lunes, 3 de abril de 2017

Listening test: Books

This is John Kuti's story of his relationships with books throughout his life. Listen and match each of the extracts 1-6 with the corresponding heading A-H. There are two headings you do not need to use.

A - A book for travelling
B - Family life is an obstacle for readers
C – Reading books rediscovered
D - Reading strange books and books nobody had read
E - Taking a long time to read short books
F - The adventure books of my childhood
G - The end of books
H - Working with the TV on

The adventure books of my childhood
I suppose I was an avid reader of "literature" between the ages of nine and fourteen. I had enough time to be White Fang, Robinson Crusoe, and Bilbo Baggins and Jeeves. Of course there was room in the schoolboy's imagination for some real historical figures: Scott of the Antarctic, all of the Vikings, and Benjamin Franklin were good friends of mine.

Looking for strange books and books nobody had read
In adolescence, I began a long search for strange and radical ideas. I wanted to challenge my elders and betters, and stir up my peers with amazing points of view. Of course, the only place to look was in books. I hunted out the longest titles and the authors with the funniest names, I scoured the library for completely unread books. Then I found one which became my bible for the whole of 1982, it had a title composed of eleven long words and an author whose name I didn't know how to pronounce. It was really thick and looked dead serious. Even better, it put forward a whole world-view that would take days to explain. Perfect. I took it out of the library three times, proud to see the date-stamps lined up on the empty library insert.

Taking a long time to read short books
Later, I went to university. Expecting to spend long evenings in learned discussion with clever people, I started reading philosophy. For some reason I never found the deep-thinking intellectuals I hoped to meet. Anyway, I was ready to impress with my profound knowledge of post-structuralism, existentialism and situationism. These things are usually explained in rather short books, but they take a long time to get through. They were the end of my youthful reading.

The end of books
Working life was hard to get used to after so much theory. It was the end of books for me. There didn't seem to be much in books that would actually get things done. To do things you had to answer the telephone and work a computer. You had to travel about and speak to people who weren't at all interested in philosophy. I didn't stop reading, you can't avoid that. I read all day. But no books came my way, only manuals and pamphlets and contracts and documents. Maybe most people satisfy their need for stories and ideas with TV and, to tell the truth, it was all I needed for ten years.Then, one fateful day, my TV broke and my landlady took it away.

Working with the TV on 
My new TV is an extra circuit board inside my computer. It's on a desk in front of a working chair and I can't see it from the bed. I still use it for the weather forecasts and it's nice to have it on while I'm typing this…

Reading books rediscovered
Now, I just like books. I have a pile of nice ones by my bed and I'm reading about six simultaneously. I don't want to BE any of the characters. I don't care if a thousand people have already read them. I don't have to search through libraries. There are books everywhere and all of them have something to read in them. I have the strange feeling that they've been there all along, waiting for me to pick them up.

 Photo: British Council

1F 2D 3E 4G 5H 6C