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murrayjames

Today I finished 施蛰存’s short story 《残秋的下弦月》 and started 余华’s novella 《一九八六年》.

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Balthazar
On 2/3/2020 at 9:29 AM, murrayjames said:

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!).

 

Don't worry about it, at my level being able to understand what's going on is much more important than the story itself being interesting. It's not like any of the graded readers I've mostly been reading up until now are great works of literature.

 

I'm only at chapter 2, but so far I agree that the language does seem a bit easier than huozhe (which I quot about 1/4 through, but definitely plan to come back to).

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PerpetualChange

Still slugging through 家 though I'm several hours in and only like 10%. It's a real slog, I just can't find much to connect with. The chapters are getting longer and longer too. It's getting easier to read as I go though so it feels like it would be a shame to abandon it now, though, 

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imron

If you have something else ready to go, there's also no harm in putting your current book down and starting on something else.

 

It's a judgement call as to when to do this for a book, and when to keep going.

 

If it was me, I would put it down if it got to the point where I was dreading, or otherwise putting off and procrastinating reading.

 

You can always come back to the book later once you are more comfortable reading novels and have a higher vocabulary.  The book has been around for a long time, and it not going anywhere.

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PerpetualChange

I've got like 5 books going simultaneously which might be part of the problem - not letting anything really sink in and have my full attention :P

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imron

English or Chinese or a mix?

 

If it's all Chinese, I'd drop back to focus on just a single one at a time.  The main reason is that you'll benefit from a single book by a single author having a narrower set of frequently used words that you don't know.  As you learn those words, it will make the rest of the book easier.

 

The same is true of each book individually, but when you are reading them all at once then you'll have 5 different sets of frequently used words, with maybe not so much overlap.   And so you'll encounter a larger number of unknown words, and that will make reading more laborious.

 

This problem will gradually go away, as you read more and increase your vocabulary, but when you first start reading books, the phenomenon will be very pronounced.

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david387

I'm reading a terror novel called 玛格丽特的秘密. Someone's old family home in China has an old artifact from France that dates back to the time when there were a lot of beheadings is going on, including with the guillotine, and there is a beuatiful evil spirit who has an interest in heads (头颅). The book starts out on April fool's day (愚人节) in 2005. If I finish this one it will be book number seven.

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PerpetualChange
11 hours ago, imron said:

If it's all Chinese, I'd drop back to focus on just a single one at a time.  The main reason is that you'll benefit from a single book by a single author having a narrower set of frequently used words that you don't know.  As you learn those words, it will make the rest of the book easier.

 

I'm reading several Chinese books/articles concurrently and one English book.

Ba Jin - Jia is the main project. Then my teacher gives me weekly homework, usually a few articles that come from elementary and high school texts, to read. Then I have been reading San Mao's articles occasionally. Then I have a novel or three on my phone that I just read to kill time - I try to keep these short and simple but sometimes they wind up causing to much effort and I just forget about it. Oh and then I'm reading a visual novel on Steam, so there's that too.

 

I think you're right that it would be best to just focus on one thing and make an effort to really focus on it though.

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imron

Homework doesn't count against reading.  Keep doing your homework.  Likewise, having an English novel going shouldn't have an impact because it's not introducing a large amount of unknown Chinese vocabulary.

 

For the others I'd probably drop back and just focus on one of them - the visual novel, the San Mao articles, a novel on your phone, or 家.  As your reading skill and vocabulary improves, you can branch out in to multiple texts at once, but when you're just starting out with longer texts you'll have an easier time and make more progress by focusing on one thing at a time.

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Expugnator

So far I've only read translated stuff, with a couple of exceptions such as Yu Hua's works. I'm reading Nicholas Sparks' Dear John in Mandarin, following along with the audiobook.

Lined up next is a work by Gabriel García Marquez.

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murrayjames

Today I finished 《一九八六年》 by 余华. What a weird, morbid story.

 

I also started reading the essay《自己的文章》 by 张爱玲, after @Fred0 mentioned it in a recent thread.

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matteo

I'm trying to find a way to download the ebook version of 许三观卖血记, but seems to be very hard to do without a 百度 account. 

Incidentally, registering to 百度 without a chinese phone number seems not to be working. Anyone knows a way around this?

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imron

www.shutxt.com has many books available as .txt files.  You could try searching there.

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matteo
2 hours ago, imron said:

www.shutxt.com has many books available as .txt files.  You could try searching there.

 

worked a charm thanks

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ZhuoMing

After reading 余华 books 活着, and 许三观卖血记, I wanted to continue reading stories from that time period, but from a different author. I chose to read 人生 by 路遥. after reading imron's list of books.  So far I have read about 6 chapters, and I think it is alright. I do really like the setting. Just like the Yu Hua books, it is set during the cultural revolution, and as such has a lot of farming vocabulary that I remembered from reading 活着 and 许三观卖血记. The story so far doesn't feel as interesting and fast-paced as the Yu Hua books, but I am only about 25% through the book. It is definitely interesting enough for me to look forward to reading.

 

In terms of writing style, I think 路遥 is more verbose with his setting descriptions. This makes reading more difficult due to the use of elaborate chengyus that don't add a whole lot to overall comprehension of the story itself. That said, I feel like it is a decent next book after the typical starter books such as 活着. I am getting through this book without too much difficulty (~5 or so lookups per page), though I did spend about a year without reading a book since finishing 活着 and 许三观卖血记, so the difficulty gap might be larger than I am able to perceive (my vocabulary improved a lot during the past year, although I didn't read any books).  

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PerpetualChange
On 2/3/2020 at 6:22 PM, imron said:

Chapter 26 is where things get real.

 

Not there yet, but things started to get sufficiently real around Chapter 20 for me. Really enjoying the novel now, and I'm glad I've stuck with it!

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murrayjames

I finished 《自己的文章》 by 张爱玲. Next is the short story 《牛车上》 by 萧红.

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艾墨本

Finished reading 流浪地球 and was horribly disappointed. Felt that 刘慈欣 has poor understanding of humans, which, despite his excellent descriptions of time and space, ruined the story for me. I've never seen an author whose characters were flat to the point of showing no development despite aging from a small child to an older father. Nonetheless, I will swing back around to 三体 in the future.

Currently reading 嫌疑人X的献身 by 东野圭吾, a Japanese mystery novel. Only about 20 pages in so far but am thoroughly enjoying it. The characters are all dynamic with complex emotions and lives.

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matteo
39 minutes ago, 艾墨本 said:

Finished reading 流浪地球 and was horribly disappointed. Felt that 刘慈欣 has poor understanding of humans, which, despite his excellent descriptions of time and space, ruined the story for me. I've never seen an author whose characters were flat to the point of showing no development despite aging from a small child to an older father. Nonetheless, I will swing back around to 三体 in the future.

 

Agree on the judgement on this author. I read (in English) the first chapter of the tree body problem trilogy.

I found it an incoherent jumble of pseudo-scientific garbage loosely pasted together by an array of either flat or stereotypical characters. By the end of it I didn't care about them, or the destiny of the universe. 

 

Curious to know if someone out there has a completely different opinion about it, also given that this book seems to have been quite successful. 

 

 

 

 

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