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Recommended Reading: Tobias Wolff


Un racconto breve. L’ideale per leggere in inglese! L’ex insegnante di letteratura inglese, Daniel Richards, ci propone le short stories di Tobias Wolff: divertenti, con frasi chiare, qualche semplice espressione idiomatica... Insomma: have fun! by Mark Worden LANGUAGE LEVEL B2 (UPPER INTERMEDIATE)

Daniel Richards (Standard American accent)

Well, although I taught  British English literature for many, many years at the University of Milan, I must admit that I have… I’m very fond of American literature as well, particularly, but not only, contemporary literature, and if you are at intermediate level, I would advise you to start off with some short stories. In particular I’m looking at the… the stories of Tobias Wolff, who is an absolutely charming writer, I’m sure that you’ll love him. Before I talk about this collection of short stories, let me also mention This Boy’s Life, again by Tobias Wolff, which is actually a novel and it’s obviously an autobiography, and very moving it is, but Tobias Wolff, to a certain extent, follows in the footsteps of Raymond Carver, another author that you could read. And just to give you a… a flavour, let’s read the first few lines from the first story of this collection, which is called Next Door, and it deals with an argumentative, disruptive family next door. And it goes like this:
“I wake up afraid. My wife is sitting on the edge of my bed, shaking me. ‘They’re at it again’ she says.
I go to the window. All their lights are on, upstairs and down, as if they have money to burn. He yells, she screams something back, the dog barks. There is a short silence then the baby cries, poor thing.”
And so on, so as you can see, there are some idiomatic expressions in there, “Money to burn, they’re at it again, but the general structure and the verbs and adjectives used are relatively simple, relatively straightforward, so that’s a good read for a lower to mid... middle intermediate.  Have fun!
 
(Daniel Richards was talking to Mark Worden)