Reading novels has a variety of great benefits for children, and for people of all ages. These benefits include slowing cognitive decline, strengthening one’s brain, and in the case of English novels, it can help develop better language skills, and broaden your vocabulary. Learn more about the benefits of reading novels here.
Now, while novels may have many benefits, it can be difficult to know where to start. Novels, in the modern sense, have existed since The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shibiku was first printed, all the way back in the 11th century. In the more than one thousand years that have followed, the art form has continued to gain popularity, with an estimate by Google in 2010 stating that there are over 130 million published in modern history.
Where to Start
Not all of us develop a reading habit during childhood, however. This is perfectly fine, people have different interests, and it’s never too late to start reading. So whether you’re a child looking to read their first book, or an adult who never got into it and is looking to start, the real problem is the sheer volume of options out there. There are millions of books and genres of books out there, and picking what’s right for you can be hard.
So, to help you pick the right book to get started, we’ve compiled a list of books that are easy to read for beginners of all ages.
- The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Originally published for adults, The Catcher in the Rye has subsequently gained popularity among younger readers, especially teens, with its depiction of a teenager going through his rebellious phase. The protagonist Holden Caulfield has been expelled from his school due to poor grades. He is at a confusing place in life and cannot even imagine telling his parents about the whole ordeal.
This coming-of-age story does a fantastic job of depicting teenage angst, and the process through which a teenager ultimately becomes an adult.
- The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway is an American author of great fame, with many of his books from the early 20th century being considered masterpieces. His work has inspired generations of writers that followed him, including the aforementioned Salinger.
Hemingway is well known for his clean, minimalist style, consisting of short sentences that get straight to the point, making his work perfect for those who are just starting out with reading novels, or those that are looking to improve their English language skills. It is also very short, short enough that it can easily be finished in a single sitting.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
A simple book with many hidden meanings, The Alchemist is great for beginners, and is also fantastic for reading again and again, when one gets older, and possesses the mental capacity to puzzle out all the hidden meanings.
The plot follows the story of Santiago, a shepherd boy, who believes that a certain recurring dream he has been having is a prophecy of some kind. He visits a fortune-teller to ask her about it. With a theme of finding one’s destiny and chasing your dreams, The Alchemist can also serve to inspire young readers in their search for their own destiny.
- A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’engle
The story of Meg Murry, a high-school-aged girl who is transported on an adventure through time and space with her younger brother Charles Wallace and her friend Calvin O’Keefe, A Wrinkle in Time is a story about the trio’s quest to save Meg’s father from the evil forced keeping him imprisoned.
With a fantastic science fiction setting, and themes about the power of love and the value of individuality, A Wrinkle in Time can serve as a gateway for many young readers into the wider, fantastical world of Science fiction.
- Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl
Author of classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The BFG, Roald Dahl is a household name for many, well known for his wonderful books written mainly for children, but which can be enjoyed at any age. While this list includes the title Fantastic Mr Fox, any of the books written by the iconic English author would’ve fit perfectly.
Fantastic Mr Fox is the story of three mean local farmers and a sly fox who steals their chickens, geese and apple cider to feed his family and friends. Boggis, Bunce and Bean (the horrible farmers) plan to capture the fox by digging into his home, but Fantastic Mr Fox has a plan of his own.
Roald Dahl’s books were written primarily for children, with wonderful illustrations by Quentin Blake, making them fun and engaging for readers of all ages.