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Describe a book that influenced you

IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card 197 with Model Answer:

Describe a book that influenced you.

You should say:
  • what it was about
  • when it was written
  • why you decided to read it
and say why it had a strong effect on you.

[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you're going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]

Model Answer 1:
I like to read books since my early childhood and have read a large number of books so far from different writers. But I did not get inspiration from all of the books, some of them made me amazed while the rest others entertained me to some extent. I was influenced by the book of Mark Twain with the title – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Recently the book is known as ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ but previously it was known as ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’. The entire book is about a little teenage boy who is unable to stay steady for a moment. The book is lead by Huckleberry Finn and his friends address him as Huck. The events took place in different parts of the USA including Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Arkansas. The entire book is illustrated with the adventures of Huck and his friends. The story starts with the setting of a fictional town in Missouri. Huck is associated with his friend Thomas, better known as Tom Sawyer. Both of the kids have gained a lot of money from their former adventure and Huck is the narrator of the book. He describes all the events to inform the reader and thus the reader becomes aware of everything that happened to him and his friends in the last episode.

The novel was first published in 1884 in England and it was published in the USA in the following year. The book is famous for the lively descriptions of different places, especially the geographical locations of the USA. The book is considered as the sequel to the previous book named – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The plot centres around the events happening with Huckleberry Finn. In the previous book, Thomas (or Tom Sawyer) was the protagonist and led the events. But now it is the turn for Huck to lead the events though Tom tried to influence some of his activities. The book has been written based on a society which existed about 20 years ago. Some of the complexities of the then time have been pointed here.

There are several causes behind reading the book. Firstly, I was inspired to read the book by watching a movie of the same name. But I could not enjoy the movie being too older and some of the dialogues were not delivered properly on my DVD player. So, I decided to read the book and accordingly I collected the copy. But it was difficult as well for me to collect a well-printed copy of the book. Further, being a Chinese national, it is really difficult for me to read books in English. But the events that I enjoyed on the DVD made me inspired. The other reason for reading the books is that I also was a kid like Huck and underwent many adventures in our locality. Often people used to meet my mom to submit their report about me. Like Huck, I also smoked the pipe in my early childhood and stole the tobaccos and pipes from my dad. So, all the things that Huck did were similar to my own experiences.

When I read the book, I not only enjoyed but came to know about many unknown issues. I was completely unaware of slavery and after reading the book; I researched the issue on the Internet and came to know about many horrific events. So, I felt pity for Jim – who wanted to be free and meet his family. Moreover, I also was hurt when Huck’s father died. It is tough indeed for a teenager to grow up without a family. If he were in a family, he would have a different life and everything could have been changed. So, I think Huck turned into a naughty boy as he did not experience the tie of a family. He was sent to different people to be taken care of but the care of a family is entirely a different thing. Every feature of Huck sometimes touched me while reading the book, and I also made me laugh, often. I wish I could be a boy like him and get back my teenage again!

Model Answer 2:
This is an outstanding topic and I thank you for the chance to let me talk about it. I did not have any ideas about vampires until I read the book Dracula written by Bram Stoker. The book is a gothic horror novel and contains a good number of elements that thrilled me while reading it. I came to know about the blood-sucking vampires and their boss Dracula – a count who has been leading the life of vampire for a long time and wants to spread the undead curse.

The book was written in 1897 and gained a huge popularity since then. It has been translated into different languages and millions of copies have been sold. It gained popularity for its outstanding plot and way of description. The venues mentioned in the book are also wonderful and perfectly matches with the plot and help portray the exact themes that the author wanted to reveal to the readers.

Last week, I went to meet some of my relatives with my family in Japan and had nothing to do there. In fact, everyone there was either my senior or my junior. So, I had to pass some lonely moments. But the book helped me to remove my monotony. As I had no other options left, I decided to read the book. I am really grateful to my cousin Hun who gave me the book to pass my time there.

It had some strong effects on me as I did not have an idea about the matters of such entities. Besides, I was scared too. Whenever I remained alone, I was afraid that a vampire is behind me and will attack within no time! But all the fears were vanished after knowing that it was merely a plot for the story and no such thing is available. I was thrilled as well with the story and regretted why I did not go through it before.

Idea generation for this Cue Card topic:  

"Describe a book that influenced you." 

Here are some additional tips to formulate the answer to the same cue card topic.

1. War and Peace was a highly interesting book that I read so far. It was about different ruling periods in Russia and how the people reacted. The novel published originally in 1867 and was translated in different languages. I heard about the book several times but was unable to manage time to read it until summer last. So, I decided to read the book and came to know about a wide number of issues of that period.

2. I did not have ideas about adventure novel unless I read The Count of Monte Cristo. This novel plot appears outstanding and takes place in different parts of Europe. The story is centred on a man who escapes from prison and takes revenge for those who had sent him jail for wrongfully. The book was published in 1884 and was appraised highly from different quarters. The book had some strong effects on me as I came to know about a victim of some wrongdoings and had to pay the price for the mistake of others.

3. Reading fiction tastes good when it attracts my attention. And the book titled – One Hundred Years of Solitude was the same for me. The book authored by Gabriel García Márquez is one of the most popular books of the history and was published in 1967. The book plots revolved into a fictional city in Colombia and this was a multi-generational story. Initially, I did not have the intention to read the book but changed my mind as a friend of mine recommended it last week. After reading the book, I wondered how a man could form such a nice plot. Many of the events matched with the contexts I am going through.

4. A Passage to India is a great novel by E M Forster and there are different reasons behind authoring the book. The book was published in 1924 over the colonial rules and their impacts on the local people. I read the book as part of my academic curriculum and really it was helpful for me to gain some knowledge on the contemporary issues of those days. I was shocked knowing that the rulers got engaged in troubles with the local people on petty issues and tensions grew between the communities that led to some conflicts.   

5. Before reading Mrs. Dalloway, I had fewer ideas about the stream of consciousness. The book was published in 1925. The book is about a day of the life of a British woman named Clarissa Dalloway. The story is described in a third-person narrative and owns a unique style. I heard some high words about the book that tempted me to read it. It had some strong impacts on me as I realized how the stream of consciousness flows. Travelling from past to present to future through thoughts appeared thrilling indeed.

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