This episode's vocabulary
- Science fiction (noun) - books, films, or cartoons about an imagined future, especially about space travel or other planets.
- Graphic novel (noun) - a book containing a long story told mostly in pictures but with some writing.
- Idle (adj.) - not working, not active, or doing nothing.
- Spur (verb) - to encourage an activity or development or make it happen faster.
- Courteous (adj.) - polite and showing respect.
- Solitary - done alone.
- Interfere (verb) - to involve yourself in a situation when your involvement is not wanted or is not helpful.
- Fall into place - when events or details that you did not understand before fall into place, they become easy to understand.
- Hit a plateau (idiom) - to reach a certain level of achievement or success but then stop progressing beyond it.
- Competency (noun) - an important skill that is needed to do a job.
Questions and Answers
Maria: Rory, what books do you like to read?
Rory: Well, I usually prefer science fiction or historical or political analysis. Recently I've been reading a lot of graphic novels. Just haven't had the time for the intellectual investment what I usually read requires and graphic novels are kind of fun.
Maria: Do like to read at home or in other places?
Rory: Usually at home while I'm sitting idly at the computer. I need something to take my mind off things or to spur some creativity, for example. When I was able to travel more often, I would read on the plane. I remember going through a few books on one flight once. That was great.
Maria: In what places do you think it's difficult to read?
Rory: Well, anywhere with people who want to talk to me. I really... Actually maybe some other people have had this experience. I really dislike it when people come up to me and I'm in the middle of reading and ask, so what are you reading? And it's like, well, first of all, they can see the cover. And second of all, obviously, I'm not reading anything now, because I have to talk to them. So it's a bit ironic, really. I wish people would be a bit more courteous in that respect. Otherwise, it's really kind of easy to filter out distractions and focus on what I have to read.
Maria: Do you like to read by yourself or with other people?
Rory: Can you can you read with other people? I always thought reading was a pretty solitary activity. So I suppose if you mean you're surrounded by other people then they're doing their own thing. And if they are, at least if they're doing it right. It's when people start interfering, the problems begin.
Maria: What did you learn from a recent book you've read?
Rory: I think the last book I read fully was about personality and how to play to your strengths while addressing the areas of your character that are less developed or not expressed so well. I learned that I needed to say no to things more often and spend more time getting on with things that I wanted to focus on and how to do that by following the examples in the text. It's not very often you see things like that falling into place in such a fashion.
Maria: Do you read professional books?
Rory: I used to, but I seem to have hit a plateau in that respect. Now that I've reached a certain level of competency as an English teacher and teacher trainer, um, I don't think I need to spend much time on the site of my career. Maybe I'll have to do more when I write my Delta 3 assignment, for example. But right now, not so much.
M: Rory, thank you so much for your sophisticated answers.
R: Hopefully they were easy to...
M: Read your lips.
R: Yeah, hopefully it was easy to read my lips while I was talking.
M: So, dear listener, when you're preparing for this topic, you should listen to our episode about books. Again, the 6th of March 2020, and this one would give you more ideas and vocab. So first of all, different kinds of books, so Rory said the sci-fi science fiction books. Right. So different genres.
R: Hold on. I need to fix that.
M: He's checking his watch now.
R: I'm not checking the watch. I'm trying to...
M: I think he's planning something. He might be planning his next week.
R: I'm not. I'm trying to turn off the sound on the watch. It's not working?
M: Maybe he has to have lunch now, you know, who knows?
R: There you go.
M: OK, right! Are you ready?
R: What were you saying?
M: Yeah, I was saying about different genres of books. You like sci-fi, science fiction. What else can we have?
R: Historical or political analysis. Or you could just talk about historical and political books.
R: Biographies, autobiographies.
M: Thrillers, detective stories. The question might be about professional books. So professional literature includes dictionaries, encyclopedias, non-fiction.
R: Mm hmm.
M: Which Rory doesn't read because he's too cool for school.
R: I write fiction though.
M: What? Oh, he writes fiction now.
R: Well, I wrote fiction. Now I just write professional blogs.
M: And then the examiner asks Rory, So do you enjoy reading? I enjoy writing. No, do you enjoy reading books? I enjoy writing them.
R: Oh, well, you could do a comparative structure. I enjoy writing them more than I enjoy reading them. Instead of a simple yes.
M: I write books and then I read my own books. So when the examiner asks you, where do you like to read? Rory said I usually read at home when I'm sitting idly at the computer. First of all, it's sit at the computer.
R: An idly as an adverb to mean basically doing nothing. But instead of saying when I'm sitting doing nothing, you could say when I'm sitting idly. When I'm idle.
R: Not necessarily lazy, you can do nothing and be productive.
M: Yes, that's true.
R: Mm hmm.
M: You can read when you need to take your mind off things.
R: Yes. So when you take your mind off things, it means that you're not thinking in any great detail about them. Alternatively, you could use other people's ideas to spur creativity, which means to make the creativity happen. But instead of saying make the creativity happen, which is completely incorrect, you spur creativity. That's the colocation.
M: Reading is a pretty solitary activity, according to Mr. Rory Duncan Fergus...
R: We've known each other for five years and you still can't get my name right.
M: No, you have like four names. I mixing two of them.
R: I have one name.
R: Thank you. I'm the only Rory in Russia.
M: I was actually checking this yesterday.
R: I am.
M: I was Googling you and Yandex. I was putting your name on Yandex.
R: Did you read my blog post?
R: Whenever people question whether or not I'm an English teacher, I just say, could you Google my name and I'll wait.
M: Well, I found different things, but we're going to discuss it in our "People's names" episode.
R: Are we?
R: Oh, ok.
M: I'm not giving away juicy details.
R: What did you find about me?
M: Oh, all the juicy details about Rory's name is in our People's names episode.
R: Coming up.
M: Ok, so reading is a solitary activity. Solitary is you do it alone usually.
M: So when you talk about reading and if, for example, you enjoy reading, you can say, I am an avid reader.
R: I am an avid reader, or at least I am when I have the time. That just means that you're a big fan of reading. But instead of saying the more cliched I'm a big fan of reading or I'm keen on reading.
M: I'm an avid reader.
R: I am an avid reader.
M: You can say I'm into reading or you say do the reading. For example, I haven't done much reading lately. You can read on the plane. Rory usually reads on the plane. During one flight he finishes like two books, one book.
R: I can read a few books on the plane.
M: Ok, a few books, yeah. He's a machine. He's a reading machine. You read by yourself or you read on your own. Right. And you can do some light reading, heavy reading or bedtime reading. So what, what your books? Are they light reading, heavy reading?
R: Well, the ones I'm reading right now are pretty heavy.
M: No, but your books that you wrote.
R: Oh, the ones that I wrote.
R: Well, one of them is heavy because it's about teaching. And I suppose that's something that not a lot of people think about. But the other three are kind of just fun, violent science fiction books. So that's fun. It's not as light. You could read them on the plane. I wrote it with that in mind. I wrote my first book with that in mind.
M: So when you read, it's easy to filter out distractions.
R: It is. You can filter out things that you don't like. You can filter out distractions. Vanya tells me to do things. I filter them out, which means I don't pay attention to them.
M: Yeah, it's pretty annoying when somebody comes up to you and asks like, oh, do you like this book? Like on the metro they do that.
R: I though you're gonna say it's pretty annoying when Vanya asks you to do things, right?
M: Some things. Yes, no, people should be really courteous, and I think we've discussed this word.
M: Courteous, courteous.
M: Like more polite. So have you ever done that? Have you ever, ever, ever done that, like, come up to a person asking them, oh, what's that book you're reading?
R: I've never asked anyone that because I'm not an idiot. But people have asked me that question and I've always said. I've always been quite blunt with them. And I said, well, nothing now that you're talking to me, because it's really irritating. I understand that some people might want to talk, but like, not when someone is reading. That's rude. So you get back what you put in.
M: But if you're so enthusiastic about this book and you can and you want to start up this conversation with.
R: Then don't say that. Then you say, excuse me, I couldn't help it notice that you're reading that book. And I wondered what you think about it.
M: Yeah, let's respect each other. And if one person is reading, they might just want to be reading.
R: Well, yeah, but like, there's no reason that you can't talk to people. Just don't ask stupid questions.
M: Oh, Rory is very emotional about that. When I asked you do you read professional books, Rory really gave band super 9 answer. He was like I used to, but I seem to have hit a plateau in that respect. Oh my God. This sentence is band 9, wooo.
R: Yeah, you could pretty much like get a band 9 for your exam with that single sentence couldn't you. And you can use it for everything.
M: Oh absolutely. Any question like do you prefer reading fairytales. I used to but I seem to have hit a plateau in that respect.
R: Because I'm not five anymore.
M: So I used to, it means like yeah I read it but now I don't read anymore. Hit a plateau.
R: If you hit a plateau it just means that something was going up. A plateau, I should point out, is a geographical term. So it means like if you think about hill, you're going up and then suddenly there's a flat part on the top. That's a plateau. And you can you can climb a plateau, but you can also hit a plateau, which means that you're making progress or you're doing something more and more often. And then you just stop and the level stays the same. And if you go to the gym, you can hit a plateau when you don't make much progress beyond a certain point.
M: And you can say in that respect, I hit a plateau.
M: Plateau or plateau.
R: Plateau. It's French.
M: So to wrap up this episode about reading, I have a joke for you, Rory.
M: You are so enthusiastic about my joke. So it goes like this. I was in a relationship with an apostrophe, but we broke up. It was too possessive. Now I'm going to explain the joke. Rory is just, you know, he's smiling and you close his eyes now he's kind of.
R: I'm in so much pain.
M: So an apostrophe guys. What is an apostrophe? Rory, what is an apostrophe? It's your language we are talking about.
R: It's a thing that you use to annoy people with. An apostrophe is a piece of punctuation which can be used in one of two ways. The first way is to replace words. So for example, or parts of words I should say. So if you have like it is merged together it's, and the apostrophe goes where the missing letter is. But it's also used in front of or before the letter s to show who possesses something or which group of people possess.
M: Yeah, Rory's watch for example. The watch of Rory. Rory's watch is written with an apostrophe.
R: Usually it's before the s, however it can be after the S in some circumstances, which is always extremely annoying because not even native speakers, nor to use this properly.
M: Yeah, that's like a common native speaker mistake. So my friends' car, the car of my friends.
R: If you're not sure how to use apostrophes in your IELTS writing, don't worry. It's classed as a native level mistake and therefore you don't have to worry about it stopping you getting band nine.
M: That's why the joke is hilarious because the apostrophe was too possessive. Ha ha ha ha. OK, anyway.
R: Good bye, everyone!
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