanish through reading John Grisham novels translated into Spanish.

So if you can combine fiction that you enjoy with a topic area that interests you, you’re onto a winner!

Below is a selction of books that either I or Spanish-speaking friends and clients have enjoyed reading, which you will find organised into different categories:

 

Never read a book in English? try one of these three:

 

Synopsis

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger’s, a form of autism. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.

Inglés Naturalmente Opinion:

As this story is written (or narrated) from Christopher’s point of view, the language is simple and clear.  This makes it a fantastic first book to read in English

 

 

Synopsis

The story of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some clues about the book on the cover, but in this case we think that would spoil the reading of the book. We think it is important that you start to read without knowing what it is about.

If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.  We hope you never have to cross such a fence.

Inglés Naturalmente Opinion:

This story is also written (or narrated) from the point of view of a young boy so once again, the language is simple and clear making it a great choice as a first book to read in English

 

 

 

Synopsis

‘My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

Wonder is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

Inglés Naturalmente Opinión

Another story narrated from the perspective of a child, so it’s easier to understand.  Great for both teenagers and adults, 

 

 

If you want to learn vocabulary related to the world of lawyers, courts and the legal system, any of John Grisham‘s legal novels would be a great choice.  John Grisham is an American novelist, attorney, politician and activist, best known for his popular legal thrillers His books have been translated into 42 languages and published worldwide.

Here are a few of my favourite John Grisham novels:

 

Synopsis

When Mitchell McDeere qualified third in his class at Harvard, offers poured in from every law firm in America. Bendini, Lambert and Locke were a small, well-respected firm, but their offer exceeded Mitch’s wildest expectations: a fantastic salary, a new home, and the keys to a brand new BMW.

It was his dream job – but it was to become his worst nightmare.

Unravelling a complex trail of secret files, undercover surveillance, and millions of dollars of illegal mob money, Mitch stumbles across a shocking conspiracy and a horrifying truth: nobody has ever left Bendini, Lambert and Locke – and anybody who has ever tried has ended up dead.

 

 

 

Synopsis

They found him in a small town in Brazil, near the border with Paraguay. He had a new name, Danilo Silva, and his appearance had been changed by plastic surgery. The search had taken four years. They’d chased him around the world, always just missing him. It had cost their clients $3.5 million. But so far none of them had complained.

The man they were about to kidnap had not always been called Danilo Silva. Before he had had another life, a life which ended in a car crash in February 1992. His gravestone lay in a cemetry in Biloxi, Mississippi. His name before his death was Patrick S. Lanigan. He had been a partner at an up-and-coming law firm. He had a pretty wife, a young daughter, and a bright future. Six weeks after his death, $90 million disappeared from the law firm.

It was then that his partners knew he was still alive, and the long pursuit had begun…

 

 

Synopsis

Michael Brock is billing the hours, making the money, rushing relentlessly to the top of Drake & Sweeney, a giant D.C. law firm. One step away from partnership, Michael has it all. Then, in an instant, it all comes undone: A homeless man takes nine lawyers hostage in the firm’s plush offices. When it’s all over, the man’s blood is splattered on Michael’s face, and suddenly Michael is willing to do the unthinkable. Rediscovering a conscience he lost long ago, Michael is leaving the big time for the streets where his attacker once lived, and where society’s powerless need an advocate for justice.

But there’s one break Michael can’t make from a secret that has floated up from the depths of Drake & Sweeney, from a confidential file that is now in Michael’s hands, and from a conspiracy that has already taken lives. Now Michael’s former partners are about to become his bitter enemies. Because to them, Michael Brock is the most dangerous man on the streets.

 

 

Synopsis

To the surprise and dismay of many, ownership was assumed by 23-year-old college drop-out, Willie Traynor. The future of the paper looked grim until a young mother was brutally raped and murdered by a member of the notorious Padgitt family. Traynor reported all the gruesome details, and his newspaper began to prosper.

The murderer, Danny Padgitt, was tried before a packed courtroom in Clanton, Mississippi. The trial came to a startling, dramatic end when the defendant threatened revenge against the jurors if they convicted him. Nevertheless, they found him guilty, and he was sentenced to life in prison.

But in Mississippi in 1970 ‘life’ didn’t necessarily mean ‘life’, and nine years later Danny Padgitt managed to get himself paroled. He returned to Ford County, and the retribution began.

 

 

 

Synopsis

An eleven-year-old has discovered a secret that not even an adult should know.

A US State Senator is dead, and Mark Sway is the only one who knows where the body is hidden. The FBI want him to tell them where it is, at whatever cost to Mark and his family.

The killer wants him silenced forever.

Reggie Love has been practising law for less than five years. Only she can save Mark from these twin threats. Together they must take on the might of the State and the wiles of a cold-blooded killer.

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

Sebastian Rudd is not your typical street lawyer. He works out of a customized bulletproof van, complete with Wi-Fi, a bar, a small fridge, fine leather chairs, a hidden gun compartment, and a heavily armed driver. He has no firm, no partners, no associates, and only one employee, his driver, who’s also his bodyguard, law clerk, confidant, and golf caddy. He lives alone in a small but extremely safe penthouse apartment, and his primary piece of furniture is a vintage pool table. He drinks small-batch bourbon and carries a gun.

Sebastian defends people other lawyers won’t go near: a drug-addled, tattooed kid rumored to be in a satanic cult, who is accused of molesting and murdering two little girls; a vicious crime lord on death row; a homeowner arrested for shooting at a SWAT team that mistakenly invaded his house.  Why these clients? Because he believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial, even if he, Sebastian, has to cheat to secure one. He hates injustice, doesn’t like insurance companies, banks, or big corporations; he distrusts all levels of government and laughs at the justice system’s notions of ethical behavior.

Sebastian Rudd is one of John Grisham’s most colorful, outrageous, and vividly drawn characters yet. Gritty, witty, and impossible to put down, Rogue Lawyer showcases the master of the legal thriller at his very best.

 

 

Business Novels 

Novels set in businesses or based oaround business people are a great way of combining exciting stories and learning useful vocabulary for a wide variety of business situations.

 

Synopsis

They spend their days – and too many of their nights – at work. Away from friends and family, they share a stretch of stained carpet with a group of strangers they call colleagues.

There’s Chris Yop, clinging to his ergonomic chair; Lynn Mason, the boss, whose breast cancer everyone pretends not to talk about; Carl Garbedian, secretly taking someone else’s medication; Marcia Dwyer, whose hair is stuck in the eighties; and Benny, who’s just – well, just Benny. Amidst the boredom, redundancies, water cooler moments, meetings, flirtations and pure rage, life is happening, to their great surprise, all around them.

Then We Came to the End is about sitting all morning next to someone you cross the road to avoid at lunch. It’s the story of your life and mine.

 

 

Synopsis

Bob Slocum was a promising executive. He had an attractive wife, three children, a nice house, and as many mistresses as he desired. His life was settled and ordered; he had conformed and society demanded he be happy – or at least pretend to be, But the pretence was becoming more and more difficult, as Slocum’s discontent grew into an overwhelming sense of desolation, frustration and fear. And then something happened. . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

A Hologram for the King takes us around the world to show how one man fights to hold himself and his splintering family together in the face of the global economy’s gale-force winds. In a rising Saudi Arabian city, far from weary, recession-scarred America, a struggling businessman pursues a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter’s college tuition, and finally do something great. This taut, richly layered, and elegiac novel is a powerful evocation of our contemporary moment — and a moving story of how we got here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

A sharp, witty and hugely entertaining debut novel, The Devil Wears Prada is The Nanny Diaries set in the world of high fashion.

Welcome to the dollhouse, baby!  When Andrea first sets foot in the plush Manhattan offices of Runway she knows nothing.  She’s never heard of the world’s most fashionable magazine, or its feared and fawned-over editor, Miranda Priestly. But she’s going to be Miranda’s assistant, a job millions of girls would die for.

She soon finds out that Miranda is a monster who makes Cruella de Vil look like a fluffy bunny. But also that this is her big break, and it’s going to be worth it in the end.

Isn’t it?

 

 

 

Financial Novels

It can be difficult for fiction to be more frightening than the truth when it comes to the world of finance.  Although they are less prominent and popular than legal mysteries, financial novels have their fans, with stories based on real-life scandals, downfalls and stock market crimes.  A more enjoyable way to learn financial vocabulary than studying for a financial exam!

 

Synopsis

Sherman McCoy is a WASP, bond trader and self-appointed ‘Master of the Universe’. He has a fashionable wife, a Park Avenue apartment and a Southern mistress. His spectacular fall begins the moment he is involved in a hit-and-run accident in the Bronx. Prosecutors, newspaper hacks, politicians and clergy close in on him, determined to bring him down.

Exuberant, scandalous and exceptionally discerning, The Bonfire of the Vanities was Tom Wolfe’s first venture into fiction and cemented his reputation as the foremost chronicler of his age.

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

U.S. defense intelligence operative Kate Molares is investigating a suspicious international money trail. Her instincts place her at the center of a plot involving a frightening new kind of terrorism: financial terrorism, perpetrated by a handsome Middle Eastern hedge fund mogul. His goal is to bring the global economy to its knees.

Kate’s mission takes her from D.C. to Venezuela, from Cuba to Connecticut. She must race to piece together this global puzzle, or risk the catastrophic destruction of the world’s financial markets.

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

After Augustus McKnight reaps the rewards of a clever online investment, he rushes home to tell his wife, only to discover that she wants a divorce, but when she is brutally murdered, leaving him as the sole beneficiary of her million-dollar life insurance policy, he delves into his job as a full-time day trader and is unexpectedly plunged into an intricate game of intrigue, manipulation, and revenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Novels

Below is a selection of novels which aren’t business related but which are considered to be great stories and enjoyable reads. In some cases, a “Reader Comment” about the book, it’s language and/or level of difficulty has been included from the person who recommended the book.

 

Synopsis

On New year’s Eve disgraced TV presenter Martin Sharp plans to end it all . . . but not, as it happens, alone. Because first single-mum Maureen, then eighteen-year-old Jess and lastly American rock-god JJ turn up and crash Martin’s private party. They’ve stolen his idea – but brought their own reasons.

Yet it’s hard to jump when you’ve got an audience queuing impatiently behind you. A few heated words and some slices of cold pizza later and these four strangers are suddenly allies. But is their unlikely friendship a good enough reason to carry on living?

A Long Way Down is a darkly hilarious and moving novel by bestselling author Nick Hornby.

Reader Comment

This is my favourite Nick Hornby novel.

 

 

Synopsis

Is it possible to share your life with someone whose record collection is incompatible with your own? Can people have terrible taste and still be worth knowing? Do songs about broken hearts and misery and loneliness mess up your life if consumed in excess?

For Rob Fleming, thirty-five years old, a pop addict and owner of a failing record shop, these are the sort of questions that need an answer, and soon. His girlfriend has just left him. Can he really go on living in a poky flat surrounded by vinyl and CDs or should he get a real home, a real family and a real job? Perhaps most difficult of all, will he ever be able to stop thinking about life in terms of the All Time Top Five bands, books, films, songs – even now that he’s been dumped again, the top five break-ups?

Memorable, sad and very, very funny, this is the truest book you will ever read about the things that really matter.

 

 

Synopsis

Will Freeman is thirty-six, he’s as hip as a teenager. He’s single, child-free, goes to the right clubs and knows which trainers to wear. He’s also found a great way to score with women: attend single parents’ groups full of available (and grateful) mothers, all hoping to meet a Nice Guy.

Which is how Will meets Marcus, the oldest twelve-year-old on the planet. Marcus is a bit strange: he listens to Joni Mitchell and Mozart, looks after his mum and has never owned a pair of trainers. But Marcus latches on to Will – and won’t let go. Can Will teach Marcus how to grow up cool? And can Marcus help Will just to grow up?

This astonishing novel, now a modern classic, was adapted for the acclaimed 2002 film About A Boy, starring Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult. Fans of One Day by David Nicholls and Any Human Heart by William Boyd will devour this book, as will lovers of fiction everywhere.

 

 

Synopsis

‘I was looking for a quiet place to die. Someone recommended Brooklyn, and so the next morning I travelled down there from Westchester to scope out the terrain . . .’So begins Paul Auster’s remarkable new novel, The Brooklyn Follies.

Set against the backdrop of the contested US election of 2000, it tells the story of Nathan and Tom, an uncle and nephew double-act. One in remission from lung cancer, divorced, and estranged from his only daughter, the other hiding away from his once-promising academic career, and, indeed, from life in general.

Having accidentally ended up in the same Brooklyn neighbourhood, they discover a community teeming with life and passion. When Lucy, a little girl who refuses to speak, comes into their lives, there is suddenly a bridge from their pasts that offers them the possibility of redemption.  Infused with character, mystery and humour, these lives intertwine and become bound together as Auster brilliantly explores the wider terrain of contemporary America – a crucible of broken dreams and of human folly.

 

 

Synopsis

Six days ago, a man blew himself up by the side of a road in northern Wisconsin . . .

The explosion that detonates the narrative of Paul Auster’s remarkable novel also ends the life of its hero, Benjamin Sachs, and brings two FBI agents to the home of one of Sachs’s oldest friends, the writer Peter Aaron. What follows is Aaron’s story, an intricate, subtle and gripping investigation of another man’s life in all its richness and complexity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

What is the What is Dave Eggers’s astonishing novel about one of the world’s most brutal civil wars.

Valentino Achak Deng is just a boy when conflict separates him from his family and forces him to leave his small Sudanese village, joining thousands of other orphans on their long, long walk to Ethiopia, where they find safety – for a time. Along the way Valentino encounters enemy soldiers, liberation rebels and deadly militias, hyenas and lions, disease and starvation. But there are experiences ahead that will test his spirit in even greater ways than these . . .

Truly epic in scope, and told with expansive humanity, deep compassion and unexpected humour, What is the What is an eye-opening account of life amid the madness of war and an unforgettable tale of tragedy and triumph.

 

 

 

Synopsis

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.

As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO.

Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world-even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public.

What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

 

 

Synopsis

Published in the first month of the first year of the new century, Zadie Smith’s debut novel White Teeth – winner of the Guardian First Book Award and the Whitbread First Novel Award – was an immediate bestseller and stunningly acclaimed.

One of the most talked about fictional débuts of ever, White Teeth is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel, adored by critics and readers alike. Dealing – among many other things – with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, it is a life-affirming, riotous must-read of a book.

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

Set in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Havana, Hemingway’s magnificent fable is the story of an old man, a young boy and a giant fish. It was The Old Man and the Sea that won for Hemingway the Nobel Prize for Literature. Here, in a perfectly crafted story, is a unique and timeless vision of the beauty and grief of man’s challenge to the elements in which he lives. Not a single word is superflous in this widely admired masterpiece, which once and for all established his place as one of the giants of modern literature.

Reader Comment

The story is very descriptive and with references to Spanish , so it’s a good one to develop vocabulary without having to use the dictionary all the time. I have read other books by Hemingway in English but this was the easiest one to get me started.

 

 

 

Synopsis

Tessa Quayle has been horribly murdered on the shores of Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya, the birthplace of mankind. Her presumed African lover, a doctor with one of the aid agencies, has disappeared. Her husband, Justin, a career diplomat and amateur gardener at the British High Commission in Nairobi, sets out on a personal odyssey in pursuit of the killers and their motive. His quest takes him to the Foreign Office in London, across Europe and Canada and back to Africa, to the depths of South Sudan, and finally to the very spot where Tessa died.

On his way Justin meets terror, violence, laughter, conspiracy and knowledge. But his greatest discovery is the woman he barely had time to love.

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

Afghanistan, 1975: Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.

Reader Comment

A very powerful story. One of my favourite novels.

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.

Reader Comment

Another powerful tale by Khaled Hosseini.

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

Confined to a nursing home and about to turn 100, Allan Karlsson, who has a larger-than-life back story as an explosives expert, climbs out of the window in his slippers and embarks on an unforgettable adventure involving thugs, a murderous elephant and a very friendly hot dog stand operator.

 

Reader Comment

Very funny and easy to read.

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

Ray Bradbury’s Internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future. Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television. When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

 

 

 

Synopsis

The hero-narrator of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children’s voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden’s voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

 

 

If there is a particular book that you have read and enjoyed in English and which you would like to recommend, please let me know by emailing me at [email protected]