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skylee

What are you reading?

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Publius
9 hours ago, david387 said:

解忧杂货店 (300+)

Ha I just bought the Japanese book. 413 pages, A6 size (文庫本, even smaller than mass market paperback) and not cheap (cost me 57 rmb).

東野圭吾's language is relatively easy. His 『容疑者Xの献身』 was the first Japanese novel I managed to finish and 『白夜行』 the second.

《解忧杂货店》 is all the rage right now in China. It seems he has ditched the mystery genre and veered into 治癒系/癒し系/(I don't even know if there's an English word for it, positive vibe?). Naturally curiosity got the better of me...

 

Btw, here's some statistics for the other two Chinese novels:

《呼兰河传》 84,715 total characters; 2,283 unique characters; 5,565 unique words

《骆驼祥子》 116,560 total characters; 2,561 unique characters; 7,193 unique words

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biyalan
9 hours ago, murrayjames said:

@biyalan What book did you choose?

I tried starting 球状闪电 but found that the technical language/physics jargon was too much for me. I switched over to 许三观卖血记, which feels like a bit of a cop out, since it’s by the same author, but it’s going quickly and I feel motivated to read it, which is the most important thing. 

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imron
9 hours ago, biyalan said:

but it’s going quickly and I feel motivated to read it, which is the most important thing. 

It is!  Action is more important than inaction.

 

If something isn't working, put it down and pick up something else.

 

If it's something you really want to read but don't quite have the Chinese level to do so, you can always come back to it after reading several more books, by which time you probably will have the Chinese level to read it.

 

As mentioned earlier, you should now also be thinking about what books you want to read next.  I say books (plural) because you might find that the first book isn't so suitable and if you have more than one book ready, you can put one down and pick up another, without losing the motivation to read.

 

9 hours ago, biyalan said:

which feels like a bit of a cop out,

Not at all.  It's consolidating words and language from a setting and theme you are already familiar with, and that consolidation is important.  You could even re-read the same book and it wouldn't be a cop out.  It would be useful reinforcement.

 

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murrayjames
14 hours ago, biyalan said:

I switched over to 许三观卖血记, which feels like a bit of a cop out

 

Agree with what Imron said above. Want to add that 《许三观卖血记》 is worth reading in its own right. It is funny. Its characters are as well-developed as the characters in 《活着》, and in many cases more interesting. The 三喜 and 何小勇 storylines are at turns touching and hilarious. The novel is chock full of useful cultural info and is rich in symbolism. Since the language difficulty is low, you will pick up all this on the first read-through. Enjoy the book.

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murrayjames

Finished the murder mystery novella 《偶然事件》 by 余华. It was OK.

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Enjune Zhang

Books written by Chinese American authors overseas like 《喜福会》by 谭恩美,《小姨多鹤》by 严歌苓. Enjoy reading Chinese text with corresponding English version, which means an improvement to bilingual proficiency

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imron

Split off-topic posts in to a separate thread here.

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Wurstmann

墓碑 by 杨继绳.

You can see on the first page why it is banned in China. :nono

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feihong

I’ve been reading 绝顶, a 武侠 satire, for a while now, but recently I realized it’s likely going to be a classic in its genre: https://m.dongmanmanhua.cn/BOY/jueding/list?title_no=1331

 

The humor is on the dry side, but the jokes can be clever (but not so clever that you don’t get them). I quite liked the recent episodes poking fun at internet censorship.

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roddy

Read the first one - good fun!

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murrayjames

After finishing 老舍’s short story collection 《樱海集》two weeks ago, I started another, 《蛤藻集》. The first story was hard. So I set it aside and switched to something easier, 余华’s murder mystery novella 《河边的错误》. It’s quite good.

 

I started a second read through the Bible in Chinese. This time I am reading the 《和合本》, a more elegant and literary translation than the 《新译本》. Sometimes I cross-reference passages with the Geneva Bible, the 1560 Early Modern English translation “used by William Shakespeare [and] Oliver Cromwell.” [link] I read a little every day and expect it will take a couple years to finish.

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murrayjames

I finished 余华’s novella 《河边的错误》 today. Near the conclusion of the story, there are some untelegraphed stylistic turns that grabbed and held my attention until the end. It is a good story and I recommend it. However, the afterword is pretentious and can be skipped. (余华’s prefaces and epilogues are bad in general.)

 

I have started reading the short story 《变形记》 by 王小波, and a music theory textbook 《流行音乐与爵士乐和声学》 by 任达敏.

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murrayjames

I finished 王小波’s short story 《变形记》 and started his novella 《地久天长》.

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roddy

Meta reading question: 

 

To what extent do you folk plan out your reading? I'm getting frustrated with my habit of putting new shiny books on top of the reading pile. I did start out the year with a list of books I was going to read, and also a consequently easy to keep list of books I had read. But the list is long forgotten and as usual I've been reading whatever happens to have grabbed my eye as I finished another book. Which isn't necessarily bad, but if I read with more structure ("Ok, so I'll read this overview first, then these two on specific aspects.") then... well, the world would probably continue on much as it does, really. 

 

I've been thinking my 2020 reading should be a mix of books already on my reading list (and anything I can't bring myself to read, I just put aside and stop pretending) and re-reads of the 'oh, I should read that again sometime' books on my shelf, with sparing new additions. 

 

Everything book-length I read this year is either on my Kindle or my shelf. I might sit down and audit. 

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jannesan
5 hours ago, roddy said:

To what extent do you folk plan out your reading?

 

I just keep a list of books I would maybe want to read and once I decide to start a new book I pick from this list.

I also delete books from this list if I am later not interested anymore. (this is for English books, haven't really started reading Chinese native content)

 

But I don't see anything wrong in diverging from the list, in the end you shouldn't have to force yourself to read anything you find uninteresting in my opinion.

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roddy

Yeah, there's stuff on my list which has been there so long it's now out of date, apart from anything else. 

 

Counted 48 books read this year. A worrying number involving spaceships. 

 

Edit: Roughly 50% sci-fi and other fiction; 20% philosophy and theology; 20% politics, economics, social; 10% other.

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murrayjames

For Chinese, I have a list of texts to work through. I finish one text then start the next. The list is ordered by difficulty from easy to hard. I use @imron’s Chinese Text Analyser to assess how challenging a text is before adding it to the list. Sometimes I read texts on the list out of order when there’s a particular author or title I want to get to. The list is fairly extensive, containing everything from 余华 short stories to music textbooks, Christian texts, and works like《孙子兵法》 and 《三国演义》. There are more titles on my list than I can reasonably expect to get to in the comically short amount of time I have been allotted for this life.

 

I read two or three texts concurrently and switch between them, using physical books whenever possible. I’m comfortable reading texts at different speeds and don’t feel obligated to read texts quickly. Since reading in Chinese makes me happy, staying motivated is easy, though family and work responsibilities can make it hard to find the time.

 

My wife is baffled by my interest in Chinese literature and told me I should read 《富爸爸穷爸爸》 instead. So I added it to my list.

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murrayjames

Today I finished reading the novella 《地久天长》 by 王小波. The novella is a beautiful and touching story about love, friendship, and loss. I highly recommend it.

 

Today I also read 王小波’s short story 《猫》. This story is so haunting and upsetting that I regret reading it, especially on Christmas Eve.

 

I’m emotionally depleted from all this 王小波. I’ll take a short break from literature and read some Chinese non-fiction to recharge my affective batteries.

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