ACT Reading Practice Test 87: PROSE FICTION

DIRECTIONS: Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary.


PROSE FICTION: This passage is adapted from the novel Homecoming: A Novel by Bernhard Schllnk (©2006 by Bernhard Schlink).

Once the supper table was cleared, the dishes
washed, and the flowers in the garden watered. my
grandparents would set to work on the Novels for Your
Reading Pleasure and Entertainment series. They
5worked at the dining table, pulling the ceiling lamp
down and reading and editing the manuscripts, the page
proofs, and the bound galleys. Sometimes they did
some writing as well: they insisted that each volume
conclude with a brief didactic essay, and when none
10was forthcoming they supplied it themselves. They
wrote about the importance of toothbrushing, the battle
against snoring, the principles of beekeeping, the his-
?tory of the postal system. They also rewrote passages in
the novels when they found them awkward, unbeliev-
15able, or immodest or when they felt they could make a
better point. The publisher gave them a free band.

When I was old enough to stay up after the black-
bird bad finisbed its song, I was allowed to sit with
them. The light of the lamp just above the table, the
20dark of the room surrounding it-I loved it. I would
read or learn a poem or write a letter to my mother or
an entry in my summer diary. Whenever I interrupted
my grandparents to ask a question, I got a friendly
answer. I was afraid though to ask too many: I could
25sense their concentration. The remarks they exchanged
were sparse. and my questions sounded garrulous. So I
read, wrote, and studied in silence. From time to time I
lifted my bead cautiously, so as not to be noticed. and
observed them: Grandfather. his dark eyes now riveted
30on the work before him, now gazing out, lost. into the
distance, and Grandmother, who did everything with a
light touch, reading with a smile and making correc-
tions with a quick and easy band. Yet the work must
have been much harder on her than on him: while he
35cared only for history books and had a neutral,objec-
tive relationship to the novels they dealt with, she loved
literature, fiction as well as verse, and had a sure feel-
?ing for it; she must have suffered from having to spend
so much time on such banal texts.

40I was not allowed to read them. If I grew curious
when they talked about one or another novel, I was told
in no uncertain terms I was not to read it: there was a
better novel or a better novella on the subject by
Conrad Ferdinand Meyer or Gottfried Keller or another
45classic Swiss writer. Grandmother would then.get up
and bring me the better book.

When they gave me the extra copies of the bound
galleys to take home as scrap paper. they made a point
of reminding me not to read them. They would not have
50given them to me at all bad paper not been so expensive
at the time and my mother's income so low. Everything
I did not have to hand in to the teacher I wrote on the
back of the bound galleys: Latin, Greek, and English
vocabulary words, first drafts of compositions, plot
55summaries, descriptions of famous paintings, world
capitals, rivers and mountains, important dates, and
notes to classmates a few desks away. I liked the thick
pads of thick paper, and because I was a good boy I
refrained from reading the printed sides of the pages for
60years.

During the first few summers my grandparents
found the life I was leading with them too isolated. and
tried to bring me into contact with children my own
age. They knew their neighbors and by talking to a
65number of families arranged for me to be invited to
birthday parties, outings, and visits to the local swim-
ming pool. Since it took a lot of doing and they did it
out of love, I did not dare resist, but I was always
happy when the event was over and I could return to
70them. Friendships might have grown out of these con-
tacts bad we seen one another more often. but the Swiss
children's summer holidays began soon after I arrived.
and they would disperse, returning only shortly before
my departure.

75So I spent my summer holidays without playmates
my own age; I spent them taking the same walks to the
lake and hikes through a ravine, around a pond, and up
a hill with a view of the lake and the Alps; I spent them
going on the same excursions to the Rapperswill
80fortress, Ufenau Island. the cathedral, the museums
These hikes and excursions were as much a part of the
summer as harvesting apples, berries, lettuce, and veg-
etables. hoeing beds. weeding, snipping wilted flowers,
trimming hedges, mowing grass, tending the compost
85keeping the watering can filled, and doing the watering.
just as these operations recurred naturally, so the recur-
?rence of the other activities struck me as natural. The
never-changing evenings at the table under the lamp
thus belonged to the natural rhythm of summer.

1. It can most reasonably be inferred from the passage that the narrator felt that the summers with his grandparents were:

A. stiflingly quiet
B. frustratingly busy.
C. highly energizing.
D. enjoyably routine.

2. It can most reasonably be inferred that the narrator's grandparents believed the Novels for Your Reading Pleasure and Entertainment series consisted of texts that:

F. were essential leisure reading for educated people.
G. were mediocre in quality.
H. should have been taught in classrooms.
J. used sophisticated language.

3. Details in the passage most strongly suggest that during the school year, the narrator lived with:

A. his grandparents only.
B. his mother but not his grandparents.
C. his grandparents and mother in the same house.
D. other students at a private boarding school.

4. The passage characterizes the narrator's grandparents' work on the Novels for Your Reading Pleasure and Entertainment series as:

F. writing the novels and most of the essays.
G. editing the novels and writing each of the essars,
H. editing the novels and essays in addition to writing an occasional essay.
J. reading the novels in order to write essays that analyzed them

5. The narrator speculates that while his grandmother worked with the Novels for Your Reading Pleasure and Entertainment series, her feelings about the texts con-trasted with:

A. her written comments on the galleys.
B. her passions about working in the garden.
C. the smile that she wore on her face.
D. the comments about the series that she directed to the narrator's grandfather.

6. The narrator's reaction to his grandparents' arrange-ments for him to spend time with other families can best be described as:

F. annoyance, because be disliked the neighbors' children.
G. relief. because he found the time with his grand-parents to be isolating.
H. happiness, because he struggled with making friends on his own.
J. acceptance, because be felt he owed bis grandparents for their efforts.

7. At, it is used in line 10. the word forthcoming most nearly means:

A. provided.
B. willing.
C. candid.
D. likeable.

8. Which of the following statements best captures how the narrator portrays his grandparents attitudes toward literature?

F. His grandfather felt indifferent about literature, while his grandmother had an emotional connec-tion to it.
G. His grandfather was passionate about reading literature. while bis grandmother preferred to edit and write it.
H. Both of his grandparents believed that literature should be read in school under the guidance of a teacher.
J. Both of his grandparents wanted to write their own literature because they considered most novels flawed.

9. The main point of the third paragraph (lines 40-46) is that the narrator's grandmother:

A. limited her own reading to classic books by Swiss authors.
B. insisted that the narrator read books other than the ones included in the Novels for Your Reading Pleasure and Entertainment series.
C. turned toward books by Swiss authors as sources for her essays.
D. referenced as many Swiss authors as possible in her work on the Novels for Your Reading Pleasure and Entertainment series.

10. The narrator indicates that he read the texts on the bound galleys:

F. after his grandparents went to bed at night.
G. whenever his grandparents asked him to help them edit.
H. once the books were published.
J. when he was years older