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УДК 811.111
ББК 81.432.1-2я7

С48 Словохотов К. П.
Английский язык. Темы / К. П. Словохотов. –
Смоленск : Маджента, 2016. – 130 с.

ISBN 978-5-98156-684-4

Книга содержит темы на английском языке, охватывающие

различные сферы жизни. Пособие предназначено для лиц стар-
шего школьного возраста и студентов высших учебных заведе-
ний и может использоваться в процессе подготовки к практиче-
ским занятиям и экзаменам.

УДК 811.111
ББК 81.432.1-2я7

ISBN 978-5-98156-684-4 © К. П. Словохотов, 2016

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My Family ................................................................... 5
My Flat ....................................................................... 6
My Daily Routine .......................................................... 8
My Pet ....................................................................... 9
My Future Career ........................................................ 11
My Summer Holidays ................................................... 12
My Winter Holidays ..................................................... 13
My favourite film ......................................................... 15
Choosing Presents ...................................................... 17
TV in My Life .............................................................. 18
My Favourite Season ................................................... 19
Going on a Picnic ........................................................ 20
My Room .................................................................. 22
My Household Chores ................................................. 23
English as My Favourite Subject .................................... 24
Hobbies .................................................................... 25
Hobbies: Fishing ......................................................... 27
Bird Watching: an Unusual Hobby .................................. 29
Holidays .................................................................... 30
Health ...................................................................... 32
Sport ........................................................................ 34
Cinema and Theatre .................................................... 36
Music ....................................................................... 38
Languages and their importance .................................... 40
Education .................................................................. 42
Art and its meaning ..................................................... 44
The Art of Painting ...................................................... 46
Origin of Art ............................................................... 48
Street Art .................................................................. 49
Photography .............................................................. 50
School ...................................................................... 52
Cycling as a Way to Keep Fit ......................................... 53
Books. Reading .......................................................... 55
Leisure ..................................................................... 56
Clothes and Fashion .................................................... 57
Money ...................................................................... 59
Shopping .................................................................. 60
Online Shopping ......................................................... 62
Gardening and farming ................................................ 63
Where are we going? ................................................... 64
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Environmental problems ............................................... 66

Climatic Changes ........................................................ 68
Social Networks .......................................................... 69
Smoking ................................................................... 73
The Problems of Youth ................................................. 74
Workaholism .............................................................. 76
Generation Gap .......................................................... 77
Subcultures ............................................................... 78
Science. Where can it lead? .......................................... 79
Time to Change Your Life ............................................. 81
Superstitions .............................................................. 82
Cars ......................................................................... 83
Phobias .................................................................... 85
Mass Media ............................................................... 86
Language and Travelling .............................................. 88
Dream Destinations: Australia ....................................... 90
The United Kingdom .................................................... 92
The USA ................................................................... 94
Wildlife ..................................................................... 96
Seven Wonders of the World ......................................... 97
Food and Cooking ..................................................... 101
New Year in Russia .................................................... 102
The Internet ............................................................. 103
Body Language ......................................................... 105
Mobile Phones .......................................................... 106
Genealogical Tree ..................................................... 108
Living in a House ....................................................... 109
Living in a Flat ........................................................... 111
Inventors and Inventions ............................................. 112
The Most Important Inventions of the XXth Century .......... 114
Nature as a Source of Inspiration .................................. 116
Birthday Celebration ................................................... 117
The Person I Admire .................................................. 118
Writers: Shakespeare ................................................. 120
Great People of the Past: W. Churchill ........................... 122
Great Scientists: da Vinci ............................................ 123
Famous Travellers: Cousteau ...................................... 125
Space Exploration ..................................................... 127
Online Gaming: a Challenge of the 21st century .............. 129
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My Family
My name is Nick. I have a big family. I live
with my Mother, Father and my sister. I also have a brother,
but he is a student and his University is in different city.
I am ten and my sister is twelve. So I am the youngest
in the family. My grandparents live not far from us, so
I spend a lot of time with them. My grandfather is the eldest
in the family – he is 70. He is a good engineer but he doesn’t
work anymore. My grandmother is 65 and she is a teacher
of Maths. She helps me a lot with my homework.
My parents are doctors – Father is a surgeon, and
Mother is a physician.
In summer, when we have a vacation, we spend a lot
of time together in the country. We have a country house.
It is old, but very cosy and comfortable. We play tennis
and badminton, ride our bikes together. I always help
my Grandpa in the garden – we plant new trees, water
the bushes and flowers, pick berries and fruit in summer.
My Father is a good photographer – we have several
thick family albums. We look through the photos, when
we gather in our flat at the weekend and on holidays. We
like to remember the most important family events.
My brother is my best friend. Unfortunately, we don’t
spend a lot of time together now, but he teaches me how
to live, we have a lot of common hobbies. My sister always
tells me what to do, because she is older, and I don’t like it.
But we are still good friends. We laugh at each other and
different things. We never get bored.
I have a very good and united family. And I am happy
to be a part of it.


1. Make up your own topic about your family. Use

these questions:
– Is your family big or small?
– Do you spend a lot of time together?
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– What do you like to do together?

– What do the members of your family do?

2. Comment on the following:

a) It is important to have family traditions. Why?
b) Do you have a tradition to keep family photos
in albums?
c) How do you understand the proverb: ‘My home is my
d) How do you help your relatives?
e) Do you know all you relatives well? Do they all live
in your town/city?
f) Do you have relatives abroad?
g) Nowadays it’s easier to communicate with people
who live far from you on the Internet, isn’t it?
h) Family traditions are important. What can you say
about your family traditions?

My Flat

Our family lives in a three-roomed flat

on the third floor of a nine-storey(ed) house. We live
in a good block, where my school, a hospital and several
supermarkets are situated.
I am lucky to have a beautiful view in front of  the  window
of my room. Our house stands beside a small picturesque
grove, and it’s smothered in greenery in spring and
in summer.
Our flat is very cosy, and it’s thoroughly decorated
thanks to my mother – she is a designer. When we bought
the flat, we had an idea to decorate it in a high-tech style,
but then we decided upon a more traditional variant, and
we have never regretted it yet.
The living-room is the biggest room in the flat – we
gather there in the evenings, watch TV, discuss everyday
matters and receive guests. My favourite thing in this room
is a huge leather sofa, it so comfortable, that I like to spend
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hours reading or listening to the music, or watching TV in it.

We have a great number of paintings, made by our familiar
artists. People like to examine them closely when they come
to our place. I have a dream to become an artist in the future
too. But still I spend most of my time in my bedroom. This
is the place where I can do what I want. I don’t say that there
is a mess there – I tidy up my room twice a week. But still it’s
my living space, made specially for my creative activities –
I paint a lot, do some modelling from time to time and make
different things that I invent myself.
But I don’t own my room fully. My cat has some rights
for a part of it. He lives under the writing-table in his cat-
house, and we share the room this way.
My parents have a separate room with a spacious
balcony, where we keep our bikes in winter.
We have meals in the kitchen. I like to spend my time
there watching Mother cook and speaking to her. We can
discuss many things and problems. I sometimes even do
my homework there.
I am happy to live in such a flat, and I really feel, that
‘my home is my castle’.


1. Make up your own topic about your flat. Use these

– What special things (pieces of furniture, picture, etc.)
have you got in you flat/house?
– Do you help clean the flat? How often?
– Do you feel comfortable at home?
– What things would you like to have in your flat?
– Have you got pets? Where do they live? (if any)

2. Comment on the following:

a) Some things can create special atmosphere. Is it
necessary for you? Do you like souvenirs, trifles brought
from somewhere?
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b) What do you prefer: a high-tech or a traditional

style? Why?
c) Main features of these styles. What are they in your
d) How long have you lived in your house/flat?
e) Would you like to move in a new flat/house?
f) Advantages of living in a flat/a house.
g) Blocks of flats are not popular in Europe. Why?
h) What do you see out of your windows?

My Daily Routine

Let’s not begin the story with the usual

words ‘I get up at seven o’clock’. Ok? I’d rather say that my
day begins right after the clock strikes twelve at midnight.
So I go to sleep at around half past twelve or a little bit later
(let’s say not later than 2 o’clock), then wake up and then do
all the other things in their usual order.
Really I mostly get up at six-thirty a.m. on weekdays,
when I have to go to the University or at eight-thirty
at the weekend. I don’t like to sleep long even when I have
enough time for it. Time spent on sleeping equals to a mere
waste of time for me.
I don’t like to be in a hurry, so I never sleep till the last
moment, when it’s still possible not to be late for classes.
I usually enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in the morning,
thinking about something or making plans for the day.
Sometimes I have to revise something for the University.
I am a ‘lark’, not an ‘owl’, so I feel that my brain functions
much better in the morning than in the evening (to say
nothing of the evening or night hours).
I am keen on walking in any weather. So usually I go
the University on foot, which takes me around forty-five
minutes. The first period begins at 8.30 and finishes at 10.
We usually have three or four periods a day, so I come
home either at a quarter past two or at four o’clock. When
it rains heavily, I take a bus.
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We have short breaks at the university, though there is

a long one, which lasts fifteen minutes, so the students can
go to the canteen and have something for lunch. Sometimes
I join my friends and go there; sometimes I don’t, when
I am not really hungry.
I don’t like to get down to work at once, when I am finally
at home. I can go for a walk, read or meet my friends or do
something else. Watching a film is a good way to spend
free time.
When my mind is free, I begin my preparation for
the next day. The work goes faster and more effectively than
right after classes. I usually don’t spend more than four
hours on my tasks (of course, in case I don’t have to cram
for the exams).
In the evening I have supper and take a shower.
I can’t fall asleep before midnight, so I have a little time
for my hobbies, which include chess and programming.
They both make me go to sleep late.
So this is my usual routine. It may be different
on holidays, of course. The only thing I would change about
it is the number of hours in a day – thirty-five would be
quite okay.

My Pet

I remember the days when I was a little

kid and dreamt of a pet. Just like other children. I dreamt
of a dog, a puppy that would be my friend. I imagined how
I would take it out for a walk, how we would play together,
how it would bark at me when I came home from school.
And I finally got it as a present for my birthday. I was
happy only for a week or so: I quickly realised that it was not
that easy to get up twenty minutes earlier to walk the pet.
The little creature (Buddy he was called) got up at around
half past five and began to scratch the floor, squeak and
even bite me slightly at my heels. So he got really naughty
and started getting on my feeble nerves.
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I finally lost any compassion for the dog when

in the darkness I stepped a few times into the puddles he
had deliberately made right at my door. No, I didn’t punish
him. I didn’t do him any harm. Fortunately this happened
just a few times. Day by day growing up he got more and
more quiet. I suppose these changes in the dog’s behaviour
were connected with the changes in his body. He got more
sturdy and even a bit obese, which resulted in his aptitude for
a more sluggish way of life. Thus we both were quite happy.
I thought that I had lost any interest in the pet and
was nearly indifferent to him when one day Mom said
Buddy had disappeared. She left him by the entrance door
of the shop and probably didn’t attach the lead firmly
enough to the pole. The knot loosened and our dog made
his escape chasing a cat or something else. I remember
how I sat down to table fully devastated by the news. I felt
that at that very moment I really missed him. I needed him
as I had never needed before. I realised that Buddy was my
pet and not just a piece of furniture in the house. I realised
that he was a living creature...
A few days later we received a call from an elderly woman
living in the opposite part of the city. She said that the dog
itself had come up to her, looking at her with its clever eyes
asking for food. Buddy had never been aggressive, so he
didn’t frighten the woman. When she gave him a piece
of bread, he submissively followed her right to the front
door. She understood Buddy was not a mere stray dog: he
had a collar on. She found the phone number on it and
gave us a call.
I was really happy to get Buddy back. You know
something really changed in my attitude to him. I came
to understand that he is my friend. Really he is my friend.
He is sitting by me now, wagging its tail and asking for his
favourite canine crunchies. He is an old person now. And
sometimes I dream that he will bite me at my heels and
wake me up at six again...
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My Future Career
When young people start to think about
their career, they imagine a very pleasant picture
of the future. But as they get older they face real life
and its objective difficulties. Having graduated from
the University a young specialist doesn’t have many ways
out. The simplest one today is to become a manager
in an office and begin doing some kind of paperwork.
I am afraid of sitting in a stuffy (and in an air-conditioned
as well) office, controlling hole-punchers, staplers, copiers
and answering phone calls. I believe that I will never be
able to impose unnecessary things on people, compose
endless e-mails and so on. Of course, life would be more
difficult without managers, but still I don’t want to be one.
I am leaving school in May and I haven’t chosen my
University yet. I think the best option for me will be
the Faculty of Art. I have been painting and drawing
for all my life and I can’t imagine it without art. Art is
the best way to express yourself, to convey your feelings
and emotions to people.
We have only one life and in my opinion we should
spend it reasonably. I am sure that when I get old I’ll ask
myself one of the most important questions: ‘What have
I achieved?’ Any human being is born to fulfil some tasks,
which nobody else, but he himself can define.
The sooner I define my tasks the happier I will be
in the future.
When I am absorbed in the creative process, I forget
about the problems and everything around. Maybe this
is what people usually call ‘inspiration’. I feel that there is
some connection between me and the world around, even
the Universe in its global understanding. And I just pick up
some ideas from the ocean of noosphere and implement
them on paper or canvas using the tools at hand.
I am sure that any career should make the person who
has chosen it happy. Otherwise work will be a torture and
nothing else. I don’t want to count the hours left till the end
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of the working day. I want my work to make me happy, and

I want to make people around happy at work.
If now I tell somebody about my dream, he or she will
probably say that I am eager to be famous. No way, fame
is a great burden. There is a vitally important difference
between the desire to be famous and the desire not to be
forgotten. I don’t mean the people of art exclusively.
If an architect creates a bridge that will stand for a few
centuries and serve people, they will remember his name
and will be thankful for this thing. If a composer’s pieces
of music are listened to in two hundred years, it will be
great. If some of an artist’s pictures survive through
the centuries, he himself will live with his works in human
hearts. This is important.
Now I am going to start preparation for the entrance
exams. I hope that my dream will come true soon and
I will be able to share the joy of art with people around.

My Summer Holidays

Summer holidays are a special period of time

that all the pupils and students wait for. It is vitally
important to take a breath after nine months of hard work.
I am personally always exhausted by the end of April, and
the last month is the time of great expectations and plans for
the summer.
When I was a schoolboy I had three months of free time,
which was not actually free as I tried to make good use of it. My
summer holidays have never been vain yet. In primary school
my parents always made me do the sums, learn something
new by heart for the next school year or simply read. No, they
didn’t make me read. I did it on my own with great pleasure.
Something changed in the seventh form. I remember that
summer when I first took a couple of textbooks of German
and discovered a new world. The world of foreign languages.
I had been learning English for two years by that time and
that was interesting. But when I took up German I got
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an opportunity to compare and think differently. Since that

time I have become a great fan of linguistics.
My favourite pastime activity in summer is cycling.
I have had four bikes in my life, and the one I have now is
the best. When riding a bike, I always have an mp3-player
in my pocket to listen to audiobooks. So I kill two birds
with one stone this way and save my time. I like to explore
new places using my bicycle.
When I entered the University, my summer holidays
changed a little – we usually have classes till the 10th
or 15th of June and then take our exams. So now we have
only two months of free time. I think it is even better,
because when I was at school, Iwanted to get back to studies
at the beginning of August. Three months were too much
for me.
On my holidays I usually stay in the country, because
it’s too hot and stuffy in the city. Besides I have more
ways to spend my time. Fishing is one of my hobbies, so
I usually go to the lake or to the river three or four times
a week. Maybe it sounds surprising, but I am really fond
of gardening and doing some agricultural work. I think it’s
a good way to help my parents and grandparents now.
What I like most of all about the holidays is an opportunity
not to get up early. In summer I never hurry and do what
I want and when I want. But it doesn’t mean that I get lazy:
sometimes I do so many things during the day that I really
feel tired in the evening before going to sleep.
So summer is a good time for having a rest and doing
something useful. It’s time for hobbies and for self-
development, too. I am already waiting for the summer
to come. And what about you?

My Winter Holidays

Do you like winter? I don’t like it very much.

The only thing I like about winter is New Year and the long
holidays I have in January. We never go abroad or somewhere
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else because we always spend New Year with the family and
I have always waited for the last day at school and
at the University. Usually it’s the 29th or 30th of December.
And then I feel free, it seems that these 10 or 12 days will be
endless and I will have an opportunity to do what I want.
The first thing I dream of is to sleep a bit longer than
usual. But this is really important only on the 1st and 2nd
of January. I can’t live happily, though, as I always remember
that the exams will come soon and I have to cram for them.
The first days of winter holidays are not very effective in this
regard – I make great plans, but the outcome is mean.
There is not much to do outdoors in winter, so I mostly
stay home, visit my relatives and friends, read books and
magazines or simply surf the Internet, but this kind of activity
seems to be the most useless and I try to cut down on the time
I spend at the computer. Long winter evenings are good for
watching films. I like to watch films in English and write
down new words to learn them later.
As for outdoor activities quite a lot of my friends are
keen on skating, they always invite me to join them and
go to the skating rink, but I have never tried it, so I refuse.
I am fond of skiing, but I did it four or five years ago last
time. Maybe I will buy new skis next year.
If it is not too cold, I take short walks in the morning
or in the evening. I have my camera with me and take
interesting winter photos of nature. I like to edit them later
and publish on the Internet.
On the last day of the holidays I am surprised how
they have flown by. To tell the truth, I would somehow cut
off a month from summer holidays and add it to winter
holidays. Or at least two or three weeks. I don’t think it is
fair, that there is too much rest in summer, while students
need some more time in winter.
After all, winter holidays are a great time, as we really
feel refreshed after a long period of studies, and I think life
would be much harder if there weren’t any break at school
and at the University in winter.
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My favourite film
It’s not an easy thing to choose one favourite
film from a wide range of films. Once I mentioned that
I like the historical genre. And I would like to tell you
about ‘Brave Heart’ starring Mel Gibson.
I believe that many of you have already watched this
film. It was shot in 1995 and it’s a real masterpiece from
different points of view up to now. It was directed by Mel
Gibson himself. When I watch a film where its director is
among the cast, I’m always impressed, because it’s much
more difficult to shoot a film than to simply be an actor.
But Mel Gibson coped with his task flawlessly.
It’s an epic film. Simply an epic one. It has two
interconnected storylines – the first is love between
William Wallace and a young girl and the second comes as
a consequence of the first – it’s fight for freedom.
The Scots had always been eager to be independent, but
the English Government and the Crown had its interest
in the northern part of the British Isles. And William
Wallace was the first warrior who lead his people and
initiated the national resistance, having revealed the inner
striving of his people for freedom and independence.
Originally he wanted to lead a quiet life, but the guards
of an English lord killed his wife and William had to follow
a new road…
It’s a sad film. But it’s so masterly done that you watch
it from beginning to end without looking at your watch.
The people of Scotland remember their national hero
even today. And they still want to be independent. And
they may get it in the nearest future.
‘Brave Heart’ is not a film to watch once. I’m sure that
you’ll see it several times. And every time I watch it, I find
something new. The music is really beautiful. The bagpipe
is a very special musical instrument, it’s charming and
mesmerizing. Its sound goes deep into the soul, and
the bagpiper himself seems to play not his instrument
only, but some inner strings of your heart. The music is so
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peaceful. And before watching the film, listen to its OST*

first, listen to it several times until you come to understand
the mood of the composer…
There’s everything in this film that the best story should
possess: love, courage, betrayal. This film was shot in the best
traditions of cinematography. There is no doubt, that people
will remember and watch this film in the future. Just watch
it yourself.


1. Make up your own topic about your favourite film.

Use these questions:
– What’s the name of the film? Who is the director?
– What can you say about the plot? Is it typical or unusual?
– Do you know the director and his other films?
– What would you say, if you wanted to recommend
somebody to watch this film?
– Is it perfectly shot? Are there any drawbacks?

2. Comment on the following:

a) Before watching a film, you can find its rating
on the Internet, using special websites. Is the rating important
for you? How often do you look it up?
b) Some people think it’s important for a film to have
background music. What do you think about it?
c) How many favourite films do you have? What are
they? Why?
d) Not feature films only may be favourite ones. What’s
your opinion of documentaries?
e) Do you watch old films? Are they Russian or foreign

*Official Soundtrack
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Choosing Presents
How often do you have to choose presents
for your family and friends? I am sure that it really is a great
problem. The consumer society has imposed the idea, that
people need more and more goods. It is just an illusion.
The less things one has the happier his life is. I didn’t say
this, it is Indian wisdom. Of course, there are exceptions.
For example there can’t be too many books. Or if someone
collects some things, he will be happy to get another item for
the collection.
What is the best present? Of course it is something that
you buy and it costs much and needs constant renewal:
a cellphone, a laptop or what not. People get easily hooked
on such things and can’t imagine their life without them.
So people think that they control things, but in reality things
take control over people. Thing distract us from real life.
That’s the purpose of modern world.
I am happy to have a lot of friends who think a book
is the best present. Books may be different, I mean some
of my friends are keen on History and they are always
happy to get something new, others are fond of art and they
collect albums with reproductions. When the electronic era
began, it was really interesting to give a player or a mobile
phone as a present, but then I started to feel distaste for it
and began to search for something real. A book never loses
its value. The same may be said about a picture. The rest is
transient and is soon forgotten.
I know some people who are able to create presents
themselves. I think it is the best way to make somebody
else happy.
When choosing a present I don’t usually look at the price.
Of course it’s not worth while buying very expensive
presents, as it makes the people feel obliged and they think
they will have to buy a present at the same price or even
a more expensive one for you.
Summing up I can say that choosing a present is really
a challenge, especially right before some family holidays, like
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Christmas or New Year when you have to buy a present for

everyone. You have to remember what they all already have
and guess what they really need. It is not pleasant at all when
you give one a present and it remains unused (sometimes
even unpacked) for a long time. Sometimes I think it is
quite reasonable to ask the person you want to give presents
to, what he or she really needs. Then you will not face any
problems and this person will be happy, too.

TV in My Life

I have never been a couch potato. I have not

either belonged to the group of people who like
to have their TV-sets switched on just in the background.
I remember that I liked to watch cartoons and TV shows
in my childhood. And the only thing I still remember is
advertisement. The older I grew the more advertisement
there was on TV. And I could not understand how it was
possible to watch a film or a programme with so many breaks.
The Internet ran slow at that time so TV, radio, newspapers
and magazines were the main sources of information.
The changes came with the appearance of satellite
antennas. I got an opportunity to watch channels in English
and in German, so my interest in television was revived as
I had completely lost any wish to watch Russian TV.
Watching films and news reports in the original is
an exciting thing, it helps me greatly in my studies. The best
way to learn a foreign language is to plunge into it. The more
I listen to native speakers the better my pronunciation is.
The ability to think in a foreign language develops more
quickly, too. I hear a lot of set expressions, which help me
improve my language skills.
My favourite programmes are about nature, animals and
travelling. I like politics less, but I always watch analytical
shows to be aware of the latest news and events in the world.
Sometimes I record programmes to watch them later again.
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On Russian television I sometimes watch news reports,

but I find it more convenient to get the information
on the Internet. But I never watch talk shows or entertaining
shows, though I have a few acquaintances who do it. When
somebody tries to tell me about it or wants to know my
opinion I feel amused. Of course there may be interesting
shows like ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’, but they are nothing
more than simply ‘interesting’. Besides, most of the ideas are
borrowed from foreign TV-channels. There is only one
programme I sometimes watch, just because it is our
original idea. Its name is ‘What? Where? When?’.
I don’t usually spend more than an hour or so on watching
TV. I get tired of it rather quickly and change my activity.

My Favourite Season

When someone asks me about my favourite

season, I never know what to say. Really, each
of the four seasons has advantages and disadvantages.
To tell the truth I don’t like the transitions between seasons,
as the weather gets changeable and it usually rains or there
is sleet and slush.
Summer seems to be the most favourable season for me,
though. Pushkin wrote:

O, summer fair! I would have loved you, too,

Except for heat and dust and gnats and flies.

This is probably the worst thing about summer. Why do

I prefer summer? Just because it is the time for the majority
of activities. While we usually stay at home in winter, we
can do everything we want in summer. I go cycling, fishing
and swimming and do some gardening in the country.
Summer is holiday time, which is of primary importance.
I don’t mean that I don’t like to study, but in summer I have
more opportunities for self-development and hobbies.
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It is a pity that our climate is changing. Now summer

may be cold and rainy or too dry, as it has never been before.
We used to have distinct differences between the seasons.
At present we don’t. Thus I can only say that I like traditional
summer weather, when periods of heat and rain are divided
Winter takes the second place for me. I like snowy
winters, when one can dive into snow like in water, when one
can fall into it up to the waist. Walking in the snowstorm is
absolutely fantastic, no matter if I have to clean the snow
off the paths around the country house. Frosts are okay, but
if they don’t last too long. So I don’t like extremes in winter
either. When I was a little kid, I liked winter even more than
summer. I don’t know why exactly, but maybe because of New
Year, Christmas and their festive atmosphere all around.
Besides we did some snow engineering, too. Building snow
fortresses was something out of the ordinary, as I remember
it now.
I don’t generally do any winter sports. I used to ski a few
years ago, but now I don’t have enough time for it. Skating
has always been out of the question.
The only positive feature about autumn is the beauty
of nature. I like to walk in the park or in the forest and take
pictures of the wonderful changes that take place in autumn.
I always feel depressed when I have to run my bike into
the garage for a long winter period. I have my birthday
in autumn, but it doesn’t save the day.
Spring makes our feet wet, that’s why I don’t like it. It
thaws and freezes then thaws again. But May is quite nice
in this regard, everything around returns to life and one
begins to feel the summer is coming.

2 Going on a Picnic

Going on a picnic is a good way to spend

free time. It is especially popular in summer
when the weather is warm and sunny. Most people go
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by car to some remote places where they can have a good

time with their families and friends.
When I have an opportunity to get out of the city, the most
difficult task is to choose the destination, as there are quite
a lot of interesting places around. My friends and I like
to spend our free time by the water. Sometimes we even take
the tents and put them up on the shore of the lake. If we go
on a picnic it does not mean that we take a lot of food, so
generally a picnic implies making barbecues somewhere far
away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
We do not like just to lie in the shade and do nothing.
Any sports activities like playing volleyball, badminton are
a good addition to a picnic. I always have my camera with
me to take photos of nature and the people around.
I am always responsible for cutting firewood and making
fire. In winter we prefer to buy ready coals and use them
for barbecues. I remember that we once went to the forest
in January when the temperature was twenty degrees below
zero, and it was a challenge to make a fire, but we finally did
it. Since then we have never gone on a picnic in winter.
In my opinion the food cooked in the open air tastes much
better than what you cook in the kitchen. I do not know
why, but all of my friends have noticed it more than once.
My most favourite dish is grilled fish that you catch on your
own. Sometimes it takes a few hours to have the catch that
you want, but it is worth doing!
It is especially important to remember some rules when
you go on a picnic. First, you have to be careful with fire
and never leave burning coals. Be sure to extinguish them.
In a strong wind you have to be careful, too, as it can spread
the flame over dry grass. Second, do not leave rubbish
on the site where you had a picnic. It is not pleasant to see
empty bottles and plastic bags thrown out right under your
feet. So when my friends and I come and see something like
these, we collect the litter and then find a place to dump it
on the way back. Rubbish is dangerous not only for people
but also for wild animals, that find and chew it.
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So picnic is one of the best ways to spend your time in unity

with nature and refresh yourself, especially at the weekend
or on holidays before a long period of work or studies.

3 My Room

I am really happy to have a room of my own.

My parents allowed me to create my world inside it when
I was a small kid. Since then it has changed a lot, but I still
feel that I want to come back here again and again.
I do not mean that I have a mess in my room, because very
often young people who have enough freedom in this regard
like to scatter the clothes all around or even leave dirty dishes
on the desk. No. My room is in order, I clean it twice a week
and I like it when all the things are in their places.
My room is big enough even for two people, but I live here
alone. So there is a lot of space which I use rationally. I like
sport, so I have a treadmill in the corner opposite my bed.
I use it for daily training and it really helps me to keep fit.
Reading is a part of my life. I cannot imagine my world
without books, so there are three bookshelves and one
bookcase, where I do not keep the books only but also
quite a lot of other things. Next to the bookcase I have my
wardrobe. I do not need a big one, as I have not got much
clothes, and if I take a look inside it now, I will even find
an empty section.
Photography is one of my hobbies, too. So I like to put
the pictures on the walls. There are not many of them though.
I do not like to change anything in my room, but in winter
I am going to hang some different wallpaper, as I am tired
of the colour I have now in my room.
As for my desk, there is one problem: I have got too many
papers and notebooks and what not on it. I am a person with
a creative mind. When I draw I leave the pencils and the sheets
of paper right in their place to come back soon and finish
the drawing. There is a laptop on the desk, too. This is the only
place in my room where I have a mess. I always get angry when
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somebody tries to arrange everything, because I cannot find

anything after it. My mom has tried to do it several times, but
now she doesn’t want to do it anymore. Fortunately.
On the wall I have a clock which always reminds me
of the time. When I look at the smooth movement of the second
hand, I remember that I cannot waste time. Besides its ticking
helps me fall asleep.
I cannot say that there is something special about my
room, but I like it very much and feel comfortable and safe
here. Here I live in the world I have created myself.

My Household Chores

I do not exactly remember how old I was when

I realise that it was necessary to help the family.
I simply started doing what my parents and grandparents did.
Even at that time it was never difficult for me to throw the litter
in the dustbin or take dirty dishes to the kitchen and put them
into the sink. A bit later when I grew up and the water tap was
within my reach, I began to help wash up. Everyone appreciated
my attempts and I was really happy because of that.
Taking out the garbage became my duty when I went
to school. When I got my dog as a present for my tenth
birthday I realised that it was me, who had to walk it. There
were no arguments about it.
Frankly speaking I do not understand the meaning
of the word ‘chores’. It may be used when somebody makes
somebody do something about the house. My parents have
never had to force me to perform any duties. I have always
tried to notice what is necessary and who needs my help
and what I can do about it. It is much simpler and much
more pleasant for everyone.
I do not think it is fair when somebody does the cooking
all the time for the whole life. The duties are to be equally
distributed among the members of the family. Okay, I am
not a good cook, but I can make something simple and
tasty so that my Mom could have a rest. The same may be
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said about all the household chores. You may think that my
labour is exploited. No way. We just try to live as happily
as we can.
I can say that I do not like some duties. I cannot explain
why, but I hate vacuum-cleaning, though washing the floors
is quite okay. Washing up is not exhausting if you do not do it
three times a day several days running. Everyone makes his
bed in our family. I remember that I could not do it properly
when I was really small, because the counterpane was too
big for me, and my mom or grandma helped me with it.
Going shopping may be considered a part of household
chores. I seldom do the shopping on my own, only
when I have to buy some trifles. We generally drive
to the supermarket at the weekend and buy everything for
the whole week. That is why I do not have to do it often.
And of course my first duty now is to study well. This is
the first thing I always think about. And all the household
chores are nothing compared to it.

5 English as My Favourite Subject


I can hardly remember my first English lesson

at school. It was long ago. I remember only that I was a bit
frightened because everything was new and unexpected.
I could not understand how it is possible to use foreign
words and how to learn them.
I was happy to have a teacher who did not force us to learn
English the way many teachers do. She did not shout at us
and did not punish us. But we soon realised that if we made
mistakes or were not prepared for the lesson, we hurt her some
way. We showed thus, that her subject was not interesting.
And we never did it. I still do not know how she managed
to win children’s respect, but she did it.
Now English is the most interesting subject for me. I am
not flattering anyone now. I simply like it. There are a lot
of reasons for it. First it improves my memory. I am fond
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of learning new words. Isn’t it great when you hear someone

speaking English and understand him or her. Of course,
I do not fully understand native speakers yet, but I am sure
that I will be able to do it in the future. Second, any language
makes people think differently. Nothing can be translated
directly from one language into another. There is always
some peculiarity in the meaning. Third, when you know
a foreign language you can watch films and read books
in the original. And I am keen on reading.
English provides infinite possibilities in the modern
world. I mean different spheres of life: education, travelling,
communication, art and so on.
When you learn a foreign language you should always
remember that this process requires constant practice.
I cannot live a day without English. Many people believe
that it is a simple language. It is not. It possesses powerful
expressive means, due to its rich vocabulary. It seems
to me that the more I learn it, the more unknown words
there are. But I don’t want to give up and continue to write
out new lexical units. Once I heard that to remember this
or that word well, you have to use it in different situations
nearly 20(!) times.
To have good practice in English, I look for pen-pals
on the Internet. It also provides an opportunity to make
video calls using Skype or any other programs. So now
I have a few acquaintances living in the UK, the USA and
Germany. I am trying to learn German, too. But I am afraid
that something may get mixed up in my head. Of course
I would like to see all these people in real life and I hope that
I will have an opportunity and time to travel in the future.

6 Hobbies

I can’t imagine my life without my hobbies.

Having a hobby is really an important thing, because it makes
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you relax, you get to know something new, and finally you are
in peace with yourself and the whole world, and it seems more
and more important in our constantly changing fussy world.
As for my hobbies, I would put reading in the first place,
because it’s the major source of information for me. I don’t like
fantasy, which is so popular today, I prefer serious books. My
favourite writers are S. Maugham, A. Christie. I like Russian
writers – Dostoevski and Tolstoy. I can’t say that I have a lot
of time for reading, but when I have some free time, I devote it
to reading. I always have my portable electronic book reader
in my bag.
Woodcarving is my second hobby – it is the best way
to create. It is even more interesting than painting. When
carving wood, you create a kind of relief picture – it is similar
to sculpture. Wood is a very pleasant material to work with.
Unfortunately, I don’t have much time for it and do it only
in summer during my holidays.
And the last hobby I would like to tell you about is painting.
I have never attended any art school, but I am so deeply
interested in this activity, that I have a couple of friends who
are artists. I believe that it’s possible to learn a lot from them.
Sometimes I go to the country far away from civilization
and draw and paint nature. I use these sketches later when
I paint in watercolours. Oil painting will be my next stage,
and hopefully I’ll try it next year. My parents and friends
say I’m making good progress. I even take part in different
competitions and have already won a couple of prizes.
I will probably turn this hobby into my future profession
and become a designer or an artist.
My hobbies are really my treasure, and I am glad to share it
with everyone, who is interested in the same things with me.


1. Make up your own topic about your hobbies. Use

these questions:
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– What do you do in your free time?

– Do you have much time for your hobbies?
– How did you take up this or that activity?
– Do any of your friends share your interests?
– Does anyone in your family have the same hobbies?
– What do you do to be more ‘effective’ in the activity
you are interested in?

2. Comment on the following:

a) People spend a lot of time online. Is it a hobby? Can
we say that playing computer games is a hobby?
b) The man is created to create. Do you agree? Why?
Why not?
c) All people are talented, but only few reveal their
talents. Do you agree?
d) Who gave you the idea to do what you think to be
your hobby?
e) Some hobbies require money and are not cheap.
What do you think about it?
f) Your plans for the future. Would you like to try
anything absolutely new?
g) Differences in hobbies in Russia and abroad.
h) To see the result of your activity is the best reward
for you, isn’t it?

7 Hobbies: Fishing

There is a good saying: ‘The time that you

spend on fishing is not subtracted from the time of your
life’. So theoretically one can increase his life by two or even
more times simply going fishing and spending half a week
at the water.
As for me, I can stay by the water for long hours and I never
notice how the time flies. I have been fishing since the age
of four when I first took a fishing rod and went to the river
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with my grandfather. At that time I realised that there is

definitely some magic in the process. You never know what
to expect of the forthcoming fishing: you can catch a few
kilos or nothing. A real angler has interest in the process
itself. If the result is rewarding then it is still better. But leaving
the place with an empty fishing-crib is not a cause to get
disappointed – you can have a good catch next time.
The most important thing for me that fishing provides
is the relaxation. You leave all the bad thoughts and worries
somewhere on the way and when you come to the water
you feel completely refreshed. I usually leave the house early
in the morning at around 3 or 4 a.m. to have enough time
for the trip and for preparation. I like to cycle to the lake
or to the river, as they are 16 kilometres away from my
country house. I go fishing in summer only. Winter is
the time for other activities.
I like it when dense fog is in the air. You are a few meters
away from the water but you do not see it. You only hear
the rare splashes of fish, that is waking up. Not a leaf is stirring
around you. When the weather is changeable or windy I avoid
going fishing. I know for sure that I will not get anything and
the day will be just a waste of time. Sometimes the weather is
really dull for a long period of time and then I long for fishing.
The first fish that you catch is especially valuable. It means
that you may have hope for more ones. It is the tension
of the fishing line and the trembling of the tip of the fishing
rod that make the angler happy. The bigger a fish is the more
excited you feel. I cannot even imagine what sea-fishing is. It
must be something and I dream of it all the time.
If it is possible, I try to go to the lake on weekdays, because
at the weekend the place is often crowded, and due to the noise
nobody can count on a good catch. There are exceptions
though. I usually spend six to eight hours by the water.
If you have never done the fishing yet, I advise you to do
it. Once you have gone fishing, you will not be able to stop
and quit it. I know even a few women who accompany
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their husbands. Fishing is an unforgettable experience,

believe me.

8 Bird Watching: an Unusual Hobby


I have a friend coming from the United

Kingdom. He is in his seventies and he has been living
in Russia since 1992 when first came here from Rochester.
One day when we were fishing at the lake, he asked me
if I had ever heard about bird watching. My answer was
‘no’. A bit later I read about it in some text, but at that time
it was surprising.
When we came back home he showed me a book
in English. He opened it at a definite page and pointed
to a bird which was drawn there. ‘A hoopoe’, he said with
some obvious satisfaction. ‘I saw it once’. It was really
surprising to get to know, that bird watching is so widespread
in the UK. As for other countries, I am not quite sure.
What you need for this hobby are just binoculars and
patience. It turned out that there were even special books
for those who are keen on bird watching, so that they would
easier recognize the species. A few years later one of my
acquaintances began to take pictures of the birds using special
long-focus camera lenses and to publish them on the Internet.
It was simply amazing! I am fond of photography and would
like to do the same, but unfortunately I don’t have enough
time for it.
The first thing that occurred to me when I got to know what
bird watching is was as follows: this hobby is much better than
hunting or something else, because you just admire the beauty
of birds and don’t kill them (in contrast to making stuffed
birds). And at the same time it is as interesting as hunting,
because you have to look for the species you are interested in,
but you do not have to pull the trigger.
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Sometimes we may see this hobby in films. I have

recently watched ‘Hunting Forrester’ where the main
character, the old writer, shot videos about birds and kept
the whole collection in a drawer. I remembered my English
friend at once when I was watching this film.
I believe that any hobby which is not harmful for
nature and the man himself is good. The world around is
created to please people and birds in particular are a sight
for sore eyes.

9 Holidays

Holidays break up our everyday life

in a pleasant way. People can stay with their families, meet
friends, go somewhere to have a good time and to enjoy
life. Without holidays our life would be probably boring
and monotonous.
Different countries have different customs and traditions,
but nearly any country celebrates New Year, Easter,
Christmas and many other special days of the year. I take
holidays as the time, when I can really do something for
myself or for somebody else. This is the time for hobbies, for
self-development, when you don’t have to get up early, go
to school or university or work.
My favourite holiday is New Year. We usually celebrate it
in our country house, where all our relatives gather. The most
pleasant thing about New Year for me is buying presents. I like
to give presents more than to get them. It’s really a nice feeling
to bring joy to my family members. It takes me usually a week
to buy all the necessary things. I am not a great fan of shopping
by the way. But just before New Year there are a lot of interesting
things on sale. Sometimes I make something myself.
Our birthdays are our family holidays. And they are
all concentrated in summer. Only my granny’s birthday is
in November.
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My mother is a good cook – the cakes she makes can’t be

compared to those in shops, they are really tasty! It’s an old
tradition in our family to cook together. Our festive board
is always very rich and Mother tries to make something
exquisite. And there is always a dish, taken from a traditional
cuisine of some country!
I think that the main function of every holiday, no matter
what holiday it is – a national or a family one – is to unite
people, let them spend more time together, communicate,
share ideas and emotions. It’s so important in our present
life, I always remember these lines from a poem:

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare...

Remember them too. Spend more time with your family,

friends and you’ll feel comfortable and relaxed. Use your
holiday time to advantage. But ‘If all the year were playing
holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work’.


1. Make up your own topic about holidays. Use these

– What are your favourite family holidays?
– Describe the way you celebrate this or that holiday.
– What does your festive board usually include?
– Do you like to get presents or to give them?
– What present has been the most unusual one for you
so far?

2. Comment on the following:

a) ‘If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would
be as tedious as to work’.
b) Is it good to have too many holidays?
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c) How long can you stay away from work/school?

Do you get bored on long holidays?
d) What do you think about our usual long New-Year
e) What holiday would you introduce, if you had
an opportunity?
f) Do you invite guests to celebrate different holidays?
Or do you celebrate them within your family circle?
g) Do you like to celebrate your birthday? What do you
usually do on this day?
h) Do you have any traditions connected with
celebrations and holidays?


They say: ‘Health is wealth’. No doubt,

anyone will agree with this statement. We should think
about our health since childhood and pay attention even
to trifles, when something goes wrong.
Medicine has made great progress over the time of its
history, starting with the scientists of Ancient Greece, but still
the only thing we can rely on is our way of life. If you don’t
smoke or drink alcohol or do some other harmful things, like
taking drugs, you have a good chance to live a long and happy
life. But it’s not the only condition.
Food industry is slowly killing people. The majority
of products is synthetic, and we don’t pay much attention
to what we consume. Nice wrapping contains dangerous
substances, aimed at the destruction of our health. Synthetic
food is cheap, it’s easy to produce. Marketing ideas work
for food industry. Food containing taste intensifiers,
preservatives and stuff like that is especially dangerous for
children. Parents give them money, when they go to school,
without giving it a second thought what they are going to buy.
It’s usually like this: a child goes to a supermarket and buys
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a bag of chips. Having eaten this, he feels thirsty and buys

a bottle of coke. Having drunk Coke he wants something
sweet to finish with – and this is… a sweet chocolate bar.
And this happens to millions of children in the world
every day! What can we do about that? Nothing… Marketing
is stronger – thousands of people work and think about how
to make people consume bad stuff and kill themselves this way.
So, food is the first source of danger, and smoking and
alcohol follow it. If you start being more careful and selective
about the food, you’ll be healthier. And smoking and alcohol
are for stupid and backward people, and nothing more.
The third step to your perfect health is doing some
sports activity. It may be tennis, jogging, going to the gym –
anything to your liking. But it must be regular. Sport is
refreshing. My favourite sports activities are cycling and table
tennis. Cycling makes all your groups of muscles work. It’s
not very tiring. When cycling you may discover new places,
it’s really interesting! You may do this not only in the city,
but in the country, alone or with your friends. When you
are active, your lungs work better, bringing more oxygen
to the brain and all the organs. Twice or thrice a week I play
table tennis – it develops my reaction and attention.
So, we have come to the conclusion, that everyone is
the master of his life. We shouldn’t listen to anyone, imposing
things on us, and think on our own. And it’s better to start
thinking about health as soon as possible. But on the other
hand, it’s never too late – if you smoke – simply quit it. If you
have problems with your weight – go in for sports. And you’ll
be fine!


1. Make up your own topic about health. Use these

– What do you do to be healthy? Are you a healthy person?
– Do you go in for sports? What kinds?
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– What about your friends – are they sporty?

– What other things are important for being healthy?
What can you add?
– Do you believe in medicine?

2. Comment on the following:

a) Health is wealth.
b) Do you follow any good examples of people who are
sporty and healthy?
c) Do you consume Coke, sweets and other unhealthy
d) Are you worried about the quality of the food you eat?
e) What are other factors that influence people’s health


We often say ‘A healthy spirit is in a healthy

body’. It’s so simple but nonetheless so concise and
so obvious. Sport is an important part of healthy life.
The human body was not originally designed for sitting
in a stuffy office. A human being was created for some
physical activities, and people didn’t seem to be interested
in professional sport for some time, since they didn’t need
extra physical activities, as they had to work a lot.
Today sport is a phenomenon which is synonymic
to ‘professional sport’. If you go to the gym or play volleyball
or do something else and you don’t take part in competitions,
it generally means that you do something related to fitness...
For me table tennis is the most interesting kind of sport.
It develops reaction, endurance and speed. I can do it
twice a week or sometimes even more often, for example
on holidays. I have been playing table tennis for seven years,
but I have never taken part in any competitions. I first took
a racket in my hands when I was 12, but then I didn’t play
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much and began to play tennis later. I do it for myself and

for my personal interest. I have a few acquaintances who
think the same way.
Chinese players are the best players in the world. It’s
the speed that lets them win the prizes. I often watch tennis
matches on TV, as I have a special sports channel thanks
to my cable TV.
Many people believe that sport is not connected with
thinking. It’s silly to think so, because you have to foresee
the next step of your opponent, or even several ones. There
must be a strategy in your game. If you don’t develop this
ability, you’ll never beat a strong rival. It’s not an exaggeration,
but I don’t see much difference between tennis and chess
in some regard. Playing chess you can think longer, while
playing tennis involves your physical abilities and skills. And
then you have a unity of movement and strategy and quick
thinking, and this is the most exciting thing about the game.
Sport and bad habits are absolutely incompatible. I don’t
understand people who combine smoking and skiing for
example. My opinion of taking some dope and anabolic
steroids is the same. If you are a professional sportsman, it’s
not fair to your rivals. But modern dope testing minimizes
such cases in an effective way.
If you don’t go in for sports, try to take up something. It
will be a new experience; it’ll bring new emotions into your
soul. If you do some sports, never give it up.


1. Make up your own topic about sport. Use these

– Do you go in for sports? What kinds?
– How often do you have trainings?
– What can you say about your friends?
– What would you like to take up? Is any kind of sport
especially interesting for you?
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2. Comment on the following:

a) Oh, Sport, you are the world!
b) Do you have any ‘idols’ in the world of sport?
c) Do you know any curios facts about sportsmen,
sports events?
d) Do you think that parents should make their children
go in for sports? Or should the children do it of their own
free will?

2 Cinema and Theatre

Many people believe that cinema and theatre
are somehow opposed to each other. Theatre is ‘old art’
and cinema is ‘new art’. It’s not at all like this. I think it silly
to argue about this question. Let the first like theatre and
the second like cinema. I don’t belong to one group only.
I can’t say that I am a theatre-goer, I have been to the theatre
just a few times. And I have never been impressed. Now
people come to understand that theatre as a social and artistic
phenomenon needs something else, that could attract people.
That’s why we see quite a lot of so-called ‘street-theatres’ with
their performances which include fire-shows, acrobatics and
many other curious things.
I have never been able to read plays. It seems boring to me,
I don’t like the form of the play – it’s not easy to understand
and not convenient to read. It seems that the logic of narration
is somehow ‘broken’. I like to read usual books with passages
of normal length.
But still I have a few acquaintances who are theatre-goers.
We don’t talk much about the theatre with them, though.
Cinema is a newer and a more spectacular phenomenon
for me. Don’t think that I like cinematography for its special
effects only. No way. I have watched a lot of ‘good old stuff ’.
One of my favourite directors is I. Bergman. And I strongly
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advise to watch his masterpiece ‘Fanny and Alexander’

if you have time some day. Such films make people think.
I don’t often go to the cinema. I would watch films more often
if I had more time. There are quite a lot of genres. I watch films
in accordance with my present state and mood. Sometimes
I can watch several action films running. Sometimes I need
a horror film just to stir up my imagination and emotions.
But my absolutely favourite genre is the historical one. It’s
not necessarily a feature film, it may be a documentary. It’s
even more interesting to see some real footage coming out
of the past. I have watched a lot about the Second World
War. I always watch them in the original and strongly advise
you to do the same. The more you see in English, the better
you understand the language and its peculiarities. The best
films in my opinion are ‘Brave Heart’, starring Mel Gibson,
‘Gladiator’ and many others. I have watched ‘1492: Conquest
of Paradise’ recently.
What I don’t like about modern cinema is the 3D
technology. It hurts people’s eyes and is not safe to use.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of good films presented
in 3D only.
To finish with, I would like to tell you about a very
interesting animation film director – A. Petrov. It’s not
even animation completely. He created several films, using
a unique technology – he paints every frame on glass, it makes
the drawings transparent and weightless. Only one minute
of filming requires more than 1 000 frames, and one can paint
15 within a day! It’s great work!
So, it’s not special effects that make a film impressive
and memorable. A film should contain a part of the artist’s
soul. Then it will shine on for a long time like a star among
the rest. The same can be said about theatre and any other
kind of art. And true art must never be ‘An art for art’s
sake’. It must leave something in the soul of the spectator.
Try to search for such Art and find it.
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1. Make up your own topic about cinema and theatre.

Use these questions:
– Do you like theatre or cinema more? Why?
– What do you think about the future of theatre?
– What’s your attitude towards modern technologies?
– What film genres do you prefer? Why?
– How often do you go to the cinema/theatre?
– Do you know any interesting facts about the world
of cinema?
– Would you like to be a film director? Have you ever
tried to shoot videos?

2. Comment on the following:

a) There are people who choose one particular film
director and watch all of his films. What about you?
b) Your favourite actors. What is special about them?
(Try to find adjectives and express your thoughts brightly).
c) Today ‘easy’ films are more popular than the ones
that make people think, aren’t they?
d) What is the most important thing in cinematography
and theatre for you?

3 Music
‘Music is the universal language of mankind’, –
said once Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Music is not only
a kind of art but also a kind of universal language. You can’t learn
all the languages in the world, but you are able to understand
music. Music helps when the words are not enough.
I don’t play any musical instruments, that’s why I take
musicians as people sent down to Earth from Heaven. They
have some special gift. My favourite musical instruments
are the piano, the violin and the flute. I can’t say that I am
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fond of some particular kind of music, I listen to different

performers according to my mood. I have never listened
much to classical music, it’s not fully my cup of tea. I like
some composers, and my favourite one is Ferenc Liszt. His
works are somehow different from the rest. I don’t like when
a lot of musical instruments are involved into the process.
But his masterpieces for the piano are unsurpassed.
I discovered the charm of Indian music a few years
ago. I don’t mean the music coming from India. I
listen to  the  traditional music of American and South
American Indians. The flute is the main component here.
Its pure sound brings serenity into my soul. I often turn it
on in the background when do some creative work.
Pop music is difficult to listen to. The older I grow,
the more I understand that art for the majority can’t be true
art. Real art is for limited circles of people. Imagine a mineral
water dispenser in the street, where all people drink from
one glass. I feel the same about pop-music.
There can be naturally some good tracks within the limits
of pop-music, but they are not numerous. Folk and native
music can be different and surprisingly understandable. Just
listen to traditional tea music from China, to the bagpipe
of Scotland, to the sounds of the Pacific and you’ll see
a wider world than you used to imagine.
As for the Russian performers, my absolutely favourite
musician is B. Grebenshchikov. I clearly see the evolution of his
creative activity in the course of time. One of his recent albums
‘Back to Arkhangelsk’ is a product of a very high quality.
Grebenshchikov’s tunes are unique, his lyrics are close to my
ideas. And together they make up a wonderful combination,
so memorable and so distinctively bright against the gloomy
background of pop-music.
And I would like to finish with the words of Henry
David Thoreau: ‘When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am
invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times,
and to the latest’.
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And what about you? Do you feel the same?

1. Make up your own topic about music. Use these
– Do you often listen to the music? What kinds of music?
– How many favourite singers do you have? What are
– Can you play any musical instruments?
– Does music help you work, create, study, do sports, etc?
– Do you like Russian or foreign music more?

2. Comment on the following:

a) Pop-music is for the majority of people. What do you
think about it? Do you personally like pop-music?
b) People play different instruments. Do you know
any absolutely special and unusual ones? Find some
information on this point.
c) Classical music is not easy to understand. Do you like
it? Do you listen to it?
d) Would you like to learn to play any musical
instrument? What one?
e) Do you have the same musical preferences with your
f) Find a couple of proverbs and sayings about music.
Comment on them.

4 Languages and their importance

Chekhov said: ‘You are the man as many
times, as many languages you know’. Really, learning
foreign languages contributes greatly to the development
of the personality and makes people look at the surrounding
world more widely. Let’s try to find reasons proving that
learning a foreign language is vital:
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1) You have already started learning English. It can be

deduced from the fact that you are reading this book now.
If you are learning English, then you need it for your own
purposes at least, and it’s good. Go on and you’ll be a success.
2) Learning a language develops your memory and
thinking. Our brain needs constant training as well as our
muscles need constant physical activity.
3) Being able to speak a foreign language you have a wider
range of possibilities to travel, to communicate with people
abroad, to get acquainted with new cultural spheres etc.
4) It’s simply interesting to understand the origin of words
in your own language. The more languages you know,
the better you understand where a lot of words come from.
You start to ‘feel’ their taste and meaning.
5) Why should you read books and watch films
in translation? Let them be in the original. Complete
understanding doesn’t come at once, but the more you
watch and read, the sooner you’ll be able to speak this
or that foreign language.
6) You listen to your favourite music, but you don’t
understand the songs, do you?
7) If you know one foreign language, it’s easier to start
learning another one.
8) Some people learn foreign languages to increase
their ‘price’ on the labour-market. It shouldn’t be the first
goal, though.
9) We now live in a constantly changing world providing
us with new ways of communication. If you want to master
your professional skills, to get new information then why
not study foreign sources?
10) It’s fashionable to learn a foreign language. Naturally,
it takes time to do it properly. But it’s rewarding. Let your
friends, who don’t learn a foreign language, envy you. It’s
a joke of course.
To recapitulate, we draw the following conclusion:
to know at least one foreign language is absolutely necessary.
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English seems to be the most popular in the world thanks

to its relative simplicity. Chinese is popular too. But… it’s
too difficult to learn. Don’t stop, keep on working at your
English. You know quite a lot of grammatical material, but
it’s important to use your skills so that you would be able
to speak English fluently. And to speak English means
to think in English…


1. Make up your own topic about languages. Use these

– Why do you learn English? Do you learn any other
– What other advantages of learning a foreign language
can you think of?
– What languages are the most widely-spoken in the world?
– What is specific about learning a foreign language?
Try to compare it with other subjects.
– What is especially interesting for you in English?

2. Comment on the following:

a) Rare languages – are they interesting for you?
b) Language is the reflection of the soul and mentality.
c) How much time do you spend on learning the  language?

5 Education
‘Everything is good in its season’. We use
this phrase in connection with anything, but education.
Education, to be more precise, the level of education is
a universal and eternal value. Striving for knowledge is
an inalienable right and natural aspiration of a human being.
Education takes its origin in the discrepancy between
your present and desired levels of knowledge. ‘I know that
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I don’t know anything’, – said Socrates. If we imagine our

personal knowledge as a circle, that encloses it, and what we
don’t know is outside the circle, then the longer its perimeter
is, the more its area is and the more we know. The more we
know, the more we don’t know. So, if a person says he knows
everything, his knowledge is a tiny circle, just a point. He
knows little, and he doesn’t know little either. It’s a paradox.
Today it’s extremely important to be capable of learning. It
means that you should be able to find necessary information
yourself. No official education can educate a person. If you
are a pupil, then a student, or a post-graduate, or you work
in your professional sphere, you must know for sure what
you need. Education that we get is meant to show us the way
we should follow. People who believe that the course
of lectures which is delivered at their university is enough,
are mistaken.
The Internet is a great educational means. You get
an access to invaluable sources of information of different
kinds, in different languages. You may get acquainted with
different points of view here.
Remember, cramming is the worst thing on your way
to becoming a specialist. Our memory is insidious. So when
learning, you should come to understand the matter and get
the essence of what you learn. Some say, that education is what
is left after you have forgotten what you were once taught.
That’s it! In my opinion, it’s the best definition of education.
A real specialist is able to connect things within some
professional sphere. Take medicine for example. It’s a rare
case, when a doctor can consider some health problem
in its interconnection with a number of factors. Usually
it’s like this: you come to a doctor, and he examines you
for the problems possible in some particular system
he specializes in. Unfortunately it’s common practice
Such an approach is misleading. Avoid it.
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Material things and currencies may be devalued easily.

Education is never devalued. Remember it and follow your
own way.


1. Make up your own topic about education. Use these

– Is education important for you?
– What are/were you favourite subjects?
– What are the advantages/drawbacks of the system
of education in Russia?
– Would you like to study abroad? What country would
you choose?
– Do you rely on the Internet or on your own knowledge

2. Comment on the following:

a) How can you define education?
b) There are people, who haven’t even finished school.
And they are rich and successful.
c) It’s desirable, but not necessary to keep all
the information in memory for some ‘professionals’. They
can easily look up something somewhere (on the Internet).
But a doctor doesn’t have such an opportunity. Is it fair?

6 Art and its meaning

Man does not live by caviar alone.
I. Shaw. Nightwalk

What makes a human being a human being? No doubt

it’s our cultural needs. Here lies the major difference between
a man and an animal. Animals don’t need art. Some
monkeys, dolphins, elephants are capable of drawing, but it
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isn’t art. It’s just their physical ability to use a brush or some
other object for drawing.
Art has existed for ages. It has undergone a lot of changes.
It has taken numerous forms, and what we call Art now is
a wide notion including painting, music, architecture and
many other branches.
Art lets a man express himself and his inner world in some
material form. Music is an exception, but it may be seen as
‘partly material’. But the word ‘artist’ even contains ‘art’ in itself.
My favourite branch of art is painting. When you look
at the pictures of ‘Old Masters’ you touch the reality of the past
days. You come to understand the inner tune of the man who
created this or that masterpiece.
There exists such a notion as ‘modern art’. I don’t think
it to be real art, it may be called ‘imitation of art’ or what
not. The humankind has been creating classical traditions,
methods and approaches to Art for ages, starting with the time
of cavemen, who painted life scenes on the stone walls. Today
it’s possible, though, to take some scrap, put it together and
call it an ‘installation’. There are people who like this. They
say, at least, that they understand the author’s message. There
are people who believe, that there are people who understand
such ‘art’ and believe the latter.
Classical traditions had implied a long process
of creation, until impressionism appeared. Artists started
to paint in accordance with their transient mood. Brush
strokes became fast; their precision was of no importance.
The main purpose is to catch this ‘mood’ and implement
it at once. Such pictures are really impressive. If you look
at them closely you won’t understand them. But the farther
you move back, the better you see the details.
Have you ever tried your hand at painting? I have. It’s
really fascinating. It makes you feel in peace with yourself
and the outer world. It lets tranquility enter your soul.
Having a hobby connected with art is really cool. You
know that you always have to develop, to learn new things.
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It’s important to take the first step, and then you should just
go on…


1. Make up your own topic about art and its meaning.

Use these questions:
– What is Art for you?
– What kinds of fine and applied arts are you fond of?
– Do you visit picture and art galleries? How often?
– What’s your attitude towards modern art?
– Would you like to do some artistic activity?

2. Comment on the following:

a) Real Art is... Give your own definition.
b) Art should contain some strong emotion – suffering,
joy etc.
c) Have any works of art ever impressed you deeply?
What were they?

7 The Art of Painting

‘Art is long, life is short’ – we all know these
words which date back to the fourth century B.C. Since that
time they have acquired even greater importance. Wikipedia
gives the following definition of art:

…a diverse range of human activities in creating visual,

auditory or performing artifacts – artworks, expressing
the author’s imaginative or technical skill, intended to be
appreciated for their beauty or emotional power.

Painting relates to the oldest forms of art in the history

of humankind due to its powerful expressive means. People
perceive the most part of information visually, that is
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the main reason for it. The first primitive drawings and

paintings appeared thousands of years ago. What we see
today in the museums and art galleries is the manifestation
of thorough mastery and human thought expressed
on canvas or any other surface.
Visual art has changed substantially over the centuries,
and it is still changing. It undergoes the influence of modern
views, just like any other kind of art. The major trend today is
its simplification. There are such artists who daub the canvas
with paint in a few minutes and then proudly declare that
they have just created a masterpiece. The twentieth century
was rich in such personalities; I don’t want to give any
examples, it is just enough to search for ‘contemporary art’
on the Internet. I have never been interested in such art,
since I believe that the process of creation takes quite a lot
of time an effort. My favourite period in painting is the 19th
century. I adore landscapes and still-life. As for the portraits,
they are interesting, but if I choose what to hang on the wall,
I will prefer either a landscape or a still-life composition.
The artists who I am absolutely impressed by are Jan
Vermeer van Delft, William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough,
Claude Monet, Isaac Levitan and Ivan Aivazovski. To tell
the truth I like Russian art more than any other. I don’t know
the exact reason for it, but I may suppose, that what I see
in the pictures is closer to my heart than something that exists
abroad. These people managed to create the masterpieces
that will live through the centuries.
I am not against modern art, because even today there
are great talented painters who work in a classical tradition.
They pay much attention to the details and to the technique
retaining the best of what has ever been achieved
by the generations of artists. Russian contemporary art
seems to be much more traditional than abroad. Landscape
painting is still the most popular genre. Unfortunately
artists have less opportunities to share the joy of art with
people around today than they had twenty or thirty years
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ago. Of course, you may say everything is accessible

on the Internet, but the only problem is that one can’t perceive
painting on the screen, it is vitally necessary to see it in reality.
I hope that the interest in painting will be revived
in the future, because art is the best way to bring up and
teach the next generations and to form their taste.

8 Origin of Art
People of the world have always had
an aspiration to create something eternal that can live for
centuries. Art is the greatest heritage of the past, wealth
of the present and a lighthouse in the future.
Art has a unique ability to concentrate human experience
and to express it in a concise way, no matter what kind of art
it is: music, literature, painting, sculpture. Speaking about art
we should distinguish between contemporary and classical
art. No one can define what contemporary art is: on the one
hand it is simply what is created nowadays. And on the other
hand the question of quality arises: is there any criterion that
may be applied to ‘separate the wheat from the chaff ’?
There are thousands of artistic directions today. And
modern art can’t be mostly considered to be genuine art. If our
ancestors had had an opportunity to glance at the future, they
would have said: ‘O tempora, o mores’! Real art implies great
efforts and a long period of creation. A masterpiece can’t be
created within one day. Though it’s possible today. At least
they say so.
O. Wilde wrote about ‘Art for art’s sake’. It’s the worst thing
that may happen. Art is born as a combination of the artist’s
personal experience and his desire to implement it in some
material form. Even music may be considered material
in a way: it has notes written on paper.
Every person has his own preferences concerning art:
some people like music, others like photography, some
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like several kinds of art at the same time. Ask yourself

a question: ‘When did I visit an exhibition last time?’ If it
was long ago, then just go somewhere. And you’ll become
richer. Art enriches us, makes us think and feel.
Have you ever tried your hand at art? Any person has
aptitude for one or another kind of art. But it’s typical of us not
to develop such abilities. People need certain circumstances
to reveal their talent. Art helps you fill your life with
diversity, new emotions and ideas. Art differentiates people
from animals. Without Art we can merely exist and with Art
we live so one of the functions of any state is to give support
to art and to let talented people feel more confident.

9 Street Art
The attitude to street art depends on what we
understand as ‘street art’. Walking along the streets of any
city or town we often see graffiti on the walls of the buildings.
It always hurts my eye when I notice a dark splash or spot
on a snow-white freshly painted wall. It is still worse when
the graffiti are on the buildings which are recognized as
monuments of architecture. No one knows what makes
young people daub the surfaces with spray paint.
Graffiti appeared not so long ago, especially in our
country. The problem lies in the accessibility of spray paint.
You can just buy a tube and put it in the backpack. A jar
of paint isn’t small enough to be taken. Besides one needs
brushes to apply it.
On the other hand there are really unique people who
create street art, which draws everyone’s attention to various
problems and phenomena. The most famous street artist,
whose works are often published on the Internet is Banksy.
He comes from the UK, but his real name hasn’t been
disclosed yet. The officials sometimes report they have found
and detained him, but in reality it turns out to be a fake. His
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drawings are really interesting and unusual. Though in my

opinion his activity is not legal either, because he seems
to be spoiling the walls of the buildings, too.
But sometimes street art may be even useful. In the yards
by blocks of flats there are so many concrete cubes, which
contain electric equipment or something else. They look
really awful. Street artists sometimes paint the whole box,
depicting some symbols of the city or even panoramas.
They do it in accordance with local authorities’ orders. Such
objects can be found in our city, too.
I have never had a wish to buy spray paint myself
and sprinkle some surface with it. I think it is necessary
to increase the fines for this illegal activity, so that teenagers
wouldn’t do it so willingly. On the other hand the authorities
should think of some places where street art could be legal.

0 Photography
The word photography may be translated
from Greek as ‘drawing with light’. Since cameras first
appeared in the first half of the 19th century, photography
has come a long way and the equipment we have today is
really fast and simple to use.
I suppose everyone has a digital camera at present,
no matter where it is: it may be built in a tablet or a smartphone
or even in a multimedia player. Some people are indifferent
to photography and cameras – they simply never use them.
Others like to take photos and don’t pay much attention
to their quality. The others like professional equipment and
are interested in the final result.
Fifteen years ago photography was not so widespread as it
is today. We had to buy films, have them developed in special
offices and then we got prints themselves. It was not possible
to understand at once if this or that slide was worth printing,
and sometimes people were surprised at the results when
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they got ready photos in envelopes. Though, it was even

interesting, but rather expensive. The cameras people used
were simple in their majority, so high quality photos were
really a rare thing. Besides, most photos were taken on special
occasions, when families gathered to celebrate holidays etc.
Of course, there were professional film cameras, but they cost
too much, and very few people could afford them.
The situation changed when the first digital cameras
appeared. They were relatively cheap and small, and
absolutely any model had a small LCD screen to view
pictures right after you shoot them. Shooting short videos
was also possible. It was really a breakthrough for those
days. People began to buy such devices somewhere in 2004.
But this technology brought up a problem, too. People
started taking too many photos, most of them were good
for nothing, but they were still kept on hard drives and
other data storages. In the days of analog photography
people used to keep their best photos in albums. Digital
photography originally implied less printing. So quite often
it was next to impossible to find good ones in tons of files
on the computer. I remember that I had the same problem,
too. I still have old folders on my PC and can’t find time
to delete permanently what I will never need anymore.
At present I am more careful about this. I have a good
professional camera and choose only the best pictures for
further editing and saving. Having a good photo printer
at hand is a good thing, too. Now I understand that keeping
photos in an album is better than to simply have them
on your computer. And I am not the only one who thinks
this way.
The worst thing about today’s photography is a ‘selfie’.
When it first appeared, no one could believe that it might
become a serious mental disorder. I know people posting tons
of new pictures in social networks and other websites daily.
Summing up, I can say that photography today is
a technology that provides great opportunities for us, and
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we should use it aiming at the quality and not the quantity

of pictures.


School is a place where we spend a lot of time.

Maybe even too much. For some people school is a way
to entertain themselves, spending nine or eleven years with
friends. It may also be considered punishment from above.
Other students like school, because it’s an inexhaustible
source of knowledge.
Anyway it is inevitable and one has to get accustomed
to it somehow.
I belong to the less numerous group of people who like
school. Of course, I don’t mean the building or the class
as a group of students because we are all different. I like
the thought that day by day changes in my consciousness take
place. I am sure that tomorrow I will be cleverer than today.
In a year or two I will be able to think differently, I will have my
own opinion on various aspects of life.
School would be more effective if we were in smaller
groups: twenty-four students within one class are too much.
I would prefer a maximum of ten people. I am not afraid
to answer at the lessons and get marks for it. Moreover it
would be possible to spend less time at school.
I believe that more attention should be paid to our
practical skills. We have a lot of theory but we cannot
apply our knowledge in everyday life. If pupils saw any
connection between life and science any subject would be
really interesting for them.
My favourite subjects now are English, Geometry and
Chemistry. I didn’t like Maths at all only two years ago, but
now I see, that it’s one of the best ways to develop the brain.
Chemistry is difficult and we don’t carry out many
experiments at the lessons, but I like the way the teacher
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explains the material to us. We often watch films and

make presentations, which makes the educational progress
English is the best subject of all the others. I understand
that it will help me greatly in the future. I will be able to get
more information from all over the world, no matter what
professional field I choose. It is extremely important nowadays.
People from different countries share their knowledge and
ideas using the Internet, publishing videos and articles. I don’t
take English just as a set of grammar rules and words. I take
it as a living system and try to absorb as much of it as I can.
I am happy to be acquainted with all our teachers. They
are nice people. Seriously. I often think that if some of them
were different I might have problems. But I don’t.
And the last point. Five days a week at school would be
enough. I don’t understand why the sixth day was introduced
at all. And I am perfectly sure that teachers aren’t happy
to work on Saturday either.

2 Cycling as a Way to Keep Fit

Have you ever had a bicycle? I am sure that
90 per cent of children have ever ridden a bike. But as they
grow older they just leave it behind and forget about this
amazing vehicle for the rest of their life. Why does it happen
so? Most of the population is concentrated in cities where
there is no place for cycling. So teenagers simply don’t have
an opportunity to spin the pedals even if they want to. It is
better to sit in a concrete cage with a tablet or a laptop.
It is a pity, that bikes are not so popular in Russia as they
are abroad. They really help people keep fit and save their
time. ‘Serious’ people drive, don’t they? That’s why we have
so many cars and so few bikes in the cities.
I am not an exception. Our climate makes it impossible
to cycle all year round, but in summer I do it nearly every
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day. I remember my first bike with its chain constantly

coming off the rear cogwheel. I tried to grease it and to strain
it, but nothing helped. Now I believe it was a design feature
of that bike.
Modern bikes are much more comfortable and suitable
for long distances. There is no need to maintain it during
the whole season. My biking season starts when the snow
melts and it gets warmer than 10 degrees. I check its technical
state, change some spare parts and I am ready for a ride.
The first distances are not very long, something around fifteen
or twenty kilometres. They gradually increase and by the end
of summer I normally ride 70 to 110 kilometres a day.
Spinning the pedals around may be a bit boring when you
do it for several hours running, so I usually take a multimedia
player with me and listen to the music or audiobooks.
Exploring new places is most interesting for me. Even
when I take a ride on the same route, I notice the changes
that take place in nature. And when I get to some new
places which a car can’t reach, it’s simply exciting. I like
to follow forest paths or cross the bottomless fields. And
I always take photos of these remote nooks. The farther
I get from the stuffy city, the better I feel. What will you
feel, when you see a hare or a fox coming out of the dense
forest and peering at you?
Quite often I go fishing by bike, too. The fishing tackles
weigh around fifteen kilos, so it is a good way to train
the muscles when I ride to the lake or to the river, which is
15 kilometres far from my country house. Sometimes I go
even farther.
The peculiarity of cycling as a kind of sport is that it trains
all the groups of muscles. It is especially good for your lungs
and heart. So I can recommend riding a bike to everyone as
the best option when you choose what to take up in summer.
I have been cycling for more than five years and I am going
to set new personal records and cover longer distances
in the future.
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3 Books. Reading
There are so many proverbs and sayings
about book and reading, but the one I have found recently
seems to be the best. ‘Those who read, will always control
those who watch TV’. It is quite modern and it can’t be
called a quotation, as there is no definite person to quote.
Really how many people read and how many watch TV?
We can be proud of the fact that we still live in the most
‘reading’ country of the world, though I know a few people
who declare that they have read just one book in addition
to what they read at school. Nothing makes them read and
they don’t feel any necessity to do it.
I have never taken books just as bound sheets of paper, as
printed material. A book for me is a way to speak to people
who have passed away but who continue to live in this special
form which we call ‘printed word’. Scripture is the greatest
invention in the history of humankind.
Today books are read even more widely on electronic
devices – e-books and tablets, but I still like to have paper
ones. I remember the days when I used to go to the library.
And even at that time I realized that the best indicator which
helped me find the one to read was the state of the book. If it
was untouched – it was either new or unpopular. So I always
chose the shabbiest ones and never regretted it.
I have never counted the books in home collection, but
I always try to add new items to it, just like my parents and
grandparents. To tell the truth I don’t attach much value
to the decorative design of the book. It may look very
simple but have a great meaning for me. I mean there is
no difference between a paperback and a hardback copy. But
I pay attention to the binding, so that the book wouldn’t fall
apart at once.
I can say that reading has always been one of my hobbies
and I began reading at the age of four. When I turned five
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I could read short stories on my own, and at the age of six

I read ‘The Headless Horseman’.
My reading taste has changed several times during my
lifetime. When I was small I liked fantasy, then I turned
to adventure stories. Now I like historical books and memoirs
more than novels. My favourite writers are Tostoy, Turgenev,
Chekhov. The notion of ‘favourite writer’ implies that I have
read several works, not only one book. Russian literature
seems to be deeper with its scale of thought and feeling than
European literature. It is my humble opinion. I connect it with
more powerful expressive means of the Russian language.
I started listening to audiobooks not long ago. And you
know, it is quite a good thing. But the impression depends
greatly on the person who reads, on his or her voice and
on the speed of reading.
I like reading so much that I dream of writing some
novel in the future, when I have enough life experience
that can be put into a book and condensed within it. I have
tried to write a few short stories so far and my friends say
they are better than ‘okay’ for a commencing writer.

4 Leisure
What does the word ‘leisure’ mean for you
personally? There may be two answers. The first one is that
leisure is equal to rest. And on the other hand leisure is
a period of time when you can do something that you like
and it is useful for you.
More and more people choose to surf the Internet or play
computer games at leisure. I don’t think it’s worth spending
life on. I used to play computer games, too, but it was a few
years ago and I cannot say that I had any kind of addiction.
I simply quitted it once and that is all. Sitting in front of a TV-
set or a computer isn’t good either. The world is much bigger
and much more interesting.
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Everything is constantly changing. If we speak about

schoolchildren, fifteen or twenty years ago they had
an opportunity to attend different clubs according to their
interests. Of course there are still some clubs and schools
like musical and art ones, but they are not so numerous as
they used to be. Moreover, modern technologies are much
more attractive for children than something else in reality.
So we may draw a conclusion that these technologies haven’t
brought anything worthy into our life.
When I was at school I attended a plane-modelling club.
I did it only for a year and a half, because then it closed
down, as the teacher there was an aged man and he simply
retired. It was really a pity.
Playing sports is a good thing, but developing the brain
and not only muscles is really important. I have attended
a swimming-pool for two years, but now I have less time and
think of doing something else.
I think it would be perfect if I turned something that
I can do in my free time into my future profession. I have
an acquaintance who became a photographer a few years ago,
though she has a diploma of a lawyer.
Another big problem nowadays is that some people
don’t find time for leisure at all. They run to an extreme
either sleeping in their free time, when they get home after
work or studies or working so much that they don’t have
an opportunity to take a breath.
I personally believe that it is really important to find time
for leisure no matter how much you work or study and do
what you really like to do.

5 Clothes and Fashion

Clothes have become an important part
of our life since the moment people started making them.
I suppose fashion has always existed as a notion, but has
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never been so important as it is today. Nowadays we have

an opportunity to think of luxury goods, whereas people
in the past had to think how to survive. Of course, I don’t
mean aristocracy and upper class.
In my opinion there exist three big groups of people:
those, who prefer simple and comfortable clothes, those
who are hooked on fashion, no matter how much something
costs and if it is comfortable or not and those who want
to have comfort and fashion together. Which group do you
belong to? I don’t think there are people who are absolutely
indifferent to what they wear. I belong to the first group.
I choose casual clothes of darker colours. It is more practical
for everyday use. I think jeans and a sweater or pullover
are the best choice for cold seasons. In summer I usually
wear T-shirts and sometimes shirts. There are no special
requirements for the footwear.
I don’t like shopping for clothes and usually I buy a few
things at once to save time in the future, and this works.
Nearly all my friends have the same views on clothes.
But I know some posh people who care for stylish clothes.
I think it is a waste of money when someone buys a jacket
for 50 000 roubles just to put it on a few times and then leave
it in the wardrobe. Sometimes they buy things which are not
suitable for wearing at all, for example, shoes with extremely
high heels. I am sure that it is better to invest some extra
money in charity than just to pay for useless things. What is
more interesting, there are people who can’t afford expensive
clothes, but they still buy them. In this case there is a good
saying: ‘Cut your coat according to your cloth’.
I have never had heaps of clothes in my life. I can’t say
I don’t have enough space for keeping them, but I simply do
not like to buy anything I do not really need. I don’t know
much about fashion as I am not interested in it. I believe
there are some criteria which help to choose suitable clothes,
because sometimes we see people who are dressed up like
clowns and that doesn’t necessarily mean they have bad
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clothes, they simply don’t suit them. So, when choosing

a new thing one has to be careful and ask for somebody’s
advice, if he or she isn’t sure.

6 Money
There are quite a lot of definitions of the word
‘money’. The generally accepted one is: ‘Money is a good*
that acts as a medium of exchange in transactions’. Let’s try
to think what money really means in our life.
If we take a closer look at the word itself, we will find out
that it is uncountable in the English language. And every
language is a clever system based on special principles and
experience of generations. We cannot count money itself, we
can just count currencies (dollar, euro, rouble etc.) or coins.
And this seems to be reasonable.
Of course it is necessary to keep the books of income and
expenditure in order to know what you get for your work
and what is left as savings. But taking money as the primary
goal in life is fallacious. I suppose no one will argue with
the fact that one can’t buy everything. Money cannot buy:
• lost time
• happiness
• love
• health
• success
• talent
• peace
So money is only a means to reach higher goals and
it demands special care. The more money someone has
the greater amount of temptations he is liable to. It would
be interesting to take a look at what is going on in the head
of a millionaire. Is money the only care of his? I believe big
money brings big problems, as it begins to control its owner.

*generally it is used in the plural: goods

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The fear to lose all the property is probably the worst thing one
can think of. Though striving for money and material values
seem to be an inalienable quality of people over the whole
history of the humankind. The problem of the rich and
the poor is still one of the most acute ones in the world, and
no one has ever invented a way to solve it. Some countries take
steps to build the society of equality. Sweden is one of them.
But I do not think it will be possible, until the majority realizes
what values are eternal and what are transient. Big money is
practically always made at somebody’s cost.
If I were a millionaire, I would spend a considerable part
of it on charity (maybe even half of it). You may say that if I had
a lot of money I would be a different person. No I wouldn’t.
Because when people are aware of such thoughts, nothing
can make them change. I live according to the principle:
‘One should give more than he gets’. Living for people around
and not for money or for yourself is really important. And I
am perfectly sure that if one lives honestly, Life itself is sure
to reward him sooner or later, and he will get everything
that he needs, including money.

7 Shopping
I belong to the group of people who do
not like shopping at all. When I try to remember whether
I found it interesting a few years ago, I cannot find a definite
answer. Some time ago I used to buy things I didn’t really
need, especially different gadgets and appliances. Now
I realize that it is better to invest money in something that
acquires additional value with the time, for example, books.
I suppose that everyone has to go shopping a few times
a year, whether he likes it or not. The same may be said about
me: I do the shopping before New Year or the birthdays of my
family members and friends. I am not able to find anything
interesting in the process, all the shops and supermarkets
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look the same. The assortment is the same, too. Quite a lot
of my friends like shopping for clothes and digital electronics
and they are ready to waste their time on it. I am not.
I don’t like to spend long hours in shopping centres:
there is so much fuss and advertisement there that I always
try to leave the places as soon as possible.
As far as I understand, the word ‘shopping’ implies that
one buys several things at the same time. Isn’t it a waste
of money? You can buy several items under the influence
of external factors and then come home and find out that
you don’t need what you have just purchased. I know some
people who are ‘shopping freaks’ – it means that they clutter
their homes up with clothing and other things. Sooner
or later they have to throw out the old things that are actually
new and unused. I believe that shopping as a phenomenon
is imposed on us by the present-day consumer society.
I cannot say that I hate shopping. I simply do not like it.
There is such a notion as ‘window shopping’, and sometimes
I do it. It means walking in front of stores and looking
at the products displayed in the windows without buying
anything. I like to examine books and watches in the shops
just because there is some aesthetics in these objects for
me. Though I understand that shop-assistants do not like
Why is shopping not so interesting after all, even if we
speak about presents? Just because everyone has so many
things today that it is really hard to choose something
worthy of attention. That is why shopping for me personally
is always a challenge, which I try to avoid.
The only kind of shopping I like is going to art stores, as
I am fond of painting and it is my hobby. I cans spend a lot
of time choosing new brushes or paints for my future work.
This is really breathtaking.
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8 Online Shopping
I do not remember exactly what I first bought
online. Wait... It was a book on programming which I found
only on the Internet and which was not available in ordinary
bookstores. I needed it so much that I purchased it without
any hesitation. It was really unusual in those days. I didn’t
pay for it at once, so I did it a bit later at the post-office.
Such method of payment is called ‘cash on delivery’. Today
everything has become even simpler – you may easily use
your credit card to transfer money in a couple of clicks.
I don’t do the shopping online very often. Before I buy
something I study the reviews for this or that item, which
has been already bought by someone else. If I am fully
satisfied I order it and wait for the day when I can collect it
from the post office.
I usually order electronic devices and books on the Internet.
It is very convenient, because it saves my time. Besides to buy
something online may be cheaper than in an ordinary shop,
especially if we speak about direct shipping from China. I am
sure everyone knows what Aliexpress is.
The problem of online shopping is that you can never be
sure of the quality of the goods you get – you don’t see it
in reality, only in a picture. As for the Chinese online-shops,
their photos often don’t correspond with the description, and
you may get something different in reality. But if the price is
low, it will not lead to great disappointment.
I never order expensive goods on the Internet. The first
and main reason for it is the absence of warranty in its
traditional understanding. If you buy something from
an ordinary retail store, you can come back later and request
a refund or solve any other problems if you are not satisfied
with the quality of what you have bought. It is not so easy
with an online-shop. It will take a longer time and nobody
knows what will come out of it.
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If we speak about Russia, I think that online shopping

became popular not so long ago. It started somewhere
in 2004, though Internet was not so widespread in those
days. Today people find it a convenient way to buy
goods of different kinds. It has become possible due
to the development of online banking.

9 Gardening and farming

People who live in the country or at least who
have country houses where they spend their vacation and
holidays have a wonderful opportunity to live in unity with
nature. Townspeople do not often understand the striving
for gardening and agricultural work.
For thousands of years people lived in smaller groups
than they live now, and everyone had to work to support
the family and to make a contribution to its welfare.
Gardening and farming were as natural as breathing
or sleeping. No one thought how to avoid it.
Any work may be interesting if you find pleasure in it.
To tell the truth I didn’t understand how it is possible to find
any interest in working in the garden just a few years ago.
I was able to admire the beauty of trees and bushes in other
people’s gardens and orchards, but I didn’t have any desire
to do it on my own.
Something changed inside my soul when I first planted
a few small trees. Then I subconsciously paid attention
to dead branches of the other trees near our country house.
I sawed them off and was happy with the result. I realized
that I couldn’t leave the branches right on the ground and
had to take them away. I applied special tar to the cuts
on the trees, so that they wouldn’t lose moisture and wither.
I didn’t notice that a few hours had passed. The next day
I found something else, and during the summer holidays
I did so much work that everyone was really impressed
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by the result. If somebody had told me that I would do

some gardening at the beginning of June, I would have just
laughed at it. But... seriously, I liked it.
When you work in the open air you feel new power
flowing into you. It makes you feel refreshed, no matter how
long you work. And sitting by a computer throws you into
the abyss of weakness and depression.
Everything became even more interesting, when I saw
the first sprouts of the seeds I had sown before. I could not say
I had never seen anything like this in my life. Of course I had.
But those were my own sprouts on the patches of land I had
cultivated myself. It was a surprise. I came to understand that
I had contact with something alive. Life in the city seemed
to me what it really is.
The first crops that year were mainly carrots, cabbages
and strawberries which I had carefully watered throughout
the holidays. They all had a special taste – the one you can
never find in the products from a food store.
Most of my friends still don’t understand me. They prefer
to stay indoors or hang out, just wasting time. And I don’t
find it unseemly to take a spade and go to work in our
garden, where nature welcomes me and rewards me with
new emotions and sensations.

0 Where are we going?

‘Cogito ergo sum – I think therefore I am’ –
these words belong to René Descartes. We are born to think.
Though the present consumer society imposes different
views on people. ‘Just buy, live to buy. Buy as much as you
can and even more!’ – this is the motto of our life today.
And if you don’t want to buy? If you are born to think and
create, to reach your own goals, what comes next?
If you come to think about the past, the present and
the future, you’ll easily find great differences: people used
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to have time for living, for thinking, for reading and for real
communication. Now all this is being substituted for false
ideals and false things: the Internet has replaced all kinds
of communication. It has also fulfilled the task to keep
human knowledge within itself, so that people don’t need
to use their memory any more. Silly online gaming has
established itself in the collective reason of the gamers’
community. Where are we going?
Try to remember yourself ten years ago. Could you think
of the devices we are using now at that time? Probably
not. The majority will argue that the technical progress is
the greatest virtue one can have. Isn’t this virtue too virtual?
The things that surround us are meant to save our time. Save
for what? Right – they save time so that we would be able
to use even more technical appliances.
Life has become too material. The common denominator
for everything is personal comfort. There’s no room for
immaterial things.
The senior generation will say that their life was and is
still interesting. Material things didn’t use to be as important
as they are now.
What will happen if there is no Internet, no mobile
communication, no e-mail, no nothing tomorrow? Have
you ever thought about it? Some people may even go crazy.
And there will be few, who will be indifferent to it.
Life is much wider and much more complicated. Try
to find time for your relatives and friends, for you hobbies,
not for your computer. Social networks are killing human
communication. Keep it all in mind, when you switch
on your computer next time. Be yourself and think. Only
thinking people don’t merely exist – they live.
1. Make up your own topic. Use these questions:
– What occurs to you when you start thinking about
the past and the future?
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– What problems do you think to be especially acute

– What would you like to change in the society?
– Are you an active Internet user? Does it influence you
in any way?
– What are your goals in life?

2. Comment on the following:

a) What do we live for? What are eternal values?
b) Would you like to be a hermit?
c) Do you like philosophy?
d) Do you make use of your free time? What do you
usually do at leisure?
e) What measures can people take to resist degradation?

Environmental problems

People say that we should protect the world we

live in. It’s our home, our wealth. But these are only words.
And the world today really needs actions. Actions of every
one of us.
From childhood on we hear: ‘Don’t throw away rubbish’.
Is it enough? It would be enough, if the world around were
perfectly clean. Just have a look, every street is covered
with rubbish. If you go to a park or to the forest, you’ll
see hills of rubbish too. People don’t care for their habitat.
They like to live in rubbish.
‘Greenpeace’ says a lot of words, but actions speak
louder than words. That’s why, when my friends and
I go to the country, to some remote place, we take away
rubbish every time. We put it in plastic bags and take away
to specially organized places for dumping waste. And every
time I feel that I have done something myself, and it brings
some satisfaction into my soul.
The problem seems more serious, than we can think:
the Earth is inhabited by 7 billion people. And the planet can
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stand only 1 billion. The impact on ecology is too high. We

can hardly find any source of crystal pure water, or breathe
in fresh air. I don’t mean faraway places, where a man has
never set his foot. I mean the places we live in.
Millions of tons of waste are dumped daily into the water,
into the ground. And this is not only usual, but also nuclear
waste that will be decomposing for thousands of years.
The greenhouse effect is one of the most dangerous things.
It is not generally accepted, but we can easily see the changes
in the climate, that have taken place over the recent
years. The ozone layer has giant holes, and it’s not capable
of protecting the humankind from the sun radiation any
more. Go into the sun in the summer – and you’ll be sunburnt.
Of course, people have invented sun-protection creams, but...
Every time we go to the supermarket we get goods
wrapped up in plastic. Never take the bags you don’t need, it
contributes to the destruction of Nature. People used to wrap
up a lot of products in paper, but they don’t do it now – it’s
dangerous for forests, plastic is economically more effective
and cheaper. And why on earth should we fear for trees? Cut
one tree and plant two ones instead. Or three – as you wish.
And there will be no problem.
There is a very good and educative book by Alan
Weisman – it’s called ‘The World Without us’. Reading it,
we understand, that the planet can live without us, but we
can’t live without the planet. It’s not understandable, why
people fight with Nature, slowly killing it.
An American comic George Carlin once said, that
judging by the number of plastic humankind has ever
produced, it was created just to invent and produce plastic.
It’ll take Nature thousands of years to digest all
the substances produced by the humankind and destroy
them, after it has died out. But on the scale of the Universe
and Time thousands of years are nothing... So we must
think and be careful... And it’s not the planet who has
problems. That’s us, who have already faced the problem
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of survival here, on our once green and blue beautiful

planet in the Solar system.


1. Make up your own topic about environmental

problems. Use these questions:
– What are the main ecological problems today?
– What should we do to protect Nature? What do you
personally do for it?
– Is your town/city clean?
– What kind of rubbish is extremely dangerous?
– What ways of recycling waste do you know?

2. Comment on the following:

a) ‘Greenpeace’ – real power or a game for grown-ups?
b) What program would you start with if you were
a Governor/President?

2 Climatic Changes
I believe anyone knows that weather forecasts
have never been reliable. There are so many stations for
meteorological observations all around the world. There
are hundreds of satellites orbiting the Earth, but we still
can’t be sure of the weather tomorrow. No one knows what
it will be like.
The same may be said about climate. It is obvious, that it
is changing, and one doesn’t have to be a specialist to notice
it. I cannot speak about the whole world, but if we take
the central region of our country, the seasons have undergone
substantial influence caused by some external factors.
It was hard to imagine twenty years ago that it may be
raining at the end of December. All right, this may happen
once in fifty years, but not so often as it happens at present.
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Quite recently there have been reports about the highest

temperatures ever right at the North Pole. The probes
showed the value of 0.7 above zero. Listen to it once again.
The temperature reached and exceeded the melting point
in the region, where it is 25 to 40 degrees below zero in winter.
The so-called scientists explain it some way, but no one can
deny the fact, that the Earth is getting warmer thanks to cars,
industries, gas and oil extraction. We know that energy
doesn’t disappear and by burning fossil fuel the humankind
heats up the atmosphere just the way we heat up soup, but
not so quickly.
Once I watched an interesting program about Chile. It
is a wonderful place, still relatively untouched. The glaciers
there are melting, so fresh water supplies are constantly
decreasing. If all the fresh water of the ice caps and glaciers
gets into the ocean, it will be salty and not drinkable. Rivers
and lakes are drying up, too. Where will people get water
to drink in the future? Of course, it is possible to evaporate
fresh water from the ocean and purify it, but it will not
possess the necessary qualities. Besides it requires high
power inputs.
We can’t prevent the aftermath of climate changes any
more, but we can still reduce the risk of disasters. But very
few people on the scale of the planet seem to be worried
about the state of things. As long as air is breathable we
may pretend nothing serious has happened yet.
I am perfectly sure that the only way to save nature is
to take steps immediately; we are in urgent need of effective
measures of precaution. And it was late to think about it
even yesterday to say nothing of today.

3 Social Networks
The communication in the conditions
of present-day Zeitnot (German for shortage of time,
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time trouble) is the sum of telephone conversations,

internet-messengers, which gain or lose popularity and,
of course, social networks.
The surrounding world sometimes gets aggressive, and
the psychology of a ‘hobbit’ begins to dominate people’s
consciousness. It means that somebody wants to take refuge
and to hide, giving up real communication. But as it is still
necessary, modern means of communication are of great help.
ICQ on a mobile phone is a time-killer. Somebody uses it
in class, so that the teacher wouldn’t distract him, others launch
the application in hope to get a message from an acquaintance,
anticipating the well-known ‘cuckoo’ sound. What for?
It is still not the greatest evil.
Social networks are most dangerous for an unprepared
person. The presentation of this phenomenon as a means
to keep in touch with the friends is just a psychological
trick, a bait which is colourful and attractive, but poisonous
at the same time. Having swallowed it once, one gets hooked
on social networks.
Losing personal dignity and devastation of the inner world
start with harmless logging in to the account once in a few
days. One just checks out the news, new photos added by
the friends. He wants to know if there are any contact requests
or new messages. By the way, all the contacts in any social
networks are called ‘friends’.
It is not accidental. Friends are close people. People you
spend a lot of time with, you have common interests with
and share the same values. Parents and children, spouses
or just people who spend time together may be friends. Those
who you have seen only once or just heard of are not even
acquaintances. But in a social network they are friends, too.
One comes home after work and gets into the social
network. The ‘friends’ are there. And the consciousness gives
birth to a pleasant picture, producing a cosy atmosphere.
Such communication doesn’t oblige you to anything, you
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may simply leave a comment to a status, picture or song. It

is convenient.
‘What a beauty you are in this photo!’ – this type
of comments is typical not only of teenagers’ albums but
also of mature women. They are mature physically but not
mentally. A conclusion may be drawn with confidence that
social networks shift the terms of maturation for an indefinite
time, implanting infantility and silliness in people.
Social networks are constantly being upgraded. Really it’s
not possible at all to create an absolute system from scrape,
that would meet user’s demand. But under the guise of care
of users, the developers and ideologists(!) hog-tie them with
sticky threads, which makes it impossible to release oneself.
I heard a few times something like this: ‘I dropped
using social networks and I haven’t logged in for a month’.
A striking similarity to alcoholism! The proportion is
the same – a month of abstinence, then entering the login
and password again. Hooked anew!
The Ideology is another important aspect. Some people
feel proud to be of dominant influence, to be leaders. A new
user is a small brick in the basement of new ideology
A social network is a powerful economic instrument,
with its own currency and services provided in return for it.
It is hard to imagine what may grow on this soil in a couple
of years.
Now let’s think about silence. The electricity is
cut off. As the result there is no Internet. No social
networks. No entertainment. I have witnessed several times
the withdrawal pains of people addicted to the Internet.
The electricity was cut off just for a few hours. Their life
terminated. There was only complete frustration. And wet
eyes in some cases. It was real, no invention.
And what if silence lasts for a few hours or days?
I mean utter silence. The world without electricity, the first
stage of the apocalypse. Many people will go crazy before
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the moment one has to take pains to survive, just because

of the absence of comfort and high technologies.
And if we imagine if one day the social networks stop
functioning? It will not only cause the frustration but also
induce a wave of suicidal behaviour acts. Why live if the most
valuable doesn’t exist anymore? Just be a hobbit in a hole,
who is afraid to show up in the light of the day?
The development of communication means starting with
the telegraph and the telephone puts an end to real human
communication. And it continues to destruct inexorably
the world of the human being making it increasingly
technologized and automatized.
Automation is a reduction of time costs. It is good for
production, not for life. It turns life into production, too and
reduces it to physiological processes, removing the most
important component, which is human soul.
If we think it over and ask ourselves what we gain extra
time for (as the result of automation of objective reality),
the answer will not be understandable. What do we spend
this time on? We economize on something and invest time
as an absolute value into utterly useless things, such as social
Isn’t it easier to just take a phone and call the one you
want to associate with? It is not at all expensive compared
to financial investments into gigabytes of Internet traffic
or to a package of chips at the supermarket.
Walk to your friends, knock on their doors. A knock
on wooden surface is sure to surprise them more, than
any online sound. Ring the doorbell and it will be different
from what you hear in a social network when you get a new
message. Don’t save time – go on foot, contemplating the sky
and the sun…
Every login to a social network moves the user away
from the people who are dear for him. It is like an injection
in a vein, though it seems to be safe for health. Physically,
but not mentally.
Be yourself…
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4 Smoking
The attitude to smoking has changed several
times since the days when it was brought to Europe.
Originally smoking a pipe was an Indian habit, which meant
sealing a peace treaty. Though smoking was used not only
in ceremonies but also in everyday life there.
So seamen spread the idea of smoking in Europe.
Later this bad habit was brought to Russia by Peter I, but
the purpose of it still remains ‘ununderstandable’. Probably
no one in those days knew about the damage which it brings
to health. It was a fashionable feature.
The church thinks smoking to be a manifestation
of paganism and a way to kill oneself, i.e. suicide, which is
absolutely true. What makes people commit suicide then?
Some say that tobacco has a special flavour and nicotine
causes addiction. I think it is just a way to acquit people
of weak will. The same may be said about drinking alcohol.
Some time ago, somewhere in the 30s or 40s smoking
was considered to be fashionable and was even depicted
in cinematography. A smoking woman was intended
to produce a special effect on the viewer. Many people
and especially young women followed this example not
only at that time but also later. A. Chekhov said: ‘Kissing
a smoking woman is like licking an ash-tray’. And I fully
agree with it. It is especially disgusting to see the younger
generation smoking by a University or a school or just
walking with a cigarette in the street.
I have never tried smoking. Every time we discuss
some point or phenomenon, we try to find advantages and
disadvantages in it. Smoking is unique in this regard: it has
no advantages at all. Though, there is one: if somebody
is tired of life, he should smoke more to leave this world
Now let’s talk about the disadvantages and even
dangers of smoking.
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It ruins people’s health. It really does. There are no ‘light’

cigarettes. All the filters that have been invented so far are
not effective. Smoking does not ruin the lungs only: it brings
damage to everything in the body – to the bones, teeth,
heart, blood vessels.
Smoking is harmful to the wallet. Though in Russia
cigarettes are not so expensive as in European countries.
Norway, New Zealand and Australia have the highest prices
for a pack of cigarettes. Clever people! Maybe the most
effective way to reduce the number of smokers in the country
is to raise the prices.
Smokers don’t often realize that they have bad breath.
Most people find it repulsive.
Finally, anything that causes addiction is bad. No matter
what it is, it limits you in your personal freedom. So before
lighting the first cigarette everyone should think carefully
if he really needs it or not.

5 The Problems of Youth

Come up to an aged person and ask him
or her a question: ‘What is youth?’
And you may hear an answer: ‘Youth is the spring of life’.
Ask the same question a 35-40-year-old person. And
you’ll probably hear: ‘I haven’t thought much about it yet.
I’m sorry I have to go’. And a teenager may answer, that he
lives in the present and that is all.
There are so many things that may influence an immature
mind – either positively or negatively. And here lies
the problem: youth is the time of choice, the time of search and
hesitations. In youth people make revelations and discoveries.
But the world today is full of temptations that easily mislead
the younger generation. It’s much simpler to take up something,
that does not require any effort or hard work of young people.
All possible kinds of entertainment are accessible to the public.
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But it’s much more difficult to follow your own narrow

winding path rather than a wide public road.
The first problem arises at quite an early age, I would say,
in primary school: it’s whether to study or not? And this
may be the first crucial point in everyone’s life. The choice
depends greatly on the parents, and if they are insistent
enough, the young guy or girl starts following the narrow
path quite reluctantly.
The second problem is to carry the fire in the heart
on and on. If it stops burning, a person easily falls deep
into the abyss of ignorance and vice. One needs to develop
and maintain the ability of self-education. And the things
written above mean that education is of primary importance
for the young people. Should be, at least.
They say: ‘A man is known by the company he keeps’.
So the company plays a great role in the formation
of a personality. Just keep good company, and everything will
be fine. The problem here is how to tell good from evil? Again,
the answer is: education will help you. Read more, think more,
listen to the senior people, since they are more experienced.
There is a so called ‘generation gap’ problem. It also may
be quite acute. But when the person is brought up mostly by
the family and not by the company, there is no generation gap.
Finally, one of the greatest problems (I would call it
a ‘calamity’) of teenagers is the technological problem.
The innovations today have completely destroyed a lot
of abilities: the ability to think independently, to memorize
things, to calculate and many others. Why should young people
do this if they have a powerful web search engine at hand
(on multiple devices at the same time) and everywhere.
So, the problems of youth are quite numerous and they
concern not only the issues of the mental development but
of the physical as well. So, if you are still young, don’t live
in the present only – remember the past and listen to it and
think about the future.
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6 Workaholism
Workaholism is a kind of addiction as we
may understand it from the word itself. An addiction
to work. Some people can’t get the thoughts of work out
of their heads even when they come home to say nothing
of other places. They simply can’t stop. What do they do it
for? There may be several reasons but the most obvious are
money and career.
Of course it is good when people want to earn more money,
but there is a good Russian saying ‘It is not possible to earn
all the money’. And the more I live the better I understand
it. Human body and human brain need regular intervals
of rest, it means that we have to go to bed on time and
remain active for a certain period of time during the day. It’s
not at all accidental, that working week lasts 40 hours. There
may be some difference, of course. If someone works for 50
or sixty hours, it is ok. But when we speak about 80 working
hours, it is too much. It is quite easy to overestimate yourself
and then break down at the age of 35 or forty.
The second reason for workaholism is career
advancement. The employer is likely to appreciate it, because
it is you who makes money for the firm, but the game is not
worth the candle. In some countries like Japan workaholism
is considered to be a great social problem, leading to early
death, a nervous breakdown and other grave consequences.
There have been several cases when people died of working
There is one more popular delusion: employees believe
that working longer hours means more work to be done. But
you can’t work effectively for a long time. You may spend
a few hours in the evening on what you can do in 20 minutes
in the morning. I always feel it when I have a lot of tasks
ahead. Of course, something depends on the type of character.
If a person is an ‘owl’ he can work even late at night. But it
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must be a rare occasion. If the same thing happens every

day, it may be diagnosed as ‘workaholism’.
And I would like to finish this topic with the quotation
of an American author Henry David Thoreau: ‘It is not
enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you
industrious about?’

7 Generation Gap
Generation gap has always been a problem
since the moment the humankind appeared. Of course, it may
not be equally important in all the families of the world, but
very often the question of difference in views and tastes arises.
It is quite possible that you have experienced it by yourself.
What does the generation gap depend on? Have you
ever thought about it? I believe that the faster our life is,
the more substantial the difference is. As for me I have
never had any conflicts with my parents or grandparents
because of this. When something goes wrong it is better not
to contradict, because it will lead to a row. Besides I cannot
be sure that when I have children I will have the same views
with them. The best way to avoid the problem of generation
gap in the family is to understand why who is older than
you thinks this way and you think that way.
It is mostly connected with the fact that young people want
to seem grown-ups and behave correspondingly. But they
do not understand that their family wishes them only good.
On the other hand senior people often do not understand
that they sound too instructive and didactic when speaking
to the younger generation. They usually begin the phrases
with the words ‘When I was of you age…’ Really life at that
time was different from what we have now. So if both parts
achieve a consensus as soon as possible, it will be nice.
Besides, it is possible that when you grow up you will
understand that some years before, when you had an argument
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with someone of your family, you were not so right as it

seemed. In my opinion any kind of argument is just a waste
of time, which is the root of the ‘generation gap’ problem.

8 Subcultures
Subcultures are a relatively new phenomenon,
which first appeared in the XX century. Some people say
that bikers may have been considered a subculture since
the moment first motorbikes were invented. Others believe
that hippies were the pioneers in this regard, when their
movement started in the United Kingdom and the United
states in the mid-60s.
Originally hippies were called a counterculture, which
means that their values differed greatly and even were
in opposition to mainstream culture. Has anything changed
since that time? Of course, at present there are so many
subcultures that you must even have never heard about
most of them. I have never been interested greatly in this
question, so I can only express my own opinion.
When I see young people wearing special clothes or make-
up, I understand that it is their natural desire to look special,
which may be typical of their age. When they get a bit older
this must disappear, since they will have different and more
important problems. But when a 40-year-old man or woman
looks the same, it seems frightening in a way.
I have never had a desire to pierce my nose or ears, to be
dressed in black or to dye my hair green or orange. I have
always thought like this: if you really wish to be special and
to differ from the rest, do something special, involve your
abilities and ideas, create something, think of something,
that people will need and appreciate. But… putting on a dark
coat or heavy metal chains is not a way to express yourself.
To tell the truth I have never had any contact with
the representatives of subcultures. I have just seen some
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people, maybe Goths, punks or something else. I have never

been interested in them and they have never been interested
in me. If we try to give it a second thought, something
may be really interesting. Let’s assume that there is some
romance in riding a motorbike along a highway in the dead
of the night, looking at the stars in the firmament, feeling
the wind blowing across the face. It is really nice. But
what prevents you from doing it alone, not in a team? Is it
necessary to be one of the pack, wearing leather outfit and
drinking beer? I am sure one can do it on his own.
When I had an account in a social network I often came
across people posting dark images there. Why on earth
are they doing it? So I am perfectly sure that belonging
to a subculture is nothing more than a way to attract
people’s attention, when nothing else can do it. It is a game
to play when somebody isn’t mature enough to understand
its silliness.
And finally to tell the truth I don’t understand those
parents who let their children look like scary dummies,
because any human being has an image from birth which
shouldn’t be spoilt.

9 Science. Where can it lead?

When I was a little kid, I dreamt to become
a scientist. This very word sounded like magic for me.
I was sure that these people are ahead of time, I took them
as ‘wizards’ in the positive meaning. In Russian this word
means ‘educated’. And I wanted to be educated, too.
I began to suspect that there was something wrong about
science when I got older. No, I don’t mean all the scientific
fields at once. Some of them are really necessary. First of all
people who study nature and find ways to help it. The scientists
who work as mechanical engineers are of great importance,
too. And many others. But let’s take a closer look at what is
going on right here and right now all around us.
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Is it natural, that the ice caps of the poles are melting?

They calm us down and say it is quite okay. Let it be so. But
why don’t we see the snow in winter, why does it rain on New
Year’s Eve? Why don’t we change the terms of the four
seasons? There are so many ‘why-s’, that no one can give
answers to them.
Let’s go on. Why does the level of water go down in wells
all around the country? Not only in wells, but in the Baikal
as well. Who is responsible for it? Why do so many people
suffer from multiple diseases? Let’s say thank you to Chemistry
and its adherents, who invent new substances and new ways
to kill the humankind. Of course, it’s our choice whether
to consume junk food or not, but still many people don’t
give it a second thought. The majority is sure that the words
‘science’ and ‘progress’ are synonyms to happiness and welfare.
How have the scientists managed to convince the population
of the Earth that we really need progress?
When there is no fresh air to breathe in, it will be too
late. No one will be able to restore oxygen and fresh water
supplies in a blink. Let us thank science for the cars that
burn up oil, which has been inside our planet for billions
of years and has only been waiting for the moment when
the combustion engine was invented. Let us say ‘thank you’
for the plastic that is all around. Nuclear power stations are
also what we could never live without.
But why?.. Why did it all appear only within a hundred
years? The humankind had somehow existed for thousands
of years before the breakthrough of the XX century.
We should not lay blame on scientists only. When
everyone or at least the majority comes to understand that it
is better to stop using personal vehicles, buy new appliances
every month, plant more and more trees, life will change.
And if… not? Let’s ask scientists...
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0 Time to Change Your Life

The world around is so big and wonderful.
I don’t know how many people live simply to work and work
to live, turning their life into mere existence. Some time ago,
I am not sure when exactly I felt a strong desire to explore
the world we live in. No, I do not mean the whole planet, I do
not mean travelling all year round. It may be even a small part
of our country. What I mean is the idea that everyone comes
to this world with a purpose, which gets lost in the gloom
of daily routine when we grow up.
Many people realize at some age that the time to change
the life has come. Everyone should decide on his own how it
is possible to fulfil this task. The most popular way is taking
up something new. You may start to learn painting or playing
a musical instrument. You may find a new job, something
that you have never tried before. There is a firm conviction
in people’s heads that if you have some definite education,
you should work in this field for the rest of your life. Why
not try something new? Can it be so, that when you entered
a university or college, you made a wrong choice? It seems
to be quite possible. I know a few people who changed their
lives completely and they have never regretted it yet.
Every minute of our life is priceless, and at the same
time it is sold at a definite price, which is easily calculated
by dividing the salary by thirty and then by twenty-four and
finally by sixty. So simple? It is not worth while breaking
the rules generally accepted in the society, but in order
to make life interesting we can add something important
to it, which you may do after work or after classes.
The objective reality today simplifies human life, reducing
its value. A human being becomes a clockwork which is
meant for earning money and spending it on useless things.
Think about the things that surround you: do you control
them or do they control you? It is really an important aspect
in changing your life, too. Is there anything that prevents
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you from living happily? It may be a gadget or a car or what

not. Are they worth spending life on? But you will never
regret if you spend more time on people and with people,
not with the things.
I believe it is possible to formulate the idea like this:
many people live just on the surface, but if one takes pains
to fly a bit higher up, he will definitely see, that there is
much interesting in this world, and life shouldn’t be taken
as physical existence only. And I am absolutely sure that it is
never too late to change something in your life. One should
only have a wish to do it.

1 Superstitions
Superstitions are the best thing to talk about.
Really they are. I am not a superstitious person and I don’t
know much about this sphere of life. That is why I searched
for some special superstitions on the Internet and had a lot
of fun. Superstitions are the same thing as astrology for me
personally. As far as I understand the superstitions are different
around the world and people in different countries believe
that the same thing may bring you either luck or troubles.
A black cat crossing your path brings luck in Britain
whereas in Russia it is a bad omen. So when you see a black cat
in Russia there are even more superstitions you have to follow
to avert bad luck. You can turn your back on the poor animal
and move backwards ahead. Sounds strange, doesn’t it?
Or you may do something else. How can it possibly be? Let’s
assume that if we multiply two by two it makes four in Russia
and five in the UK. Non-sen-se.
Let’s move on. There are still better superstitions. All
those broken mirrors, spilt salt… Do you know what one
does if he or she breaks a mirror? Now I do, as I have been
enlightened. You (just listen to it!) release evil spirits for seven
years. Really for seven years? Why not for five or ten? Who
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knows? They must be living somewhere inside the mirror,

in the thin film of amalgam.
We continue. Friday, 13th – what is this day for you? I know
quite a lot of people who ascribe some supernatural qualities
to this date. I don’t think we should care about numbers.
Do you ever hand anything over across the threshold?
If you do, never do it again! It will bring you bad luck,
too. The funniest thing is that if you are not aware
of the superstition, it cannot do you any harm. And
if you are…
You are in a hurry, and you have just locked the door,
remembering that you have left an umbrella or a car-key
at home. You don’t come back, do you? And if you have
enough courage, do not forget to take a look at yourself
in the mirror.
Some students put coins under the heels when taking
exams. They believe it can help some way. They also believe
that it is a bad sign when you forget the credit book before
the exam and come back to take it. I suppose it is much worse
to leave a pen at home to say nothing of the knowledge.
Summing up I can say that all kinds of superstitions
deprive a human being of freedom. It is interesting that
everyone who believes and follows the superstitions does it
of his own free will, as nobody makes him or her perform
any magical practices to avoid bad luck. All the superstitions
exist only in the imagination and not in reality. They are
the heritage coming from dark pagan times. And I believe
that they will exist as long as the humankind does.

2 Cars
When I remember what my city looked like ten
or fifteen years ago, the first thing that occurs to me is the lesser
number of cars. Now you come up to the doorway (if you
live in a block of flats) and see a car standing right in your
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way. Vehicles are parked on the grass. They are everywhere –

moving and roaring and producing exhaust fumes.
I do not understand people who drive to the supermarket
which is five minutes’ walk from their place. Is it really
necessary to start the engine and pollute the air with gases?
To tell the truth I do not believe that all the people in the cars
which I see right now out of my window are using them
reasonably. I mean this very moment. Maybe 50 per cent
or even more could just take a stroll or use a trolley-bus
or a bus. It is not prestigious, though. Okay it is really more
prestigious to get stuck in a traffic jam and complain about it.
I am an owner of the car, too, that is why I know for sure
what I am talking about. I never use car without necessity.
I like to walk slowly along the streets, when it doesn’t rain
heavily. It hurts me, when I start the engine and fell it pump
out exhaust fumes into the atmosphere. At such moments
I know that I add to the global warming and think of people
who will live after us.
The second thing I get indignant at is a great diversity within
model ranges of all the automobile manufacturers. I do not
understand why on earth there should be so many variations.
Who knows how many spare parts are being produced
in a second on the planet? What is it for? I believe it is only
for the sake of somebody’s ambitions. Those who want to be
rich don’t care much about the future of the planet. I imagine
the stores and warehouses where all these components are
kept. And what part of them will never be used and sold out?
It would be more logical to have a limited number of up-to-
date automobile models with interchangeable spare parts
all around the world. It would help save nature and natural
resources. Of course, some types of cars would be outdated
and they could be recycled. But it is money that matters.
I am not sure if we can speak about the future
of automobile industry at all. The growing consumption
of fuel in the world has already lead and will lead to even
graver damage to the ecology of our planet. There is no fresh
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air in big cities today, and people still willingly buy new
vehicles. It is really a paradox... People are killing themselves
being aware of it.

3 Phobias
The word ‘phobia’ come from Greek ‘φόβος
phobos’ ‘fear’. Quite a lot (or even the majority) of people have
phobias in a certain degree. Some of them even do not know
that they have phobias, but in some particular situations.
There is an opinion that the problem of subconscious fears
lies somewhere deep in people’s memory. One may have
seen or heard something in the childhood and it resulted
in a phobia some time later. I am absolutely sure that there
are effective ways to cope with phobias of all kinds.
Here are the most common irrational fears people have.
Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders and other insects.
Sometimes people confuse this phobia with simple disgust.
Nevertheless, I know for sure that most of my friends and
acquaintances really find insects repulsive. As for me,
I cannot say that I am absolutely indifferent to spiders.
The size of them is important: the bigger the one is the more
disgusting I find it. As for other insects, I do not like wasps.
But grasshoppers seem to be quite nice.
Acrophobia is the fear of height. It does not seem to be
a phobia at all, as I think it is a protective mechanism
of our body. It is simply more or less developed in different
people. Though there are freaks who test their abilities and
hang at the height of 150 meters above the ground holding
on to some rail with one hand. It is stupidity and not
the absence of acrophobia.
Nyctohylophobia is the fear of the dark. It is typical
of little children, though many adults, especially women
have it and cannot cope with it, leaving the lights switched
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on during the whole night. It seems strange to many people

but this really prevents one from living a normal life.
Claustrophobia is connected with confined spaces. I know
some people who suffer from it. It seems possible, that this fear is
inborn, one may acquire it with the time. That is why there exist
special tests for people who are going to spend a long period
of time on board a spaceship or a submarine or somewhere
else. As for me, I find claustrophobia a strange thing.
Agoraphobia is opposite to the previous one. It is the fear
of open or crowded spaces. Quite a lot of people do not
like any interference into their biofield, the limited space
around. I think it is quite natural to feel uncomfortable
when you are in a crowd. Though, maybe there are people
who like being a part of the crowd.
Summing up, I can say that there are thousands of phobias
with exotic names, derived from Greek or Latin words.
Actually one can be afraid of anything that exists in material
world and even of notions and words. After all, phobias are
something that makes people’s life miserable. If they don’t
fight fears, they foster them, and the phobias will get even
deeper with the time.

4 Mass Media
Mass media plays an important role in our
present life. It has become one of the most powerful and
widest branches of reality. Its function is not only to highlight
important events, so it even influences politics greatly.
Mass media includes the press, the television and the radio.
The Internet has firmly established itself as a part of mass
media, and it annually increases in its meaning. The Internet
combines TV, the radio and the press, and this fact makes it
the most accessible and informative source. Ten years ago we
couldn’t even imagine the possibilities it provides at present.
But TV is still the most widespread and popular source
of information and home entertainment. Many people are
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just used to having their TV-sets on, without thinking it over,

what they need it for. Just as a sound in the background.
This way TV manipulates people. They absorb and devour
the information, which is imposed on them. There are so
many channels on TV, and their number grows annually.
Some channels may be interesting and educative, but they
are not numerous. Talk shows about nothing and humorous
programs help people fill the emptiness of souls and minds.
Radio is especially popular with drivers, and is not for
a demanding taste. Find any station, and in 99% of cases
you’ll hear native or foreign pop-music. As for me, I am not
a radio fan and listen to it really seldom.
People used to distinguish between ‘quality’ papers and
‘yellow’ press. Now the yellow press has occupied the major
part of the market. People get what they are interested in.
And the task of industry is just to produce it and meet
the demand.
The Internet, on the one hand, combines all the vice
of the world, and on the other hand it’s an invaluable source
of information, providing quick access to it, no matter where
you are. The global network enmeshes the globe.
It’s up to everyone to decide, how to use the Internet.
And not only the Internet, but mass media on the whole.
But we should remember, that being yourself is of major
importance, and even if something is imposed on us
by this global sphere, we should think and take decisions
by ourselves.


1. Make up your own topic about mass media. Use

these questions:
– What do we understand as ‘mass media’?
– What are your main sources of information?
– How often do you watch TV?
– What radio channels do you usually listen to?
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– Do you have an addiction to the Internet and online

– Do you buy and read newspapers? What ones?

2. Comment on the following:

a) Is the Internet good or evil?
b) More and more people give up watching TV. What’s
your opinion about it?
c) What spheres of life are you interested in? Is it politics,
economics, science, culture?
d) There’s so much advertisement in mass media. Is it
ok for you? Why? Why not?
e) The most reliable and trusted source of information.

5 Language and Travelling

Have you ever been abroad? It’s a typical
question that we use when we study the Present Perfect.
But it’s an important question. If we speak about summer
holidays, people mostly go to the South. And they will say
a few words about their trip to Egypt or to Turkey. There are
quite a lot of popular resorts with so many Russian people
there, that the personnel can speak and understand Russian.
Even if you want you won’t have an opportunity to practice
your language. That’s why we can’t say that such places
should be included in the notion ‘abroad’.
It’s really interesting to go somewhere on your own.
If you are simply a tourist in a group, you will not need your
language skills mostly, everything is predestined. You just
come to some place, see something there, then they take you
to another place and that’s all. You’ll understand only, why
you are learning or have already learnt English, for example,
when you have arrived in a country and faced the problem
of communication there. Just start speaking, it’s easy!
I know some people, who travel, being unable to speak any
foreign language. You shouldn’t be afraid. All the European
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countries are worth seeing. As for exotic ones, situated

in Africa or South America, it’s up to you to decide, whether
you need them or not. Travelling always implies your cultural
awareness – you should know the traditions, customs, gestures
and a lot of other things, connected with communication
in the place you are going to. Professional travellers are
unique people – they can tell you a lot about their personal
experience and the situations they have got into.
Travelling is an expensive hobby. Today you can come
across a lot of articles instructing you how to go hitch-hiking.
It’s the cheapest way to travel and to see the world. It may be
dangerous, though. It can be interesting to hitchhike within
one big country, like Russia or America. It’s possible in Europe
too. And it may be good language practice for you. The fastest
way to travel is going to your destination by plane. It’ll take
you only a few hours to get to the place. However, there may
be non-stop flights, which last up to 11 hours.
We live in the biggest country of the world, crossing nine
time-zones. And people are crazy about going abroad. Don’t
you think it would be a good idea to see the beauty of our
home country before going abroad? Or at least it would be ok
to combine it: this year you are going to Lake Baikal and next
year you’ll go to Spain or Italy. That would be fair at least.
I think it sensible to go to one country at one time. There
are a lot of tours, offering you a wide range of places during
a one-week-trip. And you are not likely to have enough time
to get acquainted with the places. Choose one country and
go there for a week, be a part of it. Practice your language.
And you will be happy to carry the reminiscences through
your whole life.
Travelling is good, isn’t it?


1. Make up your own topic about travelling. Use these

– Have you travelled a lot? Where have you been?
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– What’s your ‘dream destination’?

– What languages and cultures are interesting for you?
– Would you like to go on a hitch-hiking tour?
– Are your friends travellers?

2. Comment on the following:

a) Do you have any friends or relatives living abroad?
b) Languages and their usage worldwide.
c) Do you think it’s important to meet different people?
What for?
d) There are quite a lot of channels on TV showing
people different places of the world. Can it substitute for
e) Are you ready to pay for travelling?
f) What ways of travelling do you prefer? Why?

6 Dream Destinations: Australia

What do you know about Australia? Of course,
it’s situated in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are
different from those in the northern hemisphere: when we
have summer, they have winter and the other way round.
Australia used to be ‘Terra Australis Incognita’, translated
as ‘Unknown Southern Land’ from Latin up to the 18th
century. Captain James Cook was the first to explore this
land and to draw a simple map of it in 1770.
Australia used to be a British colony, which influenced
its flag, called ‘a small Union Jack’. The first settlers came
here in 1778.
Australia is not a densely populated region, around
22 million people live here. The continent consists mainly
of deserts not suitable for living. They are Great Sandy, Gibson
and Great Victoria deserts. The majority of population is
concentrated along the south-eastern coast. The biggest cities
in the North and West are Darwin and Perth. The capital
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of Australia is Canberra (368,000 people). Many people

confuse it with Sydney, which is several times bigger with its
population of 4,6 million people.
Australia is separated from the outer world. This fact
influenced greatly its unique nature and animal world.
Here you find the most unusual animals – the platypus
and echidna, the mammals, which lay eggs. When a stuffed
platypus was first brought to Europe by the early explorers
and shown to public, the respected scientists laughed and
thought it to be made up of parts of different animals.
Here you’ll find the kookaburra, or ‘laughing bird’. It
produces sounds similar to human laughing. It has firmly
established itself in the culture of the country.
Australian English is a bit different from the one we study. It
has some peculiarities in grammar and pronunciation. They
use such words as ‘outback’ meaning a ‘remote, sparsely-
populated area’ or ‘bush’ meaning ‘a wild or uncultivated
country’. The pronunciation is a bit special, but after you’ve
listened to a native speaker for some time you start getting
accustomed to it.
Australia is too far to be reached by a non-stop flight.
That’s why if you go there one day, you’ll have to change
a plane somewhere in Hong Kong or Bangkok.
The best-known tourist attractions in Australia are
the Sydney Opera House, looking like sails, the Great Barrier
Reef, Kakadu National Park, providing numerous outdoor
Australia is worth visiting beyond any doubt. If you
have an opportunity to go there, never miss it. It’ll be
an unforgettable journey into a completely different world.


1. Make up your own topic about the place you would

like to go some day. Use these questions:
– What country/city/place would you choose? Why?
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– What gets you interested in this place?

– What do you already know about the place?
– How is it possible to get there?
– Have any of your friends been there yet?

2. Comment on the following:

a) Do you have only one dream destination?
b) Would you like to live there?
c) They say: ‘East or West - home is best’. Do you agree?
d) Have you already visited any dream destinations?
e) Is you dream destination necessarily situated abroad?

7 The United Kingdom

The UK includes four countries: Northern
Ireland and Great Britain, which is subdivided into England,
Scotland and Wales. This union has a long history, and we
can’t say that it’s a firm structure, but still due to political and
economic reasons we call it the UK.
The UK is located on the British Isles, which are
numerous (there are around 6,000 all in all).
The modern population of the UK consists of the descendants
of different ethnic groups that have ever inhabited the Isles.
They are Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Romans, vikings and others.
At the present time nearly 63,5 million people live in the UK.
The Union Jack is the official flag of the UK adopted
in 1801, when the UK itself came into existence. The flag is
made up of three crosses, related to patron saints of England,
Scotland and Ireland.
The relief of the Isles varies greatly from the lowlands
in the South to the highlands of Scotland in the North. It’s
a land of lakes and rivers. The geographical position once
made Great Britain world’s most powerful marine empire
with a great fleet that used to be undefeated in the past.
No part of England is farther than 120 km from the sea.
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The climate is also different – it is moderate in the South and

harsh in the North of Scotland. England is the most densely
populated region thanks to its climate.
The UK has an important industrial meaning – it produces
heavy machinery, wool, cotton, cars, engines. The UK has
coal and ore mining regions too.
Each part of the UK has its long and rich history, its
own symbols and traditions.
London is the capital of England. The red rose is
the national floral emblem of the country. It symbolizes
the end of the Wars of the Roses. London was founded
by the Romans and today it’s one of the most important
financial and cultural centres of the world. The city of London
is situated on the river Thames. Around 7 million people
live in London. If you once come to London, you should
see its main sights – the Tower, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s
Cathedral, the London Eye – a giant observation wheel; visit
its numerous parks.
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. Thistle is the national
flower of the country. It was first used in the 15th century
as a symbol of defence. Scotland has always been fighting
for its freedom and independence. There were periods
in history, when the country got it, but then it was subjected
to the Crown again. In the near future it’s possible, that
Scotland will be an independent country.
Daffodil is the national emblem of Wales. The capital
of Wales is Cardiff. The country is known for its old literature
and traditions. It’s an important industrial region with
different mineral resources. The scenery is beautiful here.
Snowdonia, the land of mountains is the national pride.
The highest mountain, Snowdon, is situated here.
Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. Shamrock, a three-
leaved plant, similar to clover, is the symbol of Northern
Ireland. It’s a symbol of trinity. Today Northern Ireland and
the Irish Republic are different countries, but they are for
the reunification, though there are some objective political
obstacles in their way.
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Everyone knows the traditional music and dancing

of Ireland and Scotland. The bagpipe is a very special
instrument. Once you’ve heard it, you’ll never forget its pure
sound, that remains in your heart forever.

8 The USA
The United States is first of all a highly
developed society in the modern world. Its history began long
ago. Columbus was the first to explore the unknown land,
though nobody believed in its existence. He came to the shores
of America in 1492, but the first settlers came here in 1565.
The years passed and the representatives of different
countries and nations came here to build up a new society.
Their adventurous spirit led them into that faraway land.
The United States grew from the original 13 colonies, situated
along the Atlantic Coast.
The indigenous American population soon came into
conflict with European invaders, but the forces were unequal.
And this slaughter led to the extinction of Indian tribes.
America got its independence from the Kingdom of Great
Britain on July, 4th, 1776. Now this date is known as
Independence Day, which is a national holiday commemorating
that great day of the past.
The American Civil War (1861–1865) became one
of the important steps on the way to modern society. The war
broke out because of the phenomenon of slavery. Southern
States formed the ‘Confederacy’ and were fully for using
slave labour force. The rest of the states opposed the South.
It was the bloodiest war ever in the history of the US. It
resulted in the Abolition (of slavery), which was firmly fixed
in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865.
The USA has always attracted people from all over
the world. The most famous notion of ‘American Dream’
is well-known everywhere. It means that you are to be
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successful to be a real American. Material wealth is put above

all the life goals. And many people are eager to implement
it. Do you remember the California Gold Rush of 1­ 848–49,
when people started flocking to the state in the hope
to become rich?
The beginning of the 20th century was a hard time
for the USA. The Great Depression of 1929 destroyed
the economy of the country. But by the time WWII broke
out, America had regained its economic power and was able
to take part in the military action in Europe and help the allies
with machinery and in some other ways.
America is the fourth largest country in the world. It
means necessarily that its climate varies greatly. The country
lies in different time zones, stretching from the Atlantic
to the Pacific. The US is a land of mountains, rivers, great
lakes. There are a lot of national parks (59). The most famous
of them are Yosemite and Yellowstone. They are really
impressive – a human being is a grain of sand on this scale.
Americans protect their nature, it’s especially important
The US government has three branches: the Congress
which makes laws and consists of the Senate and the House
of the Representatives. All the states have their representatives
in both parts.
The second branch is the President, who is elected every
four years (but not more than 2 terms). He signs bills and is
the Commander-in-Chief of the US Army at the same time.
The third branch is the Supreme Court, which is made
up of 9 judges.
The USA is often called a ‘melting pot’. It means a  mixture
of different nations and cultures, which all make up
the modern American society. That’s why the country has
so many customs, celebrations and traditions, which have
been brought here from all over the world in the course
of American history.
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9 Wildlife
How many times have you been to the zoo?
Do you like circus animals?
I don’t like such things.
The planet today is not suitable for living. We don’t speak
about people only, but about animals too. There are so many
extinct species, that no one would ever think, that it may
have been possible to kill them all. But it’s the reality that we
have faced.
Animals should live in their natural habitat; they are
capable of maintaining the organic balance, forming food
chains and symbiotic relationships. People shouldn’t break
up such processes, since they are beyond our understanding
at the present time.
Any human interference may be fatal for a particular
biogeocenosis. We know a lot of examples, illustrating it.
Rabbits were introduced to Australia in the 18th century
and became widespread after a population outbreak in 1859.
They brought considerable damage to the agriculture (and
consequently to the economy) of Australia.
And on the other hand, if people kill some species, they
may experience further unexpected problems.
If you like animals, than why not go on a safari to watch
them in their natural surroundings? The British have
a popular outdoor activity, which people in Russia don’t
understand at all. It’s called ‘bird-watching’, when you take
you binoculars, go to a park or to a forest and simply watch
birds. It brings people aesthetic pleasure.
Of course, some consumption of natural products is
implied. It has been reasonable for centuries. Nature tells
the man not to take more than one needs. If we take wild
animals as an example, they kill other animals in quantities
necessary for their existence. No excess is implied. But
people want to take more and more.
Nature has renewable resources. If there were no poaching,
everything would be fine: fish supplies in the lakes, rivers
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and seas would have never been exhausted. There would be

enough fur and feather. People must not just take more than
they need.
Be careful and attentive to the world you live in, to the world
in all of its manifestations, and it will repay all your effort.


1. Make up your own topic about wildlife. Use these

– Do you like Nature? Would you like to protect it?
– What measures should be taken to protect animals?
– Are you for or against killing animals to produce
clothes? Do you wear such clothes?
– Have you ever helped Nature? What way?
– Do you believe that some social organizations are able
to contribute to the protection of Nature?

2. Comment on the following:

a) How can you assess the protection of nature in Russia?
And abroad?
b) Give some facts about wildlife in our country and
in the world. What should they make us think about?
c) Hunting: is it good or bad? When is hunting
d) Nature sometimes launches processes, that people
don’t fully understand. It may be an epidemic within some
animal group. Do you know about it? What is it for?
e) Should people interfere in the process of natural
selection? What are the consequences?

Seven Wonders of the World


When we speak about the wonders of the world,

we generally imply the ancient list of the most remarkable
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creations of classical antiquity. Today new lists are made

to emphasize the importance of the objects that have survived
up to the present days.
The classic seven wonders were:

Great Pyramid of Giza

The only of the seven Wonders that can be seen today.
Its height is about 150 m, which corresponds to the height
of a 50-floor skyscraper. The pyramid was used as a shrine
for a pharaoh. It consists of more than 2,000,000 blocks
that are perfectly adjusted to each other. A question arises:
how could the ancient architects and workers do such
complicated calculations to reach the final result? There is
no answer to it even today. Scientists believe, that it took
the Egyptians around 30 years to finish the construction.
Nearly 100,000 people were busy here. Egypt used to be
a rich state at that time. People though it to be prestigious
to work for the Pharaoh. They were supplied with food,
clothing and accommodation.
If people wanted to build the same pyramid today, they
wouldn’t be able to copy it, as modern technologies aren’t
designed for such scales.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon

This wonder was discovered by a German archeologist,
who searched for the ancient city of Babylon. It took him
18 years to find the Babylon Tower, the fortress walls, which
once surrounded the city and the hanging gardens, to be
precise, the remains. Finally he found a building, incuding
12 rooms with massive arches inside to support great
weights. In the ancient written sources of the time he found
some information about the inner structure of the gardens.
The description coincided with what he had found. Some
scientists cast doubt on this discovery. That’s why it may
remain one of the greatest mysteries forever. The hanging
gardens resembled a steep mountain, uniting all the seven
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parts in one. Slaves were used to pump the water up from

a deep well to the vegetation when the temperature was too
high. It was a real oasis in the middle of the dry city of Babylon.

Statue of Zeus at Olympia

Around 470 B.C. Greek people were encouraged to start
fund-raising to build a temple of Zeus, that could surpass
all the other temples of Greece in its beauty. In 456 B.C.
the construction was finished and consecrated. Its basement
is still untouched. The temple had 34 pillars, which
supported a massive roof, made of marble slabs. The main
object inside was the statue of Zeus. It was a completely new
image of the deity – he was ‘fatherly’ and not ‘punishing’ any
more. This fact made the statue attractive. It was considered
to be a patron of the Olympic games and even an umpire
in some way. People made sacrifices to Zeus and prayed for
the victory here.
Today we see sparse remains only: the basement
of the temple with a few statues. The temple is known to have
been damaged severely during one of the earthquakes
in the 2nd century A.D.

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

The temple was dedicated to the goddess of war Artemis
and was considered one of the most luxurious and splendid
monuments of architecture. It was located in Ephesus (now
this is a part of Turkish territory). Strangely enough, we know
this building in connection with the name of Herostratus,
who set it on fire to become (in) famous. After the act
of arson it was rebuilt some years later, but finally it was
ransacked by the local people after the Christianity was
adopted as the official religion during the reign of Roman
Emperor Pheodosius 1st.
It was revealed in 1903 only by John Wood, an English
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Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
The Mausoleum was known for its marvellous sculptural
reliefs, and was designed as a tomb or Mausolus, a satrap
in the Persian Empire, and Artemisia II of Caria, who was
both his wife and his sister. The construction broke up
several times due to the deaths of the deaths of the rulers,
but it was finally finished and stood for 1500 years. Only
in the 12th century A.D. it was destroyed by an earthquake
and then the place was built by the Turkish invaders. English
archaeologists explored the site in 1857 and discovered
some important things, which are exhibited at the British
Museum today.

Colossus of Rhodes
It was a statue of the Greek Titan Helios, 60 m high. It
took the sculptor 12 years to complete it. The Statue existed
for 66 years and then it was destroyed by a great earthquake.
It lay on the ground for a long time. Finally a merchant
bought it and he used 900 camels to take the remains away
from the place to sell them. Today the statue symbolizes
something unstable, massive, but easy to destroy.

Lighthouse of Alexandria
It was an impressive building even for the present
time. With its height of 140 meters it showed the way
to the ships arriving at the harbour. It possessed
a unique system of mirrors for its time, which produced
a powerful light beam thanks to its reflective ability. It
was damaged by an earthquake in 796 A.D. Despite all
the effort to rebuild it, people didn’t manage to do it. Later
the harbour wasn’t used any more, because the water grew
shallow and the lighthouse was forgotten.


– What are the modern Wonders of the World? Make

up a topic about them.
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Food and Cooking

1 ‘A man lives to eat and eats to live’ – these
are the words of a saying. How many times have you asked
yourself if food is really important for you? And what is more
substantial – the quality or the quantity? As for me, I am not
a gourmet. I believe that simple food will keep one fit and
healthy, so I never think of complicated dishes, and I am not
interested in different cuisines.
I have a friend who is keen on cooking. She is always
in search of new recipes, ingredients and other stuff. I have
never understood her. Isn’t it a waste of time? If we remember
that life is quite limited in time, we’ll find more reasonable
ways to spend time. All kinds of pleasures are temporary,
they don’t last, they don’t survive through centuries. You cook
something and eat it at once. Of course there is something
aesthetic in a ready dish. It may even be a masterpiece. But
still… I am not ready to spend my life on it.
Today humankind consumes much more than our
ancestors, and food isn’t an exception. The more food people
consume, the worse is its quality. That’s what we see now
in the supermarkets. One can find everything to his liking. Let’s
assume you want to have an orange twelve-legged Caribbean
moustache crab or what not. Just search for it on the Internet
and you are sure to find an offer. It means that the supply
exceeds demand. While in some regions of the world people
die of starvation, the supermarket shelves of the countries with
highly-developed consumer society are about to crash down
under the weight of goods. Is it fair? Is it necessary? Besides,
it means, that a lot of food is thrown out after the expiry date.
To make the things still worse, maybe 5 percent of it is safe
to eat. The rest is a breakthrough of modern Chemistry. So why
do people kill themselves? Is it really impossible to live without
chips, coke, snacks, alcohol?.. There are so many shows on TV
to discuss the problem of obesity. There is no problem at all.
There is just uncontrolled consumption of junk food.
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Have you ever noticed that a full stomach prevents you

from doing any kind of work? Being replete one is ready
to sleep or relax. I have never been able to understand why
people cook and eat so much when they celebrate a holiday.
They eat so greedily as if it were the last day of their life.
Maybe one of the secrets of happiness and healthy life is
simple: many people known as centenarians (beyond the age
of 100 years) just advise us to get up from the table a little bit
hungry and never to overeat.

2 New Year in Russia

New Year is one of the most favourite holidays
in Russia. First of all it is a family holiday, which means that
people have an opportunity to gather and exchange the news,
to speak about the latest events, to share their joy with
the relatives. New Year is a time for giving and getting presents.
All the attributes of New Year are actually Christmas ones,
as it was forbidden to celebrate the holiday in the Soviet
Union. So New Year has acquired greater importance
in Russia than Christmas, while it is just the other way
round in the whole world.
I don’t think there are any people in our country who
are absolutely indifferent to New Year. Of course, some
may put on masks and say they don’t see any difference
between the first of January and the first of March, but there
is really something special about New Year. People connect
this holiday with the beginning of new life, with hopes and
changes for the best in the future. Everyone believes and
wishes others good luck, happiness and joy in the coming
year. Maybe this optimistic approach helps our people
overcome difficulties in their life.
Most of little kids write letters to Grandfather Frost and
ask him not only for presents but for more important things,
such as health for the family. They start getting prepared for
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the holiday at the beginning of December, and sometimes it

is really surprising to see a Christmas tree set up long before
the 1st of January.
One really begins to feel the festive atmosphere
in the middle of December, when all the shops and
the streets are filled with symbols of New Year: you can find
any toys, tinsel and Christmas tree lights. The souvenirs
are usually connected with the symbol of the coming year
according to the Chinese calendar. As for me, I don’t take
it seriously and even don’t like it.
I have never been able to understand why people seem to get
insatiable at the very end of December: all the supermarkets,
especially food stores are crowded. People buy so much food
just for a few days as if it were their last ones. The motto seems
to be like this: ‘Eat or die!’ It may seem funny, but it is really
dangerous for health. Excessive consumption of alcohol and
food leads to grave consequences. I (and none of my family)
never eat too much on this day.
Choosing presents today is a hard task, because everyone
seems to have everything he needs. It was much simpler
to choose something ten years ago than now. People are
hooked on electronics and household appliances, and when
you come into the supermarket, you understand that there
is a wide choice of it, but there is nothing to buy. I like to give
unusual presents, but it really takes a lot of time to find
something worthy today.
And the last thing. I never watch TV at New Year. It is
so stupid to see the same faces, which try to produce some
obviously false impression on the viewers. And what about you?

3 The Internet
If you are interested in the technical aspects
of the Internet and want to know how and when it appeared,
you may read any resource. On the Internet. Or in a book
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in Information Technology. I would like to speak more

about the way it influences people and our life today.
Can you imagine your life without the Internet? You
may ask me the same question in response without giving
the answer to it. Really it is a stupid question. But how did
we live without it 15 or 20 years ago?
Of course the Internet is a powerful means of communication
and an inexhaustible source of information. We are able
to find everything in a second, when we just type in a search
request. Nowadays the Internet is easily accessible on any type
of portable devices, such as smartphones and tablets. We could
hardly imagine ten years ago what we would have in reality,
because even in fantastic films everything was a bit simpler.
What we should probably do is to praise the science. Many
people do. They believe in the future, which will be even more
amazing and stirring our imagination. If not? Who is going
to create the future? Have you ever heard of the doctors who
use the Internet during medical operations or consultations?
They live among us today. They do it just because they know
for sure they will find what they need as long as the Internet
exists. They are convinced that it will exist. Eternally. Let’s cut
off the electricity… A lot of students at universities pass their
exams successfully, using the Internet. Why study? Generations
of people have studied and progressed for centuries to create
the  technologies of the present. What for? To invent
the Internet that will finally make their offspring stupid.
The entertaining function of the Internet seems to be
aimed at the destruction of our life too. How long will
the humankind watch tons of stupid videos and play
online games? No one knows the answer. If we go on like
this, people will turn into apes and degrade. Maybe history
of the humankind is cyclical: people progress and regress
over and over again. There might have been some powerful
civilizations in the past that destroyed themselves by their
technologies and vanished from the face of the Earth.
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So the Internet seems to be the main enemy of traditional

education. The problem is that even if it is possible to use it
in the educational process, no one knows where to draw the line.
It simplifies education, it simplifies people’s minds as well.
When I realized it a few years ago, I was in a state of shock.
I found out that my memory is not so good as it used to be.
Maybe I am mistaken. Hopefully I am. Then I decided
to reduce the time I spend on the Internet. I removed my
accounts in social networks permanently and… you know –
I got more time in quite a miraculous way, if I may put it like
this. Now I have more time for life. Real life.
To sum up, I can say that the Internet is a powerful
instrument, but the usage of it should be limited, especially
at a certain age. If parents let children use the Internet for
preparation in primary school, it is a crime. The best way
to live is to rely on your own knowledge, to read books, to go
to the libraries and use the Internet as a possible addition
to educational process and sometimes as entertainment.

4 Body Language
Body language compared to any other means
of communication is a unique way to transfer information.
It contains the so-called ‘hidden information’. If you want
to make sure that you fully understand someone, just put
together verbal and non-verbal (not involving or using
words or speech) communication. If the words don’t accord
with the gestures, you may suspect this person of dishonesty.
How is it possible to learn to understand the language
of gestures?
Here are some examples that help us understand
the interlocutor. When he or she avoids looking directly
in your eyes it means insincerity. The same may be said
about crossed arms when somebody is not inclined
to communicate.
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A concentrated person may be rubbing the bridge

of the nose, the forehead or the chin. Some people cover
the mouth with their palms when they subconsciously
disagree with the opinion of the speaker, suppressing real
experience. The head resting on the arm during a lecture
or a meeting means that this person is not interested
in the subject of the conversation.
Body language is not only the sum of subconscious
movements but also the gestures that we use in our everyday
communication, which may differ greatly from one country
to another. The same gesture may have the opposite meaning
in two countries.
So it must be taken into account, when you travel around
the world. It may lead not only to slight misunderstanding
but also to serious conflicts.
Shaking head generally means ‘no’, but in Bulgaria, Greece
and India it is a symbol of consent. If you are in Japan be sure
to take what you are given with your both hands, otherwise
it will mean neglect of the other person.
The only universal means to win somebody’s sympathy
is a smile. People around the world take it the same way. So
if you want to pay a compliment just give a smile to the person
you are talking to.

5 Mobile Phones
Do you remember the day when you first
used a mobile phone? I do. At that time it seemed to be
something special, but at present it is an ordinary thing we
do not pay much attention to. Smartphones started a new
era in communication. The abundance of functions in these
devices makes them more and more popular, especially
with the younger generation. I am happy that I didn’t have
a smartphone in my childhood, because it could have
influenced me in a negative way.
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Mobile phones were invented for communication only,

while smartphones serve as timekillers. I believe that
smartphones must not be used by children under 15, because
they distract them from real life and studies. Besides small
screens with tiny fonts hurt eyes, but nobody seems to be
worried about that. I know only a few parents who forbid
their children to use such devices and buy them simpler
ones, which are meant just for talking.
Mobile phones are thought to be dangerous because
of the electromagnetic field they produce, which may have
impact on the organs of human body. Some people advise
not to keep a mobile phone close to the skin, it is much
better to carry it in a bag and put it farther from yourself
at night, when you go to sleep. Talking long hours on mobile
phone may be harmful, too. Its electromagnetic waves are
believed to heat up the brain.
On the one hand a cellphone is a great means
of communication – we can find anyone who has it anywhere
at any time. But on the other hand what we lack today is
real communication. This makes us lazy – it is much easier
just to dial a number than to raise from an armchair and go
to see someone. In my humble opinion even video calls can’t
substitute for real conversation.
Mobile phone manufacturers make substantial profit from
their goods: these are not only cellular phones themselves,
but also accessories for them. Model ranges change nearly
every day, so people buy more and more new ones instead
of older gadgets.
As for me, I have both a smartphone and a simple phone
with a keypad. The main characteristic for me is the battery:
the bigger capacity it has, the more I like the device. I can’t
say that I am hooked on some services or applications
or surf the Internet all day long. Of course, it is convenient
to read the news right on the screen of a mobile phone or get
e-mails without switching on the laptop. But to tell the truth
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the world without mobile phones was better than it is now.

There is too much of technology today.

6 Genealogical Tree
I think no one will argue with the statement
that it is vitally important to remember the past. The history
of the state you live in is profoundly studied at schools
and universities, and the history of your family is not less
important either.
How many generations of your family are well-known
to you? Have you ever thought about it? I have. Unfortunately,
the earliest ancestors I know are my great-great-grandparents,
what lies deeper in time remains really vague.
More and more families want to know their background
and willingly attend archives to find out the necessary
information. Though it is not always possible to restore
the family tree due to objective circumstances. A considerable
part of archives around the country simply got lost and
burnt during World War II. Just imagine that none of your
descendants will remember you in a hundred years. It sounds
terrifying, but it is our reality. We can only hope that modern
data storages are durable enough to keep the memories
of the present day.
I have asked my friends the same question many times,
and the answer has always been nearly the same. Just assume
how nice it would be to visualize the development of your
family starting somewhere in the 17th century. I cannot
even imagine it. On the one hand the illiteracy of people
did them good: if everything that we have at present had
been invented 300 years ago, the world would have ceased
to exist somewhere in the 19th century. On the other hand
this illiteracy made it impossible to collect and store the data
about the people who lived in the past. They just lived,
without thinking over what would happen in the future.
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Of course there are chronicles which have survived through

the centuries, but they don’t include any information about
ordinary people. Maybe there are exceptions though.
So the more I think of it the clearer it becomes that it is
necessary to compile a family tree and write down at least
what I know for sure if it is even fragmentary information.
I am sure that in the future there will be even online projects
of this kind aimed at keeping history of families. I do not
think that it is worth while making it accessible to general
public, it must be meant only for private use. If such a service
ever exists, it will pass the information on to the next
generations. And at the same time there must be some
paper copy which is a repository of the present and the past.
Just imagine how interesting it will be for the descendants
to read the chronicles of their family.
I know a woman whose mother is nearly 90 years old, and
she made her (really made) write down her reminiscences,
everything she remembers about the past, starting with her
childhood. And what they finally got was so interesting
to study that everyone was surprised!
Summing up, a genealogical tree is not sufficient, if we
mean a drawing of it only. It is interesting to see its branches
but it is more interesting to get to know some details, including
different events that have ever happened. And photos and
personal belongings may be a good addition to it.

7 Living in a House
I have lived in a house for all my life. I can say that
I would never change it for a flat. Do you know why? Because
my home is my castle, as the proverb says. I have always felt safe
here, I have always realised that my home is a considerable part
of my life, the place I want to come back to.
My house is not new, my grandparents bought it from
some previous owners and I don’t know anything about
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them. But I feel the history of the place in any detail that
can be found here. My mom and my uncle grew up here and
I was brought into this house by my parents as a newborn
baby, too.
When I take a look at the pieces of furniture I can
remember different stories, connected with them. There is
a bookcase in the living room. There are four glass panels
in it. But one is missing. It is my work – I managed to break
it at the age of four or five, I do not remember this well, but
Mom says it was me who did it. I still feel a bit awkward.
The scratches on the wall unit are mine too. It used to be so
glossy once, but it has acquired a few ‘scars’ (as I put it) since
I began walking around the house. The thing is that nobody
wants to replace this furniture with something new. It is our
history. I also know that there were a few valuable vases and
dishes. You guess who broke them, don’t you?
Our house stands on quite a big lot, I mean the territory
around it. It is enclosed by a fence with two gates in it. When
I was a little kid, this place seemed to be so vast, that I could
run about and hide and jump and what not. We have always
had dogs out-of-doors. And we still have one to protect us
from unwelcome guests. So I had a lot of fun when we ran
hither and thither with our retriever. I used to build snow
fortresses in winter in the yard… There are so many memories
inside my head, when I look at my house. It has changed a bit,
of course, since that time.
At the same time living in a house is not that simple.
When you are in a flat you don’t have much to worry about.
Here you have to clean away the snow in winter, mow grass
in summer, take away rubbish. Besides, it’s very important
to make the territory around nice and attractive. People
living in their own houses have to work in the garden and
cultivate the land. My whole family likes it. Our agricultural
activity starts at the end of April and finishes in October
or November with the first frosts. It is a great advantage
to have a vegetable garden and an orchard – you can grow
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your own fruit and vegetables which are much tastier

than the ones we buy at supermarkets. Moreover there is
aesthetics in vegetation and greenery around the house.
As for the future, I think more often of building the second
house for my own family here, as there is enough space for
it. My parents are not against it. I would like to live for my
whole life in the place where I belong.

8 Living in a Flat
Envy belongs to the seven deadly sins. That is
why I try not to envy people who live in their own houses. But
sometimes I can’t. It is better to say that I do not envy them
in the traditional understanding of this word, I simply admire
any private houses, no matter where I see them – in a village
or in the suburbs. I do not think it is really necessary to have
a three-storeyed castle. It may be an ordinary country house
with its special cosy atmosphere. When I go to some villages
I always pay attention to such ones, and it is a pleasure to see
when this or that house is taken care of. I like these places
in winter most of all, when the snow under the feet is crispy
and crackling and the smoke is coming out of the chimneys,
and you smell burning firewood. At such moments I never
want to come back to the city at all.
As you guessed, I live in an ordinary two-roomed flat.
It is on the fifth floor of a block of flats. I can’t say that
there is something special about my flat – it is just like
the other concrete cages all around the country. Of course
I make attempts to create a cosy atmosphere inside, but it
cannot be compared to the atmosphere of a private house.
My friend from England says: ‘I am a countryboy at heart’.
The same may be said about me. I live in the city but I long
for various activities typical of countrymen. I want to clean
away the snow in winter, I want to do some gardening
in summer. But I can’t, because we don’t have even a country
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house to spend holidays in. I dream of building a house

in the future and moving into it when it is finally possible.
The first reason why I want it so badly is silence. It is so
important for me, because I cannot concentrate properly
on anything when I hear all that commotion around me.
I constantly hear TV-sets and stereos making noise from
neighbouring flats. I hate slamming the iron doors all around.
It is actually round the clock, but a bit less in the night.
My morning doesn’t usually begin with the alarm clock.
It begins much earlier – at around six a happy family above,
consisting of two females, a mother and a daughter (they start
yelling at each other) is what I hear first. They throw different
things at each other, and the daughter seems to produce those
wild yelps of agony, when the objects hit the target. It is like,
you know, when you step on a dog’s tail. The same happens
in the evening. Now I am used to it. People are crazy…
Fortunately I haven’t had neighbours boring the walls all day
long for at least five years. My friends and acquaintances have.
And this is a calamity to live in such conditions.
I try to imagine what life would be like if I lived in a house…
I want a wooden house by the way. I believe that timber
possesses some good energy if I may put it like this. And
living in a wooden house you are in unity with nature itself.
I want to have a fireplace there to spend long cold evenings
in front of it together with my family.
You may ask me why I speak so much about a house
in this topic. Because there is actually nothing special to say
about the flat. They are all the same. Of course I can tell you
what there is in my room and in the kitchen, but is this
really interesting? I am sure it is not…

9 Inventors and Inventions

Inventive mind is a special quality and all
people possess it in some degree. I think everyone is ready
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to create something when he really needs it to make the work

simpler and faster. But few do it in reality, because the world
today is full of inventions and appliances of different kinds.
The history of inventions began long ago, maybe even
earlier than Ancient Egypt and Greece. The first most
important inventions were the wheel, the waterwheel and
levers of different types. They were all meant to ease human
work. A lot of things that we have today were created
thousands of years ago and still help us greatly.
The new era of inventions started with the discovery
of electricity. Later on in the twentieth century it transformed
into electronics and the pace of progress today is really
overwhelming. The question is: do we really need everything
that has been invented so far? In my opinion any invention
must comply with the two following rules:
• it helps, but it doesn’t eliminate human work, as it
will make people lazy;
• it can’t do people or nature harm.
Unfortunately some inventors don’t think about it
in the process of creation, which leads to grave consequences.
Their logic is as follows: if I don’t invent this, someone else
will definitely do it. The same situation was with the nuclear
weapons. But these are the descendants who will face
the aftermath of the criminal scientific activity.
The history of inventions is full of curious facts. We all
remember the argument about the inventors of the radio.
Nobody knows for sure whether it was Popov or Marconi,
because in those days even a three months’ difference
in the discovery of the same phenomenon was considered
to be simultaneity.
Do you know that the first drawings of a bicycle date
back to the times of daVinci? But officially Karl von Drais is
known as the inventor of it. Thomas Edison patented more
than 1000 inventions, but it does not mean that they were
all his intellectual property. He took some of the inventions
of that time and improved them to make them more suitable
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for practical use. Once he said: ‘The value of an idea lies

in the using of it’.
In 1871 an Italian engineer Antonio Meucci did not
only demonstrate but also patented a working model
of the telephone, but he did not have enough money to extend
the period of the patent so two years later Alexander Bell did
it and officially became the father of the telephone.
Finally, a Japanese inventor Yoshira Nakamatsu has more
than 3300 patents, but most of his inventions even sound a bit
strange: a musical golf club, a wig for self-defense, a self-raising
toilet seat. I don’t think there is any necessity to continue.
Summing up I can say that the process of invention is
really interesting and it is not just a waste of time, but when
you want to invent something you should think not only
about your ambition and popularity but first and foremost
about the world around and people who live in it.

0 The Most Important Inventions

7 of the XXth Century

The twentieth century was the time

of a technological breakthrough. Some people even felt
dizzy about it and cherished hopes, that the future would be
so incredibly bright. Now it has become obvious, that some
of the inventions that appeared within this period turned
out to be even deadly dangerous for the whole humankind.
Nuclear power in its peaceful application (we do not
speak about nuclear weapons) seemed to be a source
of energy that wouldn’t pollute nature. It is highly effective,
but the question of safety took the first place after the events
in Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011). Some countries
are now reducing the usage of Nuclear Power Stations (NPS)
and are looking for new ways to produce energy.
The Personal Computer (PC) started a new era
in electronics. Calculations of all kinds became faster and
simpler. People got an opportunity to store information
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and to search for it instantaneously. Today we can say that

all the practical knowledge of the humankind is contained
in a digital form and it is accessible all around the world.
The airplane gave people an opportunity to travel faster
and cover longer distances than ever before. The army
developed new and more effective military strategies, taking
advantage of the possibilities that planes provided. However
the total number of planes which are airborne at this very
moment is frightening. There is a special website* to show
them all on the map of the world. It seems to be a problem:
the planes consume great amounts of fuel and pollute
the atmosphere and the planet we live on.
The automobile. The development of combustion
engines and other elements began in the 19th century, but
the automobile itself gained its popularity only in the 20th
century and underwent the changes that made it look like
what we are used to now. The automobile gave people a certain
degree of mobility, which has resulted in the growing number
of cars in the world.
The submarine became a powerful military instrument
on the scale of the planet. The dreams of Jules Verne came
true and Captain Nemo who seemed to be just a fantastic hero
in the 19th century turned out to be real in the 20th century.
Antibiotics were a great hope of the humankind for quite
a long period of time. Now they seem to be one of the most
dangerous things that people have ever discovered, because
no antibiotics will be effective anymore in 10 or 15 years,
as various infections and bacteria have got accustomed
to them. Some diseases will be incurable consequently.
Radio is the phenomenon we cannot imagine our life
without. It is used everywhere and people constantly live
in the ocean of radio waves of all bands. But few think of it.
Television is gradually losing its meaning, that it used to have
20 or 30 years ago. The Internet has the same and many more
functions, so I suppose television will be out of date soon.
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The Internet gives people all the opportunities for

communication and information exchange. There had never
been anything like it in our history, that is why we don’t know
what it can lead to. Maybe the Internet may be as dangerous
as nuclear power in some regard.

1 Nature as a Source of Inspiration

Sooner or later anyone comes to understand that
man is a part of nature. Over the whole history of civilization
people seem to have been struggling with the world around.
They want to subdue it and to make it more technological.
I am perfectly sure that nature is different everywhere,
no matter where you go. It is different even within
200 kilometres. Nothing is the same – there are so many unique
combinations that make us recognize the place we have visited
only once. But in the cities everything is the same – concrete
cages and boxes have similar structures and colour. Nothing
changes there in different seasons.
I have never seen green cities in my life. Of course, you
may say, that there are parks and streets are lined with trees,
but it is not enough. If we speak about an ordinary country
house, we can count the trees around it. There are quite a lot
of them. Just for one family. And if we count the families
living in a concrete 16-storeyed box, how many trees should
there be? I don’t know. Tens, hundreds of them...
Nature makes a human being humane and understanding,
that’s why people of art have always sought for the inspiration
in nature. It is not at all accidental. When we listen to the best
pieces of music we hear the roaring waves of the ocean,
or the wind howling in the dense forest. We hear the chirping
of birds in spring when nature awakens from a long winter
sleep and the rustling of fallen leaves in autumn. Music
can create a mood and make us feel the surrounding world
deeper than we usually do. When I listen to such music
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I always try to imagine how the composer managed to create

the masterpiece. I follow him along the shore of the sea
or along forest paths, sit beside him in a park or ride a horse
when the wind is blowing across my face. The perception
of art becomes more acute when you start thinking and
feeling at the same time.
Nature is even more important for an artist. It is the best
teacher for anyone who deals with paints and brushes. It
teaches the artist wisdom and patience, makes him more
careful in his work. Nature is an inexhaustible source of details,
which attract an attentive eye. It provides an endless range
of colours, sounds, shapes and forms.
Nature is alive, and this makes it a source of inspiration.
It has always stirred the imagination of those who are not
indifferent to it, who respect it and ask it for advice.

2 Birthday Celebration
Have you ever thought what your birthday
symbolizes? It is not just a day to hang out with the friends
or relax. It is not just a day to get presents. It is a day to ask
yourself one of the most important questions: ‘Who am I and
what am I doing here?’ By ‘here’ I mean the world we live in.
Most little children wait for their birthday even more than
for New Year. They are eager to get presents from the family
and friends; they want to blow out the candles on the holiday
cake. They can’t wait to enjoy the festive atmosphere and,
of course, the festive board.
The same can be said about teenagers. They expect to be
given more serious presents, like some brand-new gadgets.
People of middle age, especially women, usually don’t like
to count the years they have lived, so they don’t wait for this
day. Older people proudly declare that they have reached
some age, like 80 or 90 years, emphasizing their luck and
experience. They take their age as philosophers.
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When I think of it, it’s always more and more interesting

to know what I will be like in ten, twenty or thirty years’
time. And at the same time I try to remember what I was
like last year or a few years ago. On my birthday I always try
to put forward some goals for the coming year and analyse,
which previous tasks I have managed to fulfil.
As for the presents, to tell the truth I like to give presents
more than to get them. So I don’t feel comfortable when
I am in the centre of attention on this day.
I never arrange big parties, and when we gather with my
relatives, it’s just a good opportunity to spend time together.
Sometimes I invite my friends to my place, but usually we go
to a café to have a chance to discuss the latest news and events.
But still my birthday is one of my favourite holidays after
New Year and Christmas. I remember nearly all my birthdays
starting with the age of six. The most memorable one,
though, was when I turned eleven. I got my dog as a present.
At ­eight-thirty I was still sleeping as it was Saturday, and a puppy
ran into my room barking and squeaking loudly. I hadn’t even
asked my parents for a pet, but they had guessed what I really
wanted that year. I got a new bike from my grandparents too.
And quite a lot of other things from my friends.

3 The Person I Admire

Everyone has people he admires. Though
the admiration itself may be different in its nature. One can
take some person as an idol. One of the Commandments says:
‘Thou shalt not make thee any graven image’. I don’t have any
idols, but I have several people I really respect and admire.
I don’t understand those who make idols out of pop-stars,
actors etc. There are a lot of people of worth around us in real
life. People we know. Now I will tell you about one of them.
I don’t know what I will be like when I turn 75. Hopefully
I will be half as active as I am now. Maybe a bit more. I am
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not able to understand at present how difficult it is to go

upstairs to reach the fourth floor at the University. I suppose
it is a hard task to stand by the blackboard for one and a half
hours and deliver three lectures running. I am sure it is. It
is still more difficult to put all your energy into the lectures,
get the students interested in the subject. I am going to tell
you about my History teacher at the University.
When we first saw him and he introduced himself, we
didn’t know what to expect of this man. But when the classes
started I began to understand that he was going to influence
my personality. When I was at school, I did not like History. It’s
better to say that I liked History as a scientific field, but I was
not interested in the school subject. Learning History at school
is just reading new material at home and retelling it in class
afterwards. At the end of school there were no interconnections
among dates, historic personalities and proper names. Just tons
of facts, hovering somewhere in my memory.
At the third or fourth lecture at the University I regretted
I hadn’t chosen the Faculty of History. Really. It turned out
that Alexey Nikiforovich possesses so many qualities, that
made us understand that we really needed History and got
prepared for the practical classes every time we had them.
There was a lot of humour in his lectures. He always drew
maps and schemes on the blackboard and we copied them
into our notebooks.
The best time for me personally were practical classes. He
slowly came into the room, took a seat and I didn’t notice how
the time passed. An hour and a half were like one minute.
A bit later I got to know that he had suffered a stroke
a few years before. And I understood that this man is really
strong, both physically and mentally. It was really a miracle
that he had managed to recover fully after it.
I know that I will be thankful to him for everything that he
has done for us all and for me personally. When I graduate from
the University I will do my best to make a good specialist and
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be as responsible and useful at my work as my History teacher.

I am happy that there has been such an example in my life.

4 Writers: Shakespeare
W. Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-
upon-Avon to a family of a successful glover and an alderman.
He got a good classical education at a local school and
started writing his own plays somewhere in the 1590s.
Shakespeare’s popularity grew in 1597–1598 after
his 5 novels had been published. He became one
of the shareholders of a new theatre, called ‘The Globe’,
that was soon built in London.
All his life Shakespeare was an eager learner – he strived for
education. He learnt Italian and French. He studied History,
the Humanities, the Arts etc. He spent most of the time
in London, but finally came back to his homeland in 1612,
when he fell ill. During his lifetime Shakespeare created two
plays at the average annually. It’s significant, that he was
born and died on the same day – the 23rd of April.
The best known works are: The Taming of the Shrew,
Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, King Lear. Special
attention should be paid to his sonnets, they are very
melodious and harmonious. Shakespeare described foreign
countries in his plays, though he never visited them. It’s
a testimony to his profound education. Some people believe
that real Shakespeare didn’t exist. His literary heritage is
a combination of works of different writers.
Leo Tolstoy didn’t estimate Shakespeare’s works. Moreover
he criticized the writer. He wrote, that he had expected
something of those works, but having read them, he felt disgust
and nothing more. ‘Worship of Shakespeare is implanted
in people at the moment they are born’, – wrote Tolstoy. He
probably was right in some way. People should not create ‘idols’
no matter how ‘majestic’ they are.
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Shakespeare influenced greatly the Russian Literature

of the 19th century. We use the proper names of his characters
as symbols of different types of behaviour. Voltaire once
called Shakespeare ‘a barbarian of genius’ for mixing tragedy
and comedy, who knew nothing about the laws of art.
At present Shakespeare is not an easy writer to read
in the original. You should find an approach to his creative
work. Any educated person should read Shakespeare to form
an opinion about the writer. No matter what people think,
whether they like him or not, Shakespeare remains one
of the most important figures in world’s literature and culture.
New discoveries are made and new works are found. They are
studied widely all over the world. And it’s not at all accidental.
Take a book of Shakespeare’s sonnets to start with, read some
of them, think it over and feel the taste of the poetic lines…
1. Make up your own topic about a famous writer/
poet. Use these questions:
– When did you discover this writer’s/poet’s works?
– What is special about him? What impresses you
– Have you read all of his works? What are the most
interesting ones?
– Can you give any background information?
– Would you like to be a writer/a poet?
2. Comment on the following:
a) Have you ever tried your hand at writing?
b) Life circumstances influence greatly the process
of creation, don’t they? Connect it with the writer/poet you
have chosen.
c) What genres of literature do you prefer? Is reading
your hobby? People seem to read less and less now.
d) What can you say about some other favourite writers
of yours? Are there any?
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5 Great People of the Past: W. Churchill

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was
born to a noble family in 1874. His upbringing and education
were mainly his governess’s concern. At the age of eight he
was sent to St. George’s School, Ascot, Berkshire; then he was
transferred to Brunswick School in Hove, near Brighton; and
then to Harrow School from 17 April 1888.
After Churchill left Harrow in 1893, he applied
to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He had to take
exams thrice, before he managed to get a place there.
Churchill didn’t like Maths and chose cavalry (not infantry)
because the grade requirements were lower there. Churchill
was commissioned as a Cornet in the 4th Queen’s Own
Hussars on 20 February 1895.
At that time he started to develop an interest in war
correspondence. He wanted to be a part of real military
action. His first writings were a success and earned him
additional income.
He travelled to Cuba in 1895, to India in 1896, to Egypt
in 1898. He observed and took part in local military actions.
He acquired a reputation of an excellent military reporter.
In October 1911, Churchill was appointed First Lord
of the Admiralty. He advanced new ideas in the military
sphere, for example he was in favour of using aeroplanes
in combat. He was ahead of time with his ideas.
Churchill belonged first to the Conservative party, then
to the Liberal party and rejoined the Conservatives again saying
‘anyone can rat, but it takes a certain ingenuity to re-rat’.
In 1940 Winston Churchill obtained the position
of Prime-Minister (till 1945). He appointed himself Minister
of Defence. Thus he became the most powerful Prime
Minister in British History. He was reelected Prime Minister
in 1951 (to 1955). Churchill died in 1964.
Sir Winston Churchill never possessed good health, but
all that he did he did ‘maximally’. Who can imagine him
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without his traditional pipe? It became an inalienable part

of his image. Churchill’s speeches were very bright, witty
and they always produced the desired effect on public.
The first half of the XX century was the time of great
politicians and great thinkers, that went down in world history.
Sir Winston Churchill belongs to this group. Recordings of his
speeches are available on the Internet and I strongly advise
you to listen to them as to specimens of perfect English and
implementation of bright ideas.


1. Make up your own topic about a famous historical

personality. Use these questions:
– Are you interested in History?
– What is the most interesting historical period for you?
– Would you like to meet this person and speak to him/her?
– Have you found any interesting facts about him/her?

2. Comment on the following:

a) A famous Latin proverb says: ‘Historia magistra
vitae est’. (History is life’s teacher.) Do you agree that it’s
important to know History first of all?
b) What historical events would you like to witness?
c) Do you read any historical books or watch films?
What ones?
d) Do you know the History of your country?

6 Great Scientists: da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci is the most outstanding
figure of the Italian Renaissance. He is an example of a ‘universal
man’ who possessed multiple talents: he was not only a great
representative of art as an artist, a sculptor, a musician, a writer,
but also a great architect, technician, engineer and inventor.
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Leonardo was born not far from Florence to the family

of a notary public. His father hoped that Leonardo would
follow his steps, but social life wasn’t interesting for the son.
Having moved to Florence, Leonardo became
an apprentice of the artist Andrea di Cione (known as
Verrocchio). An artistic activity at that time in Florence
implied technical experiments. Da Vinci got acquainted
with Toscanelli, an astronomer, which resulted in Leonardo’s
interest in different fields of science.
Da Vinci’s first artistic work dates back to 1473. A few
years later he founded his own studio. He manifested himself
as an ingenious and an indigenous artist, and his further
works only contributed to his fame.
In the 80s da Vinci started working on different projects as
an engineer. He predicted a great number of inventions, that
appeared in the 19th and 20th centuries only. He carried out
an experiment on flying machines, but the materials of his
time were far from being perfect, and this fact didn’t let him
implement his ideas, but the models he created were efficient,
and his calculations were precise enough to be working.
‘Mona Lisa’ is Leonardo’s most famous work. A lot
of rumours have been spread since the time he created it, but
we can’t deny its strong emotional impact on the spectator.
People are even said to faint when examining it closely.
His last years are closely connected with France. He was
invited there in 1516 to take the position of a royal artist,
an architect and an engineer.
But he fell ill soon, his right hand grew numb and he died
in 1519 in Amboise and was buried there.
He left a lot of drawings which are studied by famous
scientists today. Quite a lot of things haven’t been deciphered
yet. Leonardo da Vinci can be considered one of the most
mysterious and outstanding people in  the  history
of humankind, and it’ll take us a long time to reveal his
secrets and come to understanding them to their full extent.
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1. Make up your own topic about a famous scientist.

Use these questions:
– Who is the scientist you have chosen? Why did you
choose him/her?
– Say a few words about the period he/she lived in.
– What was his influence on our present life?
– Would you like to be a scientist? What subjects and
fields of activity are interesting for you?
– Was this scientist accepted during his lifetime?

2. Comment on the following:

a) Do you think science is Good or Evil? Why?
b) What qualities should a real scientist possess?
c) Who is the most outstanding scientist of the present
time? Of the 20th century?
d) What invention do you think to be the most
important? Why?
e) To live a long life you need to work quite a lot and use
your brain. What is your opinion?
f) Progress is the result of human laziness, isn’t it?

7 Famous Travellers: Cousteau

Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a French marine
explorer was born in Bordeaux in 1910. He was born
to a family of a lawyer, Daniel Cousteau, who was of Belorussian
origin. He moved to France and changed his Belorussian
surname ‘Couste’ to the French ‘Cousteau’.
In 1920 the Cousteau family moved to New York, where
Jacques-Yves learnt English and started speaking it fluently.
At that time he displayed his interest in the sea.
Two years later, in 1922, the family returned to France
and young Cousteau built a few curious mechanical things,
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for example, an automobile model, running on electric

power. His hobby helped him in the future.
Cousteau entered the Naval Academy in 1930. His group
was the first to complete a circumnavigation. On graduation
from the Academy Cousteau went to Shanghai, then
to the USSR.
Once Cousteau bought underwater goggles and he
understood at once that the underwater world he saw would
become his devotion. He invented and later improved
the scuba-set together with his friend.
In 1950 he chartered a ship ‘Calypso’ that once belonged
to the British Navy for 1 franc a year and set out on his long
series of journeys. The ship was well equipped. You may
remember ‘The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau’ which
was shown on TV. It consists of 49 parts. Cousteau shot a lot
of documentaries: Cousteau’s Amazon Series, Cousteau’s
Rediscovery of the World and other. He also wrote a number
of books, but the most famous of them is ‘The Ocean World
of Jacques Cousteau’, consisting of 21 volumes.
Cousteau was the first to shoot films underwater, he
constructed the camera himself. His films were seen
by millions of people, and they induced a lot of people
to take up diving.
Cousteau created not only his team but aroused an interest
in the sea in his family. His sons became his adherents and
devoted their lives to the protection of environment. Cousteau
himself made a lot of attempts to convince governments
to stop dumping waste into the water, but little has changed.
Cousteau died in Paris in 1997 at the age of 87.
If you like nature, be sure to watch Cousteau’s
documentaries. If you have time one day, read his books.
The author managed to combine educational meaning with
his personal understanding of Nature.
If you have a chance to do some scuba diving, remember
Jacques-Yves Cousteau who invented it for you.
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1. Make up your own topic about a famous traveller.

2. Comment on the following:

a) What qualities does travelling require of a person?
b) Do you have courage to go on a crazy and dangerous
c) Have you ever watched Cousteau’s programmes on TV?

8 Space Exploration
The launch of the first artificial satellite
of the Earth gave a start to the new space era on the 4th
of October, 1957. The humankind experienced new
emotions and realized the new possibilities that space
technologies could offer. Some years later such ideas as
satellite broadcasting were implemented, and in 1961
the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin left the surface of the planet
entering the space zone on board a spaceship.
Space technologies today are an inalienable part of our
life: all the communication systems are based on space
signal transmission. People use GPS for positioning and
calculating coordinates.
What if... everything stops? Would it be possible
to live without all this equipment, if something happened
in the near space? One may say it’s not possible today,
though a powerful geomagnetic (solar) storm may cause
malfunction of satellites or damage them completely.
Today there are more than 1000 operational satellites
orbiting the Earth. And there is a lot of space debris (also
known as orbital debris, space junk, or space waste).
The amount of it is so huge that, as Fraser Cain puts it ‘We
might seal ourselves inside a shield of shrieking metal moving
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at 29,000 km/hour’.* Space debris is what is left after previous

launches and no one can presently remove it from the orbit.
Does it mean that in the near future the humankind should
be concerned about ‘space ecology’ more than about ‘space
technology’? Why not?
Although people haven’t reached a sufficiently high level
of space development, the project ‘Mars One’ is to establish
the first human settlement on Mars in 2023. They have
already found a group of volunteers who are ready to leave
the Earth for good and they realize that there will be
no way back. Why? Are they tired of life? There may be
some controversial viewpoints here. Some people support
them, calling them ‘pioneers’, others believe it is an attempt
of suicide. Time will show. The terms of the project may be
shifted, maybe it’ll become clear, that the humankind isn’t
ready to take this step yet. Or maybe tons of space junk will
not simply let the spacecraft break through.
Governments of the whole world invest heavily in space
exploration. It may be a debatable question. On the one hand
it leads to a new level of technology, provides the country
with new workplaces. It’s prestigious after all. But no one
knows what it will lead to in the future. Some people believe
that technologies may have already destroyed some races
that lived on our planet before.
But we can’t deny that people’s inquisitive mind has already
given some results. We know more about the structure
of  the Universe, about its origin, about the  planets
of the Solar system and many other things. But these are
only theories. What is our real knowledge? The Universe
itself is the basement of scientific philosophy, which is
undoubtedly worth studying.

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9 Online Gaming:
7 a Challenge of the 21st century

Surfing the Internet you see tons of pop-ups

and banners that are meant to persuade people to join some
community and start playing. There are a lot of different
directions: tanks, airplanes, mystical worlds with clans.
No matter what type it is, the newcomer gets hooked
on the process and spends more hours in front of the screen.
These games are mostly successful commercial projects.
People invest money in the objects of the game. It may be
some kind of equipment, weapons, transport etc. What
may be more stupid than buying virtual things in a virtual
world. Though, it’s not a virtual world for gamers, it’s ‘virtual
reality’ as they put it. Thus virtuality becomes reality – isn’t it
a challenge of the new century?
Ten and more years ago, even after the Internet had
become more widespread in our country, its speed wasn’t
enough for building gamers’ communities. Though
I believe there were some enthusiasts even then.
The problem is that both children and grown-
ups are liable to gaming, which seems to put limits
on the development of a personality. Do you think it’s
normal to be constantly thinking about the gameplay?
Listen to schoolchildren during the break and even to some
grown-ups at work. They discuss their ‘achievements’.
Never try to argue with them: this is the way they
‘socialize’ with friends. They don’t go out or play sports
games in the yard. They fight with monsters together
or collect objects in a virtual forest.
If it were a matter of the younger generation only, we
couldn’t be worried so much. But...
Any kind of human activity should be aimed at some result.
And what is the result of gaming? No one is able to answer
this question, so any aimless activity is a waste of time, but
it may take one some time to understand it. Clever parents
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strictly define the time limits for playing with their children.
It seems to be the only sensible way out.
Not all the games are bad after all. Speaking about
genres generally we may come to the conclusion that
some games can develop memory, attention or reaction.
For example racing simulators may be useful for drivers
in the future, as they really develop reaction. So, after all
it’s up to everyone to decide what he wants. But first think
and then do. We should remember this before signing up
on some website of a game...
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Кирилл Павлович Словохотов

Английский язык
Устные темы

Компьютерная верстка: А. В. Коваленко

Дизайн обложки: Я. В. Андреева

Сайт с учебными материалами: www.ottosteinach.ru

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ПОДПИСАНО К ПЕЧАТИ: 09.03.2016 г.
ТИРАЖ: 50. ЗАКАЗ № 521.
ИМ. А. Т.

214000, Г. СМОЛЕНСК,
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