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BBC 6 minute English-Do we read to show off

BBC 6 minute English-Do we read to show off

BBC 6 minute English-Do we read to show off


Transcript of the podcast

This is not a word-for-word transcript

Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m Neil

Alice: … and I’m Alice. Sorry, wait a minute Neil. I’m just finishing this book

Neil: OK

Alice: Last page… nearly there… ohh – fantastic book

Neil: Well I’m glad you enjoyed that. I’m glad you finished your book there Alice! We’re talking about books in today’s programme. What was it you were reading there

Alice: No, never mind Neil. It’s not your kind of book. You wouldn’t like it

Neil: How do you know

Alice: Well I just think you might read something a little more intellectual

Neil: Oh I see… Well, we are talking about the kinds of books people read, and what they say about them today

Alice: Yes. Perhaps you read the works of a famous writer – the classics – Charles Dickens, Shakespeare

Neil: People will think you are an intellectual. You can show off by reading these books – the classics

Alice: Or perhaps you read popular novels or romantic fiction – a light easy read

Neil: When you go on holiday – maybe to the beach – what kind of books do you read? And what do you read when you’re going to work

Alice: We’re going to hear part of a BBC interview with David Adshead from the Commuter Book Club. A commuter travels to work by bus, train or here in London, the Tube, a train that goes all over the city, mostly underground

Neil: And Alice as usual, we have a quiz question. Are you ready

Alice: Yes, absolutely

Neil: OK. It’s about classic book sales. So these days are people buying

a) more classic books

b) the same number of classic books

c) fewer classic books than they used to

Alice: Oh that’s an interesting one. Tricky to guess but I’m going to say c) fewer classic books

Neil: OK, well, let’s find out the answer at the end of the programme. But now here is David Adshead from the Commuter Club. What kind of book does he say people usually take with them to the beach

INSERT David Adshead, Commuter Book Club

People often think that, you know, traditionally you take a light easy read for the beach, and on the train, um, you maybe read something very different


… if only to show off

David Adshead

Exactly, to appear to others to be more intellectual. But actually, what we find in this is that it really comes down to the individual – what they like to read and actually we’ve seen this summer a lot of the book sales – summer reads is general lighter books, easier to get on with, to take away on holiday – but the big retailers have seen a shift actually – people moving sort of slightly higher brow, taking away more classic books. Sales in that way have increased

Neil: David Adshead from the Commuter Book Club there. He says that people usually – traditionally – take a light, easy read to the beach or on the train

Alice: Yes. He says these books are easier to get on with. David says that it really comes down to the individual – each person is different. But he says that there has been a shift – a change – in what people read

Neil: Yes, he says that the shops that sell books – that’s the retailers – say the books people are buying are more highbrow – the classics, as we were talking about

Alice: Absolutely. Highbrow books are read by intellectuals, or perhaps the people who read these books are just showing off

Neil: Yes, maybe they are. Well I wonder if these people have read any books by Fiona Harper. She writes romantic novels – that’s stories about love

Alice: Light reading – not highbrow. She was also at this interview about the Commuter Book Club

Neil: Now, do commuters read her romantic novels on the Tube

Alice: Well here is novelist Fiona Harper talking about how she writes her romantic novels. She wants people to not stop reading her stories once they start – she wants them to be hooked

INSERT Author Fiona Harper

I think what it comes down to most of the time is you just want to write a really good story, because if you write a good story then hopefully people are hooked, they’ll keep turning the pages and


And do you wonder whether they are reading them on holiday – I mean presumably they’re more likely to read your stuff on holiday than when they’re sitting on the Tube being looked at by lots of other people. I don’t know

Author Fiona Harper

Possibly, although with the advent of e-readers, you can read anything you like and no one knows – or on your phone – no one knows what you’re reading


And that’s an important point

Neil: That’s the author Fiona Harper talking about romantic novels. So do commuters read her books on the Tube

Alice: Well perhaps you don’t want others to see you reading that stuff. It can be a bit embarrassing. It shouldn’t be, but Fiona says you can also use an e-reader

Neil: An e-reader – that’s an electronic book. Instead of pages you read off a screen

Alice: Well if you use an e-reader or tablet, no one knows what you’re reading

Neil: So perhaps they are reading a romantic novel – no one knows. OK. Let’s take a moment to look at some of today’s words

Alice: Here they are

intellectual show off the classics romantic fiction light read heavy read retailers highbrow shift hooked advent e-reader

Neil: And before we go, the answer to today’s quiz question. I asked about classic books. Are people these days buying

a) more classic books

b) the same number of classic books

c) fewer classic books than they used to

Alice: Yes. And I said c) fewer classic books

Neil: Well I’m afraid to say Alice that you’re wrong

Alice: Oh no

Neil: I know. They’re reading more classic books

Alice: Oh excellent

Neil: Sales of these books are apparently increasing

Alice: Well that’s good to hear

Neil: And that’s the end of today’s 6 Minute English. Please do join us again soon

Alice: And keep reading books… in English. Highbrow classics or a light read – it doesn’t matter

Neil: It doesn’t matter at all

Both: Bye

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