Happy holidays, folks!  I’ve been pretty busy this month, starting in Canada (for family reasons) and flying back home to Korea in the middle of the month.  But I fit in some reading nonetheless.

First up, I read the 19 October 2023 issue of the London Review of Books.  This one is new to my “to read” stack of periodicals, and I’m happy to took out a subscription.  It has a lot of wonderful content.  In this issue I liked:

  • This review of the film “Past Lives.”  That’s my favorite film of 2023.  About childhood friends who grow apart (and reconnect) it feels quite a lot like the movies I used to watch when I was in college two decades ago.  I didn’t think such movies were made nowadays.
  • Rare, Obsolete, New, Peculiar, an article about the  “unsung heroes” who contributed to the Oxford English Dictionary.  As the article explains, volunteers from around the English-speaking world mailed in slips of paper containing suggested words and their definitions to the editors.  This was an egalitarian, but haphazard approach to dictionary-making.
  • Take that, Astrolabe, an article about the measurement of time in the medieval world.  I list this one here mostly because I’m pretty sure I got a reading passage about the history of clocks the last time I took the TOEFL.

Next, I read the 2 November 2023 issue of the same.  I liked:

  • Shriek of the Milkman, an article about the history of street food and hawkers in London.  As an avid traveller, street foods are one of my favorite things in the world.  
  • She was of the Devil’s Race, an article about the absolutely fascinating history of Eleanor of Aquitaine.  Did you know that one person was both Queen of France and (later) Queen of England?  It’s quite a story.

Moving ever forward, I read the October 2023 issue of “History Today.”  I liked a few articles, including:

  • The Medieval University Experience, a short article about the experiences of young men who travelled far from their homes to attend university.  I was amused by references to “letter templates” to help students write notes to their parents back home.
  • The Case of the Poison Pen Letters, about the absolutely fascinating case of Annie Tugwell, who was found guilty in 1910 of sending slanderous and threatening letters to several people, including a local priest.  A really, really, weird story.  This poor woman was eventually judged to be insane and locked away.

Lastly, I read the September 12, 2022 issue of “The New Yorker.”  I’m way behind with this  magazine, and I don’t think I’ll ever catch up.  Alas.  I liked:

  • Killing Invasive Species is Now a Competitive Sport, an article about the invasive (in America) Lionfish.  That’s a freaky fish.  I am quite sure that it has appeared in TOEFL speaking question four a few times.  It could feature into a question about two reasons why it is so invasive.   Or about how its unique spines function as a defensive mechanism.   Or about how it hunts.  Check out the article.

That’s all for now.  Expect a short article next month as I will be digging into a very dense book early in the month, which I am sure will be slow going.

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