For many of us, summer is a time to catch up on some reading. In this month’s Spread the Word, we’ll be looking at expressions related to the world of books and reading.

So, are you a bookworm? That’s someone who loves to read. We can also refer to a book lover or an avid reader. If a particular book really grabs your interest, we can call it a page-turner; a book that’s so good that you can’t put it down.

We can use the concept of the book to describe people. As in Spanish, a person can be an open book, but in English we can also refer to closed books – people who reveal very little about themselves – people who give little away. If you know someone who is very easy to understand and you always know what they’re feeling, we say that you can read them like a book.



And what do you think the oldest trick in the book is? Well, you decide, as long as you think it’s some kind of dishonest action that has been used many times before, for example: It was the oldest trick in the book – one guy distracted me while another stole my wallet!

You can also be in someone’s good or bad books – depending on whether they’re happy with you or not: I got to work late this morning so I’m in my boss’s bad books.

And if you take a leaf out of someone’s book, you copy what they do because they’re successful at it: maybe I should take a leaf out of Rick’s book and start coming in early every morning.

We are now going to look at a few examples of how literature has given us characters that have made their way into the dictionary. One of the most used examples is Big Brother, the dictator character who watches over the population in George Orwell’s 1984. A go-to term whether we’re talking about increased security in today’s world or reality TV.


Prince Charming from the fairy tale Cinderella is another fictional character who is often cited, this time to refer to the perfect male partner: attractive, kind and considerate.


Finally, we have two characters in one thanks to R.L Stevenson’s creations, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide. We can refer to someone as a Jekyll and Hyde character when their mood fluctuates – happy and friendly one minute, and angry and aggressive the next.


So, we hope you have some time for some summer reading, whether you want to immerse yourself in the latest bestseller or revisit a favourite classic. Happy reading!