Describe a book that influenced you.
You should say:

  • The name and the author of the book?
  • How did you first hear of the book?
  • What is the main story of the book?

And why does it plays such an important role in your life?

SAMPLE ANSWER
Whenever I get time, I try to read books and the ranges vary from profession related books, technical, religious, fiction, classic and contemporary books. Mostly while buying a book, I go for the name of the book and if it sounds interesting to me, I buy that one. Recently, I picked up a novel called “Wisdom Of Whores” by Elizabeth Pilsani. While buying this book, I was at a bookstore and had gone to rather buy the new series of “archies comics”. While shuffling through them, this book by mistake got into the stack of the comics and I fumbled into it. After reading the name of the novel, I was very much interested into reading what this book is about and so read the summary and found it extremely exciting and bought it.

This book revolves around the business of AIDS, during the early 90s when the world had just become acquiainted of this disease and work was in its initial stages. So, there is this women, who has worked in Reuters and then takes up a medical course in a university and becomes an epidemiologist. She then works for UNAIDS, making reports and questionnaire and do’s and don’ts for AIDS. It was later that she goes on and works more extensively towards it. Obviously she has a team and they try bring money from organisations to help victims of AIDS. She tells about what are things that may go wrong while taking survey and what needs to be taken care of.

The book also tries to bring into notice the different attitudes of people across world towards AIDS. For instance, suppose a country X gets affected by AIDS because of sex while in other country it is because of drugs. So, Elizabeth gives and account of how the world of brothels, gays and “innocent wives” got changed because of AIDS and the journey she had during the entire time.

For me, it was more of an eye opener and I realised that things are not always as cushy as they seem to be.

Another Similar Cue Card

Describe an exciting book that you enjoy reading.
You should say:

  • Which is that book?
  • When did you read it?
  • What is it about?

And why did you feel it exciting.

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO:

My grandfather used to say that books are one’s best friends. They make people travel to anywhere, anytime without moving an inch. Literary geniuses and people with inflated imaginations are the ones to pour out their creativities in form of books. In general, books are categorized in two separate classes. One class consists of facts, observations and inferences, comprising the nonfiction or literature section while other class contains purely the imaginative stories called as Fiction. I am an avid reader of both but primarily, nonfiction. One such book is ‘GLIMPSES OF WORLD HISTORY’ by J.L. Nehru, who was also the first prime minister of India. I read it when I was in high school and found it very exciting.

This book is, actually, a compilation of the letters written by Nehru to his young daughter Indira, from his prison cell, before independence. Nehru was a statesman visionary who possessed the vast knowledge of different historical events in the world. In these letters, Nehru takes up the chronological accounts of people, kings, wars, culture and conditions in different parts i.e. Asia, Europe and Americas. How the great Persian empire came into being and how it sustained for a long time? What was happening in Rome and Greece in those contemporary times? Why few kings were liked and successful while others were doomed to fail? A beautiful narration of all the remarkable historical events from medieval to modern times, has been provided in a beautiful comprehensible manner.

Till the time I happened to go through this book, I read Indian history and a little about world wars only, in context of world history. Therefore, I was ignorant of all the significant events that took place outside India. While reading that book, I could relate the contemporary events in different corners of the globe and deduce the effects produced by an event in one part to other parts. This correlation between different regions and times presented a complete picture of the world history, which made me feel exciting about the successive developments in a relative manner.

STRONG WORDS

WordMeaning
Statesmanskilled/experienced leader: Nowadays, we have politicians but very few statesmen.
Chronologicalin order as per time: Medieval came after ancient as per the chronology of events.
Follow-up Questions

Q. 1 Why do we read books?

Sample Answer: Books are a vast storehouse of knowledge and information. Various events of the past, different scientific principles and theories help us to understand not only the world around us today, but it also details the process, how we shaped the present from the past. This gives a meaning to our existence and we feel confident in exerting control on environment. Apart from this, books are also liked, especially by children, for their captivating suspenseful and imaginary fairy-tale stories.

Q. 2 Do you feel some books as boring too? Why?

Sample Answer: Yes, there are some books which do not draw my attention and interest and I feel quite boring reading those. So, generally, I quit reading them after a few pages only. It may be for different reasons. There are some books in fiction whose stories might be too trivial and uninteresting. Others might not have that flavour of suspense that I like in a story. Sometimes, the writer is so unclear in his tone and flow that the text automatically becomes boring.

Q. 3 Are there any particular subjects, on which you want to read apart from fiction?

Sample Answer: A person’s interests keep on shifting with the passage of time. For instance, I liked reading history till the time I was unaware of the past events. But once I knew most of those, I started reading psychology books. To know the what and how of brain and various processes and disorders related with it turned out to be an interesting read for me. Therefore, I think, based on the mind-set and changing interests, I keep on hopping on the subjects of different kind of books.

Q. 4 Do you like reading a story or watching that? Why?

Sample Answer: Well, as a child, I loved watching stories on TV. The visual effects, while watching a story on TV, simply add to the value of the story. Every emotion, feeling and act is vividly represented in front of our eyes. The pulsating tones of different actors provide a wonderful auditory experience too. But, although I grew up watching lots of movies, my interests shifted to books gradually, which were not thoroughly experienced by me. So, later on, I started enjoying reading books in a calm atmosphere, with no noise of movies