Another month, another list of recommended readings!
I ended my subscription to National Geographic, so there won’t be any more recommendations from that magazine after this month. Same for Science News. Moving forward, I want a bit more variety in this column! I should mention that National Geographic has sent about ten letters to my home over the past couple months, begging me to resubscribe. I wonder how much money they’ve spent on that.
Anyways, I did read the July and August issues of National Geographic this month. A few articles stood out:
- “Unexpected Twists” is a fun article about a viral photograph of a shark, with plenty of academic vocabulary about how scientists do their work.
- “The Priceless Primate Fossils Found in a Garbage Dump” is a great article about paleontologists at work. Dinosaurs remain a common topic on the TOEFL.
- “Two Gladiators Enter…” is a wonderful (and long) article about gladiators in the Roman Empire. As I’ve mentioned here a few times, history is the most common subject on the TOEFL reading section.
- “These See-Through Frogs are Full of Surprises” is an article about, well, see-through frogs. Unique animal features often show up in speaking questions 3 and 4.
I also read a few books this month! First up, I read yet another travel book by Colin Thubron. This time I tackled “Among the Russians,” an account of his trip by car through the Soviet Union in the early 1980s. While I have been hesitant to recommend his other travel books because of their “fancy” use of the English language, this one is a totally different beast. The English here is functional and academic without being needlessly poetic. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wants a bit of academic reading practice (and also loves travel). You can get it for free on the Open Library or for cheap on Amazon.
I also read “None of the Above” by David Owen. This book is an investigative look at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the SAT test from the early 1980s. The book is still relevant today as it is 2021 and it looks like the SAT test is finally on its last legs. If you’ve ever been frustrated with ETS, this is the book for you! In addition to being informative, it is also very funny. Consider its opening lines:
“The not-for-profit are different from you and me. Tennis courts, a swimming pool, a baseball diamond, a croquet lawn, private hotel, four hundred acres of woods and rolling hills, cavorting deer, a resident flock of Canada geese. I’m loving every minute here at the Educational Testing Service, the great untaxed, unregulated, unblinking eye of the American meritocracy.”
The book is long out of print, but you can borrow it from the Open Library.
Okay, that’s all for now. Now that I’m done with my science mags, I will start diving into my history mags for the next few months. Stay tuned.