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    anglosphere /

    Газета School English #3, 2003

    My favourite books in English

    Надежда Никифоровна Рогожина, проректор по международным программам, зав. кафедрой лингвистики и межъязыковой коммуникации Самарского Муниципального Университета Наяновой, кандидат педагогических наук, доцент.
        Dear Readers,

        Last time I was sharing with you the Internet links concerning learning the English language. But in the pre-Internet era people read BOOKS! And today, on the eve of St.Valentine‘s Day I am going to talk about love of BOOKs! Yes, with the capital letter! For these are high quality books for all times.

        I’ll start from the beginning, from the time when I was a student. All language students know such an aspect of studies like ‘Home reading‘. The book is chosen by the teacher, read at home (sometimes retold by the group mates during the break before the class!) and discussed in class. The very first book was “Stuart Little”, it was adapted, easy to read and funny. That’s all I remember. There was a film quite recently which reminded me of it. But the next book was quite different, a classical one. “The Man of Property” by John Galsworthy, the very first book from “The Forsyte Saga”. It was the book which I had seen long, long before I read it, on my bookshelf at home, for my mother was an English teacher. But I never thought I would ever read it myself! When we were shown that book by our teacher my heart sank, I recognized the book at once! It was still there, on the shelf, but my mother was not at home any more. She had passed away by that time.

        The book turned out to be very interesting, with many characters. There was even a family tree attached to the book to see who is who. And a map of London! And the language, the language was perfect! I still have this book and sometimes I take it from the shelf to look it through.

        The second reminder of the book was in the seventies when the 26 episodes of the English film were shown by Central TV. I was an English teacher, married. Not every Soviet family had a TV set then. Neither did my husband and I. So we went to his parents on the other side of the city to watch the film. And since it was not convenient to do that every evening, I remember that after the third one we rushed out to buy our own TV set. It was black-and- white (as well as the film) but we were happy!

        Not long ago the film was shown on TV again and I once more took the book from the shelf. Soames seemed a dreadful personality when I read it, but in the film he did arouse pity! Irene and Old Jolyon in the scene in Robin Hill are especially vivid. One can’t but sympathize with all the characters from the book. The life of the family clan is shown in such an exquisite way!

        The other book which has influenced me is “How to be an Alien”(another name is “How to Be a Brit”) by George Mikes. I was given that book by my teacher for making the preparations for an English evening party which were regular when I was a student. I remember that I laughed a lot! After that I met the extracts from the book in different sources (it was extremely popular with the authors of textbooks)! But I always wanted to have my own book. And it did happen when I met my English friend who presented the book to me.

        Now when I am sad I take the book from the shelf and enjoy every minute of it. My favourite chapter is “Soul and Understatement”

        Here is an extract from it:

    “If a continental youth wants to declare his love to a girl, he kneels down, tells her that she is the sweetest, the most charming and ravishing person in the world, that she has something in her, something peculiar and individual which only a few hundred thousand other women have and that he would be unable to live one more minute without her. Often, to give a little more emphasis to the statement, he shoots himself on the spot. This is normal, a week-day declaration of love in the more temperamental continental countries. In England the boy pats his adored one on the back and says softly: “I don’t object to you, you know”. If he is quite mad with passion, he my add: “I rather fancy you, in fact”.

    If he wants to marry a girl, he says:

    “I say… would you?…”

        Isn’t it a pearl?



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    School English #6, 2011




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