One of the infinite reasons people read books is to enhance their vocabulary. Today, we’re talking about books that will help you do exactly that, selected novels that improve vocabulary. All these books might be a tad difficult to get through, books that require dictionary to read. But that’s what we’re here for, isn’t it?

Tharoorosaurus by Shashi Tharoor

Books That Require Dictionary To Read
Books That Require Dictionary To Read

Honestly, any book by Tharoor would do the trick – everyone knows him to twist and turn words according to his will. But this book in particular, will improve your vocabulary tons. In fact, the back cover calls Tharoor a wizard of words! In this book, Tharoor picks up offbeat words from each letter of the alphabet, and creates interesting anecdotes around it. This is a great way to learn new words in a fun way.

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Novels That Improve Vocabulary
Novels That Improve Vocabulary

Nabokov is definitely a master wordsmith, crafting sentences that are simultaneously poetry and prose. His works, especially Pale Fire, are imbued with heavy vocabulary that doesn’t seem forced or difficult to get through. This book follows the editor of an epic poem whose author has died. Since it contains a work of art within itself, it is even richer in its vocabulary.

Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore

Books That Require Dictionary To Read
Books That Require Dictionary To Read

Tagore isn’t Asia’s first Nobel laureate for no reason – he is a wonderful wordsmith as well. This book in particular, revolves around a married couple whose marriage is threatened by the arrival of a charismatic orator to whom the wife gets attracted. It is also an allegory for the Swadeshi movement, and a wonderful sketch of pre-independence India. Tagore writes in classic language, with long sentences punctuated by commas and colons, and reading him is a wonderful experience.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Novels That Improve Vocabulary
Novels That Improve Vocabulary

This classic story of an innocent man who is imprisoned on the eve of his engagement, and breaks out from prison to exact revenge is a prime example of linguistic calibre. Dumas’ use of words is extraordinary and impactful, and with a strong story to back it, it’s an exalting reading experience.

Ulysses by James Joyce

Books That Require Dictionary To Read
Books That Require Dictionary To Read

Often thought of as a difficult, tedious read to steer clear of, this is actually a masterpiece of linguistic endeavour. It is loosely based on The Odyssey, this book follows a single character, the Dublin dweller Leopold Bloom as he goes about his life. This book also features a host of other characters, and through them builds a plot that excels in its literary quality.

Villette by Charlotte Bronte

Novels That Improve Vocabulary
Novels That Improve Vocabulary

This is a classic that everyone should read – not just for literary or historical purposes but also for linguistic ones. Bronte writes in a language typical of her ages – winding sentences with ample clauses. However, the language is exceedingly beautiful, and so are the thoughts she expresses. Reading this will definitely improve your vocabulary. The book itself follows the doomed love of a woman who goes abroad to become a professor in the quaint fictional town of Villette.

Emma by Jane Austen

Books That Require Dictionary To Read
Books That Require Dictionary To Read

All of Austen’s works embody the literary spirit of her times, and read like classics. This is often why people shy away from her works, but truly, reading them is an exercise in vocabulary. We chose this specific book, because it’s her longest one. Plus, the social milieu and characterization is such that it will allow you to focus on the language. This book is essentially about a wealthy young woman called Emma, whose matchmaking efforts backfire, and who falls for an unexpected man.

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Novels That Improve Vocabulary
Novels That Improve Vocabulary

Bleak House attempts to foray into a multitude of societal aspects of London, through many subplots and mini-plots that converge at different times. This is also a long book, over 900 pages and involves ‘bleak’ themes such as inheritance, law, poverty and more. However, it’s a brilliant piece of literature and language, incorporating linguistic and literary styles that will astound you.

The Last Song of Dusk by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi

Books That Require Dictionary To Read
Books That Require Dictionary To Read

Not only is this book a compelling story of the estrangement of a married couple after the death of their child but also an exposition of Shanghvi’s mastery over words. He writes excruciatingly poetic prose, and because it’s blended with an engrossing story, it doesn’t even feel tedious. At the same time, it isn’t enough to just understand the words by their context – you’ll have to use a dictionary.

The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess

Novels That Improve Vocabulary
Novels That Improve Vocabulary

Known extensively for the novella ‘A Clockwork Orange’, Anthony Burgess’ ‘The Wanted Seed’ is a lesser appreciated work that has more linguistic merit. This is also a dystopia, following a married couple in a society that encourages homosexuality as a means of population control. If the plot device isn’t engaging enough, there’s also the brilliant use of words. With a stunning range of vocabulary that enhances the plot (rarely seen in dystopian fiction, where plot takes precedence over language), this one will steal your heart AND improve your vocabulary.

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