Announcing Book of the Month

Kristian // C1 Speaking Club


May 8  

I’m thrilled to announce our first Book of the Month! In this post you can learn everything you need to know about this new opportunity to transform your speaking skills within the C1 Speaking Club.

Before I announce the first book, let me first address the question ‘Why a book of the month‘?
Well, the mission of the C1 Speaking Club is to inspire speaking and bring joy, and I believe reading a book can help achieve this.

That said, as some themes or content might be more appealing or relatable to certain learners, it’s always a tricky thing to choose a book. Especially the first one. And yes, I did consider to create a list of potential books and have the group vote on which ones to read, but at the end of the day I decided to just get going ASAP, and introduce the voting procedure next month.

So, without further ado, let me announce the first book:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

In my view, this mystery novel is an excellent choice for a C1 level book club. It tells the story of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old boy with an autism spectrum disorder, who sets out to solve the murder of a neighbour’s dog. The novel is written from Christopher’s perspective, offering a unique and insightful look into his world.
The book is appropriate for the C1 Speaking Club for several reasons:
  1. Language: The language used in the book is clear and straightforward, making it accessible for advanced English learners. Christopher’s unique narrative style also offers opportunities for discussion about the use of language and its impact on storytelling.
  2. Themes: The novel explores various themes such as family relationships, trust, overcoming obstacles, and personal growth, providing plenty of topics for engaging discussions.
  3. Cultural understanding: The book offers a glimpse into British culture and daily life, which can be informative and interesting for learners from different backgrounds.
  4. Relatability: The story is both heartwarming and thought-provoking, with characters and situations that many readers can relate to or empathise with, fostering meaningful discussions and connections among C1 Speaking club members.
  5. Educational value: Reading and discussing the novel can help members expand their vocabulary, improve reading comprehension, and practice critical thinking skills.

Overall, I believe that “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that offers a unique perspective on the world through the eyes of a fascinating and unforgettable protagonist.


First Meeting

We will meet online on Zoom. The first meeting will be on Wednesday May 24th at 8.30pm Madrid time. I will kick it off and provide the list of questions as well as some pointers and instructions. Then we split the group into break-out speaking rooms on Zoom.


Reading Schedule

To finish reading and discussing “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” within 4 weeks, we will divide the book into four sections and create a timetable for the meetings. Here’s a suggested schedule:
Week 1 (8-14 May):
– Reading: Chapters 2-67 (approximately 58 pages)
Week 2 (15-21 May): 
– Reading: Chapters 71-131 (approximately 60 pages)


On May 24th we will discuss the introduction of the main characters, the central mystery, and the unique narrative style. We will talk about Christopher’s investigation, his relationship with his father, and how the story explores themes of truth and lies.
There will be a 2nd meeting on Wednesday June 7th in which we will discuss the rest of the book with help from another set of questions. 

Here are 6 discussion questions for the first meeting on May 24th that start easy and gradually become more challenging:

  1. What was your initial reaction to Christopher’s unique narrative voice? How did it affect your reading experience?
  2. How does the author, Mark Haddon, use humor in the story? Share a moment from the book that made you laugh or smile.
  3. How do the illustrations and diagrams throughout the novel contribute to the story? Do they help you better understand Christopher’s thought process and perspective?
  4. How does Christopher’s relationship with his father evolve throughout the novel? What key moments or events significantly impact their relationship?
  5. The novel explores Christopher’s experience with autism. How does the author portray his perspective, and what insights do you gain about people with autism spectrum disorders?
  6. Discuss the role of truth and lies in the story. How does Christopher’s perception of the truth affect his relationships and decision-making? Can you think of situations where lying might be justifiable or even necessary?


How to obtain the book?

There are several ways for members to obtain a copy of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”:

1. Purchase: You can buy physical copies of the book from local bookstores or online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Book Depository.

2. eBooks: You can purchase digital versions of the book through platforms like Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Google Play Books, or Kobo. These platforms offer apps for smartphones, tablets, and computers, making it easy to read on various devices.

3. Audiobooks: Some of you may prefer listening to the book. Audiobooks are available for purchase or subscription through services like Audible, Google Play Audiobooks, or Apple Books.

4. Public libraries: Check your local libraries for physical copies, eBooks, or audiobooks. Many libraries have partnerships with digital platforms like OverDrive or Libby, which allow patrons to borrow eBooks and audiobooks using their library cards.

5. Book sharing: If some of you already own a copy of the book, they can lend it to others within the group. This can be an economical and environmentally friendly option. However, this cannot be done on the public forum for legal reasons. Use private email or other ways to do this.  

6. Second-hand bookstores: Used bookstores or online marketplaces like eBay or ThriftBooks offer more affordable options for purchasing physical copies of the book.

Join us today!

So, are you looking for a fun way to improve your English and make new friends? Look no further! Our C1 Speaking Club is just what you need!

Boost your confidence in speaking English! Our friendly discussions will help you become a fluent talker in no time!

Sound good?

If you’re ready to dive into a world of captivating stories and unforgettable experiences, join our C1 Speaking Club today! Let’s embark on this adventure together and watch our English skills soar!

Click here to join and be part of our fantastic community! We can’t wait to meet you!

About the Author

As a Dutch proficient speaker of English, Kristian not only holds a grade A Cambridge C2 certificate but is also CELTA qualified. His five years of experience as a teacher and ESL exam coach, specialising in Cambridge English C1, C2, and IELTS, has equipped him with a unique blend of skills to guide and support your English learning journey.

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