You know, I’ve been really busy this month.  Last month, too.  I think the “enhanced TOEFL” is a hit.  Traffic to this website is up about 20% (to nearly all-time highs).  I’m getting a lot of requests for tutoring and for my usual writing and consulting services.  Earlier this month I spoke to the owner of a major TOEFL prep company and they told me that their sales are higher than ever.  Go figure.  Good for ETS.

But I have found the time to read a few things.

  • Continuing my read-along with the Norton Library Podcast, I read “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B Du Bois.  This one is hard work so I don’t really recommend it to people just trying to improve their TOEFL reading skills.  That said, Du Bois seems to come up in conversation quite a lot these days.  The freshman students at Columbia University that I work with are all exposed to Du Bois and an archival article by him coincidentally appeared in the issue of “Foreign Affairs” I read this month (see below).  Perhaps America-bound students should check him out at some point.


  • I read the May/June issue of “Foreign Affairs.”  This is the last of the magazines I grabbed from Starbucks.  Sad.  This publication isn’t fantastic for TOEFL preparation either, but a few things might be worth checking out.  The Age of Energy Insecurity describes the desire of some in America to wean their nation off of oil supplied by unfriendly regimes.  This could certainly be the topic of a reading on the TOEFL.  Meanwhile, Iraq and the Pathologies of Primacy describes the flawed thinking that led the United States to war in Iraq, and how the same flawed thinking contributes to yet more war in the Middle East.  Nothing like the TOEFL, but I found it insightful.  Check it out if international relations are in your wheelhouse. 


  • I also read the July/August issue of “Apollo: The International Art Magazine.”  It included a lovely article about a cottage named Munstead Wood. And this is not just any cottage – it is an important historic structure in the UK.  Perhaps you may not be interested in cottages or buildings in general, but the field of architecture could show up when you take the test.  I once wrote a whole reading passage about Frank Lloyd Wright for a major TOEFL publication.  One day you might be able to read it!


That’s all for now, but check back in about 30 days for more recommendations.




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