IELTS Cue Card With Answer - Describe a book that had a major influence on you

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?


Follow-up Questions:

  • How often do you read books? How books can impact on a man's life?
  • Name some of the famous writers of your country?
  • Have you ever thought about writing a book?
  • How reading books is different from watching movies?

Possible answer the above speaking cue card:

Whenever I get time, I try to read books and the ranges vary from profession related books, technical, religious, fiction, classic and contemporary books. The book I would like to describe is a novel called ‘Kane and Abel’ and is written by the famous British writer Jeffrey Archer. Sometimes I read book reviews on the internet and after reading 2/3 books by Jeffrey archer, I tried to get the list of all books by Jeffrey Archer. I found that most of the Jeffrey Archer fans have recommended the book ‘Kane & Abel’. Some people even commented that this is the best book ever written by the same author. I made my mind at this very moment to read this book. After one month or so, I bought the book from a bookstore and started reading it.

The book was first published in 1979 in the United Kingdom and in the USA in 1980. The book was the international success and reached No. 1 position on the New York Times best-selling book list. The story line started with the birth of two infants named Kane and Abel in the year 1906. One of them was born to a life of prosperity and ease in the USA in a rich family while the other one to a world of hardship and struggle. On different sides of the Globes, they grew up: one shaped by a luxurious upbringing, fine schooling and history he read, the other one who lost his mother at the time of his birth and did not know who his father was, well tempered by war, slavery and history he was part of. The story telling of Jeffrey Archer is magical and enchanting. Most of his story simply mesmerizes the readers and for Kane and Abel the attraction worked even more. Every page I turned tempted me to read further. Not for a single moment, I could have stopped thinking about the events and characters of the books and that had a major influence on me. The characters have their own charismatic powers and followed their own paths. One is gold, meritorious while the other one is steel and have forfeited the Dead himself. On their journey in life, they confront each other and became the ultimate adversary of each other. In their relentless battle, both men knew that there could be only one victor- and one vanquished.

Across three generations and around a rapidly changing world, their war rages unchecked, for the love of a dream, the loss of an empire, and the lure of a fortune. Kane became the owner of the largest bank in the USA while Abel came to the USA as a penniless emigrant after the World War I. With intelligence Kane started flourishing the banking business, while Abel made his fortune at last in Hotel business. The first time they confronted each other as a bank owner and a debtor. Though Kane wanted to help Abel regain his business by financing further, but could not do so because of the bank’s board members’ decision. After that, Abel considered Kane as his greatest enemy and sought to destroy Kane. As time passed both had to fight their own fates but the vendetta remained in their hearts. When both men finally grew older, their son and daughter fell in love and got married. They never agreed on the marriage because of their personal hatred of each other. Abel succeeded to buy the bank stocks of Kane’s Bank to hold the power to veto Kane. At the end of the story both confronted each other for the second and last time. After that Kane died and after his death, Abel learned that it was Kane who backed him financially to start his hotel business. The story was told like a magician and is a powerful portrait of a world and two men that a reader would never forget.

How to answer this cue card?

This cue card asks you to talk about a book you have read. You should pick a book that you know well. Let's say you have read a book which was very interesting but you have forgotten the name of the author or the publisher, you can't tell the story in an organized fashion, then you should not talk about that one. Rather pick a book which is interesting, you have read and you know the writer and story of the book. If you are not sure of such a book, think about one, google for the details of the book and remember the following information about the book:

1. Writer.
2. Publisher.
3. Publishing year.
4. Some other book names by the same author.
5. The story of the book.
6. Why the book was critically acclaimed.
7. Some characters of the book.

For the part why this book has a great influenced on you mention some of the following points:

1. The book was written by a writer who has a great way of telling a story.
2. The story is a page turner and you had a hard time keeping it away.
3. You have learned an important lesson from this book.
4. The characters of this book gave you a great impression.
5. Some of the trivia and facts about the book. etc.

Necessary vocabulary for this cue card

Related to describing a book: Hardcover, best seller, novel, paperback, recommended book, page-turner, plot, fiction, avid reader, bookworm, genre, biography, literary, contemporary, fast-paced,  gripping, to borrow, compelling plot, fascinating characters.

Synonyms of 'major': Significant, important, serious, paramount, prime, great, outstanding, considerable.

Synonyms of 'influence': Effect, impact, consequence, force, significance.

If you prepare for this cue card, you should also be able to answer the following cue card topics:

1. Describe a book you have recently read.
2. Describe your favorite book.
3. Describe a book you read and remember.
4. Talk about a book you enjoyed reading.
5. Describe a book you would recommend your friends to read.
6. Talk about a book your one of your friends recommended you.
7. Describe a worth reading book.

Since the cue card topic is asking to describe a book that has a major influence on you, not necessarily you have to talk about a storybook. You can pick any academic book, religious book or specific subject or technology related books as well.

For instance, if you pick the major book of your religion, you can say how it has changed your view of life and world. How it had helped you learning morality and humanity and religious lessons that you follow in your life. There are so many things we learn from our religion and you can talk about these.

If you pick an academic book, let’s say JAVA programming language book, Introduction to business or Accounting you can tell how this book has changed your view on this specific subject and created a solid base on the subject and influenced you to later study on that subject further.

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