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Remembering:

Reading Practice & Structures with Remember (C1)


1: Which type of books do you like to read?
2: How do you normally choose a book to read?
3: What information do publishers include on/in a book to encourage you to read it?
4: You are going to read some testimonials/reviews from the back cover of a book called I
Remember by Joe Brainard (originally published in 1975). After reading them, say
whether they make you want to read the book or not? Why/Why not?

I Remember is a masterpiece (1). One by one, the so called important books of our time will
be forgotten, but Joe Brainards modest (2) little gem (3) will endure (4). In simple, forthright
(5), declarative sentences, he charts the map of the human soul and permanently alters (6) the
way we look at the world. I Remember is both uproariously (7) funny and deeply moving (8).
It is also one of the few totally original books I have ever read.
- Paul Auster
Joe Brainards memories of growing up in the 40s and 50s have universal appeal. He
catalogues his past in terms of fashion and fads (9), public events and private fantasies, with
such honesty and accuracy and in such abundance (10) that, sooner or later, his history
coincides with ours and we are hooked (11).
- The Village Voice
A completely original book.
- Edmund White

5: Look at the highlighted words/expressions. Which word(s)


1. is a noun which means the same as adjectives outstanding and exceptional. ________
2. describes someone/something that does not want credit or attention despite their
achievements. ________
3. is slang for very interested in or showing a great liking for. ________
4. is a fashion/interest which is very popular but lasts for a short time. ________
5. mean the same as intensely emotional. ________ ________
6. means to change in character or composition. ________
7. describes an action, such as laughing, as loud and passionate. ________
8. means a very large quantity of something. ________
9. means to be direct and outspoken. ________
10. describes a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship. ________
11. means to remain in existence for a long time. ________
6: What does Paul Auster mean by the so called important books of our time?

7: Look at the testimonials/reviews again. Write words and expressions in each of the
following categories.
A. Language used to praise the book:
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
B. Language used to describe the content/style of the book:
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
C. Language used to describe the effects of the book on the reader.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

8: Now you are going to read some extracts from I Remember. As you read, think about
the following questions.
a) What is so unusual/original about the way the book is written?
b) Are any of Joe Brainards memories similar to memories that you have?

I remember once on T.V. news an egg being fried on the sidewalk as an example of just how hot the
heat wave we were having really was.
I remember Last one to the corners a rotten egg!
I remember knowing what c-a-n-d-y meant long before I knew how to spell it.
I remember how much, in high school, I wanted to be handsome and popular.
I remember the day John Kennedy was shot.
I remember a dream of meeting a man made out of very soft yellow cheese and when I went to shake
his hand I just pulled his whole arm off.
I remember walking down the street, trying not to step on cracks.
I remember that entering the classroom just as the bell rings is not the same as being in your seat
when the bell rings.
I remember butter and sugar sandwiches.
I remember when I started smoking I wrote my parents a letter and told them so. The letter was never
mentioned and I continued to smoke.
9: Do you know the British English of these American English words?
AmEng
sidewalk
candy
high school

BrEng
___________________
___________________

10: Look at the extracts again.


a) What tense is the word remember in the extracts; past, present or future?
b) What tense are majority of the other verbs in the sentences; past, present or future?
c) Find and write an example of:
I.
remember + noun: ______________________________________________________________________
II.
remember + verb + ing: ________________________________________________________________
III.
remember + that + clause: ______________________________________________________________
IV.
remember + adverb + clause: __________________________________________________________
11: Write some of your own memories using the structures from exercise 10b.
1. I remember ____________________________________________________________________________________________
2. I remember ____________________________________________________________________________________________
3. I remember ____________________________________________________________________________________________
4. I remember ____________________________________________________________________________________________
5. I remember ____________________________________________________________________________________________
6. I remember ____________________________________________________________________________________________
12: Tell a partner about your memories but try not to read the sentences directly from
the sheet (you can use the sheet to check your grammar if necessary). When you are
listening, try to ask further questions about your partners memories.
Example
Student A: I remember going shopping with my dad every Saturday afternoon.
Student B: What did you buy?
A: We would buy food for Sunday lunch.
B: Did you like going shopping or was it something that your parents made you do?
A: I liked it because, if I did the shopping, my dad would rent any video I wanted and buy me
popcorn or ice-cream to eat while I watched it.

Answers
1: Students own answers (if a student says they dont read books try to elicit the last book
they read or what books they are reading (or read) in school)
2: Recommendations from friends/Testimonials/Reviews/Advertisements/Author or
Genre Loyalty/Reading the Blurb on the back
NB: A testimonial is a person's written or spoken statement (typically another author in
the case of books) explaining the virtue of a product. A review is the critical evaluation
of something in order to indicate its relative merit.
3: Reviews/Testimonials/Blurb
4: Students own answers (elicit a response related to the emotive/positive language
used).
5:

1. (3) gem
2. (2) modest
3. (11) hooked
4. (9) fad
5. (8) deeply moving
6. (6) alter
7. (7) uproariously
8. (10) abundance
9. (5) forthright
10. (1) masterpiece
11. (4) endure

6: He is expressing his view that the title of important books of our time is inappropriate
and that he doesnt agree with this terminology or with the books that are given this title.
7:
A. masterpiece/modest little gem/will endure/uproariously funny (possibly C
also)/totally original (possibly B also)/universal appeal/honest/accurate/completely
original (possibly B also)
B. simple, forthright, declarative sentences/charts the map of the human
soul/catalogues his past
C. deeply moving/permanently alters the way we look at the world/his history
coincides with ours and we are hooked
9:
AmEng
sidewalk
candy
high school

BrEng
pavement
sweets
secondary school

10:

a) present
b) past
c)
I.
I remember the day, I remember a dream, I remember butter and sugar
sandwiches,
II.
I remember knowing, I remember walking,
III.
I remember that entering the classroom
IV.
I remember once on T.V. news, I remember how much, I remember
when,

Possible Extension Activity


Write the following sets of sentences on the board. Ask the students what the difference
is between remember + verb + ing and remember + to + infinitive?
a) I remember turning off the light. (a memory of an event in the past)
b) I remembered to turn of the light! (an obligation you remember completing in the past)
c) Do you remember visiting your Uncle? (asking about a memory of a past event)
d) Remember to visit your Uncle. (a reminder of something you should do)
remember + ing means you remember something you did in the past an event or an activity.
remember + to + infinitive means to not forget something you have to do a duty or a chore.

(Brainard. J, Granary Books, New York City, 2001)