Let’s talk about books…

Illustration from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. ©Helbling Languages

Illustration from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. © Helbling Languages

We love books and we love talking about them. The language of books is fascinating, and there are lots of fun quotes and sayings about books and reading in general. Let’s look at some idioms you can then share with your students. It’s important to understand what these phrases mean and to use them correctly. Try making sentences using these phrases to describe your own life.


1 ‘Read someone like a book’

Use this when you really think that you understand someone’s feelings and thoughts well.

2 ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’

Do you often form an opinion of someone or something based on what they look like? If your answer is yes, you probably judge a book by its cover.

3 ‘An open book’

If you tell have no secrets and you like talking about yourself, you are probably an open book to a lot of people.

4 ‘Cook the books

If someone is cooking the books, they are illegally changing financial records to get more money.

5 ‘The oldest trick in the book’

If you keep using the same old trick over and over again and people still believe you, you are using the oldest trick in the book.

6 ‘Every trick in the book’

When you really want to convince someone to do something, you might just try every trick in the book to achieve your goal.

7 ‘Take a leaf out of someone’s book’

It might happen that you really admire the way someone is doing something so you just imitate their way.

8 ‘By the book’

Do you teach by the book always following strict lesson plans based on an teaching method?

9 ‘A closed book’

Sometimes we have to accept that certain stories and events in our life are closed books and we cannot change them.

10 ‘In someone’s good books’

How many students are in your good books right now?


1 ‘A chapter’

We often feel like it is time to close a chapter of our life and open a new one.

2 ‘A page’

When it comes to the importance of reading, I and my colleagues are on the same page.

3 ‘Curl up with a book’

Where is your favourite place in the house to curl up with a book?

4 ‘Read between the lines’

Are you good at reading between the lines and do you immediately understand the implicit meaning that someone is trying to tell you?

5 ‘Bookworm’
If you read at least one book every week, you are probably a bookworm or bibliophile.

Do you have a favourite idiom about books? Do these expressions translate well in your own language? How many of them do you think your students understand?

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