Pleasant Reads for Language Growth and Vocabulary Extension

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Welcome to the third article in my four-step series, exploring effective methods for expanding your vocabulary through reading! These series uncover strategies on how to use pleasant reads for language growth, improve your language skills and discover new ways to enhance your word knowledge.

As someone passionate about language learning, writing, and the immense power of words, I’ve personally witnessed the incredible benefits that reading can have on vocabulary development.

When we engage with books, we not only get to go on exciting adventures but also expand our linguistic abilities in ways we never imagined.

Today, I’m delighted to share my insights on how reading can be a valuable tool for enriching your vocabulary.

In this blog post, we’ll continue exploring chapter 1 of the captivating novel “Harsh Affairs.”

Together, we’ll delve into the text, uncovering new words, phrases, and idioms along the way.

Have you found a cozy spot?

Now, take a moment to relax and immerse yourself in the joy of reading as we embark on this vocabulary-boosting journey.

Text for Exploration: Chapter 2 Of The Novel “Harsh affairs”(Extract)

NEW YORK pleasant reads for language growth


I did everything possible to leave at five, but it was a busy


A number of unexpected clients showed up at the office, all vying for my attention.  I dictated a couple of important letters and gave instructions

to my secretary to send several e-mails. At the last minute, I Skyped

a regular client located in Atlanta. We talked for a long time

about his portfolio.

It was already quite dark outside when I finally left the office.

I was planning to finish earlier, but when I arrived at the entrance

to my building, the clock said nine. The front, automated door

opened, and the concierge told me:

“Good evening, Mr. Gerald. Sir, a young girl is waiting for you

in the lobby.”

I was still lost in my thoughts and looked at him astonished,

but before he could explain more, I heard a very familiar voice:


When I turned around to see where the voice was coming

from, I saw Lucy in the lobby coming towards me.

She was wearing sweatpants, a hoody, and ugly Ugg boots

and listening to music on her cell. She looked like any other teen in

the city. As her father said in the morning, she was not an ordinary

girl but here and now, I could see only a teen and nothing else.

Did that crazy man tell her already?

* * *

Lucy is almost eleven years younger than I am, and I have always

considered her a person from another generation. We didn’t spend a lot

of time together as kids, and I hadn’t seen her at all while I attended

Harvard. I only met her again at Edward’s premiere on Broadway four

months ago. Edward, our cousin, stands out as the most renowned figure in our family. With his captivating talent, he has graced the screens as an esteemed actor and a beloved movie star.

The premiere was his first performance on a Broadway stage. It was

an occasion to celebrate, and the whole family attended.

Before the play, in the foyer of the theatre, I met Elliott and his wife

Pamela with a girl that I barely recognized as Lucy. She used to be a cute

kid, and now she was an attractive teenager.

She looked hot – exactly my type: long blond hair, long legs, and well-shaped boobs. The strapless green dress she wore matched the color of her almond-shaped emerald eyes. The dress, short and provocative, was low cut, and looking at her made my head feel dizzy.

We didn’t have time to speak because the play was about to start.

But, at the special dinner party after the show, I had a chance to talk

to her, as we happened to be at the same table.

As I sat across from her at the dinner table, I couldn’t help but feel captivated by her presence. She looked stunning, with her hair cascading down her back and a smile that lit up the room.

When our eyes met, I noticed a glint of interest in hers. But it wasn’t just simple curiosity – there was something more there, something mysterious that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It was as if there was a hidden depth to her gaze that hinted at an underlying attraction.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that she was drawn to me in a way that went beyond mere politeness or friendly conversation. It was an electric connection that crackled in the air between us, pulling us together like magnets.

“How’s school?” I asked, trying to make small talk and ease the tension between us.

“Going well. Almost done,” she replied, her voice soft and melodic.

“You’re graduating this year, right?” I continued, genuinely interested in learning more about her.

“In June,” she said with a smile.

“Great. I don’t think you’re studying all the time. What do you like to do for fun?”

“Oh, a lot of stuff. Sports, watching movies. I’m also modeling,” she said, a hint of shyness in her voice.

“I can see that you would be successful as a model. You look breathtaking,” I said, unable to take my eyes off her. She blushed, and I felt my heart skip a beat.

It was at that moment that I knew I had found someone truly special.

“Thanks, cousin. What do you do for fun?” she asked, smiling warmly at me.

“Well, hang out with friends, go to the gym. I’m a busy guy,” I replied, returning her smile.

As we finished up our dinner and dessert, I felt a sudden burst of energy. The music that had been playing softly in the background seemed to be calling out to me, beckoning me to move.

“You want to dance?” I asked her, feeling the thrill of excitement coursing through me.

“Yeah. I’d love to,” she said, and I felt a grin spread across my face.

Without another word, I stood up and held out my hand to her. She took it, her fingers fitting perfectly in mine, and we made our way over to the dance floor.

As the music swelled around us, I pulled her close, my hand on the small of her back, and we began to move together. Her body fit against mine like a missing puzzle piece, and I felt a sense of completeness wash over me.

She was a good dancer, and I was sorry when the music stopped, and

she said:

“I’m thirsty. Let’s go to the bar and get some refreshments.”

“Okay,” I said, and then we heard a voice behind us:

“Oh, my favorite cousins!”

We both turned.

It was Edward.

* * *

From a young age, Edward was a creative person: playing roles,

coming up with different stories and performing them.

His dream was to study acting.

Deviations from the family rules never worked out well.

Edward isn’t an exception. He was pushed towards the traditional

career path and went to study at Harvard. After enormous, painful

efforts, he graduated from the MBA Program, as Gerald did.

But instead of joining the bank, like the rest of us, he went to

Hollywood. There he entered the movie industry and started playing

small roles on TV. He became famous after starring in a television series,

some soap operas, and films. His fame reached New York, not only as a

movie star but also as one of the most popular bohemians. Then my crazy

cousin came back to New York because he was doing a play in a Broadway theater.

Eddy had left the home of his conservative parents, Oliver and

Kimberly Gerald, a large mansion near New York, and now he was living

in one wonderful studio next to Broadway.

Eddy’s father, Oliver Gerald, is another member of our family who

has a reason to hate Elliott.

He continues to work for the bank, but his status as an Executive

Vice President will be the peak of his career. When his father reorganized

the bank, Oliver didn’t get a promotion. Instead, he now reports to his younger brother. He lives with this humiliation and disappointment every day.

His son is another disappointment, as Oliver considers acting as an activity

for losers.

Edward was living in his world, the world of acting. Bank operations,

money transfers and financial transactions were just boring

activities for him. He was interested in money just to secure a luxurious

life for himself and to be able to host extravagant, costly parties for his


He referred clients to the bank–people in the entertainment industry

with projects that needed financing. When the bank financed these projects, Edward received commissions. These referrals were his only contribution to the family business.

                                                 * * *

Edward looks much younger than his thirty-one years. Blond, tall, and well-built, he wears expensive, brand-name clothes designed to look,

unpretentious and casual. With the boyish smile of a kind, naive, teenage-

er, he is charming and glamorous. His appearance, however, is deceiving.

Hollywood’s games are no less brutal than Wall Street’s deals, and only

the strongest and most dedicated players can survive. If you look closely

you will find the stubborn mouth and strong, hard jaw of a man capable

of being one of the survivors. Such a shark jaw was necessary

for Hollywood.

* * *

“Thanks, guys, for coming. It is so nice to see you here tonight.”

Lucy hugged him.

“Eddy, you’re amazing! I’m so proud of you!”

“Thanks, sweety.”

“I cannot believe I’m hugging a real movie star. I’m sorry, Eddy, if

I’m annoying. Don’t your fans drive you crazy?”

“Oh, let me tell ya. Robert, I need to talk to you about one of my new

projects as a producer. I want to put some money into a business-oriented

reality show. My new girlfriend is a television journalist and the host

of a business program. I need your professional advice on some issues.”

“Sounds interesting. Call me so we can talk.”

“I enrolled in The UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television and

established my own company Gerald Productions. I want to talk about

that project too.”

“Okay. Not a problem. You did a lot of stuff, bro.”

Lucy looked bored. She interrupted me.

“Come on, boys. You can speak about business later. Robert, here is

my cell. Can you take a picture of us? I want to post it on my Facebook.

Do you want to join, Robert? Come here with us. I’ll take a picture of the

three of us. Okay, I’ll download them now.”

“Oh, look who’s here,” said Eddy.

I looked behind me and saw Tom Arkwright, one of my classmates at

Harvard. He was backing some of Eddy’s projects. We looked at each

other with tension. His lips curved in a restrained smile, but his eyes

remained cold blue.

“Good evening, Robert.”

“Hi, Tom.”

“Tom, you know our cousin Lucy, right?” asked Eddy.

“No,” said Tom. “I never had that pleasure.”

“Really?” Eddy was surprised. “But I clearly remember you met her

at my birthday party. Oh, it was Cassidy, my other cousin, of course.

Well then, let me introduce you to my cousin Lucy. She is graduating

from high school this year. Lucy, this is Tom Arkwright, a banker and one

of my business partners.”

“How are you, Lucy,” Tom said kindly, putting on his restrained

smile again while handing out his hand.

“I’m doing fine. Thanks. How are you?”

“Oh, I’m excited. Enjoying the show and this awesome party.”

“I’m going to grab another drink, guys. I’ll be right back,” said


“I’ll come with you to get some juice,” said Lucy. We’ll be back in a

minute, Robert.”

Tom and I stayed put.

The tension between us was hanging in the air.

He broke the silence first.

“I heard you have been promoted to VP, Robert. Congrats.”

“Thanks. How are things with you?”

“Not too bad. Let’s hope that after the last election’s results became

known, the market will get out of this crisis. I’m starting to get tired of

the politicians’ games.”

“As far as I know, you have a special role in these games.”

“Well, strong words. My games are quite little.”

“Are you sure?”

“Robert, will you ever forgive me?”

“Would you forgive someone who steals the girl you love and then

throws her away like she’s a piece of garbage?”

He didn’t answer and continued to stare at me silently, but the pride

in his eyes was gone.

Just in time, Eddy and Lucy came back.

“Ok, I’m going to see where my partner is, and I’ll talk to you later,

Eddy. Lucy, it was a pleasure meeting you, and I hope to see you again.

Maybe we can go out for a drink sometime.”

At that moment, I realized I wanted her for myself.

“I’m not sure if that’s a good idea,” I interrupted him rudely.

“I understand. I’ll be on my way then.”

He turned to me, and we stood and stared at each other with resentment.

The memories went back to Harvard and our friendship. He cheated,

not me.

I hated him and couldn’t forgive him. He hated me because I would

not give him my forgiveness.

It was not the pain associated with him stealing my girlfriend – that

pain had already gone away, nor was it that they both had betrayed me

that kept me from forgiving him. It was that I had lost hope that I

could ever trust anyone again.

It was then that I started drinking again.

“Bye, Robert. It was a pleasure to see you.”

I didn’t answer.

At that moment, an attractive reporter from People magazine asked

Eddy for a short interview, and they both left. I asked Lucy to have another


As Lucy put her hands on my shoulders and hugged me, I felt a mix of desire and nervousness, as I held her close, her body pressed against mine.

Her hair smelled seductive, and it was making my head spin. I was captivated by her scent, and every time she moved, it was like a new wave of desire washed over me. I tried to focus on the music and not on the sensations running through my body, but it was proving difficult.

“Why do you hate that guy?” Lucy asked, and I was surprised at how observant she was. I had been trying to hide my emotions, but Lucy had caught on.

“Was it that obvious?” I asked, not sure if I was ready to share my story. “Yeah, it was all because of some girl, right? Your girlfriend?” Lucy continued to surprise me with her intuition.

I started laughing.

“I’m impressed, Lucy. Yes, you are right, it was about a girl, my girlfriend.”

The music was loud, but I could still hear her over the beat.

“Do you still love her?” Lucy asked, her eyes full of concern.

It took me a minute before I answered.

“I don’t think so.”

The truth was, I wasn’t sure how I felt. The pain of the past was still fresh in my mind, but I was trying to move on.

 “Is she still with him? Just curious,” Lucy probed, sensing my hesitation. “No. He left her after a month,” I answered, pain washing over me.

“Wow! You still suffer from that, don’t you?”

Lucy’s tone was sympathetic, and I appreciated her kindness. It took me another minute before I answered.

“It was three years ago, and the fact that she chose him was painful, but now it’s part of the past. I have to move forward.”

 “Yeah.” Lucy agreed, and I could see she understood.

We kept dancing, and I felt the rhythm of the music taking over. I looked into her eyes, gathering my courage, and said:

“I just met a girl, my cousin actually, that could help me. Do you want to?”

I knew it was a risk, but something about Lucy made me want to take chances.

She gave me the sweetest smile in the world.

“Yes, I do,” she said, and I knew that this was the start of something special.

( To be continued in the next blog post)

Hey, dear readers! How is your day going? I would love to have you on my website. It’s called English Study Helper and is where you can find tips, strategies, and resources on improving your English faster and more effectively. Hope to see you there!

Build and Develop Vocabulary: Use Pleasant Reads for Language Growth

Stands out

 is an idiom that means to be noticeable or remarkable among others. It conveys the idea of being distinct or unique in a positive way.


  1. His remarkable musical talent and captivating stage presence helped him stand out among the other contestants in the singing competition.
  2. The bold and vibrant colors of her artwork made it stand out in the gallery, catching the attention of art enthusiasts.
  3. With his innovative approach and groundbreaking research, he has become a prominent figure in the scientific community, standing out among his peers.

I couldn’t help

is an idiom that is often used to express the inability to resist or prevent a certain action or feeling. It implies that something is so compelling or noticeable that it prompts an immediate response or reaction.


  1. When I saw the adorable puppy wagging its tail, I couldn’t help but smile and pet it.
  2. The comedian’s hilarious jokes had the entire audience laughing uncontrollably—I couldn’t help but join in.
  3. As soon as the mouthwatering aroma of freshly baked cookies reached my nose, I couldn’t help but indulge in one (or two!).

Glint of interest

can be considered an idiom. It is often used metaphorically to describe a subtle or fleeting expression of interest or curiosity in someone’s eyes. The phrase “glint of interest” suggests a brief spark or gleam that indicates someone’s intrigue or fascination with a particular subject or idea.


  1. As the professor mentioned the rare archaeological artifact, a glint of interest appeared in the student’s eyes, indicating a desire to learn more about it.
  2. When the children heard about the possibility of a surprise trip to the amusement park, a glint of interest lit up their faces, revealing their excitement and anticipation.
  3. As the conversation turned to the topic of space exploration, a glint of interest could be seen in the scientist’s eyes, showing their fascination with the subject and their eagerness to share their knowledge.

Stayed put

is an idiom that means to remain in one place or to not move from a certain position or location. It implies staying still, not making any changes, or not taking any action.


  1. Despite the chaos around them, the young children stayed put under the guidance of their teacher, patiently waiting for further instructions.
  2. The hikers encountered a sudden thunderstorm while on the trail, but they wisely stayed put under a large tree for shelter until the rain subsided.
  3. The driver was advised by the police to stay put and wait for assistance after their car broke down on the highway, ensuring their safety while help was on the way.

Practical Exercises To Boost Your Vocabulary

QUIZ pleasant reads for language growth

Vocabulary Exercise: Read again the passage that includes the phrase “stands out.” Write down five synonyms or similar expressions that convey the same meaning. For example, notable, remarkable, catches the eye, distinguishes itself, or makes an impression.

Speaking Exercise: Choose a topic that interests you and discuss it with a partner. Use the phrase “I couldn’t help” to express your enthusiasm or reaction towards the topic. For example, “I couldn’t help but be amazed by the breathtaking scenery on my recent trip.”

Listening Exercise: Listen to a podcast or watch a video that sparks your interest. Take note of moments when you hear or see something intriguing. Describe those moments using the phrase “a glint of interest.” For instance, “I noticed a glint of interest in the speaker’s eyes when they mentioned their groundbreaking research.”


Choose the correct answer for each question:

  1. Which phrase best describes something that is particularly noticeable or remarkable?

 a) I couldn’t help

 b) Glint of interest

c) Stands out

  1. What does the phrase “I couldn’t help” imply?

a) A sudden burst of laughter

b) Inability to resist or prevent something

c) Showing interest or curiosity

d) Remaining still in a specific position

  1. Which phrase suggests a small, fleeting indication of interest or curiosity?

a) Stands out

b) Glint of interest

d) Stayed put

  1. Which phrase means to remain in a particular position or not take action?

a) Glint of interest

b) Stayed put

c) I couldn’t help

d) Stands out


  1. c)
  2. b)
  3. b)
  4. d)

This quiz tests your understanding of the phrases and their meanings. It allows you to assess your knowledge and reinforce your comprehension of the idiomatic expressions provided.

Conclusion: Pleasant Reads for Language Growth and Vocabulary Extension

In conclusion, pleasant reads for language growth is an excellent method for vocabulary extention. Throughout this series, we are reading chapters from the captivating novel “Harsh Affairs” to discover new words, expressions, and idioms. Moreover, I provided practical exercises incorporating these words to support your learning and retention. I encourage you to maintain your reading habit and engage with the words we’ve explored.

Stay tuned for my upcoming blog post, where we’ll read another chapter, continuing our exciting vocabulary learning. Until then, happy reading and see you soon!

Thanks for reading!

With love and respect,


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