Do you often read books? When? Are your reading habits now different than before? Have you ever read a novel that has been adapted into a film? Which do you prefer, reading books or watching movies? What was your favourite book as a child?
  • On the back burner (idiom) - if something is on the back burner, it is temporarily not being dealt with or considered, especially because it is not urgent or important.
  • Avidly (adverb) - in an extremely eager or interested way.
  • Adaptation (noun) - a film, book, play, etc. that has been made from another film, book, play, etc.
  • To switch off (phrasal verb) - to stop giving your attention to someone or something.
  • To plough through sth (phrasal verb) - to finish reading, eating, or dealing with something with difficulty.
  • Novel (noun) - a long printed story about imaginary characters and events.
  • To cast your mind back (phrase) - to try to remember.
  • To get hooked on someone/something (phrasal verb) - to become very interested in someone or something.
  • Speculative fiction (noun) - a type of story or literature that is set in a world that is different from the one we live in, or that deals with magical or imagined future events.
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Questions and answers
M: Do you often read books?

R: Well, I try to, although I've had to put my regular reading on the back burner because of my work schedule. So that will be like that until Christmas. But hopefully, I'll have more time after that. And I'll be reading a lot more.

M: Are your reading habits now different than before?

R: Well, I definitely used to read much more avidly than now. Actually, that's one of the things I miss the most about childhood, having all that time to read. But hopefully, I'll get it back in the future.

M: Have you ever read a novel that has been adapted into a film?

R: Well, off the top of my head, I can't really think of any. I mean, maybe Harry Potter, but I think everyone's seen that particular adaptation. So that's not very original, is it? Oh, I read Jurassic Park as well, that was adapted into a movie as well.

M: Which do you prefer, reading books or watching movies?

R: Oh, definitely reading. I love the idea of just switching off and ploughing through a novel in the space of a day or an evening. Although admittedly, it's been a while since that happened. But like I said before, I'm looking forward to having the time to do that again.

M: What was your favourite book as a child?

R: Oh, that's a good question. I'd have to cast my mind back pretty far, now that I think about it. I think it was actually the Jurassic Park novel that I talked about before. I think that's a pretty unusual thing to read when you're eight or nine years old, but I really enjoyed it. And, well, like I say, it got me hooked on speculative fiction. So that's what I'm reading, well, that's what I'm trying to read more of these days anyway.
M: Thank you, Rory, for your answers! I'm very happy that Rory is enjoying the topic. Are you enjoying the topic? Or maybe you hate reading? Sorry, if you hate reading. And I've got a joke for you. Rory, are you ready?

R: Oh god, there's a joke coming. Okay.

M: When is a blue book not blue? When it's read. Did you understand that? A blue book. When is a blue, a blue, colour blue book not blue. When it's read. Read, you know, read, read, read.

R: That's it.

M: The book is read by me and read the colour red. It's a pun. It's a language pun.

R: I'm switching to Russian now. I'm just going to speak Russian for the rest of my life. And then I will not be subjected to any more of these jokes.

M: Yeah, our videos get you more tolerant towards you know, stupid humour, stupid jokes. And you know, we are developing your facial expressions like oh, oh, no, please stop. We are developing not only your grammar, vocabulary, speaking, listening skills, but also your joke tolerance skills. Can I say that?

R: You can. We're building up your tolerance. Oh my gosh, and build up is a phrasal verb. And that is in our phrasal verbs pod course, which is also part of our Christmas sale. So if you're watching this around about Christmas time, 2022, then there'll be a link in the description. And you can follow that to find out more about our sale.

M: Yuppie! Rory, you did use a very good expression. You said something like, I've had to put regular reading on the back burner.

R: Yes, the back burner. If you put something on the back burner, it means that you're putting it off until later. And by putting off, which is a phrasal verb, I mean you're delaying it until later.

M: Okay, so if I can't write this essay today, I'll have to put it on the back burner?

R: Yes. And if you're struggling to write an essay, we have our writing course which we're also advertising as part of the Christmas sale.

M: Okay, I'm in the middle of explaining this idiom.

R: I know. And I'm selling my soul to the money devil.
M: Right, okay. So if I don't want to, for example, go shopping. So I'll put it on the back burner. So everything I put off, I can say I'll have to put it or I'm going to put it on the back burner.

R: Or I will delay it.

M: To put something on the back burner is an idiom, right?

R: Oh, it's idiomatic expressions, idiomatic speech for a high score.

M: Band nine score. Could you give us a sentence? Just with this burner thing again?

R: I started reading this book in October, and I had to put finishing it on the back burner, because I was working so much, but now it's the holiday soon, and I will be taking it off the back burner to read.

M: Hey!

R: So thank you very much, Alastair Reynolds, I'm really enjoying the book, despite the fact that it's taken me a million years to read. It's like 400 pages as well.

M: Hey! When the examiner asks you about present and before, what are you going to use? Used to. Of course, used to. I used to read much more, or I didn't used to read, for example. And Rory told us, I used to read much more avidly.

R: Yes. Well, usually people describe themselves as avid readers, but I've broken it up here. So reading more and then avidly afterwards. But if you're an avid reader, it means that you're very into reading, you're reading a lot.

M: Yeah, I'm really into reading. I'm an avid reader. Or you can say, I'm not an avid reader, so I don't read much, right? That's a really good one. So we can have strong reading habits, right? Or we can develop reading habits. Or we can say for example, I really want to get into the habit of reading. Yeah? Or I don't have a habit of reading, I don't have strong reading habits. So a book could be adapted from a film, yeah? Oh, no, no, into, into a film.

R: No, no, you can have both. Although I'm trying to think of any films that've been made that were adapted into books. None are coming to me off the top of my head.

M: And if you can't remember something, you say, ooh, off the top of my head... Yeah? So off the top of my head. So off the top of my head, I can't really remember any titles now. Yeah? So just right away I can't remember. So the safest film is Harry Potter, right? So adaptations, so books, and then books were made into films, right? So a book, which has been adapted into a movie. A film or movie, doesn't matter. And you can say, I enjoy this particular adaptation. Right? So it's been adapted. And this isn't an original adaptation. It's a nice adaptation. So the difference between reading books and watching a film. Yeah, such a like a classic question. So you say that I love the idea of switching off. So you switch off. When you read a book and when you watch a movie? When do you switch off?
R: Well, you switch off from technology and everything that's associated with it and focus on reading.

M: I love the idea of switching off. And then Rory used a phrasal verb. To plough through a novel. To plough through a book.

R: So if you plough through something, it just means that you go through the whole thing in a very short space of time. You're just like focused on that task. You just keep going. You're in the zone.

M: It means like in a very short time? So not in a long time, in a short time.

R: Well, the idea is that you do it in a short time.

M: And can I, for example, plough through writing an essay, plough through housework.

R: Plow through work.

M: Plow through work. Okay, could you give us a sentence with this plough through?

R: I can't because I'm not ploughing through anything right now. I'm very lazy.

M: Yeah. And also, you can say, for example, sometimes I have to force myself through a book because you have to read it, because of school, because of your university. Because of the IELTS exam. Sometimes I force myself through a book, force myself through something, right? And I've got a joke for you. Are you ready? Joke time. We need some kind of a tune. Like a joke is coming.

R: Yeah, like the "Jaws" theme tune. I'm in trouble now.

M: Why does a ghost need so many books? Because it goes through them really quickly. It's a good one. It's a good one. And it's a phrasal verb. You see, a ghost, a ghost goes through books really quickly. So quickly, yeah. The ghost goes through books like literally.

R: I wish we could go through this episode really quickly.

M: Queen, right? So it goes through the book. Right? But if you go through a book, you read it. You see?

R: You know, they say that explaining a joke is a lot like dissecting a frog. The subject dies in the process.
M: Ha-ha-ha. And if you want a serious answer about this reading books, watching movies. So, Rory, there you go. I have some science for you that I took from the internet. So we actually believe it. So we believe every word. So here are some benefits of reading books: mental stimulation; vocabulary growth, so you enlarge your vocabulary; reading books prevents brain disease, for example, you can say dementia, it prevents dementia; it helps heart rate; increases your knowledge; and gives greater detail than most movies. There we go. That's an educated answer. Whereas, you can say like, by contrast, watching movies, also has some benefits. Okay? Rory, are you ready? Are you excited about the benefits of watching movies?

R: I'm excited for the end of this episode now. You're robbing me of my love of reading.

M: So the benefits of watching movies. It's a good form of entertainment. And it's great for your social life. Watch a movie. It's educational, could be educational. Okay? Depending on the movie. And it gives a better visual picture, although I disagree with that, because I think our imagination is much better. Yeah, there you go. And also, you can say, for example, like books are portable. Portable, you can kind of carry a book with you, or you can carry it on your device, but also kind of movies are portable. Have you ever seen people watching movies on the metro or on a bus?

R: I haven't just seen them, I've heard them because they always play at a maximum volume, so that all the other people around them can enjoy. Isn't that a nice thing to do? Isn't that really irritating? Please do not do this on the metro. Could you imagine if someone was playing our podcast on the metro with just like, so loud that everyone could hear? I mean, first of all, that's stealing because really, people should be paying for this. And second of all, that's really annoying and ironic.

M: And also, you can say that, when you go to watch a movie, you have to fork out some money and pay for the ticket. So if you fork out money, or some sum of money, you just pay, pay for this, yeah? That's another phrasal verb, to fork out a significant amount of money for the ticket, for example. When the examiner asks you about your childhood, Rory, what strategy can we use? When you kind, oh, I'll have to go back to my childhood. And remember the days.

R: I'll have to cast my mind back.

M: Yeah.
R: I love that expression, cast my mind back. And I need to sort of like look around trying desperately to think of something to cast your mind back to.

M: Yeah, but here, dear listener, you should kind of act a little bit, right? So you say, oh, wow, that's a good question. So you react to the question, and then you go, like, I'd have to cast my mind back. Well, not like this. I'm exaggerating, but kind of naturally, like as if you're really remembering, right, things.

R: Well, you're really remembering, hopefully. I mean, I was.

M: Yeah, I would have or I'll have to cast my mind back pretty far. Right? Because when Rory was a child.

R: Especially if you're me, and you're old.

M: As old as the hills.

R: Thanks.

M: And then that book got Rory hooked. He got hooked on a fiction. And what kind of fiction?

R: Speculative fiction. So really, speculative fiction is just asking, like, what if something happened? So in the case of Jurassic Park, it's like, what if we were able to clone dinosaurs, and opened a zoo with them in there. But it's also connected to science fiction, which would be like, what if we were discovered by aliens, and then all of the possibilities that would come from that as well. But it also relates to things like fantasy and horror and all of the things connected to that because it's unreal. It's not realistic.

M: Yeah. And you can say, like, when I was a child, I used to read horror stories, and I got hooked on horror, right? Or detective stories. So I got hooked on them - I became really into them. Yeah? Or you can get hooked on this podcast.

R: Or get someone hooked on this podcast. Check out the Christmas sale information for more.

M: Yeah, you can get hooked on our Christmas sales. Hey!

R: However, much as I've enjoyed talking about reading, perhaps we should bring this particular chapter to a close.

M: Thank you very much for listening! We love you, we hug you! Lots of kisses and hugs! Bye!

R: Bye!
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