Reading comprehension and sentence correction questions are an integral part of the GMAT exam and one way to master your reading skills is to read a lot: not only trade journals and magazines but classic and contemporary literature too, by which I mean the amazing world of books (fiction, adventure, philosophical, political, epics, poetry, classics, history, law etc)
Wondering what reading big, fat, ancient (and modern) tomes can do to your GMAT verbal score? Well, for starters, you come across new words and new usages for the words you are already familiar with. There are various new phrases, complex sentence structures and you get used to reading write and correct grammar. The direct result of the last part, that is getting used to perfect grammar sentences is that whenever you comes across a sentence with only slightest grammatical errors, your ears perk up in attention, a great instinct that comes in quite handy to solve sentence correction questions.
It is a great way for non-native English speakers to improve their English comprehension skills. As they read books from diverse genres, they become more aware of more and more words and grammatical structure. GMAT test takers have reported an increase of 50 to 100 points in their GMAT scores, based totally on the improvement in their verbal skills on account of reading classic and modern literary works.
Last and most importantly, these books prevent you from getting bored during the GMAT preparation phase. It is any day better to read a JRR Tolkien book or George Orwell’s Animal Farm than simply memorizing some grammar rules and tips.
Here is a list of books that will help you in improving your reading and comprehension skills:
A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens (Simply Brilliant and will get you used to complex sentence structures)
Pride and Prejudice – (Female folks will appreciate it more…Jane Austen’s observation and wit is admirable)
Animal Farm and 1984 – George Orwell (superb creations by Orwell)
Siddharatha – Herman Hesse (you get used to philosophical jargons and learn a word or two about surviving the ordeals of life ..the moral of the story in fact is, if you can think, starve and be patient, you can make it big in any situation in life! )
To Kill a Mocking Bird – Harper Lee
Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
The Angry River, The Flight of Pigeons – Ruskin Bond (if you appreciate the beauty and bounty of nature, then Ruskin Bond is the author for you. Great way to know and learn the words used to describe the various aspect of nature)
Men Without Women – Earnest Hemmingway (a compilation of short stories that will keep you hooked)
The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand (meant for the fountainheads…a great read)
Freedom at Midnight, Gone with the Wind, Guns Germs and Steel etc are the books that tell of an important even in the history of a nation with vivid details.
Management books such as “7 habits of highly effective people”, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, “Outliers” and others written by management gurus throughout the world.
In fact, you should look up the books on the BBC’s list. It is a rather amusing list which says that most of the people have read only 6 books out of the 100 books listed below. (I have read more than 40 books on the list and I know at least a dozen people who have certainly read more than 40 or 50 books on the list)