Sunday, December 16, 2012

Let's Read English Novels

Suggestion: How about reading an English-written novel?
Response: No way. Unless I’ve got particular reasons to do so.

Question: What might those reasons be?
Answer: Aha, good questions!

Does one need to read an English novel? Think carefully before you answer. Before that, let me share with you some reasons of mine that might be useful tips for your decision making. I love reading so much. My current focus is more upon English-written novels. And of course, the writers are English.

There’re actually loads of benefits of reading an English-written novel that I myself have been identifying. And they are:

§  To learn English typical phrases

I used to find a few books at market written to help out our community in English learning. So many phrases in the book, however, look more appropriate for children aged 7-15. In other words, too basic. Except for new beginners, it’s alright, if you ask me.

When seeing an English movie with English subtitle shown at the bottom of the screen, you’ll surely find a whole lot of phrases. Some or a lot more phrases that maybe, you wouldn’t even be able to figure them out on your own. So, the finest way to sort this problem out is just look up the unknown phrases in top-notch dictionaries just like Oxford.

Let’s say the phrase you’re searching is hold your horses, ‘horse’ or ‘hold’ is possibly the keywords. English phrases in general have different meaning and YOU SHOULDN’T TRANSLATE AN ENGLISH PHRASE WORD BY WORD. Most phrases are to be memorized. I can tell.

Before mentioning the next reason, let me leave you with several examples of English phrases which include none of your business, make yourself at home, by all means and what a shame.

§  English and Malay writing styles are a little bit dissimilar

Given a situation as an example. A Kelantanese Malay female pupil is writing an English essay for an English language lesson. The pupil herself would tend to translate Malay words or phrases to English word by word. It’s possible, isn’t it?

The phrase, masuk telinga kanan keluar telinga kiri for instance. The pupil is most likely to translate the phrase as follows: “come in right ear, go out left ear.” This sounds so Malay, you know. Although those are all English words. Do you see my point? In this case, I mean, she is writing in English but her writing doesn’t sound English but Malay instead.

§  To gain new English vocabulary

This reason is like ‘everybody can think of’. I’m so sure even many schoolchildren can come up with this one. Keep in mind that when you read an English novel, you needn’t look up all those unknown words. You needn’t! My advice is read on and on.

If you notice a certain word or phrase come out frequently over your reading, then it’s good for you to look the word/phrase up. These words or phrases may be amongst the most typical ones that the native speakers normally use in their everyday conversation.

But then again, one thing you cannot keep on improving is your speaking skill. There might be little, but certainly not so much.


ü The title said on the front cover would inspire you to get it – yet, not that enough! Look on the back cover of the novel. Synopsis is most usually written out and I always find the ‘high quality’ of various English novels as well proven via genuine comments from well-known West magazines, papers etc like People and The New York Times.

At least, hopefully, reading the synopsis on the back cover can give you an early description of the entire plot of the novel. Even though I can only guarantee 60% accurate.

ü Give it a shot. Make a purchase of the novel you think is good. This is because, as far as I’m concerned, novels are can’t-open and plastic-covered things. If you want to read it, you have to buy. No choice, man. It could be worth every penny, though. Who knows? And, moreover, you yourself have no idea what the plot of the novel is all about, do you?

ü Make yourself feel compelled to finish reading the novel you’ve already purchased although you would find the very plot uninteresting after having read the first three chapters.

I used to do that. The novel looked slightly ‘something to find out’ in the first place. Only did I know it’s a quite boring one right after I finished reading the first chapter. And it was! I still tried my hardest to read it till the ending, though.

One advantage of reading the boring novel is that you’ve got to know the novelist’s writing style. And, I’m pretty convinced, afterwards, you wouldn’t fancy reading any of his other novels any more, would you? Nonetheless, if the novelist’s writing manages to impress you, you’d definitely feel like getting another novel of his next time, right?

ü Last but not least, don’t stay focused on the same novelist’s novels. I recommend that you give other novels a try! You might love other novelist’s writing too. Believe me, every novelist has got his own unique style of writing.


I’ve got two, as a matter of fact. Madeleine Wickham a.k.a Sophie Kinsella and Jeff Kinney. Who’re they?

Sophie Kinsella is a bestselling author and has already written out more than 10 novels. ‘The Undomestic Goddess’ and ‘Sleeping Arrangements’ written by her are my favourite novels.

Besides Sophie Kinsella, children novels written by Jeff Kinney aren’t that bad either. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, I’ve first fallen in love with his writing ever since I read his novel i.e. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (the red coloured novel). I axiomatically have got all the seven series of the Wimpy Kid novels. I did enjoy reading each of them, really. You won’t regret if you get it.

Speaking of Sophie Kinsella novels, each of the novels I’ve bought so far has never let me down. I swear. The plot of her novel constantly stimulates me to keep reading. There’s something unpredictable happening in the climax or ending at times.

Sophie Kinsella has a sense of humour. I’ve got nothing to prove here in order to convince you – but you’ve got to start reading her novel first. Later, you’ll see whether or not I’m a complete liar.

By the way, the latest novel of Sophie Kinsella is ‘I’ve Got Your Number’ and is presently available at market. Many novels written by Sophie Kinsella is around RM30 something but this latest one’s worth at RM60 something. I found it RM80 or so in the East of Malaysia, nevertheless.

Talking about the price, Jeff Kinney novels seem more affordable. All are worth at RM30-40 per novel. Spending RM100 for a novel is far much better than a T-shirt. Trust me!

English novel is worth every penny!

Start reading an English novel TODAY!


  1. That's so very true, English words may have multiple meanings, which is why readers shouldn't simply try to hv direct translation from bm-bi, or they'll end up having a total different meaning of the phrase :)