A n n a: What’s that book you’re reading, Jane?
J a n e: It’s collection of biographies written by different authors.
A n n a: Is it any good?
J a n e: Oh, yes. I find it quite interesting. At the moment I’m reading about Audrey Hepburn, a 20th century Hollywood star.
A n n a: I don’t often read biographies. I prefer books with a gripping story like books of crime, adventure or love stories.
J a n e: I see. And what about you, Anna? What are you reading now?
A n n a: I’m in the middle of Boris Akunin’s novel. Do you read his books?
J a n e: No, not really. I tried once but found the book a bit depressing. He describes everything in such dark colours.
A n n a: It’s true, but I still like his works.
J a n e: I think I should try to read his books again. Who knows, I may change my mind about him.
A n n a: It’s a very good idea. And can I borrow your book of biographies when you finish it?
J a n e: Sure.
Аудиозапись № 35 к упражнению 1
My home library is fairly large. My parents began collecting books years ago when they were young. I went on buying books which I liked. Now my library includes about 600 titles most of which are Russian classics but there are works of modern Russian and foreign authors as well.
I don’t like the idea of keeping a lot of books at home. I believe that one doesn’t need too many books. It’s much wiser to have few best books that you can read and reread. I have some favourite authors whose books I collect. All of them are modern Russian writers, for example, I have all the books by Dmitry Bykov.
My home library is not very large, but it includes some books in French and English. I try to buy works by foreign authors because they help me in language learning. There are some books by Russian writers too but not too many because lately I have started reading electronic books and I find them as good as printed ones.
My home library doesn’t take up a lot of room as nearly all books are e-books. I have a good modern e-book reader which allows me to read comfortably not only at home but everywhere else. I mostly read modern authors, but from time to time I like to return to my favourite classics.
Аудиозапись № 39 к упражнению 1
When were the first computers built?
B o b: I’m not quite sure. I think in the middle of the previous century. Let’s look it up in the encyclopedia. Hmmm... Yes, that’s right. They were built in the 1950s.
A n d r e w: It’s really strange that sixty years ago the general public didn’t use computers!
B o b: No, they didn’t. Only scientists used them in their work for their scientific purposes. Those first computers were huge machines, they filled whole rooms.
A n d r e w: I’m sure that they were very pricey.
B o b: They were very expensive indeed. I think their price was millions of dollars, not less.
A n d r e w: How effectively did they work? Were they fast?
B o b: Not very, they functioned rather slowly. The earliest computers solved less than a thousand tasks each second. Today, modern computers are very fast, they can solve a hundred million tasks a second.
A n d r e w: That’s really so. And they are fairly small. They are so small that we can use them anywhere. And they keep getting smaller. I think very soon our computers will be no larger than a matchbox.
B o b: True. Computers have really changed a lot. Since the day they appeared they have become smaller, cheaper and faster. And scientists are working to make them even faster. But most important of all, nowadays practically anybody can have a computer.