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Do you like to read fiction novels?
June 06, 2013

June 6, 2013


Happy Thursday!

(Be sure to read the "New Stuff" section at the end of the newsletter for a special motivational gift).

Listen to the audio version here.

Last month, we explored your dedication and motivation to improve your English. Many of you sent me emails agreeing with what I was saying and you shared your stories of frustration as well.

That is why, I want to focus on a fun activity that can improve your English.

Take a look at the image of the book to the right.

Looks interesting doesn't it.

Imagine you are in a bookstore and you pick up the book in your hands. You read the title, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and wonder what the story is about.

You turn the book over and read the description on the back cover;

"Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder - and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family.

He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet's disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. "

After reading that description you might have some questions...

What happened to Harriet?
Why is her Uncle convinced she was murdered?
What is the dark and appalling family history?

These questions pull you and I into the story. We need to find answers and the only way to do so is to read the book.

That is what we will be doing over the next couple of months. I am going to work through this novel and provide you with my interpretations, useful expressions and questions (just in case you decide to read the book as well).

I was looking at and there are many good reviews, but also many poor reviews too. I read a couple and it seems that there is quite a lot of violence later on in the book. With that in mind some/many of you might not want to read this novel.

So, in that case, do you know of a novel that we could all read together? There are over 7000 newsletter subscribers and I think it would be fun to create our own private book club. So if you have any novels that you like, or would like to read in the future. Please tell me what they are and provide a short description here on the blog by posting a comment.

In the meantime, let's look at a couple expressions from the Prologue and Chapter 1 of this book. You can actually read the entire prologue for free on Just click on the photo of the book above and then click on the book image to "take a look inside".


What does pithy mean? In the story (page 11) it describes a comment, "He knew he was no longer expected to come up with (invent or create) a pithy comment".

Pithy means, concise and forcefully expressive. So in this context it is introducing a comment that is concise.

Now that you have read through the prologue it is time to work your way through chapter #1. I would suggest reading it twice and do not need to know and understand every single word.

Just try to get the main ideas and then come back and answer the following questions.

Chapter 1

1) What is a summing up? "...all that remained was a summing-up from the reporters..." (page 17)

2) By the end of paragraph two we know that Mikael is a reporter. How?

3) What does the expression, "to hold up a bank" mean? (Page 17).

4) How did Mikael get his nickname, Kalle Blomkvist?

5) What does "take a hit" mean?

6) What does it mean to break even? "The magazine barely broke even" (page 23).

7) What is a yuppie?

8) What is a bean counter?

9) What mistake did Blomkvist make when he ran into his old friend Robban?

10) What does bluff mean? "The man was all bluff" (Page 33)

I will be posting the answers to these questions in a couple of weeks on the blog (I will send you a note to let you know when).

Remember, that reading a good book will make it easier and more entertaining to improve and use your English.

If you would like me to add a particular novel to my book club list, please share your suggestions here on the blog.

Diana Tower Want to make a suggestion?

Click here to submit your comments or ideas and in less than a minute you will have helped me make this website more useful for you!

Keep in touch & stay connected to your English!

It's English Time! English Express! 5 Simple Steps to Better Writing! English Harmony 2.0! Pronunciation Power!
Effortless English! Best Accent Training! English Grammar Revolution!

eEnglish and Pronunciation Power 1 & 2
English Harmony --- It's English Time --- Effortless English Lessons
English Grammar Revolution --- Diana's English Express Audio
Diana's 5 Simple Steps to Better writing

Why Using English Harmony Should Be a Priority!

1) It saves you time. It only teaches you useful expressions and word chunks (groups of words) and it does it all through listening and speaking.

2) The confidence mentor DVD helps you believe in yourself and think positively. It allows you to ignore the negative beliefs that you may be holding about your English.

3) Robby's eBook provides some new insights into the process of learning a language and also talks about how the learning English industry is setting learners up to fail. (A great read!)

It is such a great book that I recorded it so you can listen at the same time as you read it.

You will receive the MP3 of me reading Robby's eBook "English Harmony: Insiders Secrets" when you purchase English Harmony ( special gift for my newsletter subscribers!)

The past couple of months have been really eye opening for me. I have realized that I am holding myself back in many areas of my life, and most of the time I do it without realizing it.

I hold many limiting beliefs about myself (my career, my relationships etc). Maybe this is happening to you as well. If you are finding that you lack motivation and need a push in the right direction, I highly recommend this free coaching session with motivational speaker Tony Robbins.

He posted this session on YouTube and you can watch all 46 minutes of it for free. Not only that, but you can practice your English as well.

Find an hour to sit down and watch it here and it might just change your life (and your English.

**If you have any comments or feedback about this newsletter please send me a message via this form.

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