A Snow Garden : учебно-методическое пособие

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Министерство науки и высшего образования Российской Федерации Сибирский федеральный университет

A SNOW GARDEN Учебно-методическое пособие

Электронное издание

Красноярск СФУ 2020

УДК 811.111(07) ББК 81.432.1я73 A10 Составители: Кошкина Инна Витальевна Чистова Ольга Андреевна Макарова Светлана Михайловна Кузьмина София Всеволодовна A10 A Snow Garden : учеб.-метод. пособие / сост.: И. В. Кошкина, О. А. Чистова, С. М. Макарова, С. В, Кузьмина. – Электрон. дан. (1,1 Мб). – Красноярск : Сиб. федер. ун-т, 2020. – Систем. требования: PC не ниже класса Pentium I ; 128 Mb RAM ; Windows 98/XP/7 ; Adobe Reader V8.0 и выше. – Загл. с экрана. Пособие содержит информацию о сборнике рассказов английской писательницы Рэйчел Джойс, включает описание жанровых и стилистических особенностей короткого рассказа, а также раскрывает особенности культурных реалий и традиций празднования английского Рождества. Особое внимание уделяется представленным в пособии комплексам упражнений по каждому из рассказов сборника, позволяющим не только закрепить лексико-грамматический материал, использованный в произведении, но также организовать дискуссионную работу на основе содержания рассказов и их художественных особенностей. Предназначено для студентов 1-4 курса отделения иностранных языков Института филологии и языковой коммуникации СФУ, может быть интересно студентам других направлений, а также широкому кругу читателей, интересующихся современной британской литературой. УДК 811.111(07) ББК 81.432.1я73 © Сибирский федеральный университет, 2020 Электронное учебное издание Подготовлено к публикации издательством Библиотечно-издательского комплекса Подписано в свет 18.11.2020. Заказ №11436 Тиражируется на машиночитаемых носителях Библиотечно-издательский комплекс Сибирского федерального университета 660041, г. Красноярск, пр. Свободный, 82а Тел. (391)206-26-16; http://rio.sfu-kras.ru E-mail: [email protected]

CONTENTS 1. BEFORE READING......................................................................................... 5 1.1. About the Author......................................................................................... 5 1.2. About the Book ........................................................................................... 5 1.3. What is a Short Story? ................................................................................ 5 1.4. Understanding the English Christmas ......................................................... 7 2. WHILE READING ......................................................................................... 10 2.1. A Faraway Smell of Lemon ...................................................................... 10 2.2. The Marriage Manual................................................................................ 13 2.3. Christmas Day at the Airport .................................................................... 16 2.4. The Boxing Day Ball ................................................................................ 21 2.5. Snow Garden ............................................................................................. 23 2.6. I’ll be Home for Christmas ....................................................................... 26 2.7. Trees .......................................................................................................... 28 3. AFTER READING ......................................................................................... 31 APPENDIX A ..................................................................................................... 32 APPENDIX B...................................................................................................... 33 APPENDIX C...................................................................................................... 38 REFERENCES .................................................................................................... 41


INTRODUCTION “I took a course in speed reading, learning to read straight down the middle of the page, and I was able to go through War and Peace in 20 minutes. It’s about Russia.” This line ironically summarises the experience of Woody Allen, a famous American director and writer, with speed-reading which still has undeniable appeal to many of those who barely have time to engage with books. However, the research suggests that as reading speed increases as a result of effortful speed-reading, comprehension goes down (Handel, 2019). Therefore, it is only by becoming a voracious reader and a more skilled language user that one can enhance reading fluency and comprehension. The aim of this study guide is to help learners obtain thorough practice in dealing not only with scanning and skimming, but with a range of reading subskills. Activities presented in the book bridge intensive and extensive approaches to the source texts, and serve such purposes as mastering inferring, predicting and analysing various aspects of A Snow Garden, short stories by Rachel Joyce. This study guide is divided into three main parts, each focusing on the information and activities for the specific stages of working with the stories. 1. Before reading: the part devoted to the brief information about Rachel Joyce and her stories and outlining the major cultural features of Christmas in Britain. 2. While reading: a series of lexico-grammar and comprehension activities, designed to reflect each story, encompassing tasks for general and detailed understanding of the text so as to encourage language analysis and fullblown discussions. 3. After reading: the part presenting the reference material for language consolidation and strengthening learners’ skills in writing reviews on R. Joyce’s stories and effective story-based discussions. The book is addressed for 1-4-year students at the Linguistics Department, Institute of Philology and Language Communication, Siberian Federal University. It could also be of great importance for all learners of English at upperintermediate and advanced levels, interested in the modern British literature and culture. The study guide can be used for self-study or in the classroom.


1. BEFORE READING 1.1. About the Author Born in London, Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and an acclaimed British writer. She moved to writing after a long career as an actor, performing leading roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. In 2012 she published her first novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry which immediately became a bestseller and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book prize and longlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. Since then she published the novels “Perfect”, “The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy”, “The Music Shop” and a collection of short stories, “A Snow Garden” & Other Stories. All of them have been warmly welcomed by critics and readers, and translated into thirty-six languages. Jen Campbell, author and book reviewer, wrote about Rachel Joyce: “She’s very good at having a balance between heartwarming, joyful and brutally honest, which I think is something we’re all navigating in life a lot.” Rachel has also written over twenty original afternoon plays and adaptations of the classics for BBC Radio 4, including all the Bronte novels. She lives with her family in Gloucestershire, South West England. 1.2. About the Book “A Snow Garden” consists of seven loosely interlinked warm-hearted stories set in the last fortnight of the year, all as funny, joyous, poignant and memorable as Christmas should be. In this slim collection, Rachel Joyce explores the possibilities of the short story with minor characters in one story becoming major characters in another. The creative process is discussed in the foreword, in which Joyce reveals how the characters first came into being – several having being cut from drafts of previous novels. “A Snow Garden” collection compellingly captures what Joyce excels in evoking throughout her writing – reflections of human relationships and the intimations of new beginnings, seen through the multi-faceted prism of an English Christmas. English readers will recognize many details and many typical responses to Christmas, as well as many extraordinary ones. So, in order to understand “A Snow Garden”, non-English readers need to understand first what Christmas means to the English, and then why Joyce treats the celebration in such varying tones. 1.3. What is a Short Story? A short story is fictional work of prose that is shorter in length than a novel. Edgar Allan Poe, in his essay “The Philosophy of Composition”, said that a short story should be read in one sitting, anywhere from a half hour to two hours. In contemporary fiction, a short story can range from 1,000 to 20,000 words. Because of the shorter length, a short story usually focuses on one plot, one main character (with a few additional minor characters), and one central 5

theme, whereas a novel can tackle multiple plots and themes, with a variety of prominent characters. Some questions that one can ask of a novel cannot be explored properly in a story of limited space. This kind of close analysis, paying attention to detail and to what is implied but not said, is part of the art of reading a short story. In reality, reading of a short story is an excellent training in critical and thoughtful reading. There is not much room for plot in a short story, but a situation or an idea, and it is important to work out what that situation or idea actually is. Short stories are impossible to summarise. “What is the point?” we ask, but the author is asking us to look at details, not at generalities. Sometimes you arrive at an intuitive understanding of the idea using only small clues to get there, like observations of character behaviour to figure out their true emotions and motivations. Sometimes you cannot know until the very end of the story. In both life and literature, situations are complicated due to social forces like relationships, moral codes, personal desires, culture, etc. This means that there are multiple factors that shape what’s true. That’s why it’s crucial to refrain from making quick simple judgements about a character and make sure to consider multiple influences and events. What is more, short stories also lend themselves more to experimentation – that is, uncommon prose styles or literary devices, which might get tedious in a novel, may work well in a short story. The stories are enlivened by the use of similes which seem to grow, quite naturally, out of the efforts of the characters to understand themselves. At last, short stories are too compact for long conversations. The writer has to drive the story a few steps forward, reveal aspects of character, catch the rhythms of colloquial speech, often switching the tone from humorous to serious or vice-versa, within a very short space, as if conveying a picture of human experience with joy and sadness, anger, humour, grief, and love. There are five key elements that go into every great short story: character, setting, conflict, plot and theme. A character is a person, or sometimes even an animal, who takes part in the action of a short story or other literary work. The setting of a short story is the time and place in which it happens. Authors often use descriptions of landscape, scenery, buildings, seasons or weather to provide a strong sense of setting. A plot is a series of events and character actions that relate to the central conflict. The conflict is a struggle between two people or things in a short story. The main character is usually on one side of the central conflict. On the other side, the main character may struggle against another important character, against the forces of nature, against society, or even against something inside himself or herself (feelings, emotions, illness). The theme is the central idea or belief in a short story. As with novels, short stories come in all kinds of categories: action, adventure, biography, comedy, crime, detective, drama, dystopia, fable, fantasy, 6

history, horror, mystery, philosophy, politics, romance, satire, science fiction, supernatural, thriller, tragedy, and Western. 1.4. Understanding the English Christmas Christmas and New Year’s Eve are by far the most important calendrical holidays in England. Christmas Day is firmly established as a ‘family’ ritual, while New Year’s Eve is a much more raucous celebration with friends. But when English people talk about ‘Christmas’ (as in ‘What are you doing for Christmas?’ or ‘I hate Christmas!’), they often mean the entire holiday period, from the 23rd/24th of December right through to New Year’s Day, including, typically and traditionally, at least some of the following:  Christmas Eve – family; last minute shopping; panics and squabbles; tree lights; possibly church – early evening carols or midnight service;  Christmas Day – family; tree; present-giving rituals; marathon cooking and eating of huge Christmas lunch; the Queen’s broadcast on television/radio – or pointedly not watching/listening to the Queen; more food and drink;  Boxing Day – hangover; family ‘outing’ of some sort, if only to local park; long country walk; visiting the other set of relatives; escape from family to pub;  27th–30th December – slightly strange ‘limbo’ period; some back at work, but often achieving very little; others shopping, going for walks, trying to keep children amused; more overeating and drinking; visiting friends/relatives; television; videos; pub;  New Year’s Eve – friends; big boozy parties or pub-crawls; dressing up/fancy-dress; loud music; dancing; champagne, fireworks; New Year’s resolutions;  New Year’s Day – sleep in; hangover. Preparations for and run-up to Christmas in Britain (specifically in England in this book) may start at least a month ahead, as it is a festival of various essential elements that include:  Family. ‘Going home for Christmas’, ‘Coming home for Christmas’, ‘Who is “doing Christmas” this year?’ are all urgent matters for discussion among families. Parents hope to see their grown-up children who should come home by Christmas Eve, 24t December. Parents of school-age children might take part, reluctantly or not, in activities, like ‘Nativity Play’. Adults who are planning the main Christmas meal will spend hours on arrangements to ensure that their elderly parents are somehow able to take part in the feast. Everybody resolves to be friendly and forgiving to all their family members; the resolution may not be successfully kept, for bitter family rows are also a part of Christmas, but underlying the angry words and excitable arguments is the recognition that ‘we are part of a family’ which inevitably entails both love and conflict.  Jesus’s Birth. In two of the gospels in the New Testament of the Bible, (St Matthew and St Luke) we read the story of Jesus’ birth. The two accounts 7

differ, but storytellers have been conflating them for centuries. The simple elements of the story are thus: Mary and Joseph travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem at a time when many people were on the move. Mary was heavily pregnant, but when they reached Bethlehem all the rooms for travellers in the inns and houses were already taken. At last an innkeeper allowed them to sleep in the stable. That night Jesus was born, and Mary wrapped him up and put him in the ‘manger’, a feeding box for the cattle. Nearby in the fields, shepherds saw angels appearing in the skies. The angels announced the birth of a Saviour and told the shepherds to walk to Bethlehem and pay homage to the baby. The shepherds duly found Jesus in the stable with Mary and Joseph, and were very surprised. In the other Gospel account, the visitors were three Kings (or Wise Men) from the east who were following a star that led them to the place where Mary and Joseph were staying. There is no mention of a stable in St Matthew’s account, but the stable glimmers in everyone’s imagination, along with all the animals.  Nativity Play. Paintings of the birth of Jesus (Nativity) are part of all Christian traditions. In England, virtually all children, at one time or more in their young childhood, take part in a Nativity Play with the leading roles (Mary, Joseph) and the principal supporting ones (Three Kings, Innkeeper, Head Shepherd, Angel-of-the-Lord), or playing mere background shepherds, angels, sheep, cows, donkeys and so on. Or the school may have been gripped by a sudden fit of political correctness and attempted to replace the traditional Nativity with something more ‘multicultural’. Anyway, it is a deeply embedded, touching and memorable tradition, because the story about a baby being born transcends Christian and religious belief which has a much wider appeal. For children, it is a story they can understand, while priests and capitalists combine to insist that Christmas is a 'children’s festival’ when their wishes and dreams must be listened to.  Presents. People give each other presents for all sorts of reasons: because they want to give pleasure to their family members and friends; because they halfconsciously remember the three Kings who brought presents for the baby Jesus; because they want to be generous; because there are huge pressures from retailers, advertisers, the whole society, to buy more and more. This is the central contradiction and the population-wide dilemma about Christmas.  Eating. This tradition dates back to the great mid-winter feasts that would provide a period of cheerfulness in cold, dark days. In England, certain foods are associated with Christmas: a large, stuffed, roasted turkey, roast potatoes, chestnuts and bacon rolls, bread sauce, Brussel sprouts, followed by a Christmas pudding which is very rich, dense with dried fruit and spices, and made several weeks before Christmas, accompanied by brandy sauce or brandy butter. Other foods eaten at Christmas include ‘Christmas cake’, a baked variation of ‘Christmas pudding’, and ‘mince pies’ - small pies stuffed with dried fruit, fat, spices and alcohol, eaten hot or warm.  Music. Much of music, specially written for Christmas over the centuries, is sung or performed in churches. People who never normally go to church because they are not interested in religious practices turn up at Christmas services 8

to listen to choirs, both professional and amateur. The English know, love and sing Christmas carols. They are taught to very small children; older children grow up learning a wider variety of carols at school which may be performed at a carol service; carols are sung at parties and gatherings and impromptu meetings; carol singers are groups who go from house to house singing a few versus of a carol and collecting money for a good cause from those who live there; carols are played through loudspeakers and everywhere on the media; carols are played and sung on the streets for weeks before Christmas. There are dozens of carols in the popular memory, hundreds which are regularly performed, and new ones which are written every year. Along with the carols and their religious or pastoral content are popular songs with a Christmas theme. These are easier to adapt to commercial purposes, so in shops and stores you will hear endless variations of ‘Jingle Bells’ or ‘Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer’. The point is that, at Christmas, nobody can avoid carols celebrating the Christmas story and many other stories.


2. WHILE READING 2.1. A Faraway Smell of Lemon Task 1. Find in the text English equivalents for the following words and expressions: Бытовая химия, чистящее средство, метла, совок, швабра Кентукки, резиновая швабра, тряпка для мытья пола, тряпка для вытирания пыли, металлическая мочалка для чистки посуды, перчатки для хозяйственных работ. Task 2. Give Russian equivalents for the following words and expressions from the text and use them in the sentences of your own: PTA, Nativity play, Gabriel, mince pie, satsuma, party frock, fuzzy, to flaunt. Task 3. Find the Russian equivalents for words relating to painful emotional states. Put this vocabulary in a correct form to fill in the gaps: Tearjerker, catharsis, misty-eyed, heart-wrenching, rail, shudder, clench, slant. 1. If you go _______ every time you see photos with your ex-boyfriend, throw them away immediately! 2. Without warning, something warm _______ down the side of Binny’s nose towards her mouth. It tastes of salt. 3. No matter how terrible your life situation gets, the world doesn’t stop or ________. 4. And so Binny dares to think of those other people she has lost. No matter how much she _______, some of them are gone forever. 5. Deep inside her, something is stretching and expanding and she has to _______ her jaw to keep a grip. 6. All of us need sort of _________ to find one people usually go to the cinema to watch some ____________. 7. A lemon smell brings back _______________ memories. Task 4. Match the following words and expressions with their definitions and then use them to fill in the gaps: 1. to jostle with a. to leave someone at a certain destination b. to make something rapidly, in a short period of 2. to drop off time 3. to run up something c. soon after something 4. to give in d. to show promise of improving 5. hot on the heels of e. to take hold of something suddenly and without something warning 6. to look up for f. to surrender to something someone 7. to snatch out of g. to be crowded with people in a hurry 10

1. When you are upset it’s really challenging not to _______ to the tide of grief. 2. When her mother died a few years ago, _______ of her father, Binny refused to cry. 3. Binny had thought that things were beginning to _______ her and Oliver, but he suddenly left her. 4. Her breath was _______ of her. She felt hollowed. 5. Pavements _______ Christmas shoppers. 6. Now that she has _______ the children for school for their last day of term, Binny has five hours to fix Christmas. 7. Coco and Luke exchanged a small but solemn nod when Binny had told them she couldn’t _______ a lizard costume at a drop of a hat. Task 5. Explain the meaning of the phrases in bold: “The daughter of a naval officer and a girdled socialite who had people ‘who did’, Binny has made a point of embracing the chaos.” “She is dressed, as always, in something black and shapeless she found tangled on the end of her foot this morning as she staggered towards the bathroom.” “No, no, you mustn’t,’ she said, groping for the companionship of his fingers. But he dipped his hand between his knees and her arm was left shipwrecked on the table.” Task 6. Answer the following questions on the text: 1. Who do these extracts refer to?  “ she is always stooping and slouching and digging her hands into her pockets in an attempt to make herself lesser. She is dressed, as always, in something black and shapeless she found tangled on the end of her foot this morning as she staggered towards the bathroom”.  “This could be the third time she’d asked the question, but if it is she doesn’t raise her voice or speak with any sign of impatience”.  “She collects ideas like…I don’t know…like other women buy shoes”.  “That is racist, actually. There are some very poor people who live down the road”.  “His songs offered an escape to a land where girls had long hair and wept over Irish seas”  “ he has no regular habits but these – the porridge and the [Asterix] bowl – and he is faithful to both”. 2. Smells are interwoven into the story development in the ‘Faraway Smell of Lemon’. What does Binny smell in different parts of her house? Who are these smells associated with? Is Binny happy with these scents being in her apartment? How does she decide to deal with them? Look at the adjectives in italics. Which of them denote pleasant smells (sweet-scented, fetid, stinking, fragrant, sweetsmelling, funky, scented, perfumed, noisome, redolent, aromatic, sweet, smelly)? 11

Work with your partners to find out which scents remind them of some happy or sad times in their life. 3. Read a dialogue between the storekeeper and Binny, then do the tasks and answer the questions that follow.  Domestic chores can be therapeutic.  So can red wine. Make up a list of other things that can be helpful when a person faces a serious problem in life (e.g. getting social support, drinking chamomile tea, cutting down on sugar, changing one’s hairstyle, watching a tearjerker etc). In which way each of these activities could be helpful? Task 7. Describe the characters using appropriate adjectives from the box and give reasons. curt grouchy messy insensitive sentimental childish determined unassuming resilient irresponsible selfless egoistic moody insecure immature supportive dishonest heart-broken Binny:___________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Oliver:__________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Storekeeper:_____________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Task 8. Comment on the following quote and answer the questions that follow: “There are shelves and shelves of cleaning products. They come in jars, canisters and bottles, some plastic, some glass, all arranged at regular intervals and in order of size. There are displays of brushes, cloths, scourers, dusters –both the feathered and yellow variety. There are boxes of gloves – heavy-duty, polythene – as well as Kentucky mops, squeegees, litter-pickers and brooms. Binny had no idea that cleaning could be so complicated.” Why is the storekeeper so particular about these cleaning products? Why might it be so important for the author to draw reader’s attention to these details? Task 9. Discuss the following: 1. Do you usually give up to the tide of grief or keep a stiff upper lip? What does it depend on? 2. Who would you call or text to first if you had some trouble? Why? 3. Have you ever received emotional support from a stranger or those you didn’t know very well when you were heart-broken or upset? 4. What are the advantages of sharing problems with strangers? 5. How often do you come to be ‘psychological support’ for your friends and relatives?


2.2. The Marriage Manual Task 1. Find in the text English equivalents for the following words and expressions: Оранжерея, светоотражающий, остроносые туфли, легко запоминающийся (о мелодии, рекламе), её щеки горели, её лицо горело, сердце у него дрогнуло (ёкнуло), чувствовать себя раздавленным чувствовать себя, как будто задыхаюсь, в глубине души, напевать, завитки (спиральки), огрызаться, кустарник, испугать, встроенная кухня, вращаться, ломкий (хрупкий), держать взаперти, отключить электричество. Instruments / equipment: моток полипропиленового шпагата, в комплекте, складной нож, скотч, легкосплавные колеса, гайка, болт, шайба, винт, колпачок, петли (шарниры), трубки, кронштейн, зажим, отвёртка, гаечный ключ, накидной гаечный ключ, разводной ключ, электрическая дрель, плоскогубцы, плоская отвертка, пинцет, щипцы, инструмент для смазки тросов, молоток, трещоточный ключ, гвоздь. Task 2. Give Russian equivalents for the following words and expressions from the text and use them in the sentences of your own: Sounded winded, slimming slacks, like a pink cape, a wind-chime, at the drop of a hat, hit like a slap, water under the bridge, a slave to the kitchen, Top Trump cards, twisted and bucked, brandish, the sides of the conservatory popped open and peeled outwards like a pack of cards. Task 3. Match the following words and expressions with their definitions: a. too pleased or satisfied about something you 1. to chip in have achieved or something you know b. to interrupt a conversation in order to say 2. smug something c. to turn around quickly, or to turn something or 3. to be up for something someone around quickly 4. to swing round d. to want to do something 5. to tumble e. to wrap something round with bandages 6. to swaddle f. to fall quickly and without control 7. to skitter g. to flow or send out quickly and in large amounts 8. to gush h. to move very quickly and lightly i. to look quickly at the pages of a magazine, book, 9. to insulate etc. j. to cover and surround something with material 10. to fish out or substance in order to stop heat, sound, or electricity from escaping or entering k. not having the knowledge, experience, or skills 11. out of one’s depth to deal with a particular subject or situation 13

12. to flick through 13. to come into your own 14. on the verge of something 15. to cast an eye over something 16. to buck something up 17. to huff

l. to pull something out of water or take something out of a bag or pocket m. very near to doing or experiencing something n. to be very useful or successful in a particular situation o. to become happier or more positive or to make someone happier or more positive p. to look quickly at something q. to say something in an annoyed or offended way

Task 4. Explain the meaning of the following phrases in the text: Several early bereavements Speed-dating DIY nut Show-time mirror Edwardian-style conservatory Estuary vowels Who-do-you-think-you’re-kidding Like a drawbridge Botch-job There was something disjointed about everything. Task 5. Answer the following questions on the text: 1. Were the relationships of Alan and Alice a real “textbook marriage”? How would you describe their marriage? 2. Why did Alice and Alan pretend that their marriage look like “a silver from cupboard”? What things prevented their alliance from being an “ideal” one? 3. How fast can all the offenses at one time destroy a long marriage? 4. What was the truth – the things Alan and Alice told each other while quarrelling, the “stories” they had always cherished or something in between? 5. What should Alan and Alice do to save their relationships? 6. Did Alan and Alice do well to raise their son Will? Will they buy him the presents he really wanted for Christmas? Do they understand what kind of adjustment does their son need to go through? 7. What did Will realise while looking at his parents? 8. What’s the meaning of the crack in the wall? 9. What does the title of the story “The Marriage Manual” mean? 10. What ideas about marriage does the author express? 11. What are the links between the characters of this story and “A Faraway Smell of Lemon”? 12. The author uses a lot of As-if sentences and like-phrases in the story. Please, find them. In which of the sentences as if / like is used to make a comparison with real situations? Which sentences imply unreal comparisons? Why do you think there is an abundance of As-if sentences in the story? 14

13. Why does the author use If-only sentences? Task 6. Describe the characters using appropriate adjectives from the box and give reasons: messy selfish caring assertive determined self-assured egoistic secretive conceited dependable even-tempered quick-tempered unforgiving considerate obstinate neurotiс apathetic temperamental steady straightforward committed distraught quarrelsome laid-back aloof Alan:____________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ Alice:___________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ Will:____________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ Task 7. Comment on the following quotes: “A textbook marriage. Other couples had come and gone. Divorce, remarriage, several early bereavements, stepchildren, singles’ parties, speeddating.” “No bills, not for Christmas Eve, just a neat pile of opened cards on the hall table.” “He had a childlike longing to take hold of her hand - he knew it so well, after all, he had seen the skin grow older, he had seen it begin to slacken and crease, but at that moment he felt he knew and loved her hand more that he had ever loved it.” “Alan had a queasy feeling about Christmas, as if it was just about adding way too many things so that one could enjoy the relief of removing them all again, come January”. “And sometimes, yes, as she listened to a neighbor complain about a difficult teenager, or another confessing that she’d had it with her marriage, Alice thought of her home, her husomebodyand, son and she felt a little smug, a little blessed.” “Small sad sigh, as if something was travelling towards her from very far away”. “He says he wants a dress. A green one. With a sweetheart neckline and a ribbon belt.” “The truth was, there were no instructions when you got married. There was no manual in the birthing suite that explained how to bring up a happy child. No one said, you do this, and then you do this, and after that this will happen. You made it up as you went along. And the people who had brought you up were no use either. They seemed to have completely forgotten what they’d done to make things work. How a couple stayed together or brought up a child was anyone’s guess. But just because it was not the thing you’d expected did not necessarily mean it had not worked.” 15

Task 8. Discuss the following: 1. Do the instruments used in the story symbolic? What do they symbolise? What other symbols can you think of? 2. Are household legends worth talking about? Are they necessary for each family? Or should we expose the truth? Please, share your own home legends, if any. 3. Do you believe in love “at first sight”? 4. How can we reach an ideal marriage? Is it possible to have one? Task 9. Write your review on the story. 2.3. Christmas Day at the Airport Task 1. Find in the text English equivalents for the following words and expressions: Airport vocabulary: рейсы приостановлены на неопределённый срок, приземляться, взлетать, многочасовой рейс, чемодан, ресторан (в аэропорту), Зона отправлений, Зона беспошлинной торговли, авиа диспетчерская служба, перевозка животных, проверять на наличие наркотиков и взрывчатых веществ, Зона предполётного досмотра, просвечивать рентгеном, стойка информации, стюардесса, Регистрация, Пограничный контроль. Other: джинсовый комбинезон, прохожие, тесть, негде развернуться, зеваки, мольба о помощи, пожимать плечами, самодельный, перепады настроения, анти возрастной крем, задержать дыхание, быть готовым расплакаться, испытывать головокружение, схватки, стиснуть зубы, родильная палата. Task 2. Give Russian equivalents for the following words and expressions from the text and use them in the sentences of your own: Thickset, to play on a loop, to dye one’s hair blue, infuriating, to have a clue about something, to stuff a turkey, a terrapin, to smuggle, to look cross, to be due, to give somebody thumbs-up, to swagger, a snow gear, to get away from it all, a grim face, to bamboozle, complacency, gridlocked traffic, deranged, to shriek, to deliver a baby. Task 3. Match the following phrasal verbs with their definitions: a. (about a problem or difficult situation) to gradually 1. to tell apart become better b. to suddenly stop talking, usually because you are 2. to go down embarrassed, nervous, or avoid giving away secrets 3. to knock back something

c. to suddenly start doing something

4. to come round

d. to become conscious again after an accident or medical operation 16

5. to beat up 6. to break into 7. to deal with

e. to successfully deal with a problem or difficult situation f. to become unconscious for a short time, for example when ill, badly hurt, too hot or drunk g. to quickly drink something, especially a lot of alcohol

8. to sort out

h. to take action in order to achieve something or to solve a problem

9. to tear apart

i. to make someone very unhappy

10. to work out

j. (about a computer system) to stop working k. to attack someone by hitting or kicking them many times

11. to clam up (inf) 12. to pass out

l. to be able to see the difference between two things or people that are very similar

Complete the following sentences with the appropriate form of the verbs above: 1. The children saw the sea and ______ ______ a run. 2. We can ______ ______ this matter if we just sit down and talk. 3. It ______ me ______ to think I might have hurt her feelings. 4. Your mother hasn’t yet ______ ______ from the anaesomethingetic. 5. She was ______ ______ by regrets about dreams she hadn’t fulfilled. 6. Desperately thirsty, she ______ ______ an entire glass of water. 7. It is boiling hot in Delhi, and tourists often ______ ______ from the heat. 8. Collins sisters are so similar that only their husomebodyands can ______ them ______. 9. The government must now ______ ______ the problem of high unemployment. 10. The battery should prevent the computer system from ______ ______ if power is cut. 11. Usually anyone halfway close to the royal family ______ ______when the press asks anything about them. 12. If it doesn’t ______ ______ with your start-up and you lose all your money, you can always come back here. Task 4. Explain the meaning of the following phrases in the text: ‘Chin up!’ Christmas hoo-ha The Northern Lights Stroud Girls’ Choir


Task 5. Answer the following questions on the text: 1. Why are so many passengers stuck at the airport on Christmas Day? 2. What do we learn about Magda and Johanna, and their background? 3. Who is the father of Magda’s baby? 4. What causes uneasiness between Mrs. King and her daughters? 5. How is this story connected to other in the collection? Task 6. Describe the characters using appropriate adjectives from the box and give reasons: bold dependable gentle loving polite shy responsible tolerant cautious attentive patient dependent calm even-tempered giving amiable determined perceptive self-confident considerate open-minded Magda:__________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Johanna:________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Mrs.King:_______________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Hester:__________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Task 7. Comment on the following quotes: “Johanna asks everyone. The answer is always the same. No, they will not give up their seat. “But my wife”, she says in her broken English. “She’s pregnant.” Well, that only makes it worse. People won’t even catch her eye when they hear that.” “Mrs. Pike nods and accepts that babies are born on Christmas Day at the airport whilst young women with green hair rescue small illegal reptiles and stow them in boxes.” “At moments such as these we understand instinctively what it means to exist. It doesn’t matter where a birth happens, she thinks – in a stable, in an airport, or even in the more conventional settings, such as the maternity ward at the hospital – it is a miracle each time.” Task 8. Discuss the following: 1. What does this story have in common with the story of Mary and Joseph? 2. How many storylines about women relationships are there in the story? 3. Magda was obviously raped, so why do you think she decided to keep the child? 4. Why didn’t airport passengers give up their seats to Magda? How do you think their rejection made Johanna feel? 5. Have you heard of what ‘lookism’ is? In your opinion, do people in your country tend to judge other people by their appearance? 6. “If you judge a book by its cover, you will usually be wrong.” Do you agree with the statement? Why? Why not? 18

7. What important social message do you think Rachel Joyce wanted to convey in “Christmas Day at the Airport”? Task 9. Write your review on the story. Nativity motives in “A Faraway Smell of Lemon” and “Christmas day at the Airport” Task 10. Find the Russian equivalents for the names, words and phrases, then read the text below: St. Luke (Luke the Evangelist), St. Matthew (Matthew the Apostle), St. Mary, St. Joseph, King Herod the Great, Bethlehem, Judea, Nazareth, gospel, nativity, inn, stable, manger, pay homage to somebody, three Kings, Wise Men. The Nativity of Jesus The nativity of Jesus or birth of Jesus is described in the gospels of Luke and Matthew. The two accounts differ, but agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of King Herod the Great. Storytellers have been conflating the two versions of the Nativity of Jesus for centuries. The simple elements of the story are thus: Mary and her husomebodyand Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem at a time when many people were on the move. Mary was heavily pregnant, but when they reached Bethlehem all the rooms for travelers in the inns and houses were already taken. At last, an innkeeper allowed them to sleep in the stable. That night Jesus was born, and Marry wrapped him up and put him in the ‘manger’, a feeding box for the cattle. Nearby in the fields, shepherds saw angels appearing in the skies. The angels announced the birth of a Saviour and told the shepherds to walk to Bethlehem and pay homage to the baby. The shepherds duly found Jesus in the stable with Mary and Joseph, and were very surprised. In the other Gospel account, the visitors were three Kings (or Wise Men) from the east who were following a star that led them to the place where Mary and Joseph were staying. There is no mention of a stable in St Matthew’s account, but the stable glimmers in everyone’s imagination, along with the animals. Task 11. What is the connection between these lines from ‘Christmas day at the Airport’ and the story of the nativity? “Johanna asks everyone. The answer is always the same. No, they will not give up their seat. ‘But my wife’, she says in her broken English. ‘She is pregnant.’ Well, that only makes things worse. People won’t even catch her eye when they hear that. “There is nothing for it but to sing. ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’. What else can you do if you are the Stroud Girls’ Choir It was hard to believe that they had been invited to battle it out on the banks of Lake Geneva in the European finals just after Christmas. But they had.” 19

Can you find any other passages of the story, reflecting other elements from the nativity story? Task 12. Who do these extracts from the story ‘Christmas Day at the Airport’ refer to? “She wears jogging pants and a loose hoodie that sits over her belly. Her hair is pinched into a ponytail and it hangs like the scrappiest bit of rag.” “Her arms and neck are blue with tattoos: painted birds and mermaids and dragons. You wouldn’t know but on her back she has a painted warrior with hair to her waist and her hair is dyed punk-pink and shaved to fuzz.” “She seems to have green hair”. “They are forty-two and forty-three respectively, both freshly single, and they are worse than teenagers.” Task 13. Who said these words and to whom? “Merry bloody Christmas.” “We’re only supposed to have cats and dogs.” “A guy was trying to smuggle it through in his underpants.” “We’re looking for kids. We’re entertainment.” “Da penguins are all sold out.” “Look at the ickle fluffy lambs!” “I want my Buzz Lightyear outfit!” “You haven’t bought us a Christmas present?” Task 14. Explain what role do the following animals play in the story: Terrapin, deer, cheetah, turkey, donkey, lamb, goat. Task 15. Put these words in two lists and then think of a name for each list and write them in columns: To groan, to gaze, to glance, to murmur, to squint, to scowl, to sob, to splutter


2.4. The Boxing Day Ball Task 1. Find in the text English equivalents for the following words and expressions: Потрепанный вид, энергично браться за, книга о поведениях и манерах, чувствовала, как краснеет, бигуди, хихикать и визжать, сыт по горло, склониться, околачиваться, по часовой стрелке, гардероб, пучок волос, локон. Task 2. Give Russian equivalents for the following words and expressions from the text and use them in the sentences of your own: Felt a swell of love, a throb of excitement, could feel herself blush, shred on her mother’s nerves, hear a faraway thump of music, stood her ground, look nonchalant, clustered around the tables, making a fuss about, was as red as a cherry, keep him in her eye line, a smile quirking the corners of his mouth, took a gulp of breath, to empty the cup in one go, helped her into her red coat, it was no less than a small miracle. Task 3. Match the following words and expressions with their definitions: 1. nonchalant a. severe and determined b. behaving in a calm manner, of-ten in a way 2. embroider that suggests you are not interested or do not care c. a long, loud, high noise that is unpleasant to 3. hem hear d. the edge of a piece of cloth, such as the bot4. to embrace tom edge of a skirt, that is fold-ed over and sewn 5. to hold someone tightly e. long pieces of thin, shiny material used as with both arms decoration, especially at Christmas f. to express love or sympathy, or when leaving 6. scrawny someone 7. to loiter g. a loud, unpleasant noise 8. ciggie h. to laugh or talk in a loud, high voice i. a ball-shaped Christmas decoration for 9. to squawk hanging on a tree j. to move slowly around or stand in a public 10. to cackle place without an obvious reason k. to hold someone tightly with both arms to 11. screech express love or sympathy, or when leaving someone 12. bauble l. unpleasantly thin 13. flinty m. (slang) a fag 21

14. tinsel

n. to decorate cloth or clothing with patterns or pictures consisting of stitches that are sewn directly onto the material

Task 4. Explain the meaning of the following phrases in the text: Girls like Maureen did not go to The Boxing Day Ball The needlework samples Secretarial college Howard The caller A ball of mistletoe Task 5. Answer the following questions on the text: 1. What is The Boxing Day Ball? 2. Has Maureen ever visited any parties like this before? 3. Why did she decide to take part in it? 4. Why is Maureen’s mother so strict to the girl? 5. Why did Maureen’s mother not allow her to go? 6. Why did the boy draw Maureen attention? 7. Why did girls call the boy “No-Mom”? 8. What did Maureen ask the boy to do? 9. What did happen in the next few years? 10. What was Maureen’ look and emotional state before and after The Boxing Day Ball? Task 6. Describe the characters using appropriate adjectives from the box and give reasons: taciturn aloof gullible wild screechy nonchalant unapproachable conceited restless introvert joyous scruffy bizarre independent polite timid with stamina nonchalant reserved freaky extravert Maureen:________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ The Boy:________________________________________________________ The Girls:_______________________________________________________ Task 7. Comment on the following quotes: “You could spend your life with a person and not understand them and then you could meet a boy across a dance floor and feel you knew him like a part of yourself.” “Her life was her own. It wasn’t her mother’s and it wasn’t Patty Driscoll’s or any of those other girls.”


Task 8. Discuss the following: 1. What does this party mean for Maureen? 2. Why did Maureen and the boy get along this easy? 3. Why doesn't the boy worry about what people think about him? 4. Does love at first sight exist? 5. Have you ever felt like soulmates with other people having just met them? If not, do you believe that it is real thing? 6. What is the meaning of the last paragraph? Task 9. Write your review on the story. 2.5. Snow Garden Task 1. Find in the text English equivalents for the following words and expressions: Квартиру нужно было покрасить, бледный и вытянутый, Генри осмелился спросить, научиться/получить навык, Генри вышел на новую работу, затащил елку вверх по ступенькам, санки со скидкой, казалось, она рвет салфетку на куски, черная копна волос, торжественно, казалось, ночь все продолжалась бесконечно, она (елка) в самом деле выглядит кривой (покосившейся), без какой-либо надежды на спасение, Генри не мог больше терпеть, он убежал, он снова был на гране срыва, почувствовал (испытал) негодование, неуверенно дотронулись до пушистого снега, что-то величественное, грандиозное. Task 2. Give Russian equivalents for the following words and expressions from the text and use them in the sentences of your own: You can’t afford to blow it. Feathery hints of beard shadowed his jawline and upper lip. He bought a set of matching plates and glasses with stems and a full set of cutlery. She sucked expansively on her straw. Henry couldn’t help the feeling he was somewhere inside that cup. My life these days is numbingly average. Henry’s stomach gave a turn. My life these days is numbingly average. Even the air around him felt taut and fragile. It was more than cooked, it was incinerated. Henry was visited by one of these memories that prickle the skin. Bea had tossed him a scornful look. Henry felt a low flutter of dread. The grass was a thick white duvet. He certainly mustn’t breathe a word of it to the boys. Henry’s heart lurched. His voice seemed thick in his throat. What was the strange bubbling feeling in his belly? 23

Task 3. Match the following words and expressions with their definitions: a. problems that someone has had in the past that 1. wreckage they do not worry about because they happened a long time ago and cannot now be changed b. a deep, long sound showing great pain or 2. water under the bridge unhappiness c. to escape by running away, especially because 3. to haul of danger 4. fragile d. a badly damaged object 5. indigestion e. very serious or bad f. pain that you get in your stomach when you 6. indignation have eaten food that is difficult to digest 7. to suffocate g. the sound of something being said very quietly h. to feel weak, as if you are about to become 8. desperate unconscious i. to pull something heavy slowly and with 9. to flee difficulty 10. bauble j. easily damaged, broken, or harmed k. anger about a situation that you think is wrong 11. faint or not fair 12. groan l. a piece of bright but cheap jewelry Task 4. Explain the meaning of the following phrases in the text: You can’t afford to blow it. A proper Sunday roast Trough of snow He had seen motorbikes thundering up and down the hall stairs. Did Mum say we have nits? Task 5. Answer the following questions on the text: 1. What the reason of quite a cold relationship between Henry and his sons? What about his wife? 2. How was Henry getting ready for the boy’s arrival? Did he do any changes in the flat? 3. Why was the flight put off? How did they spend time at the motorway service station? How are the other divorced parents portrayed in the story? 4. How did Henry get along with Debby? What seems to be the reason of such a friction? 5. What was Henry going to cook for a special occasion? Was he successful? 6. What presents had Henry prepared for his son? Why? 7. Why did Henry refuse to show his sons the garden the first time? 8. What is the celebrity everybody knows but Henry? 24

9. What was the boy’s reaction to seeing a snow garden? 10. What made Conor and Owen reconsider their relationship with Henry? Task 6. Describe the characters using appropriate adjectives from the box and give reasons: caring insane impulsive sentimental insecure immature rebellious coarse irresponsible serene garrulous moody distrustful lunatic finding faults grumpy timid vulnerable Henry:__________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Conor:__________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Owen:___________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Debbie:__________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Task 7. Comment on the following quotes: “Once he had known everything about his sons, but now there seemed to be so much about their lives he couldn’t grasp, as if a child’s development required the simultaneous diminishing of the parent.” “and it still came as a shock that the boys no longer called him Dad, that since his breakdown they’d chosen to call him by his name, as if he were someone they’d met recently and needed to be polite to.” “and it still came as a shock that the boys no longer called him Dad, that since his breakdown they’d chosen to call him by his name, as if he were someone they’d met recently and needed to be polite to.” “Because it’s what everyone wants,” Henry told her. “They want snow. It’s traditional. It makes Christmas – you know.” – “What exactly?” – “Magical.” “There was something sublime about what had happened, something small and beyond words. It had snowed at Christmas just as Henry promised. That was enough.” Task 8. Discuss the following: 1. Is it right to promise children things that are unlikely to happen? 2. Why can parents lose touch with their children? 3. Should we believe in miracles? 4. Why people start seeing things like racing motorbikes or a snow garden? 5. How could a family give support to a mentally unstable person? 6. How could we manage to mend the relationship with our close ones, both kids and ex-spouses? 7. What is the image of the lady in a red coat? Why it keeps appearing in the book? Task 9. Write your review on the story. 25

2.6. I’ll be Home for Christmas Task 1. Find in the text English equivalents for the following words and expressions: Суетиться, заглянуть (о гостях), приносить напитки, раскладывать (кушанье), шведский стол, столик на колёсиках, волован, хворост (печенье), пение хором, пуансеттия. Task 2. Give Russian equivalents for the following words and expressions from the text and use them in the sentences of your own: To raise one’s voice, to hit a thin note, to chirrup, to hum, to hiss, to resume a conversation, to snarl, to bark, to say something in one’s best voice, to croon. Why do you think there are so many introductory verbs referring to vocal side of speaking in the text of the story? Task 3. Match the following words with their definitions: 1. a crooner a. awkward and clumsy b. to hold something or someone gently, especially 2. gawky by supporting with the arms 3. to swoop c. (slang.) to become insane, irrational, angry 4. to flutter d. to move down rapidly 5. to gape at e. touch things with no particular purpose f. to make distorted, silly, or humorous facial 6. to exude energy expressions for one's own or someone else's amusement 7. to flip g. a singer, especially a man, who sings love songs h. to have a lot of a particular quality or feeling 8. to fiddle with something (e.g. energy, confidence, love) i. to make a series of quick delicate movements up 9. to cradle and down or from side to side j. to open the mouth wide involuntarily, as the 10. to pull faces result of absorbed attention. Task 4. Explain the meaning of the following words and phrases in the text: Hush Puppies “Turkey and all the trimmings” Coronation Chicken Quewt Infectious laugh


Task 5. Answer the following questions on the text: 1. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is a story’s title which reminds of a song with the same title performed by Bing Crosomebodyy. Surf the Internet and find 3 important facts about the song. 2. Can you find any parallels between the story presented in the song with its context and the story by Rachel Joyce? 3. The central character of the story becomes a pop star and changes his name. What is his original name? How does his fake name characterise him and the changes he is going through? 4. What does X think about his life and current activities? 5. Sylvia, the mother of X, is looking forward to meeting him and creates a lot of fuss. List the preparations mentioned in the story. 6. Do Mary and X get along well? What their relationships might be defined by? 7. Why is it so important for Sylvia to organise everything perfectly? Task 6. Describe the characters using appropriate adjectives from the box and give reasons: conspicuous insensitive sentimental belligerent boisterous irresponsible cordial egoistic pretentious overambitious hypocritical caring insecure immature weak Sylvia:__________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ X:______________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Mary:___________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Guests:__________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Task 7. Comment on the following quotes: “All her [Sylvia’s] life has been overshadowed by her sisters.” “He [Tim] carries so much baggage, and none of it is his own.” Task 8. Discuss the following: 1. What are the real names of these celebrities mentioned below? Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, Bob Dylan, Sting 2. Would these people come to the international fame in case they hadn’t changed their names? 3. Personally, would you give up your real name to become more popular or to sound and look more prestigious? 4. What about you? Do you like to make fuss in the Christmassy season or do you usually opt for a nothing-special plan? Task 9. Write your review on the story. 27

2.7. Trees Task 1. Find in the text English equivalents for the following words and expressions: Cсориться из-за чего-то, рухнуть/пойти прахом, рваная рана, шариться в карманах, перекошенный, стараться успеть, спешить, кружиться (о голове), объезжать пробку, сообщить новость, поправить/привести жизнь в порядок. Task 2. Give Russian equivalents for the following words and expressions and use them in the sentences of your own: Green fingers, verdant, guerilla gardening, allotment gardening, to replenish, to whither, spade, demijohn, John Innes No 2, fertilizer. Task 3. Match the following words and expressions with their definitions. 1. wear and tear a. serious and without any humour 2. to talk somebody into b. to treat as unimportant something c. the damage that happens to an object in 3. to dawn on somebody ordinary use during a period of time 4. to make light of something d. to make somebody suffer 5. to blow up at somebody e. unpleasantly thin, often with bones showing 6. to get to somebody f. to suddenly become very angry 7. scrawny g. to persuade h. to understand after a long time of not 8. solemn understanding something i. the place where two or more roads join or 9. impy cross each other 10. intersection j. weird, unattractively strange Task 4. Explain the meaning of the following phrases in the text. Full-blown conversation Great. I’ll get out my leathers. Coco hit the roof the Rolls-Royce Treatment Hey presto It takes all sorts Task 5. Answer the following questions on the text. 1. Oliver, who is one of the central protagonists in the story, has already been mentioned in the first story “A Faraway Smell of Lemon”. Do you notice anything different about him in “Trees”? 2. What do readers learn about his background?


3. What is similar and different about Oliver and his father? Would Oliver make a responsible and kind father in the future? 4. Is Oliver and Sally a well-matched couple? How does Binny’s image in the story compares with Sally’s? 5. What does Oliver feel when he meets Binny again? 6. Smells and their symbolic meanings revisit the book in the final story. What smells are these? What are they associated with? 7. Where does father decide to plant the trees? Why do you think he chooses exactly these places? 8. What is Oliver’s attitude to his father’s idea to plant trees in the beginning and in the end of the story? 9. The Oliver’s father says regretfully about his past ‘I wish I’d planted more trees.’ Think of what other characters of the story might be regretting about their past and present and make up sentences with I wish, If only, I should have (Oliver, Binny, Sally). 10. In “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “Trees” the author uses a lot of As if-sentences, e.g. in this conversation between Oliver and his father: ― Why tonight, Dad? Why trees? Why all these people? To which his father frowned, as if he had been given a particularly difficult set of sums to work out, and then shrugged his shoulders. ‘Why not?’ he said. Work in two groups to find the similar sentences from “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “Trees”. In which of these sentences as if is used to make a comparison with real situations? Which sentences imply unreal comparisons? Why do you think there is an abundance of As-if sentences in the story? Task 6. Describe the characters using appropriate adjectives from the box and give reasons. querulous obliging altruistic down-to-earth impy resolute haggard scruffy impetuous taciturn disrespectful vulnerable loyal nonchalant flint-hearted Oliver:__________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Oliver’s father:__________________________________________________ Sally:___________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Task 7. Comment on the following quotes: “From the sitting room comes the sweet voice of Mary singing that she wishes it could be Christmas every day. Sylvia smiles. She thinks, Thank God it isn’t. Thank God for the ordinary days.” ― I’ll Be Home For Christmas “For a moment it seemed strange to Oliver that people went through Christmas like this every year, putting up trees and coloured lights that would 29

only be taken down again, and visiting people they ignored for the rest of the year, and spending money they didn’t have, and eating food they’d otherwise avoid. And then he thought, so what? It was only as mad as planting twenty trees. And where was the madness in that, when you thought about it? Life was a thing to celebrate.” ― Trees Task 8. Discuss the following questions about gardening: 1. Is gardening popular with young people in your country? 2. Would you agree that everyone needs a garden? 3. Does guerrilla gardening exist in your country? What about the allotment gardens? 4. Would it be a good idea for local governments to develop the system of allotment gardens so that people can grow the trees for the city themselves and decide what to plant? 5. How gardening is similar to upbringing and building relationships with people? 6. Is it possible to revitalise a ‘whithered’ relationship or feelings? 7. Have gardening duties been ever imposed on you? Is growing plants an exhausting or replenishing activity for you? Task 9. Comment of the following quotes: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.” ― Greek proverb “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” ― Chinese proverb “Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps the singing bird will come.” ― Chinese Proverb “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” ― William Shakespeare “On the last day of the world I would want to plant a tree.” ― W.S. Merwin Task 10. Write your review on the story.


3. AFTER READING Discussion Questions 1. What are the lessons you may learn from “A Snow Garden” stories? 2. What did you learn about Christmas from “A Snow Garden? 3. As you explore the theme of Christmas within “A Snow Garden”, what is your favourite thing about the festive season? 4. Did the characters seem believable to you? Did they remind you of anyone? 5. Describe your favorite character of the book. What do you like about him or her? 6. If you could read more about one character from the collection of short stories within “A Snow Garden”, which character would you choose? 7. Name your favourite story or moment from the book. What is special in it for you? 8. Are there any quotes or scenes you found particularly compelling? 9. Were there parts of the book you thought were incredibly unique, out of place, thought-provoking, or disturbing? 10. What is the connection between the plot the story of nativity? 11. What similarities do “A Snow Garden” stories share? 12. A crack in the wall in “The Marriage Manual” symbolizes a crack in Alice and Alan’s marriage. What other symbols have you noticed while reading the stories? 13. With what three adjectives would you describe “A Snow Garden”? Explain why. 14. What social issues does Rachel Joyce touch upon in her stories? 15. How does the book make you feel after reading it: hopeful, pessimistic or with mixed feelings? 16. Were you satisfied or disappointed with how the book ended? Is anything left unresolved or ambiguous? 17. Is “A Snow Garden” different in any way from the books you usually read? 18. Choose a character and say how you picture his/her life after the end of the story? 19. Do you think any of the stories could be expanded into a novel? 20. If you got the chance to ask Rachel Joyce one question, what would it be?




Word/Phrase (Derivatives, if necessary)

to compliment (somebody. on something.)




To praise, commend, applaud, honor, speak highly of, politely congratulate or praise (someone) for something



Examples (constructions/ phrasal verbs/idioms)


He complimented me on my writing.

APPENDIX B REVIEW WRITING A review is a critical evaluation of a text, event, object, or phenomenon. Reviews can consider books, articles, entire genres or fields of literature, architecture, art, fashion, restaurants, policies, exhibitions, performances, and many other forms. This handout will focus on book and film reviews. A review is a special type of article written for publication in a magazine, newspaper, giving a brief description and evaluation of a film, book, play, TV/radio programme, CD, etc. It may be formal or semi-formal in style, depending on its intended readership, and is usually written using present tenses. Above all, a review makes an argument. The most important element of a review is that it is a commentary, not merely a summary. It allows you to enter into dialogue and discussion with the work’s creator and with other audiences. You can offer agreement or disagreement and identify where you find the work exemplary or deficient in its knowledge, judgments, or organization. You should clearly state your opinion of the work in question, and that statement will probably resemble other types of academic writing, with a thesis statement, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Typically, reviews are brief and have the following features:  First, a review gives the reader a concise summary of the content. This includes a relevant description of the topic as well as its overall perspective, argument, or purpose.  Second, and more importantly, a review offers a critical assessment of the content. This involves your reactions to the work under review: what strikes you as noteworthy, whether or not it was effective or persuasive, and how it enhanced your understanding of the issues at hand.  Finally, in addition to analyzing the work, a review often suggests whether or not the audience would appreciate it. The review includes following parts: Introduction (1 paragraph) Background information of the story: the name of the author or director, the genre, the book/play/film title, the main theme; relevant details about who the author is and where he/she stands in the genre or field of inquiry; you could also link the title to the subject to show how the title explains the subject matter; the main characters; the setting (when/where); your thesis about the book. Personal anecdote to grab attention or a question. Main Body (2 or more paragraphs) Main points of the plot (without revealing the ending) (paragraph 2) Comments on various features e.g. acting, plot, characters, writing style, direction, etc. (paragraph 3)


Explanation, reason/example (Talk about what you liked and any criticisms you may have) (paragraphs 4-5) Conclusion Overall assessment of the work and recommendation usually with justification or reason. Sum up or restate your thesis or make the final judgment regarding the book. You should not introduce new evidence for your argument in the conclusion. Give reasons why someone should see the film or read a book, how it has influenced you. Note: include the title for the review. For books use the name/title or if think up an imaginative title using an idiom/expression. While writing a book review, follow the following tips:  Organize the review into clear paragraphs.  Use a suitable style, neither very formal nor very informal (better neutral).  Give your reader a brief idea of the plot, but do not give away the whole story. This is only part of your review, so choose only the main events and be as concise as possible.  Use the present tense when you describe the plot. Using participle clauses will help to keep it concise.  Use a range of adjectives that describe as precisely as possible how the book or film made you feel, e.g. gripping, moving, etc. Use adverbs of degree to modify them, e.g. absolutely gripping.  Use all your colourful vocabulary: phrasal verbs/idioms/impressive collocations.  Remember that an effective review will include both praise and criticism. Useful Language for Review Writing To begin reviews: Seldom do I find the time to…, however when I do take time out of my hectic schedule, I like nothing more than… Being a bit of a book worm / an avid reader / an alert reader / a keen reader, the news that … released a new book had me itching to read it. Having never read …. before I approached … with a sense of trepidation, not knowing what to expect. Soon however, all my fears were allayed. The last book I read was… It’s called…and it’s by … It’s about… This well-written / informative / fascinating / thought-provoking / compelling / enchanting / heart-warming / moving / fast-paced / evocative / disturbing / hard-hitting / emotionally-draining book is … The main theme of the book is … What the book is saying is … The book is set in … / tells the story of … / is based on /…


The action takes place in… (place/time)/the present day (now)/ an alternate reality where vampires / wizards walk the earth / a sleepy village in the USA / the bustling city of New York, etc. You might have heard of the author. He/she also wrote … To describe characters: Villain / hero / heroine / anti-hero / main character / protagonist There many memorable characters including… The characters are believable / well-crafted / well-developed / a bit 2 dimensional. The characters were totally implausible. I couldn't take any of them seriously. To explain the plot/the story: The plot / the story… revolves around …/involves…/focuses on …/centers on…. / cuts between…. / alternates…/ portrays…/ recounts…/ conveys…/has an unexpected twist. The story begins with …/ unfolds / reaches a dramatic climax when … . The plot follows / traces the adventures of … (character’s name). The story is a chronicle of … To evaluate various features: The plot is gripping / dramatic / fascinating / suspense-filled / fast-moving / far-fetched / predictable / confusing / dull / unimaginative / intriguing / preposterous / touching / poignant / moving / powerful / spine-chilling / tedious / hackneyed / impenetrable / harrowing / memorable / chilling / enigmatic. The plot was intriguing. It was impossible to predict how it would end. It is written in a clear, concise style. The style is wordy and verbose. It is beautifully / brilliantly / sensitively written. The dialogue is touching / witty / hilarious / boring / mundane / depressing. It is an incisive commentary on the conflict in … It provides a fascinating / valuable / revealing insight into… The ending / conclusion was perhaps a touch predictable / implausible / nailbiting / cliff-hanger/ a shocking twist in the tail. Aa slow start / a gentle introduction / gripping climax. To express overall impression: It is an absolutely hilarious / terrifying / riveting / exciting read. It is definitely very readable. It is a tremendous page-turner/ a white-knuckle ride / a tearjerker / a laugh a minute / I couldn't put it down. It brought tears / a tear to my eyes! It is running your emotions for you! A thought-provoking novel that raised many interesting questions. I was hooked from the very beginning. It is a light and entertaining novel, perfect for beach reading! It is a fast-moving story which jumps from past to present and back again at breakneck speed. 35

It is a well-written novel, but so depressing it made me feel almost suicidal! It is a haunting tale which stayed with me long after I’d finished reading it. / It stuck in my memory. / The book made a lasting impression on me. The author evoked a magical atmosphere / … awakened my interest in… It held old my attention / captured the reader’s imagination. It is good bed-time reading. / It is rather lightweight. I was lost / absorbed in a book. It is compulsive reading/ / It is one of those books you just can’t’ put down. To comment critically: One particular strength/weakness of the book is … The design / characterization is second to none / is not its best feature. I personally found it really heavy going. I really had to make an effort to finish it. / I just couldn’t get into it. It is a very underrated book. / It is an overrated book. I found the plot rather predictable / disappointing / dull / weak. The plot is disjointed and difficult to follow. To end reviews / to encourage others (not) to read: Don’t be put off by the title/critics/cover. It will have you roaring with laughter/rushing out to buy the sequel. I would definitely give it a miss. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in… I would strongly advise you (not) to go out and buy/read it. You should definitely read… / Don’t miss it. You might enjoy … All in all, it is well worth reading, since… On the whole, I wouldn’t recommend it, in view of the fact that … It is a classic of its kind / it is sure to be a hit / best seller … Sample Review Jane Eyre If you are looking for a romantic but mysterious story about a lonely woman who, after many strange experiences, finds lasting love, you should definitely read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre, the main character of the novel, is an orphan who has a very unhappy childhood. Despite this, she becomes a strong-willed woman. When she leaves the orphanage, she becomes the governess at Thornfield Hall, Mr. Rochester’s mansion. Strange things begin to happen there, and when a mysterious secret is reveled, Jane’s life is changed forever. The book is beautifully written, with poetic descriptions and excellent dialogue. The writer has created a dramatic, gripping plot with well-developed, very believable characters, letting us see into the soul of a sensitive but strong young woman. 36

This book’s fascinating plot is guaranteed to keep the reader absorbed from beginning to end. Don’t miss your chance to read this classic masterpiece. Once you have read it, you’ll never forget it.


APPENDIX C USEFUL EXPRESSIONS FOR DISCUSSIONS Useful Language for Expressing Overall Impression It’s easy to read. / It’s an easy read. It’s compulsive reading. / It’s a compulsive read. [formal] I literally can’t/couldn’t put it down. [informal] It’s a page-turner. It has/had me spellbound. I read it from cover to cover. It makes good bedtime reading. It’s a must-read. It’s a guilty pleasure. It brought tears to my eyes. It sent shivers down my spine. I was hooked from the very beginning. I had to make an effort to finish it. It’s heavy-going. I can’t / couldn’t get into it. It is/was a (real) letdown. Useful Language for Text Analysis and Interpretation The title of the story is rather suggestive / symbolic / implicit / catchy / highly relevant to the story’s plot. Point of view. The story is written from the author’s point of view. It’s told from the point of view of … (a character). It’s written in the first person. The story is humorous / gripping / captivating / amusing / straightforward / dull and meandering / simplistic and predictable / fast-paced / melodramatic / moving / action-packed / compelling / engaging / realistic / touching / tear-jerking / thought-provoking / powerful / heartbreaking, etc. The plot is simple / complex / intricate / dynamic / full of unexpected twists. The story is aimed at teenagers/young adults/everyone, etc. The story is set … (when, where). (E.g. The story is set in the present day in a small town in Missouri, the USA). The story is about … The story deals with … The story speaks about the morality of … The story describes the life of … The story shows the difference between … The story highlights one of the topical issues of today, … The story gives a vivid description of … The story gives a good insight into human nature. 38

The story gives a good picture about how … The story gives a good account of … The story gives a good warning to us to consider what … It’s hard to understand at once … From the episode of … we see … Judging by this, we can say that … The story criticizes … The story reveals … The story raises questions about what it means … The events that follow show … The end of the story is quite unexpected … The end of the story is suggestive enough because … The point of the story is … The author’s main point is about … It’s interesting to note that … The story introduces us to the events … The attraction of the story lies in the fact that … If anything, the story is humorous. What strikes me as unusual is … It brings out the best (worst) in (somebody) … It is the story of a man named … The plot centers round … The author proves to be a master of… The author gives a convincing picture of … The protagonist (= the main character) is believable / boring / charismatic / charming / compelling / complex / intelligent / implausible / life-like / likeable / memorable / strong / weak, etc. You end up identifying with (= liking) the protagonist/characters. Useful Language for Expressing Your Opinion I think / guess / imagine / reckon / suppose / believe … I tend to think that … It seems to me that … I’m pretty sure that … I strongly believe that … I’d definitely say that … I do believe/feel/think … I have no doubt that / I’m (absolutely) certain/convinced that … Without a doubt, … Obviously, … As I see it, ... If you ask me, I’d say … What I think is … My personal opinion is that / Personally, my opinion is that … For me/ From my point of view, … 39

To my mind / To my way of thinking, ... To be honest, … Frankly, … As far as I know, … As far as I’m concerned, … After much thought, … I’m no expert (on this), but … I am not very familiar with this topic, but … It’s a complicated/difficult issue, but … I’ve never really thought about this before, but … I could be wrong, but … Correct me if I’m wrong, but … Some people may disagree with me, but … I might change my mind later, but … After giving this matter some (serious) thought, … Having given this question due consideration, … I can’t help thinking that … There is a part of me that says … I think it’s fair/reasonable to say … As the old saying goes, … I’ve come to the conclusion that …


REFERENCES 1. Битнер М. А., Мучкина Е. С. Медленное чтение на английском языке. Close Reading / Краснояр. гос. пед. ун-т им. В. П. Астафьева. – Красноярск, 2018. – 94 с. 2. Сборник рассказов Рэйчел Джойс ‘Снежный сад’; коммент. / науч. Ред. К. Хьюитт при участии Е. Вашуриной, Е. Пургиной, Е. Галицыной, Н. Соловьевой и др. ; под общ. ред. Б. М. Проскурнина; Перм. гос. нац. исслед. ун-т. – Пермь, 2018. – 40 с. 3. Evans V. Successful Writing. Upper-Intermediate. Express Publishing, 2004. – 135 pages. 4. Fox K. Watching the English. The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour., Hodder & Stoughton, 2004. – 432 p. 5. A Snow Garden and Other Stories review – pictures of lives, broken and whole, assessed June 8, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/dec/ 18/a-snow-garden-and-other-stories-review-pictures-of-lives-rachel-joyce 6. Book Reviews. The Writing Center, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, assessed June 8, 2020. https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-andtools/book-reviews/ 7. Handel D. Slow-Reading is the New Deep Learning, assessed June 9, 2020. https://medium.com/better-humans/slow-reading-is-the-new-deep-learning -452f179c0289 8. How to Discuss a Book, assessed June 8, 2020. https://www.litlovers.com/run-a-book-club/lead-a-book-club-discussion#resources 9. Rachel Joyce biography, assessed June 8, 2020. https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/1069732/rachel-joyce.html?tab=penguin-biography 10. Word of the Week: Short Story, assessed June 8, 2020. https://www.cliffsnotes.com/student-life/2016/november/word-of-the-week-short-story 11. 5 Important Elements of a Short Story, assessed June 8, 2020. https://users.aber.ac.uk/jpm/ellsa/ellsa_elements.html