Wow! What a post Adriana, my heart really went out to you when I was reading your story about the OET exam. If I were you I would be really angry with the people who organise the exam – it sounds to me like it was a complete fiasco. How did you do on the test in the end? Is there another exam specifically just for dentists? I have this vague memory of there being one, but I can’t remember what it’s called. I’m sure you know about it if there is one. Do you still have plans to go and work overseas? I'd love to hear about them...
Okay now before I go any further I have to quickly respond to an urgent request from Hyoshil, who has asked if I know any fruits or vegetables beginning with Q, V or X. She said she’ll tell us why later on – I’m intrigued! Well I can think of a fruit for Q and V but not for X, I’m afraid – and the one for V is cheating a little bit. They are: Quince (which is a very sour fruit that looks a bit like a small apple) and Victoria Plum (which is obviously a kind of plum). Hope this helps, I’ll keep trying to think of some others and if any of our readers have any suggestions please write in and let us know – I’m sure Hyoshil will be very grateful (despite being quite secretive!).
Right – let’s get down to business. Now Adriana, I’ve noticed that you sometimes make mistakes with conditional sentences so I thought I’d ask you a few questions about these. Have a look at these sentences:
a) If I know the exam is cancelled, I won’t go.
b) If I knew the exam was cancelled, I wouldn’t go.
c) If I had known the exam was cancelled, I wouldn’t have gone.
Here are my questions:
1) When is each sentence talking about? Past, present or future?
2) Which of these sentences would best fit your situation, the first time you flew to Brasilia for the exam?
3) What is the form for each of the sentences? E.g. If + subject + etc.
I’ll look forward to seeing everyone’s answers :-)
Now, Marianna from Slovakia asked me about Indian writers in one of her comments so I thought that would make a nice subject for a post… I’ve read LOTS of books by Indian writers writing in English – in fact, for the last three or four years I don’t think I’ve read anything that didn’t have some connection to India in some way (although some of the books were by non-Indian writers). You could say I’d become slightly obsessed. I’ve branched out now and have started reading books about different places. For example, I just finished a lovely book called The Saffron Kitchen about a British-Iranian family and the mother’s return to Iran to find her roots. It was very nice but I’ve finished it now so will have to find something else. I’ve got my eye on a book called The Kabul Beauty School which is all about an American lady who set up a beauty school in yep you guessed it, Kabul in Afghanistan. But I digress…
There are heaps of Indian writers writing in English. Some of them live in India, but many of them seem to write from their homes in Europe or America. I must admit, I haven’t ready many of the ‘classics’, for example the literature written by Rabindranath Tagore. He is possibily India’s most famous and celebrated poet and writer, originally from Calcutta and writing around the turn of the 20th century.
One of my all-time favourite books has to be A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. This isn’t a quick read though – it’s more than 1300 pages long! It’s a beautiful and moving story about a family’s search for a suitable marriage partner for their daughter and discusses many social issues that are prevalent in India… religion, caste, etc. It is one of the few books I have read where I was still wondering what the characters were up to weeks after I had finished reading the book.
Another one which I highly recommend is A Fine Balance. This isn’t a book for the faint-hearted though. It’s the story of two men and how their lives unfold over a number of years. It starts off fairly happy but then things just seem to keep going wrong. It’s another unforgettable book.
If you’re interested in reading Indian literature or books about India then as well as the ones above I’d recommend any of these books…
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand
The City of Djinns by William Dalrymple
The Goddess in the Stone by Norman Lewis
Travels on my Elephant by Mark Shand
In Spite of the Gods by Edward Luce
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
There you go! That should keep you going!
All right, time for bed I think (yawn).
Until next time,
Last post’s definitions…
To grumble: to complain
Cookie cutters: metal or plastic shapes used to cut out biscuits
Milestone: a very important event during the development of something, often a person
Monastery: a place where monks live
To nestle: to be in a comfortable position, up close against something else
To perch: to sit on the edge of something
To restore: to bring something back to its original state
To be on the same wavelength: to think the same things as someone
New vocab from today…
My heart went out to you
To branch out
An all-time favourite
To be up to something
And some oldies for review…
To rain cats and dogs
To have a laugh
To be blown away
Check them here!
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.