It is time for the latest “You Should Read More” column.  I spent this month traveling, and did much of the following reading on airplanes.  What a life.

I read the August 15, 2022 issue of “The New Yorker.”  Here’s what I liked:

  • The Reluctant Prophet of Effective Altruism is about the concept of “using evidence and reason to figure out how to benefit others as much as possible, and taking action on that basis.”  Practitioners think very carefully about, for instance, how to donate money in ways that help the maximum number of people, even if their choices might raise a few eyebrows.   Others do things like donate every cent they earn (over a certain threshold) to carefully considered charitable causes, a habit called “earning to give.”  I suspect this topic could make a fun TOEFL reading or writing question.
  • Josephine Baker was the Spy France Wanted – And the Spy it Needed is a fascinating biographical sketch of the actress Josephine Baker, with an emphasis on her wartime activities as a spy for the allies.

I also read the October 10, 2022 issue of the same magazine. A few articles stood out:

  • Are You the Same Person You Used to Be?” looks into the topic of whether or not our personality is set in stone when we are young.  We change over time, of course, but our childhoods have a profound impact on the adults we eventually become.  I know mine did.
  • The Bodies in the Cave” discusses the pillaging of Native American artifacts and human remains by amateur collectors.  Grave robbers, basically.  America is one of the few places in the world where people are legally able to keep whatever they can dig up on their property, including human remains.  It is a fascinating (but unsettling) article.
  • Bertrand Piccard’s Laps Around the World is about Bertrand Piccard’s 2014 circumnavigation of the world in his solar powered plane Solar Impulse.  But it is also about his father and grandfather, both very famous explorers.  The Star Trek character Jean-Luc Picard was apparently named after this family.

Lastly, I reach the October 24 issue of the same magazine.  Yeah, I spent this month traveling and only  had access to a stack of New Yorkers.  There might be more variety next month.  I liked:

  • What We’ve Lost Playing the Lottery, which is a history of lotteries in the United States, with a particular emphasis on scratch tickets.  Turns out that public lotteries aren’t as lucrative as we might think they are.  It also turns out that they have as many victims as we think they do.

Since I spent most of the month in Canada, I spent some time at my local public library and found a copy of Collins COBUILD Phrasal Verbs Dictionary.  I really liked it.  Basically, it’s a dictionary of words which highlights their use in various phrasal verbs.  Some words are accompanied by many phrasal verbs (“go” is followed by 12 pages listing everything from “go about” to “go without.”  Meanwhile, others have just a handful (“grind” includes just six phrasal verbs in total).  A supplement at the end lists “new phrasal verbs” that might be of interest to both learners and students.  The middle of the book includes some useless “exercises” that probably look good on an Amazon listing, but seem a bit out of place in this resource.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments