Books in foreign languages

The more time I dedicate to language learning, the less I dedicate to reading books. I would like to combine the two, but I don’t want to sacrifice comprehension. What level do you need to read a book like Man’s search for meaning, the 7 habits of highly effective people or how to win friends and influence people? I’m using this books as an example because they don’t seem to have a very complex vocabulary like some novels, or some cientific books. If I plan to read this kind of books, what level would I need in the language? What additional advice would you give me to get the most out of the book language-wise?

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I have read a couple of these types of books and have gone back to novels. For me the important question is how many words does your learning language have in common with your native language? For example French is fairly easy for me to read non fiction. Easier than non-fiction due to the large number of words in common with English.

Chinese is really hard because every word has a new chinese word… For example 罗纳德·里根 is Ronald Reagan which is much larger to learn than just the same latin characters.


If you do comparative reading — reading a book in two languages side by side — all books become “comprehensible” regardless of their complexity.

If you use the LingQ interface to read imported books. The process becomes comfortable enough at the Intermediate 1 & 2 stages to ditch the comparative part.

After you complete the Advanced 2 level, reading printed books unassisted becomes possible.


How do you get books to import? Do you have to buy them or can you get them free?
Thanks for the advice, I heard that it is better to read books that you’ve already read when you’re starting out reading printed books in your foreign language. So I will buy books that I’ve already read, unless there’s a way to get other ones into lingQ

We do both. There are some free books. For example at wikisource (but mostly fiction) and I’m sure you can find more but we also buy e-books and import them. One thing to keep in mind is that some bought books have some protection systems (DMR) that would make importing them into Lingq pretty tricky.
By way of example, I mostly read novels when I’m learning a language. I’ve bought several Russian ones from an online bookshop over the years but right now I’m reading “War and Peace”, which I could get hold of on the Internet for free.

Here you are some recommended online bookshops that offer no-DMR English e-books:

Und hier findest du auch Buchhandlungen, die elektronische Bücher auf Deutsch anbieten: