simple reads

These things are from Voice of America Learning English and The Smithsonian.  The words in these stories will not be very difficult.  This is for more advanced students.

You can find some history, American culture and literature here.

Cover of book Being Frank by Ian Rankin

The story takes place in Meadows – the city in the north of Edinburgh. Two respectable men were sitting on the bench and talking to each other. They didn't suspect that somebody could hear them. There was only a napping homeless not far from the bench. However, the men underestimated the beggar. His name was Frank and he was a famous English artist and a brother of an English poetess. Frank often came to Edinburgh in summer to be a tramp. The local people considered him a mad dreamer. Somebody liked, others hated. Everybody knew that Frank was a great chatterbox. When Frank heard the conversation of those men, he went to the local inspector Rebus. Those suspected discussed a terrorist attack. Frank told the inspector the information about a possible threat. Rebus only laughed at him and gave some coins.

Total words: 3988
Unique words: 1001

Words, you might not know:mishear, basing, scrounger, letterbox, dozing, jangling, layabout, meagre, obliged, hollowly, sibilant, sizing, clawing, glancing, councillor, raking, magnified, squashed, jawbone, chipping, downwards, wavering, bannister, thousandth, nigh, heathen, millionth, guiltily, seeking.

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Sat, Oct 21, 2017, Continue reading at the source
Our story today is called “The Exact Science of Matrimony.” It was written by O. Henry. This story was adapted by Shelley Gollust and produced by Lawan Davis. Here is Barbara Klein with the story. Jeff Peters and Andy Tucker could never be trusted. One day, the two men decided to open a marriage business to make some quick and easy money. The first thing they did was to write an advertisement to be published in newspapers. Their advertisement read like this: “A charming widow, beautiful and home-loving, would like to remarry. She is only thirty-two years old. She has three thousand dollars in cash and owns valuable property in the country. She would like a poor man with a loving heart. No objection to an older man or to one who is not good-looking. But he needs to be faithful and true, can take care of property and invest money with good judgment. Give address, with details about yourself. Signed: Lonely, care of Peters and Tucker, agents, Cairo, Illinois.” When they finished writing the ad, Jeff Peters said to Andy Tucker: “So far, so good. And now, where [...]
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, Continue reading at the source
Hatem El-Gamasy owns Lotus Deli, a small business in Queens, New York. His store sells sandwiches, coffee, beer, cigarettes and other products. El-Gamasy, an Egyptian-American, is known as “Timmy” to his customers. But to people thousands of kilometers east of New York, he is considered someone knowledgeable about United States foreign policy and the Middle East. He has spoken about those and other subjects on Egyptian television. El-Gamasy worked as an English teacher in Egypt before moving to the U.S. nearly 20 years ago. He attended Teaching English as a Second Language classes at St. John's University in New York. He started working at an eatery to pay for his studies, food and housing. Eventually, he got married and bought his own store. Over the years, El-Gamasy had written opinion pieces. But Egyptian broadcasters generally ignored his commentaries. That changed last year. Many experts thought Hillary Clinton would become the next U.S. president. But El-Gamasy predicted that Donald Trump would win the presidential election. Nile TV, an Egyptian television station, heard about the prediction and spoke with El-Gamasy. After the interview, other broadcasters and news agencies began to contact him. In September, The New York Times newspaper published a story on El-Gamasy. It provided details of his day [...]
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, Continue reading at the source
Have you ever heard of a paw paw? If not, do not feel bad. Most Americans do not know of the fruit, although it is native to the United States. Once, however, it was one of the most popular fruits in North America. Happily, those who love the paw paw are trying to return it to its former position in American foods. America's tropical fruit A paw paw is a tropical-like fruit that grows on trees found all over the eastern United States. It's also the largest edible fruit native to the US. It is similar to a typical mango in size. It has a dull green-colored skin, and a soft, almost-creamy orange inside. Most people agree that the pawpaw tastes like a combination of a banana, an apricot and a mango. Most people are very surprised by its sweet taste. At one time, it could be found as far west as Nebraska. It also grows along the East Coast from New York to Florida. The fruit has a very short harvest season, from two to three weeks in September and October. ​A forgotten history The paw paw was an important food for Native Americans and even early [...]
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, Continue reading at the source
We present the last of five parts of the short story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," by Edgar Allen Poe. The story was originally adapted and recorded by the VOA Learning English. I was stunned. August Dupin, my friend with the extraordinarily sharp mind and observational powers still had surprises for me! He had uncovered so much about the horrifying Rue Morgue murders that it seemed there was more understanding than mystery left. But still the major question remained: Who? Dupin had invited someone to our home…someone he believed knew the answer to that question. As we awaited his arrival, my friend began to put together other pieces of evidence from the crime. “We add for our consideration the condition of the room. So we have: a strength more than human; a wildness less than human; a murder without reason; horror beyond human understanding; and, finally, a voice without a recognizable language.” A cold feeling went up and down my back. “A madman, Dupin! Someone who has lost his mind. Only a madman could have done these murders!” Dupin smiled a little. “Ah, but madmen come from one country or another, don't they. Their cries may be terrible, but they are made of [...]
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, Continue reading at the source