I've been trying to read English novels recently to improve my English. The book I'm reading now is "the Tale of Two cities". The problem I'm facing now is I found that I don't know lots of words in the book. I have read other best-seller type of books, and I think they are much easier to understand. Is it normal that those old classic books are harder to read?

Btw, can anyone recommend some good classic but simple English novels for a non-native speaker? Thanks.
I also have met this problem. I think this is a common problem for most non-native speakers.

In english novels, especially in classics, there are lots of adjectives and adverbs which used less frequently in our life to make the articles dramatic and life-some. Also, there are some words and expresses are used in old time, while in our modern expression they are merely appeared in poems and literatures.

Now I'm reading a very simple novel, The House on Mango Street. Each article in this book is short and easy to understand. It describes the life of a girl. This book is a best-seller in my country. You can have a try.
Glad to know that, thanks a lot. I actually felt pretty bad when I started reading the book. Emotion: smile
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Bill_MurongIs it normal that those old classic books are harder to read?
Yes, this is true of anything written more than 75 years ago. English changes, and words that were once popular fall out of use and new words replace them. Sometimes, though, the difference is between British and American terms for the same thing. For example, Americans never use constable; they say police officer or policeman. At other times it's simply that the author has chosen a more literary word (unctuous) instead of the corresponding ordinary word that means the same thing (oily).

Here are a few differences I've noticed.

older or newer or

more literary more ordinary

word word

countenance face

visage face

forenoon morning

counterpane bedspread

perspective view

descry notice, perceive

cataract waterfall

acclivity slope

emolument salary, wages

malady disease

waistcoat vest

progenitor ancestor

CJ
This is a bear of a novel for person learning the language - this would not be easy reading for a native speaker. The 19th century prose is dense, old-fashioned, and complicated, with numerous references to events of the day, which would require a lot of historical research to comprehend. Unless you're in love with this book, I would recommend other classics; for example, the short stories of 20th century writers. Why trudge through an entire novel, when you can get the same thing more compactly in a short story?