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skylee

What are you reading?

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roddy

Oh, 猫. Still haunts me, that one. 

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david387

I am nearly finished with 广场舞 by 鲁引弓. It's about ladies who are getting into middle age and also facing pressure at work and finding stress relief through dancing in groups in the public square. It has some pretty funny parts. It's entertaining and I don't find myself having to look up too many words. I can just enjoy reading and that's good enough for me.

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feihong

I've been following 步天歌 (a web comic) for a while now. I would classify it as epic fantasy with wuxia elements. Personally, I have not been able to get into much Chinese fantasy, but I quite like this one. The painted artwork is enchanting, and the last few chapters give me hope that the author has a grand vision for the story. Be warned though: there is quite a bit of classical Chinese, and when I started reading this, it was brutal. Eventually, I got used to it, and I also figured out that many of the words that I failed to look up are, in fact, just made-up words (par for the course in any respectable fantasy story).

2069043474_Screenshot_2020-01-021-.thumb.jpg.b36d602fc88a9cdb84445f43273e86a5.jpg

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david387

Finished 广场舞, and now about 25 pages into 马伯乐 by 萧红. I really find her work fascinating with very realistic depictions of the harsh life in 1920-1940 China (what she was able to write about). The characters are vivid, and you see their weaknesses. There is dark sarcasm, and you can almost laugh at their plight, yet you know there we certainly people during this time, just like these characters, with their desperation to do whatever they could to survive, even it meant allowing others to suffer. My Chinese has improved a lot, and now the stories about becoming more vivid!

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murrayjames
8 hours ago, david387 said:

now about 25 pages into 马伯乐 by 萧红. I really find her work fascinating with very realistic depictions of the harsh life in 1920-1940 China (what she was able to write about). The characters are vivid, and you see their weaknesses. There is dark sarcasm, and you can almost laugh at their plight, yet you know there we certainly people during this time, just like these characters, with their desperation to do whatever they could to survive, even it meant allowing others to suffer.

 

Glad you mentioned 萧红. I read her short story 《手》 last year. It’s also like you describe. Will check out 《马伯乐》.

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murrayjames

Today I finished reading 《普遍启示与特殊启示》 by 唐崇荣. It is a collection of lectures about revelation given at a Christian theological seminary in Malaysia.

 

Next up: a very short story by 萧红 titled 《红的果园》, and the 巴金 novel 《寒夜》.

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murrayjames

For anyone interested in getting into low-difficulty Chinese literature, consider reading 巴金. I am currently reading his novel 《寒夜》. It is one of the easiest and most accessible novels I have read in Chinese. It is noticeably easier than 余华’s 《活着》, the most frequently “easy” novel recommended on this site.

 

巴金 wrote three trilogies between 1933 and 1947. The names of the three trilogies and the works they contain are:

 

  • 《激流三部曲》《家》、《春》、《秋》
  • 《爱情三部曲》《雾》、《雨》、《电》
  • 《人间三部曲》《憩园》、《第四病室》、《寒夜》

 

The first trilogy starts with 《家》, 巴金’s most acclaimed work. I have read that the language in 《家》 is not challenging and that the latter two books of the trilogy are more difficult. I obtained copies of the works from all three trilogies and checked them out, skimming through the texts and uploading them into @imron’s Chinese Text Analyser. As I previously read, 《家》 seems not that hard; 《春》 and 《秋》 are harder. The books in the second trilogy seem considerably easier than any book in the first. The books of the third trilogy seem easier still.

 

To users who want to read a novel in Chinese but are worried about the difficulty: check out 1940’s 巴金.

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PerpetualChange

Reading 活著 now, about 70% through on Kindle. It is my first full novel aside from a few children's novels. I find it very easy with only a few sentences here and there that don't seem to click for me. Damn it's depressing though. 

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david387
10 hours ago, murrayjames said:

For anyone interested in getting into low-difficulty Chinese literature, consider reading 巴金. I am currently reading his novel 《寒夜》

I have found that this site has just about everything I look up. 

https://www.kanunu8.com/book3/8262/

not sure if you have had any other good sources but I always like to start there to see if I liked it before I get a hard copy or similar. My library here in Orange county California also has tons and tons of Chinese books. It is always good to get recommendations first, so thank you.

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murrayjames
4 hours ago, david387 said:

not sure if you have had any other good sources

 

 

www.xstt5.com

www.rmxs8.com

www.yftxt.com

 

The search function on these websites is pretty awful. When looking for books online, I start by searching in Google for the book or author I want to read. Sometimes I Google search a specific site, like this:

 

site:xstt5.com 巴金

 

When I find a good book on one of these sites, I click the author’s name to see all the books by that author on the site.

 

I download texts mostly to check how difficult they are. When I am ready to read the book, I buy a physical copy at a brick-and-mortar bookstore, or on 京东.

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murrayjames
4 hours ago, david387 said:

My library here in Orange county California also has tons and tons of Chinese books.

 

Outside of China, Asian grocery stores are another good place to find Chinese-language books.

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Balthazar

Thanks for the tip, picked up a copy today!

 

16 hours ago, murrayjames said:

For anyone interested in getting into low-difficulty Chinese literature, consider reading 巴金. I am currently reading his novel 《寒夜》. It is one of the easiest and most accessible novels I have read in Chinese. It is noticeably easier than 余华’s 《活着》, the most frequently “easy” novel recommended on this site.

 

IMG_20200118_153354.jpg

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PerpetualChange

Well, 活著 is officially in the books. My first "big boy" Chinese novel. Very scared that the 2nd won't go as smoothly, so taking awhile to think about what I want to read next. Maybe 巴金。 

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imron
9 hours ago, PerpetualChange said:

so taking awhile to think about what I want to read next.

Once you've chosen what to read next, my advice is to prepare for the novel after that before you finish reading this one.  Even better if you can have a stack of 2-3 books you'd like to read ready to go.  That way, when you finish, you don't need to take a break from reading while you think about what to read next, you can just pick it up from the bookshelf and start reading without any break in momentum.

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PerpetualChange

Yup, I'm already on Chapter 2 of 家

 

Just decided to go for it after all.  First chapter wasn't too bad! Some tricky stuff - maybe like 40 word lookups. I would say that it does feel a bit tougher than 活著 but not excessively so. I like the two brothers. 

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murrayjames

A few weeks ago I finished 萧红’s very short story 《红的果园》.

 

Yesterday I finished 巴金’s novel 《寒夜》. It is not a great novel. The main character is indecisive and pathetic. The story is overlong and repetitive. The novel lacks the moral and emotional and existential depth that great tragedies have. So while the language is easy to read, I regret recommending the novel (sorry, @Balthazar!).

 

Today I started 施蛰存’s short story 《残秋的下弦月》.

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PerpetualChange

I think I'm on something like Chapter 7 of 家. It's pretty good! I think it's considerably harder than 活著 but just like with that novel, once you get into gear it's not that bad. There are different snags - like a high frequency of old-style family titles. The writing is slightly more flowery, but not by much. The references to works and magazines from that time kind of go over my head, I probably could have made my life a bit easier by reading some background information on this time period. I'd read some of that when reading a few Lu Xun short stories earlier so I'm not totally lost, but could certainly have been more prepared. 

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haveheart

I'm reading 流星蝴蝶剑 by 古龙 after losing interest in 活著 and 许三观卖血记 about 1/4 through each. I think so far the content is actually harder than the other two but it's so much easier to keep reading. So far, about 3 chapters in, things are starting to get easier as I get used to the writing style and common vocab, but overall the wuxia setting keeps me much more hooked for those passages that I'm not understanding as much. All that being said I think it'll take me quite a while to finish with my 30 minutes or so of reading at night. 

 

I'm definitely already seeing why so many people don't like Gu Long's work for his portrayal of women, but so far I'm excited to be making progress and actually want to continue reading something in Chinese. 

 

Anyone have any recommendations of what might be good to read after this? ( even if thats a few months away at this rate)

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imron
6 hours ago, PerpetualChange said:

I think I'm on something like Chapter 7 of 

Chapter 26 is where things get real.

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imron
3 hours ago, haveheart said:

Anyone have any recommendations of what might be good to read after this? ( even if thats a few months away at this rate)

I'd probably look for something else by 古龙.

 

When you are first starting to read novels, there will always be an initial hump of new vocabulary that makes a new book somewhat intimidating.  The hump is caused by the writing style of the author, the setting of the novel and a bunch of other things.  If you've found an author that you like, and a genre that you like, then reading similar books by the same author will greatly reduce this initial hump.

 

By reading several novels from the same author in a similar setting, you'll become familiar with a whole bunch of commonly used vocabulary and sentence structures that will then carry over to make the hump smaller than it otherwise would have been when you branch out in to other authors and genres.

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