CAE Reading and Use of English Part 8
You are going to read an article in which four academics give their views on fiction. For questions 47-56, choose from the sections of the article (A-D). The sections may be chosen more than once. When more than one answer is required, these may be given in any order.
Which academic …
47 compares books to other story-telling art forms?
48 admits to gaps in their literary knowledge?
49 suggests a possible consequence of not reading novels?
50 points out that opinion about a book depends on the period in which it is being judged?
51 explains why readers sometimes choose to read books which are not considered classic works of literature?
52 believes that it is possible to improve any novel?
53 gives reassurance about people whose choice of reading is limited?
54 says that no-one should feel obliged to read a particular type of book?
55 gives another writer’s opinion on why people enjoy reading literature?
56 defends their right to judge particular types of novels?
Why Do We Read Novels?
We asked a group of academics for their views on the appeal of fiction
A Cathy Smith
Is a work by a prize-winning novelist better than a trashy summer blockbuster? Undoubtedly, if you’re looking for a literary masterpiece. But it’s not ‘better’ if you’re simply looking for escapism. ‘Literary fiction’, unlike ‘genre fiction’ such as mystery or romance, is not about escaping from reality. Instead it provides a means to better understand the world. What makes a work deserve the title of literary fiction can be pinned down, to a certain extent, by critical analysis of the writer’s techniques. Yet a huge element of the appeal of literary fiction lies in something almost indefinable – the brilliant, original idea; the insight that, once written down, seems the only way to say something. Writers of fiction have to recruit or seduce us into their world – only then do we trust them to take us on a journey with them. The books we put down after only a few pages are those which have failed to make that connection with us.
B Matteo Bianco
A novel – whether for adults or children – takes you places, emotionally and imaginatively, which you would never otherwise have visited. However, I don’t think you should put yourself under any more pressure to finish ‘a classic’ than a kids’ comic. And if by ‘classics’ we mean Tolstoy, Proust, Hardy and so on, then my own reading is distinctly patchy. The author Martin Amis once said that the only way we have of evaluating the quality of a book is whether it retains a readership. I think that’s fair enough, though it’s imprecise. A work of fiction can always be fine-tuned in such a way that the final experience for the reader is enhanced, and this fact must say something about the theoretical (if not practical) possibility of stating that one book is better than another. And while I can’t prove that a single copy of a classic work of fiction is a greater gift to the world than a million trashy romances, I’m going to go ahead and say it’s so anyway.
C Gita Sarka
The author Albert Camus says that the appeal of narrative art lies in its power to organise life in such a way that we can reflect on it from a distance and experience it anew. Distinct from television or film, literature allows us significant control over our experience of what’s being presented to us. One book I would always tell anyone to read is The Life and Times of Michael K. – a literary prize winner, but hated by some of my colleagues. It’s a classic for me because of what it says about living in difficult times; to a lot of people it’s just a bit boring and the main character doesn’t speak enough. Categories such as ‘literary masterpieces’ and even ‘literature’ do not exist independently of their assessors – assessors who are bound in an era and see value in part through the eyes of that era. Personally, I find it impossible to make claims that one work is better than another. I can say why it might be worthwhile to study it, but that’s all.
D George C. Schwarz
If, at a certain time in their life a person is interested in just one particular genre or author, that’s fine as long as they have the opportunity of reading a wide range of books throughout their lives. These opportunities can come through family members, teachers and friends who can create the reading landscape and encourage them to look wider and further. A famous writer once said that it’s easy to recognise the people who don’t read fiction, as their outlook on life is narrower and less imaginative, and they find it hard to put themselves in other people’s shoes. It’s a generalisation, but with elements of truth. The power of fiction begins with fairy tales, nursery rhymes and picture books, which give children ways of looking at the world outside their own experience. Literature teachers often recommend reading ‘the classics’. But what classics, whose and which era? In a way it doesn’t matter – the key point is that one can’t escape from a need for shared references and reading experience.
1 A— represents. Verb ‘equals’ would need a ‘to’ preposition following it to fit. Other verbs do not fit here.
2 D— switching. The meaning of the gerund here is ‘moving or changing to’.
3 D— consumption. The meaning of the phrase is that the usage of ink will be reduced. ‘Consumption’ is a more formal word for ‘usage’.
4 B— basis. A synonymous phrase would be ‘working on that principle or starting point’. The idea is to apply same concept of using a different typeface at a larger scale, not just in one school.
5 C — Interestingly. It is interesting that the question had been brought up before but nothing was done.
6 A— issue. An issue here is used in the meaning of ‘unresolved matter or problem’.
7 D — influences. Affects or governs.
8 B— retained. A rather difficult choice; to retain means ‘to hold intact, to secure, to keep’.
9 why. The author is clearly puzzled by the situation he finds himself in or doubts his motives of doing that.
10 but/except/besides. A paddle is the only thing the author has in his hands.
11 like. A comparison between two activities is made: paddle-boarding and canoeing.
12 does. Teacher’s reassurance has no effect on the narrator. It does nothing to him.
13 my. No article is needed here as ‘balance’ is an abstract noun
14 on. ‘On the move’ means ‘in a state of moving, in motion’.
15 despite. A negative preposition is needed to show contrast between the author’s action and its result
16 otherwise. Not rowing on both sides results in going in circles.
17 endurance. Endurance is one’s ability to withstand (stand up against, to resist) difficulties.
18 doubtless/undoubtedly. Context suggest a negative form, which can be achieved by either a prefix or a suffix.
19 tolerant. The sentence that follows the gap helps us understand that the adjective required is a positive one: ‘We accept without question…’.
20 massive. Massive or very big, huge.
21 usefulness. Not to be confused with ‘usage’, which is the way we use something; usefulness is how handy (useful) something is.
22 accessible. Make sure to use the right suffix -ible, not -able.
23 anxieties. An anxiety is a state of nervousness and uneasiness, usually about something that is going to happen soon.
24 hopefully. The author shows desire for math to become more popular among people.
25 to include/mention/use any of
26 was sorry (that) he could not
27 lost sight of
28 no matter how hard
29 comes across to his boss as
30 made no reference to; didn’t/did not make (any/a) reference to
31 C. The answer can be found in the middle of Paragraph One: ‘In it she sounds suspiciously like a copywriter from her father’s media team.’. This suggests that the executive’s daughter has nothing to do with, but instead at attempt to make the change more ‘human’.
32 C. ‘To set aside’ means to disregard or ignore; not to consider something
33 D. In Paragraph Two a comparison between two companies is made to show how different they are and to hint at the possibility of a particular approach working for a smaller company is likely to fail if applied to a bigger one.
34 B. Answer A is mentioned, but only as a supporting point to the main argument. Answers C and D are not mentioned. From second sentence onwards, the author brings up a number of points that show how many factors are to be considered when taking a leave, and how they add up to make going on leave nearly impossible.
35 B. First three sentences of Paragraph Four illustrate a number of situations when office workers can affect each other’s performance, choice and behaviour. Answer C is mentioned but in a different form and as a minor form to support the main argument. Answers A and D are not mentioned.
36 C. The key notion of the paragraph is in the second half, starting with the sentence ‘However, a potentially problematic corollary…’. The author then shows how the conventional application of work and rest policy proves to be more effective and how important periods of leisure are for the employees’ well-being. Other answers can be connected with the minor details in the first part of the paragraph, the purpose of which is to introduce the main argument in the second part.
37 D. In both paragraphs its respective authors mention Fernyhough combining scientific findings with his own experience in the matter. Paragraph B: ‘Fernyhough sees the emerging science of memory through the lens of his own recollections’; Paragraph D: ‘He mixes the latest findings in neuroscience with in-depth case histories. Nor is Fernyhough uncomfortable using personal testimony to put warm flesh on hard science: sizeable sections of the book are taken up with him exploring his own past.’
38 D. All other reviewers are fond of the writer’s style. However, Reviewer D holds an opposite view. Second half of the paragraph: ‘This weariness is reflected in his writing style.’.
39 A. Last paragraph of Reviewer C text has a positive opinion of the author’s ability to mix literature and science. Reviewer A concurs in the second half of their text: ‘… sophisticated and engaging blend of findings from science, ideas from literature’.
40 C. Reviewer D doesn’t feel that the author’s narration of personal experience benefits the book: ‘… sizeable sections of the book are taken up with him exploring his own past. These do not add greatly to the book…’. Reviewer C holds the same opinion: ‘… these autobiographical passages are the least successful of Pieces of Light…’.
41 C. ‘These endeavors’ refers to the plans to renovate the dinosaur hall. The rest of the paragraph continues the subject started in the previous sentence – the planned restoration of that particular museum area.
42 G. Is it easier to pick the right paragraph if we look at the next one after the gap. Paragraph G talks about multiple Allosaurus in different museum, then the following paragraph points out how Smithsonian’s Allosaurus is a special one.
43 D. The preceding paragraph mentions plans to disassemble the skeleton, then Paragraph D brings up the point of making the skeleton smaller and gives detailed explanation why and how they plan to achieve that.
44 F. ‘Mistake’ is the keyword here. The mistake that is mentioned in Paragraph F is the length of the dinosaur’s tail, which consist of too many bone segments. Same sentence continues with idea of finding out the dinosaur’s age, which is then continued in the paragraph that follows.
45 A. Another keyword in the gapped paragraph is ‘injury’. Then the paragraph below the topic of damages is expanded upon: ‘ … an apparent blow to the Allosaurus’s left side. ‘The shoulder blade looks like it has healed improperly,’ he explains.’.
46 E. The word ‘suspicion’ in the last paragraph helps us to pick Paragraph E which focuses on a confusion between two species.
47 C. In the second sentence a comparison between book and films or movies is made, with the former giving a certain degree of control of how we see things presented to us.
48 B. Giving examples of Tolstoy, Proust and Hardy, the author admits to having incomplete knowledge of the matter.
49 D. Middle of the paragraph quotes a well-known writer, who warns people against not reading as it leads to poor imagination and narrower outlook on life.
50 C. The author uses the word ‘assessors’, or those who evaluate the quality of (in this case) works of literature. Their perception of quality changes with the time period they come from.
51 A. The word ‘escapism’ is used to justify picking a generic novel over an acclaimed masterpiece at the beginning of this paragraph.
52 B. Second half of Paragraph B goes: ‘A work of fiction can always be fine-tuned …’.
53 D. First two sentences of Paragraph D bring claim there is nothing bad about preferring a certain genre or author at any given period of a person’s life.
54 B. Second sentence dismisses the notion of you having to put yourself under pressure to finish ‘a classic’.
55 C. The author of this paragraph shares Albert Camus’ opinion on why literature and reading are so appealing.
56 B. Last sentence of the paragraph claims ‘trashy romances’ to be of less value that one work of classics, defending their opinion by ‘I’m going to go ahead and say it’s so anyway’.
Click to download this CAE Reading and Use of English worksheet in PDF