HomeIELTS SpeakingDescribe a book that had a major influence on you

Describe a book that had a major influence on you

IELTS Speaking Part 2 – Describe a book that had a major influence on you

You should say:

  • what the name of the book is and who the author is
  • How you first heard of the book
  • what the main story of the book is
  • and explain why it played such an important role in your life

Sample Answer:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about a book that had a major influence on me. I am going to tell you the name of the book and the author, what I remember of it and why it is so significant to me.

Funnily enough, I was thinking about this book only the other day. It is called ‘The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse’, I don’t know why I remembered it suddenly, but I had to google to look up the author. It is by Ursula Moray Williams, but I didn’t know that when I first read it.

As to how I first heard of the book, I can’t really say! It is actually a children’s book, and I think it must have been chosen for me by my parents as I don’t remember actually buying it with anyone, and I don’t think it was a birthday gift or it would have had an inscription in its front cover. The copy I had was a rather tatty paperback with an orange cover and published by a then famous book company called Puffin Books. It had a picture of crudely fashioned toy wooden horse on the front. The horse had a cylindrical body and straight legs fastened onto a board with four wheels on it. The horse had a flowing mane and tail, and in my copy was facing away from the reader, heading off on its’ adventures.

The story was so very sad! The horse in the title was a toy horse originally supposed to be sold by his maker. The little wooden horse is very loyal and wants only to stay with his Uncle Peder who crafted him. However, sadly the toymaker is forced out of business as mass produced toys become available, and the little wooden horse sets out to try and make his fortune so the two of them can stay together. Terrible things happen to the horse, he is sometimes lonely and unhappy. Eventually, though, he does make his fortune (I can’t remember how) and returns home only to find the toymaker has vanished! It is heart-breaking. In the end, the little wooden horse and the toy maker are reunited by chance and there is at last a happy ending after a harrowing set of adventures.

The reason this book is important to me is because it is the first book I remember really wanting to read for myself. My mum and dad would take turns to read me just one chapter at night, but there were lots and lots of chapters – about twenty I think, and I was so upset not knowing how the story would end if one chapter was finished and the poor little wooden horse was left in distress! I could read a bit, but not that well, and not well enough to read silently in my head. Anyway, one night, after my parents had closed the book and left me alone, I carried on reading all by myself. I had to read out loud, and the story was so sad I was sobbing as I read, which made it even harder for me to get the words out and finish the story. Even so, I carried on reading right to the end and fortunately the story did end happily! I can still remember this, even though I must have only been about four years old at the time. My parents remember the episode too. They could hear me in my room reading aloud and crying, and they said it was heart-rending to listen to, but also quite impressive, as I was so stubbornly determined to do this, and on my own.

I have never re-read the book as an adult. I’m afraid if I did and found it wasn’t really very good or very well written it might spoil the memory for me. I prefer to imagine it as the most brilliant story ever written even if that isn’t true at all! So the book is special because it is probably the book that encouraged me to read, as well as being probably my earliest memory.
(689 words )

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