So a real grab bag in the “You Should Read More” column this  month.  That means it was a good reading month for me… but maybe not a great month for you if you are looking for stuff perfectly suited for TOEFL prep.  In any case, let’s get right to it…

  • First up, I will remind you of the two book reviews I wrote this month. First up, check out my review of the new edition of TOEFL Essential Words.  The book remains a great resource for TOEFL prep, though the new edition has a bunch of errors in its description of the shorter TOEFL test.  Whoops.  Also, it seems to only be available as an ebook right now.  Next up, I reviewed IELTS 17.  Obviously the IELTS is a totally different test, but the articles used in the reading section are great practice if you want to read academic content.
  • Next, I read the September/October 2023 issue of Analog Science Fiction & Fact.  As always, you won’t be able to read any of its content unless you have a subscription, but I will mention that the issue’s “Guest Editorial” by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Brian Gifford about sacrificing privacy to increase safety inspired the creation of a specific TOEFL academic discussion question for a client.   And a poem called “Object Permanence” by Marissa Lingen inspired the creation of a speaking question about, uh, object permanence. 
  • Later, I finally pulled Stanley Kaplan’s autobiography Test Pilot off my shelf.  If you are into the history of standardized testing in the USA and/or the history of preparation for standardized testing, this one is worth finding.  Here’s what I wrote on Goodreads: “A very short book, but interesting if you are into the history of standardized testing in the USA. You’ll read about Kaplan’s founding, its tussles with ETS and the Princeton Review, and about the sale of the company to the fine folks over at the Washington Post. I wish Kaplan had written more about his interactions with ETS regarding the SAT, as that is still pretty relevant to today’s world.”
  • Following along (but still behind) with the Norton Library Podcast, I read Oedipus the King.  I don’t recommend it, but I mention it here because I enjoy posting updates about this read-along.
  • Finally, I read the September 2023 issue of History Today.  I liked Jane Eyre Goes to the Theatre, about an unauthorized theatrical production of the famous novel that launched shortly after the publication of the famous novel.  Back in the day, it seems, anyone could do anything they wanted with someone else’s intellectual property. Also worth checking out is Signs of the Zodiac: The Dendera Dating Controversy, about the discovery of the Dendera Zodiac in Egypt and its arrival in Paris.  

That’s all for this month, but check back in about 30 days for fresh recommendations.  Keep studying.

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