2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Books to improve vocabulary/knowledge?

My vocabulary isn't too shabby but it could be improved for sure. Are there any good book recommendations that can broaden vocabulary? When I'm writing essays/college apps/doing the SAT, the vocab boost could really help. For the SAT, are there any good vocab prep books/websites for studying? I have some time before I'm taking it so I'm not too rushed right now but I might as well start improving now when I have more time. Also, if there are any good nonfiction books that you guys enjoyed reading, I would love to know. I'm interested in basically any genre (historical nonfiction, psychology, etc). I love reading, so I won't mind if it's really lengthy. Thanks!!


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3 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

Hi @cslg!

First of all, you should test your Lexile level. For that, you may use this Oxford tool: https://www.oxfordonlineenglish.com/english-level-test/reading

Then look for a book that is slightly above that level. Also, because I don't know what grade you are in, I can't really give you an accurate answer. However, below are some very interesting and thought-provoking books I've read or am currently reading! All were written by great authors.

You will agree and disagree with some of their views, but as Aristotle said, "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

My Book List by general difficulty reading level

Classic Philosophy & Economics Nonfiction:

[The Road to Serfdom] by Friedrich Hayek (Endorse)

[Common Sense] by Thomas Paine (Endorse)

[The Federalist] by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay (pseudonym: Publius)

[An essay concerning human understanding] by John Locke

[The Wealth of Nations: A Translation into Modern English] by Adam Smith

Classic Fictions/Novel (My Childhood favorites):

[The Mysterious Island]

[Fantastic Mr. Fox] by Roald Dahl

[Charlotte's Web] by E. B. White

[Treasure Island] by Robert Louis Stevenson

[20,000 leagues under the sea] by Jules Verne and Peter Holeinone

[Around the World in Eighty Days] by Jules Verne and Peter Holeinone

(I still revisit them at age of 15!)

Classic Fiction of Politics/History

[Brave New World] by Aldous Huxley

[Animal Farm] by George Orwell

[1984] by George Orwell (Endorse)

[A tale of two cities] by Charles Dickens

[The Republic of Plato: Second Edition] by Allan Bloom by Plato

Historical Nonfiction

[Einstein: his life and universe] by Walter Isaacson

[The rise of Theodore Roosevelt] by Edmund Morris

[Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.] by Ron Chernow

[The Second World War] by Winston Churchill

[Guns, germs, and steel: the fates of human societies] by Diamond, Jared M. (Endorse)

[The Tragedy of Great Power Politics] by John Mearsheimer (Endorse)


[The righteous mind: why good people are divided by politics and religion] by Jonathan Haidt (Endorse)

Other Fictions of more mature content:

[Dragonfly Eye] by Cao Wenxuan (Endorse)

[The Old Man and the Sea] by Ernest Hemingway

[A raisin in the sun] by Lorraine Hansberry

[The Once and Future King] by T. H. White (Endorse)

[Romeo and Juliet] by William Shakespeare

[Hamlet] by William Shakespeare

I hope my book list helps & best wishes for reading!

2 years ago

Learning vocabulary from a book is considerably easier than memorizing words from a dictionary. You can read this blog https://substreammagazine.com/2022/05/5-books-about-critical-thinking-everyone-should-read-before-theyre-30/ that has 5 Books About Critical Thinking. Reading books that are appropriate for your reading level will help you gain vocabulary faster, comprehend grammar rules better, and enhance your writing. You can read whatever you choose, and it will help you to expand your vocabulary. Reading fiction literature makes it easier to pick up slang and local expressions.

2 years ago

As for vocab prep websites, membean can be pretty useful! It evaluates your vocab level and uses timed sessions to learn and review vocabulary on your level. Plus you can skip words that you already know, so you aren't wasting your time. Give it a try!

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