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One Million Characters

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About this blog

A blog chronicling my attempt to read 1,000,000 Chinese characters in articles and books in 2019.

Entries in this blog


986,876 Characters to Go

Today I finished reading the short story《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲. Like《三八节有感》, 《我在霞村的时候》was written by 丁玲 during her Yan'an period, and addresses the indignities Chinese women of the time faced from their countrymen. The story is told from the perspective of a writer who travels to Xia village from Yan'an to write and recuperate. Soon after the writer arrives, a commotion breaks out in the village. The commotion is due to the return of 贞贞, a young female villager who has been working as a Chinese spy and was abused by Japanese soldiers.


《我在霞村的时候》is not long; the story has about 10,750 Chinese characters. The language is not difficult either. 丁玲 writes in an undecorated prose style. She leaves many questions relevant to the story unexplored or unanswered. The result is an obviously moral tale that is nonetheless open to differing interpretations. Here is a link to the story: www.millionbook.com/mj/d/dingling/dlzp/003.htm


Up next for me is an article by 毛泽东. I will also continue with that far longer work I read parts of last year.


Some statistics:

Characters read this year: 13,124
Characters left to read this year: 986,876
Percent of goal completed: 1.3%


List of things read:
《三八节有感》by 丁玲   (2,370 characters)
《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲   (10,754 characters)


997,630 Characters to Go

In “The 2019 Aims and Objectives Progress Topic” thread, I recently resolved to read one million Chinese characters in books and articles this year. Our esteemed forum administrator @roddy reached out to ask if I would chronicle my attempt to do this through posts on this website. And here I am.


My goal is to read one million characters in 2019. To accomplish this will require reading 2,750 characters per day, or three to seven pages of text per day, on average. That is a manageable amount of reading. However, it could quickly become unmanageable if I am not diligent. 2019 will be a very busy year. To meet my goal, I will need to stay disciplined while facing many demands on my time.


So far, I have finished《三八节有感》, a short 1942 article by 丁玲 about the treatment of CPC women at Yan'an. That article contains 2,370 Chinese characters. I am currently reading a second article by 丁玲, as well as a far longer thing I started last year that will take several more months to complete.


It is hard to overstate how helpful this website and its denizens have been to my Chinese language learning. In twelve years of studying Chinese, I have found conversation, motivation, tools, tips, and answers to many questions here. Hopefully this series of posts will be helpful to other Chinese language learners like other Chinese language learners’ posts have been helpful to me.


Some statistics:

Characters read this year: 2,370
Characters left to read this year: 997,630
Percent of goal completed: 0.2%


List of things read:

《三八节有感》by 丁玲   (2370 characters)