2

The real reason why I should not like to be back in the book trade for life, however, is that while I was in it I lost my love of books. A bookseller cannot always tell the truth about his books, and that gives him a dislike for them. There was a time when I really did love books—loved the sight and smell and feel of them—if they were fifty or more years old, that is. Nothing pleased me quite so much as to buy a bargain lot of them on sale for several pounds. There is a peculiar flavour about the unexpected books you pick up in that kind of collection: little-known eighteenth-century poets, or out-of-date geography books. For occasional reading—in your bath, for example, or late at night when you are too tired to go to bed—there is nothing as good as a very old picture story-book.

I have two questions:

  1. In the passage, why does the author use simple present tense in the last two sentences (in bold) rathern than simple past tense?
  2. According to the passage, does the author love books again after he quit his job as a bookseller?
  • 1
    Actually the whole text is written in present tense. Even before the last two sentences the author used present tense. While talking about the past, he used past tense. That is natural. And as for your question #2, there is no indication of such thing in the passage provided. By the way what is the source of the passage? – Man_From_India Feb 8 '15 at 4:10
  • @Man_From_India This is a passage from a test for senior high shcool. "There was a time when I really did love books—loved the sight and smell and feel of them—if they were fifty or more years old, that is. Nothing pleased me quite so much as to buy a bargain lot of them on sale for several pounds." use simple past tense, so I am wondering the following sentences should also use simple past tense since they are talking about things happened in the past. If simple present tense is used, then things happened in the present are talked. Am I right? – April Feb 8 '15 at 4:29
  • 1
    See in the first sentence the author used the present tense. Again in last few sentences he used present tense. Consider the sentence There is a peculiar flavor in the unexpected book, the flavor is still there. But if he wrote something like this There was a peculiar flavor in the unexpected book, it implies that the flavor is gone. – Man_From_India Feb 8 '15 at 4:35
  • You need to list what effort you have put into answering these questions. Including what specific problem you have with the passage. Listing test questions and having us solve them is off-topic. – user6951 Feb 8 '15 at 5:06
2

First question. To simplify, there are four main ideas:

  1. I don't want to go back to the book trade.
  2. I lost my love of books when I was in the book trade.
  3. Before I went into the book trade, I loved books.
  4. There is something special about certain kinds of books.

The first idea is true now. Present tense. The second idea is something that happened in the past, so past tense. The third idea is also a state that existed in the past. Also past tense. Finally, the fourth idea is also something that is true now, so also present tense.

The rest of the text elaborates on the four main ideas.

Second question. It's not stated, but can be reasonably inferred by the fact that the author finds something special about certain kinds of books in the present. So I would say probably.

  • As for the passage, my teacher said: "The books preferred by the author should be those valuable ones bought on sale." Does "valuable ones bought on sale" proper? I think the verb "should be" is used to ask the author's present preference while "bought on sale" is the author's past perference and we don't know his present perference. Am i right? – April Feb 8 '15 at 5:49
  • The passage has this: "Nothing pleased me quite so much as to buy a bargain lot of them on sale for several pounds." This means that the author would buy (in the past) a box of books at a bargain price (several pounds for many books), and find some unexpected treasures in the lot. (There isn't anything said about value, but presumably the author would sell them at a profit, being in the book business.) The sentence beginning "There is a particular flavour..." means that the author feels the same way about those books now as when he was in the book business. – BobRodes Feb 8 '15 at 5:58
  • @April: you are right. "Should be" is the wrong tense to describe what the author enjoyed doing in the past. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Feb 8 '15 at 13:11

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