simple reads

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

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

Each year at the start of spring, more than 1 million people travel to Washington, D.C., for one major reason: the cherry blossoms. Most of the travelers visit an area known as the Tidal Basin. During “peak bloom,” the Tidal Basin is bursting with color. It is also bursting with people. But there is another, quieter way to enjoy Washington's cherry blossoms. Cherries at the Arboretum About eight kilometers across town, you will find the United States National Arboretum, a huge public garden and research collection. The United States Congress established the Arboretum in 1927. Its aim is to use research and conservation to improve the appearance and environmental and economic value of plants. Cherry tree research is one of the Arboretum's specialties, says Margaret Pooler. She is the director of research. She and her team work on developing a larger base of cherry trees. “Most people know the Yoshino Cherries, they know the Kwanzan Cherries, the familiar one that you see down at the Tidal Basin. But what a lot of people don't realize is that there's so many other species that we can use to broaden the base of the cultivated plants that we see. So, that's what we're trying to do.” Today, the Arboretum has more than 1,000 different cherry trees. Some are short and wide. Others grow tall. A few are “weeping” trees. Their long, flowering branches hang down near the ground. Pooler showed VOA Learning English around the Arboretum's research field. In late March and early April, this wide, open space comes to life with flowering cherry trees. Some produce bright white blooms. Others are different shades of pink. Many of them are new species of cherry trees developed by Arboretum scientists themselves. They are “hybrid” cherry trees, Pooler explains. “In our research program, we create hybrids. That is, we take pollen from one [...]
Wed, Apr 11, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Cover of book Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

Mr. Allworthy is a rich squire. He lives together with his sister Miss Bridget. One day an unknown baby boy is found in his house. Soon Mr. Allworthy manages to find the mother of the abandoned child. It is a poor woman from one village Jenny Jones. Jenny refuses to reveal the father's identity. Still the mother repents her deed. The squire only sends her out of her native places and provides her with a better life. Mr. Allworthy lost his wife and children several years ago. He decides to take this boy and bring him up as his own son. The squire gives all his love to this baby. After some time, his sister Bridget gets married to Captain Blifil. Soon the couple is blessed with a son. The foundling Tom Jones is being raised with the young Blifil. Captain Blifil is a greedy and envious person. He fears that Mr. Allworthy's fortune will pass to Tom. The captain hates the boy and tries to defame him in the eyes of his adoptive father.

Film version: Tom Jones

Total words: 24402
Unique words: 1946

Words, you might not know:appreciating, queen, tommy, gamekeeper, sickroom, jewellery, honour, lord, licence, banknote, forcing, incognito, disobedient, squeezing, delaying, neighbourhood, unfashionable, thundering, schoolmaster, birdsong, unsteadily, seaport, partridge, penniless, deciding, unfaithful, declared, landlady, dishonesty, deathbed.

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Mon, Apr 09, 2018, Continue reading at the source
From VOA Learning English, this is American Stories. Our story is called “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky.” It was written by Stephen Crane. Today, we will hear the second and final part of the story. “Don't know whether there will be a fight or not,” answered one man firmly, “but there'll be some shooting -- some good shooting.” The young man who had warned them waved his hand. “Oh, there'll be a fight fast enough, if anyone wants it. Anybody can get in a fight out there in the street. There's a fight just waiting.” The salesman seemed to be realizing the possibility of personal danger. “What did you say his name was?” he asked. “Scratchy Wilson,” voices answered together. “And will he kill anybody? What are you going to do? Does this happen often? Can he break in that door?” “No, he can't break in that door,” replied the saloon-keeper. “He's tried it three times. But when he comes you'd better lie down on the floor, stranger. He's sure to shoot at the door, and a bullet may come through.” After that, the salesman watched the door steadily. The time had not yet come for him to drop to the floor, but he carefully moved near the wall. “Will he kill anybody?” he asked again. The men laughed, without humor, at the question. “He's here to shoot, and he's here for trouble. I don't see any good in experimenting with him.” “But what do you do in a situation like this? What can you do?” A man answered, “Well, he and Jack Potter -- ” “But,” the other men interrupted together, “Jack Potter's in San Antonio.” “Well, who is he? What's he got to do with this?” “Oh, he's the town policeman. He goes out and fights Scratchy when he starts acting this way.” A nervous, waiting silence was upon them. The salesman saw [...]
Fri, Apr 06, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Cover of book Ireland by Tim Vicary

This book will introduce Ireland to you. This country is incredibly beautiful. There are many mountains and rivers. One can see emerald greenery there. Certainly, you have heard that the Irish are the most drinking people in Europe. That they are the descendants of the redheaded Celts. You have also heard about the Irish step and the pubs. There are lots of famous Irishmen. The book contains an overview on geography, sport, history, religion, language, music, dance and wars. It includes the descriptions of the most significant cities. The material is presented in a fascinating form as an experienced teacher created this book. The author teaches the course on “Northern Ireland” at the university. This writer is famous not only for writing historical novels but also for criminal ones. His books are very popular among the English learners.

Total words: 6194
Unique words: 944

Words, you might not know:harbour, jewellery, colourful, lord, craw, boomtown, churchman, celt, unionist, gaelic, defence, causeway, titanic, wheelbarrow, loyalist, celtic, shipyard, marching, cork, stony, mussels, centimeter, thirsty, norwegian, hound, windy, monastery, pub, nationalist.

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Fri, Apr 06, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Cover of book Mutiny on the Bounty by Tim Vicary

What is honor and dignity for an officer? Perhaps it is the most important thing that he must cherish no matter what. In 1787 ship Bounty departs from the coast of England. Officer Christian Fletcher, a young fourteen-year-old assistant officer Peter Heywood, sailor John Adams and captain William Bligh are on the deck, parting with the shores of the homeland. The men are encouraged by the future journey, as they have to visit Tahiti. But they do not even guess what adventures are to happen to them. Not all of them will see their beloved England again. The ship has 33 sailors and 11 officers. The captain is very concerned as it is his first ship. He cares about the sailors but not about his assistant officers, to whom his demands are clearly overstated. The captain's right hand and best friend in the past Christian suffers most form this demanding leadership. A year later, the ship leaves the coast of Tahiti. Christian decides to escape. Sailor John Adams stops him and proposes to solve the problem with the intolerable captain.

Total words: 5582
Unique words: 605

Words, you might not know:tahitian, breadfruit, fryer, topaz, dutchman, hag, mutiny, sinking, centimeter, rum, bounty, midday, underwater, moonlight, nineteen, eighty, trousers, coconut, canoe, reef, seventeen, thirteen, sixty, fourteen, eighteen, excite, sixteen, sailor, sunny, damn, eleven.

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Sat, Mar 31, 2018, Continue reading at the source