Reading: A short excerpt from Roald Dahl

Why is it so important to read?
When we are learning a new language we need input.  This input comes, of course, from the grammar rules and the new vocabulary we learn, but reading helps us to put everything together.  Reading helps us to make sense of  all the enormous amount of information we receive.  However, this is not the only reason for reading in a new language, 'pleasure' is as important as the mastery of the language.
I want to invite you today to read a passage taken from "Tales of the unexpected" by Roald Dahl.

The room was warm and clean, the curtains drawn, the two table lamps alight -hers and the one by the empty chair opposite.  On the sideboard behind her, two tall glasses, soda water, whisky.  Fresh ice cubes in the Thermos bucket.
Mary Maloney was waiting for her husband to come home from work.
Now and again she would glance up at the clock, but without anxiety, merely to please herself with the thought that each minute gone by made it nearer the time when he would come.  There was a slow smiling air about her, and about everything she did.  The drop of the head as she bent over her sewing was curiously tranquil.  Her skin -for this was her sixth month with child- had acquired a wonderful translucent quality, the mouth was soft, and the eyes, with their new placid look, seemed larger, darker than before. 
"Lamb to the slaughter", Tales of the unexpected. Penguin Books, 1979

Comprehension questions:
  1. Where was Mary Maloney?
  2. What was she doing?
  3. Was she nervous or relaxed?
  4. What did she have on the sideboard?
  5. Was she pregnant?
Vocabulary work:
How many items of furniture are mentioned in the text?
For the nouns listed below, find the corresponding adjectives in the text:
  •  tranquility
  • wonder
  • placidity
  • darkness
  • length
  • softness
  • warmth
  • emptiness
 The noun 'anxiety' appears in the text.  Which is its corresponding adjective?  Which is its adverb?

The verb 'glance' expresses a way of looking.  Look up the meaning in a dictionary and answer the following question:
Did Mary look at the clock for a long period of time or did she do it quickly?

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