This came up on a Q&A call a while ago:
“Which is more effective for learning English ー reading fiction or non-fiction books?
To answer the question, it depends on what you’re doing. If you’re trying to improve conversational English, fiction is going to be better because it’ll give you more exposure to dialogue and conversation English.
If you’re choosing the books you read based on how effective they are for learning English… YOU’RE CHOOSING THEM FOR THE WRONG REASON.
Read books because you want to read them.
Studying English is important.
But so is letting go of the need always be learning, always studying English and just DOING things with English. Using it.
I tend to read books written in English in English.
And books written in Japanese in Japanese.
I mean, I don’t read translations.
Not often, anyway. There are exceptions (like Haruki Murakami’s book, simply because they read much better in English… Murakami writes for translation, which makes his Japanese kinda clunky).
But I never read Japanese books because I want to learn Japanese from them (there are far, far more effective study materials available). I read them because I want to read the book… and it just happens to be in Japanese.
Mastering a language is simple ー
Learn, do, repeat.
And yes, there is an optimal ballance of these stages. I call this the “Two Track Approach”, and you can learn all about that (for free) by going here and checking out my free training.Best, Julian Northbrook