to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
we listen to music by Lil Wayne …
question about the Olympics …
about a book on many American summer reading lists.
Story of Edgar Sawtelle" is an exciting book about dogs, family and a very
smart young boy. This best selling novel by David Wroblewski (rub-LES-kee) has
been receiving great critical praise. One New York Times critic called it
"the most enchanting debut novel of the summer." Steve Ember has
Wroblewski spent ten years writing his book while working as a computer program
designer. He knew that he wanted to write a book about the place where he grew
up in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin. And he knew he wanted to write a
realistic book about dogs and their behavior.
"Hamlet" by William Shakespeare greatly influences the story of the
book. It tells about Edgar Sawtelle, whose mother Trudy and father Gar raise a
special kind of dog. Edgar grows up around these dogs and helps his parents run
their business. Edgar was born without the ability to speak, so he must use
sign language to communicate with his family and the dogs.
Edgar's uncle Claude returns after years away. Claude kills Edgar's father and
Edgar flees with his dogs into the forest wilderness of Wisconsin.
Mister Wroblewski reads a part of his book. It tells the story from the point
of view of Almondine, Edgar's dog and best friend. When Trudy is pregnant with
Edgar, Almondine senses but cannot understand what event the Sawtelles seem to
be waiting for.
DAVID WROBLEWSKY: "Eventually, she understood the
house was keeping a secret from her. All that winter and all through the spring
Almondine had known something was going to happen, but no matter where she
looked she couldn't find it."
later describes the moment when Almondine first sees baby Edgar after he and
his parents have returned from the hospital.
DAVID WROBLEWSKY: "Trudy sat in her chair in the
living room, a white blanket in her arms. Doctor Papineaux was on the couch,
hat on his lap. Almondine approached, quivering with curiosity. She slid her
muzzle carefully along Trudy's shoulder stopping just inches from the blanket.
narrowed her eyes and inhaled a dozen short breaths. Faint huffing sounds
emanated from the fabric and a delicate pink hand jerked out. Five fingers
splayed and relaxed and so managed to express a yawn.
would be the first time Almondine saw Edgar's hands. In a way, that would be
the first time she saw him make a sign."
"The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" is over five
hundred fifty pages long. But it is so well written and striking in its
observations about animals and people that you do not even notice the length.
And, it has a very unexpected and dramatic ending.
Our listener question this week comes from China. Mister
Miao wants to know about the Olympic summer games that open next month in the
Chinese capital, Beijing.
Tens of thousands of international athletes, fans, heads of
states and other officials will gather for the opening ceremonies August
eighth. Chinese movie director Zhang Yimou designed the show. It will include a
huge fireworks display, the parade of athletes and thousands of performers. The
ceremony will also remember the millions of victims of the powerful earthquake
in Sichuan province.
One of the most exciting opening ceremony moments, however,
remains a secret. Runners have transported the flame for the Olympic torch from
Olympia, Greece around the world to China. But Chinese officials have not said
who will use the flame to light the Olympic torch in Beijing.
Which brings us to some Olympic history. The torch that
marked the first Olympic games was lit more than two thousand seven hundred
years ago. A fire burned in the ancient Greek city of Olympia during celebrations
to honor the god Zeus. Men took part in foot races. More races and other sports
were added later.
Greece held these Olympic games every four years for the
next one thousand years. But the ancient Romans banned them in the fourth
The modern Olympic games began more than one hundred years
ago. Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France proposed a world celebration of sports
like the ancient games of Greece.
The first modern Olympics were held in the Greek capital,
Athens, in eighteen ninety-six. Athletes from eight countries competed in ten
sports. The purpose was to help athletes develop strength and values through
competition. It also provided a way for athletes of all nations to become
The Olympic symbol of five linked rings represents this
friendship. The rings represent the linking of the major populated areas of the
world—Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the two American continents,
represented by one ring. The colors of the rings are blue, yellow, black, green
and red. The flag of each nation competing in the games has at least one of
these colors. Under the rings is the Olympic saying in Latin: "Citius,
Altius, Fortius." The words mean "Swifter, Higher, Stronger."
You can hear more about the upcoming Olympics on the VOA
Special English program EXPLORATIONS on Wednesday, July twenty-third.
music artist Dwayne Carter Junior, better known as Lil Wayne, is breaking
traditions in the rap music industry. With his unusual voice, he is different
from rappers who are all beginning to sound similar. Faith Lapidus tells us
Wayne has been called the best rapper alive. His latest album, "Tha Carter
III," was released on June tenth. It sold more than one million copies in
its first week. Here is "Lollipop" from that album.
Twenty-five-year-old Dwayne Carter was born in New Orleans,
Louisiana. He met the head of a record company when he was just eleven years
old. Lil Wayne began working on a form of rap music called free-styling as a
teenager. Over the next few years, he released music with his rap artist group
Hot Boys. And he performed on other artists' albums.
By nineteen ninety-nine, he had left Hot Boys and was
releasing his own music. But it was not until he released "Tha
Carter" in two thousand four that he became famous. By this time, Lil
Wayne had developed his own voice, which separated him from other top rappers.
Today, Lil Wayne is popular with more than just hip-hop
fans. He is one of the most successful rap artists in America. We leave you
with "A Milli" from the album "Tha Carter III."
Barbara Klein. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
written by Dana Demange, Elizabeth Stern and Caty Weaver, who was also the
producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web
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