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10 books to read to take your English skills to the next level

Updated: Jul 15, 2023

In one of our previous posts, we compiled a list of books that former students who graduated from Cambridge and Cardiff University studied for their degrees in English Literature.

Without question, studying an English degree in an English-speaking country requires an excellent command of the language and great communication and storytelling skills.

That's why the insights of university students who chose an English Literature course can be particularly useful for those who are seeking to improve their English language level and exam scores.

In particular, reading books and novels slightly above your current level is a great way to better memorize new vocabulary, improve grammar, and sharpen writing.

A Cambridge University student and YouTube vlogger Georgie Ellen shared her recommended summer reading list for those who only consider applying to the university or are about to start their English degree. Even if you're not one of them, this is a great list to take your English to a whole other level and deepen your understanding of the context surrounding it. All of these books are written by writers of different periods who were important influences on British literature:

  1. One of Charles Dickens's longer novels (for example, "Great Expectations")

  2. A modernist novel (for example, James Joyce's collection of short stories "Dubliners")

  3. Poetics by Aristotle

  4. Bible stories

  5. Metamorphoses by Ovid

  6. Aeneid by Virgil

  7. William Shakespeare's plays (for example, "Hamlet" and "Much Ado About Nothing")

  8. Paradise Lost by John Milton

  9. On the Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius

  10. A book written in Middle English (for example, "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight")

Want to boost your English skills and confidence? Join classmates from around the world in 100% online teacher-led classes and interactive lessons at ​LEO International Online School. We have beginner to advanced-level ESL classes to improve your proficiency levels in English. Check our English courses here and our other courses here, and don't hesitate to contact us at

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