The Official CELPIP Podcast: Episode 12
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CJ [00:00:00] Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Official CELPIP podcast, where we aim to help you, our test takers, get the best possible score you can. And we also support newcomers building a life in Canada. My name is CJ, and along with my co-host Chris, we talk to a variety of guests, from test takers, language teachers and test raters to employment counsellors and immigration consultants, just to name a few. We also bring in our in-house staff on the show to get their perspectives. They’re the people in the company that work behind the scenes to make the CELPIP Test available to you. So, Chris, how’s it going? Are you looking forward to today’s episode as much as I am because seriously, I’ve been excited about this all week.
Chris [00:00:44] Oh, oh, sorry, what?
CJ [00:00:50] Chris, how are you doing there? You sound a little bit tired, buddy.
Chris [00:00:54] Oh, sorry. I guess I am a little tired. I stayed up a bit too late last night finishing a book, and now I’m paying for it. I think I’m going to need that fourth cup of coffee.
CJ [00:01:10] Ooh, yeah, I feel you, I’ve been there before. But hey, at least it must have been a great book to keep you up so late.
Chris [00:01:17] That’s true. That’s true. And you know what? I’d much rather be tired from staying up too late reading something I enjoy than being tired from doing homework or something, like back when I was a student.
CJ [00:01:29] Right? I completely agree. I mean, it’d be nice if things had been more fun and educational more often when I was learning. Feels like that’s impossible?
Chris [00:01:41] Well, actually, that is completely possible. And in fact, it can really benefit you as a student if you study with material that you find personally engaging and maybe even entertaining.
CJ [00:01:55] Hmm. That wasn’t always the case for me in school, but please tell me and our test takers more here.
Chris [00:02:04] Here’s the thing. This may sound obvious, but no matter what you’re studying, you’re going to engage with the material and remember things more easily if you enjoy the content you’re learning.
CJ [00:02:15] OK, so how does that work? Are you saying there’s a way I could have actually enjoyed learning about punctuation and grammar in high school?
Chris [00:02:25] OK, I mean, it’s just a guideline, and some topics are just easier to engage with than others. But when possible, it can really make your preparation easier if it’s in the context of something you enjoy, like games, TV, movies, or…books.
CJ [00:02:47] Yay, ok, I love all those things. I love reading. So let’s share with our test takers what we’re here to help them with. So how does that apply to preparing for CELPIP?
Chris [00:02:58] OK, it can help in lots of ways. For example, let’s say that you really enjoy reading mystery novels in your first language. Try reading them in English instead. By doing this, you’ll be exposed to common English structures, vocabulary, and probably lots of everyday expressions and figures of speech.
CJ [00:03:18] Right. Yeah, great points there. So here’s some questions. Here’s a question that I bet, like a lot of our listeners are asking themselves right now, how can they make the most of this? If they read something for fun in English, what can they do to best ensure that it’s improving their English?
Chris [00:03:39] Well, there’s no right or wrong way to go about this. Something, some people may want to keep a vocabulary journal and write down new words that they come across, along with their definitions. They might do the same with new English expressions they read, or if they’re listening to an audiobook version instead, then they could really pay attention to the way the speaker pronounces certain words and just generally the speaker’s intonation and pacing.
CJ [00:04:06] Ok, those are really good ideas. So, on the other hand, what if you’re reading a book and don’t want to constantly stop and write down words—like, what if you just want to get to the end?
Chris [00:04:18] Good point. I’m sure we’ve all read books that we just can’t put down, and that is totally fine, too. You may not be acquiring as much specific vocabulary this way, but honestly, the more you read English, the more your reading comprehension skills will improve. There’s really no downside to it. And also remember that CELPIP is about everyday English, so novels are perfect for this. They won’t have many technical terms or jargon, but they will have lots of examples of how English speakers naturally communicate with each other and that is perfect preparation for CELPIP.
CJ [00:04:56] Huh! That’s like a really great way of looking at things. And just to confirm: test takers won’t be assessed on their comprehension of fiction on the test, will they?
Chris [00:05:06] I love questions with easy answers. And the answer here is no, not at all. CELPIP assesses only your ability to communicate using day to day English. You’ll never be asked to assess aspects of a passage which specifically relate to themes or styles of fiction or anything like that.
CJ [00:05:27] OK, great. Thanks for clarifying there. So we got a little bit sidetracked, and that’s fine. I think this stuff we just talked about would be really useful. So anyway, in today’s episode I was really excited about, is that we’re going to be talking about—you guessed it, dear listeners. Today we’re talking about some of our favourite books and specifically books that can benefit you, our test figures in preparation for CELPIP. So if this sounds familiar, then you’re right. You can check out our YouTube series, CELPIP Live, season one, episode eight, where we did something similar. We’re continuing that idea today with more guests and more books. So speaking of guests, let’s introduce our guests now. So there’s Chris and myself. We’ve also got Meaghan and Nathan, who are back from previous episodes, and Brandi joining us live on the pod for the first time. Very exciting. All three of them work with Chris on the Instructional Product and Programs team. I’m super excited to have them here today. Welcome everyone.
Meaghan [00:06:34] Hi, it’s, it’s good to be back for more, and I too am a very enthusiastic reader, so I’m excited to recommend some stuff to you.
Brandi [00:06:43] Hello, Chris, hello, C.J., thank you so much for having me guest on the show today. I love to read books in my spare time, so I’m just very happy to be here!
Nathan [00:06:52] Hey everyone, it’s great to be back. Reading is one of the things I probably do most in my spare time, so I’m really excited to talk about a couple of books today.
Chris [00:07:02] And as CJ, you’ve already mentioned this, but I’m just going to extend on this a little bit. I think our listeners probably recognize all three of our guests. Brandi and Meaghan are well known to anyone who has attended our free webinars. Meaghan was also on last week’s episode all about the writing rating process. And Nathan, our instructional designer, was our guest on episode nine, all about the things test takers don’t need to worry about. Hey, everyone, I’m really happy to have you on this episode. Why don’t we just dive in? Who wants to start us off with a book suggestion?
CJ [00:07:37] I’m going to jump in here and I’m actually going to nominate you, Chris, because you were up late reading last night, and if you stayed up late reading, it must have been good. And so maybe you think that’d be a good book for our test takers to check out?
Chris [00:07:53] Yeah, for sure. So I just finished reading The Humans by Matt Haig, and it’s—hmmmm how to sum this up? It’s a science fiction novel set in Cambridge, England, and it’s about a middle-aged professor with a wife and a son, and basically, he’s been replaced by an alien. That is, he still looks and sounds like himself, but it’s not him. It’s a being from another planet sent to destroy the professor’s work, which is some groundbreaking math formula that would give humans way too much power. So this alien has to pretend it’s the professor to complete its mission, but ends up experiencing what it’s like to be human and feeling quite attached to being a human in relationships with other humans. OK, this sounds really strange when I describe it, but the book itself is very easy to follow, and it all makes perfect sense when you read it. I guess I would describe the genre as comedy/drama/science fiction. Despite the bizarre premise, I think it’s quite easy to read with lots of very natural dialogue and some very touching and hilarious scenes.
CJ [00:09:09] OK, then, that is definitely an interesting concept for a novel. I love it. Sounds super interesting. You mentioned, though, that it’s partly comedy, and sometimes it can be hard for language learners to understand humour in other languages. Do you—in this case, do you think the humour in this book is accessible to sort of intermediate readers?
Chris [00:09:32] Yeah, it’s true that humour can be hard to get in another language. I think that’s especially true when it comes to jokes that depend on the meaning of specific words. The comedy in this book is based on situations, not just wordplay. So, for example, the main character, the professor, was quite a mean and miserable guy. But when his identity is taken over by the alien, he begins to act in a very friendly and innocent way that surprises everyone in his life. The humour comes out of his odd behaviour and the way that people react to it.
CJ [00:10:07] Oh, OK. And what about it being set in England? Is that going to be hard for readers who you are used to sort of like Canadian or North American English?
Chris [00:10:17] You know, there probably will be some new vocabulary for those who haven’t been exposed to British English before, but it should be fairly easy to understand in the context of this story. I would say it’s written in a very clear and straightforward style. That’s really what made me think this would be a good book for our test takers.
CJ [00:10:35] OK, well, that sounds like a great read. Any other recommendations?
Chris [00:10:41] Well, I’ve got another one that is both British and a bit strange. The title is The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and it’s by Neil Gaiman. This one is even harder to describe. In terms of a genre, you could call it fantasy or paranormal or magic realism. It’s about a young boy in the English countryside who meets an older girl with supernatural powers. The two of them battle some evil forces that threaten to take over the young boy’s life. I’ve heard it described as a young adult novel written for adults.
CJ [00:11:16] OK. That sounds mysterious and fun. What made you pick this one for our test takers?
Chris [00:11:23] Well, like the other novel, I felt the style of writing was quite clear and easy to follow. The main topic here is childhood, the way children imagine the world and how they struggle to understand adults. I felt these were quite universal themes that could be understood by many readers, regardless of their cultural background.
CJ [00:11:43] OK, great. Thanks so much. So those are two very interesting picks from the science fiction fantasy realm. I’m getting Chris’s style of like a little bit British and a little bit strange, so I feel like we’re off to a good start. So how about we go over to one of our guests now? Who wants to be first, maybe Brandi?
Brandi [00:12:05] Have I got a story for you. I read A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza just a few months ago. Now this is Mirza’s debut novel, and it shot straight to the top of the New York Times bestseller list after it was published. It was published about three years ago. She’s such an amazing talent. The novel centres around an Indian-American Muslim family living in California. It’s a family of five, so there are two parents, two daughters and a younger son. The parents immigrated to the United States, and they started their family in California. Now, as many parents do, they wish to pass on cultural values and traditions to their children. But the children also want to live their own lives and break free from the expectations that both their parents and their culture expect them to follow. The novel largely focuses on this theme of identity. Do we embrace traditional or modern values or a combination of both? The narrative is told over a period of years, decades as a matter of fact, weaving scenes from the past and present together through the eyes of each family member. As the story is told, it reveals life events and circumstances that shape each character’s identity. We see how the characters experience love and even betrayal. For example, the novel begins at the wedding of the eldest daughter, Hadiya, and we learn immediately that her brother, Amar, is present, but he’s been estranged from the family for three years. As the story is told, we come to understand what led to Amar’s estrangement and question how love and betrayal can shape the people that we become. I won’t say anything more about this story because I don’t want to give away too many scenes, but I’m confident that readers will care about each and every character as these characters struggle through personal challenges to find their way. I think that by seeing through each character’s eyes as the story shifts between past and present, readers will be challenged to consider life events from different perspectives. It’s a book that stays with you, even after you read that last page.
Chris [00:14:08] Hmm, interesting. You’ve mentioned several themes that this novel explores, especially identity. Is this a theme that you think many of our CELPIP test takers can relate to?
Brandi [00:14:20] Yes, I do. Many of us are immigrants ourselves or we’re from immigrant families. So we’ve likely experienced growing up with these traditional values that might be very different from the ones that we encounter when we move to a new country. Many of us too, I think, form our own ideas as we get older that might not align so closely with our parents’ ideas. I think reading a novel that is personally relatable usually holds our interest all the way to the end. So I think that A Place for Us is a good book for our CELPIP test takers to read. I hope it will make readers question how life circumstances shape the people we become and motivate the readers to reflect on their own dreams and paths to success.
Chris [00:15:02] Ah, yes, making personal connections to a story we read is one way to hold our interest until the end. Does this novel explore many serious themes, though, that more sensitive readers might find challenging?
Brandi [00:15:14] Well, the personal struggles that are experienced, particularly by the youngest sibling in the novel, Amar, are definitely challenging. But the author so expertly balances these more tragic scenes with uplifting ones. And overall, I found this novel told a very realistic and heartwarming story that our CELPIP that readers will enjoy. I strongly recommend this book.
CJ [00:15:34] Oh, that’s so interesting. Thanks, Brandi. And so what is your second pick then?
Brandi [00:15:41] I loved the novel Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. This story also examines family bonds, but in very different ways. A mother daughter pair in the book, Mia and Pearl, have moved to Shaker Heights, which is a fictional town in Cleveland, Ohio, where order, rules, and structure are very important. Mia is an artist, and she’s always lived a very nomadic lifestyle with her daughter Pearl, and the two free-spirited women contrasts quite sharply to the wealthy, very high-class society families that live in this community. It’s here that the Richardson family lives, led by the mother, Elena, and Elena rents a room on one of her properties to Mia and Pearl. And although the four Richardson children form friendly connections with Mia and Pearl, Elena struggles to uphold her vision of the high-class society that she sees herself a part of, while her own children appear to be more comfortable ignoring class divides. Or are they? As the story unfolds, secrets of Mia’s past are revealed, and they arouse Elena’s suspicions, and her obsession to protect the status quo leads to actions and consequences that divide the community of Shaker Heights and her own family unit. I absolutely loved this book, and I could not put it down.
Chris [00:17:01] Yeah, it sounds like another character-driven story, but this time with secrets and mysteries thrown in. I’ve heard of Celeste Ng before, I think she’s written other novels that have earned some awards.
Brandi [00:17:13] Yes, just like Fatima Farheen Mirza, Celeste Ng also landed the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list, and Little Fires Everywhere was named Best Book of the Year by other well-known literary organisations. Another major perk for our CELPIP readers is that this story has been made into a TV miniseries starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. Eight episodes were released last year on Hulu. I think that reading a story and then watching the movie or series is an excellent way to build vocabulary and listening skills, I guess, at the same time. It’s always fun to imagine what a character looks like as we read and then see how our imaginations compare when these characters are brought to life on the big screen.
CJ [00:17:56] Oh OK. Thanks, Brandi. Those sound like awesome books for our test takers to check out, and in fact, also for me to check out. So thank you for that. OK, who’s next? How about Meaghan? What you’ve been reading lately, Meghan?
Meaghan [00:18:16] Well I hope I achieved that. So my first book that I wanted to recommend is called Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. It is a graphic memoir which is kind of a trendy writing style nowadays, writing especially autobiography in the graphic novel format. So it’s kind of long-looking, it’s three hundred and sixty nine pages, but a lot of that is illustrations, so it’s not actually a very long read I would say. You get paragraphs of text here and there and then also like some full pages that are mostly just illustrations and so it’s, it’s a fairly light read I would say. It’s a series of short stories, kind of short little anecdotes about a variety of different kind of topics within the writer’s life. They’re all true stories, so some are kind of funny or meaningful episodes from her childhood. Some are a little more serious. They’re about her experience with depression, which she actually depicts in a funny way. And some are about her dogs: at the beginning of the book, she introduces her dog, who’s really just not very smart, and she and her partner decide to adopt a second dog to kind of help out their challenged first dog, and it just doesn’t go well at all and there’s some super funny consequences. Just to let everyone know this book does include swear words, so if that bothers you, this is not the book for you. It’s definitely a book for adults, even though it has a lot of pictures.
CJ [00:19:58] OK, so this book is a graphic memoir or graphic novel, which is really interesting, and would you recommend graphic novels more generally to language learners or just this one in particular?
Meaghan [00:20:14] I think they’re a very good thing for readers who are kind of open to some of those more serious or adult themes. A lot of writers are writing their kind of autobiographical stories with some pretty serious topics. I’m thinking of my favourite books, actually, Maus by Art Spielgelman, which are the story of a man’s experience in the Holocaust and kind of the fallout of that. And there’s one that I read more recently called The Best We Could Do, which is a family that escaped from Vietnam. So it’s kind of become this way of handling quite serious and very real topics with sort of an overlay of illustrations, which really, I think, adds an element, and also for somebody who’s learning a language, having the illustrations, I think, is helpful. It provides a lot of context that maybe the words wouldn’t on their own. So my personal feeling is that if you’re okay with the themes, I think they are really excellent way to build your language skills and help you kind of build your vocabulary and get used to dialogue and all of those things, so yeah.
CJ [00:21:33] OK, that’s great and super interesting, and also makes me very curious to know what your number two pick is.
Meaghan [00:21:41] Um, so my number two pick is actually even stranger. It is called Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan. This is a short book, it’s a little bit under a hundred pages. It’s not like a, like a paperback size. It’s more like a children’s book size— kind of larger in size. Shaun Tan, the author, is an artist, and he has also written books for children. I would say this one is for adults, although it’s kind of like in between in a way. I first read it as an adult, and I definitely didn’t feel like talked down to or anything like that, and some of the stories are actually a little too dark for probably most kids. The stories are hard to explain. They’re fiction, definitely, and they’re sort of fantasy-like, kind of fairy-tale-like. There’s weird things that happen, like a water buffalo that gives advice to the neighbourhood kids; an alien foreign exchange student who comes to stay with this kid’s family. There’s one where dogs get revenge on an abusive owner. A lot of the characters in the stories are kids, which is, I think interesting, even though the stories themselves are kind of for adults, so there’s a kind of nostalgic feeling to them I’d say. They’re really unusual, really imaginative. It’s kind of that contrast where you have impossible situations, but they’re being told in a very matter-of-fact way. I like the way this reader’s—or, the writer’s mind works, I think, and he’s also just a very, very talented artist, which is which is great. He wrote a book that I got to know before finding this one, and it’s called The Arrival. And that is like a graphic novel, but it actually has no words at all. It’s entirely done in pictures. And it’s about a guy who immigrates to a totally new place and his experience just trying to figure out life there and missing his family. It’s, it’s a complex story, but it’s very accessible because there are no words, so anybody can understand it. So that’s kind of how I came across this author. This book, Tales from Outer Suburbia, is similar in a lot of ways. It’s the same kind of thoughtfulness and great artwork and the same kind of combination of strange situations, but also real emotions. But this one makes more sense to recommend here because it actually has words. And just like the first one that I recommended, it’s, it’s a series of short stories and I think somebody who’s learning a language, maybe reading a little slowly or having to stop and start—it can be satisfying to finish something, whether that’s a short story or an entire book. Also, if you don’t like one of the stories you can just keep reading, you don’t have to commit. And the writing will definitely teach you some new vocabulary. It’s got quite a lot of uncommon vocabulary. It’s not written in a childlike style, so it’s, it’s got a lot of words to read as well.
Chris [00:24:53] Hmm. Thanks. The stories you mentioned sound really? What’s the word strange? Do you think most readers would be able to relate to them? Or is this book just for really strange people?
Meaghan [00:25:07] Even though the situations are impossible, the emotions that come along with them are real and are definitely relatable. And there’s a lot of themes about kind of not belonging or trying to fit in or trying to figure out the world, and I think those are things that we’ve all experienced and can all relate to. So even though kind of at a surface level, you’re reading some, some weird things, I think that the meaning underneath that is very accessible. So if you’re if you’re willing to get a little strange, I think it will pay off.
Chris [00:25:45] Oh, OK, I see. So this book isn’t for kids, but it has some elements of kids’ stories like pictures and younger characters. Do you think reading kids’ books could be useful to test takers, even if they’re learning English as adults?
Meaghan [00:26:03] Yeah, I’ve always recommended that to ESL students very enthusiastically for a lot of reasons. Firstly, if you’re, if you’re not an extremely fluent reader, I think that the experience of trying to read an entire novel can get frustrating very quickly. I know when I was trying to learn—I had to learn German long ago, just well enough to pass a test—and so I had these grand plans and I bought all these books. And I just, you know, I could read like a page a day and it was hard. And so having books that you can actually finish, I think is, is great, and you can learn a lot from, from children’s books. Firstly, they’re very well written. There’s some wonderful, emotional, very interesting kids’ books. Nothing to be ashamed of if you’re, if you’re into that. That’s what libraries are for. Go get a bunch and see what you like. I came across on YouTube recently—I don’t know if there’s anything like this for English, but this is for learning Russian, and it’s a teacher who reads a children’s book in Russian out loud and in between that, she speaks in Russian about what’s happening in the story, and then she gives a translation of all the words, and then she reads it again, and it’s just a really effective way to learn and also engage with a story without having to commit three months or something like that, so absolutely. Read children’s books. Do not have any shame about it. You can tell people they’re for your kids, but honestly, like I love kids’ books and I don’t have any kids, so they’re really for everybody.
Chris [00:27:47] That makes sense. Thanks. That’s like a very useful approach, I think, for a lot of our test takers. OK, thanks, Meaghan.
CJ [00:27:58] Yeah. Meaghan, thanks, I love that. More good books, a little bit weird, on the list. So how about Nathan? What books would you like to recommend to our listeners?
Nathan [00:28:13] All right. So I think I’d like to start off with a book called All Creatures Great and Small by the author James Herriot. It’s maybe 300 pages or so, and it sort of straddles the line between fiction and non-fiction. So the book is about the author’s experiences as a veterinarian, or an animal doctor, in the English countryside in the 1930s. And from what I understand, he’s recalling things that did really happen, but he’s changed all the names and he’s, he’s embellished things, or he’s, he’s revised the stories a little bit. And one of the things I really like about the book is that so many of the characters are just hilarious, like all of the different farmers and the people in the town who, who the author he treats their animals, and his use of language is—it’s entertaining, but it’s also quite simple. So it’s a very easy read. And like you and Chris were mentioning before about kind of how humour can sometimes translate between languages, I think in this situation or in this book, the humour is still very situational. It doesn’t rely on your understanding of specific uses of language. It’s all about kind of just the physical situations that James Herriot finds himself in with all of these animals and people. And I think another really good thing that makes it a great choice for test takers is that it’s basically a series of short stories. There are definitely people and narratives that are connecting connective between them all, but it makes it really easy if you don’t have a lot of time, if you just want to sit down and read a story or two and you can still kind of have that sense of accomplishment without getting stressed out about “I have to finish the whole book before appreciating it.” I should mention that it’s a book about a veterinarian, so there are a few parts where he’s describing surgeries or medical procedures with animals, but he’s really matter-of-fact about it, and you can tell that the author has a real love for animals. All right. So ultimately, I think that, like we talked about before, we all learn easier when we’re engaged with the material. And so for anyone who wants to practice their English reading skills and they happen to love animals or enjoy humour, I would definitely recommend All Creatures Great and Small.
Chris [00:30:42] I think I’ve heard of that title before. Is it a TV show or something?
Nathan [00:30:47] Yeah, I have to admit I haven’t watched any of the episodes, but I believe there’s an older series and also a new one based on the book.
Chris [00:30:58] All right, I think I remember that. So it’s set in the English countryside. Do you think any test takers will have trouble understanding it versus something set in Canada?
Nathan [00:31:08] I really don’t think the transition would be that big. There are some references to different locations, and a few expressions or slang that are probably more common in England than in Canada. But I think they’re explained quite clearly and they really shouldn’t impact the reading experience.
Chris [00:31:26] OK. Got it! And what’s your second book today?
Nathan [00:31:30] All right, so my second book, it’s definitely fiction. It’s called The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It’s maybe 250 pages or so. And I would classify this maybe as young adult fiction, so meant for a slightly younger audience. So the basic premise here is that there’s a young boy named Milo and he starts the book just being super bored with life. And then he’s given the gift of a mysterious tollbooth. A tollbooth is like a small building where you stop and make a payment if you’re driving down a new road. So Milo passes the tollbooth and he just magically ends up in this new fantastical world. And I, I love humour of all sorts, and what I love most about this book is it’s just so creative and it has so many language jokes. What I mean by that is that it jokes about just how weird, how strange the English language can be. So there are a lot of idioms in the book. An idiom, it’s, it’s like a, a phrase in English—or any language, I guess—a phrase with a very specific cultural meaning that is different than the literal meaning. And so in this book, for example—you may have heard the term watchdog before. A watchdog doesn’t necessarily mean a dog. It can mean someone who is making sure that no laws are broken. But in this book, Milo meets a watchdog who is literally a dog with the body of a clock or a watch. And so it’s just kind of pointing out how absurd some of these weird expressions we use every day actually are. And then in another part, Milo goes to a market for words where you can like, buy and sell different parts of sentences, so, “Oh, you want to buy some articles?” “Here are some prepositions,” “Adjectives are half off.” And so I love all the wordplay like this, and I think it’s an excellent way to both learn new expressions and idioms in English, and it’s also a good way to get you thinking about like, what, what these expressions actually mean. So really, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys language humour, anyone who enjoys reading fantasy, and anyone who wants to kind of look at English from a different perspective.
CJ [00:33:56] Nathan, that sounds really cool. And there’s a couple things I want to dig into here so I’ve got a couple of questions for you. But going back to the genre, you said that it was young adult fiction, and so I just want to double check. Do you think that that genre of young adult fiction might turn off readers who are outside of that age group?
Nathan [00:34:20] That’s, that’s a good question. I really don’t think so. The protagonist is a boy, but I think the use of language and just the creativity of the world that the author constructs can really be appreciated by everyone. It’s just, I find it super entertaining.
CJ [00:34:35] Okay, that’s great. And it’s great when a book can appeal to such a wide audience. I love a good young adult fiction, so +1 from that. And you mentioned that a lot of the humour is based on language jokes, which is really unique. And I wanted to ask if you thought that might be difficult for some second language learners to understand?
Nathan [00:35:01] Yeah, that’s also a good question. Ultimately, I don’t think it will be very difficult for readers. Most of the jokes are explained in a way that you can figure out their meaning from the surrounding context of, of what’s happening in the story. And I think if you do come across an expression or an idiom or something that you’re not familiar with, I think it could be a great learning experience because all the vocabulary, all the expressions in the book are pretty commonly used in everyday situations, which is like right up, right up the alley of what CELPIP assesses. Using another idiom right there.
CJ [00:35:38] OK, well, thanks so much, Nathan. We’ve really been talking about so many good books and this episode, some common themes, some humor, a little bit of weirdness, some English countryside and really a lot of like deep character development. So I think that I might have just filled up my fall book reading list. So good thing we’re in Vancouver because I think I’m going to be reading a lot on rainy days. Yeah. So reading on a rainy day, here I come.
Chris [00:36:06] And the great thing about these books in particular is that not only are they entertaining reads, but they can also be beneficial to gradually strengthen your English reading comprehension. And that pretty much wraps things up for this episode. Before we end, I just want to thank Brandi, Meaghan, and Nathan again for dropping by today.
CJ [00:36:29] Oh yeah, absolutely. And thank you on behalf of our listeners for all of those great book recommendations.
Nathan [00:36:36] Yeah. Thanks again for having me on, and I definitely have a few more books for my own list now.
Brandi [00:36:42] Thanks so much for having me on, CJ and Chris. I had a good time and thank you as well, Meaghan and Nathan for giving me ideas about what I should read next.
Meaghan [00:36:50] Yeah. Another, another great episode and a great topic. So this was exciting for me, and I look forward to coming back for more in future episodes.
CJ [00:37:01] Yeah, this sounds like a win for everyone then. So that’s great. So what have we got on the schedule for next time, Chris?
Chris [00:37:09] Oh, I was waiting for this. Next episode is going to be super exciting because we’re going to be talking about how to create study groups. It’s something that we do get a lot of questions about, so I’m looking forward to finally getting a chance to discuss it.
CJ [00:37:23] Oh, great. Yeah, that definitely sounds like it will be useful. Can’t wait for that.
Chris [00:37:28] Well, until next time, we wish you lots of luck on your test taker journey and happy reading. Bye.
CJ [00:37:35] Bye, everybody.