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What are you reading?

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jannesan
1 minute ago, Luxi said:

There are very strong female characters in some 武侠 novels but, you know what? They all dress like men to go out in the 江湖.

 

Yea tbh, I think this genre is not for me, just to big of a turn off to be all about the "man hero".

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Lu
18 hours ago, Luxi said:

And BTW the most sexist and misogynist of all is one of the 'great 4' classical novels, "The Water Margin"  (or "Outlaws of the Marsh"). It'll churn your guts to read!

I'm disappointed to hear that 😞

 

I'm currently (have been for a while) slowly making my way through the 三国演义, which is at least for the most part not actively sexist (some rape and forced marriage, but nobody actively intending to harm women specifically, if that makes sense), there are just barely any women in it in the first place. On the other hand, whenever a woman does appear you know it's going to be a good bit, with plotting, people interacting with each other, using their knowledge of each other to play each other and such, not just 'generals X, Y and Z went to fight generals A, B and C' etcetera. Not all good bits have women in them, but all bits with women in them are good.

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Luxi
1 hour ago, Lu said:

slowly making my way through the 三国演义

 

To my shame, I've only read parts, but watched the 2 TV series and numerous movies many times. I think 三国演义 is an extraordinary, wonderful novel, even if women figure very little. And it credits the few women with good qualities. Not so 水浒传 (The Water Margin). Most men (except government agents) are noble and brimming with good qualities. Women are unfaithful two-timers, disloyal, unvirtuous, conniving, greedy, etc. and deserve to be punished - and several are punished horrendously in this dubious 'gem' of a novel. I can't believe some scholars think the two novels were written by the same author.

 

The only peeve I have with 三国演义 is that it made such a villain out of 曹操 (Cao Cao), who as a historical figure was quite admired in China before the book came along. OTH, the novel made him into a fascinating 3-D character.

 

My 'very long read' is 红楼梦, sexist? Yeah, in some ways, but it is true to history and culture. Misogynist? Certainly not!

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Lu
2 minutes ago, Luxi said:

The only peeve I have with 三国演义 is that it made such a villain out of 曹操 (Cao Cao), who as a historical figure was quite admired in China before the book came along. OTH, the novel made him into a fascinating 3-D character.

I find Cao Cao more interesting than the other three main characters combined. Sure he's painted a villain, but this is not the only case of the villain being the most interesting character in a work. (Perhaps that's why he was made the villain?)

 

I completely agree on the 红楼梦.

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PerpetualChange

I've got a real Wuxia bug after reading Gu Long, even though I didn't like it much in the end, I want more. I've got  飛燕驚龍 by 臥龍生 on order from Chinese Book Online, and it'll get here in a few weeks I guess. In the meantime I'm either going to read another one of the books of the month (since I have them all) or check out a 水滸傳: 顏色繪圖版 - I bought this in Vancouver a few years ago, there are 125 pages but there is like size 16 font and pictures on every page. Might be a nice appetizer before reading another hardcore Wuxia novel. 

 

Initially I planed to start the Iron Crane series by 王度廬, but I only have the first volume of the first novel, and I didn't want to start it knowing that I'd have to finish it online or something like that. I guess I learned my lesson, when I see a multi-volume set, it's better to just buy all of it, since there's no telling if it'll still be there later. 

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imron

Check out 雪山飞狐 by 金庸. 
 

it’s quite short and should be more accessible than his other stories. 

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PerpetualChange
8 hours ago, imron said:

Check out 雪山飞狐 by 金庸. 

 

I think I just changed my reading plans! A little intimidated to try Jin Yong, but maybe I should just go for it and see if I'm ready. 

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imron

That’s the way to do it!  Worst case is you put it down after 2 days and come back to it again in 6 months. 
 

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PerpetualChange
On 11/10/2020 at 3:58 PM, imron said:

That’s the way to do it!  Worst case is you put it down after 2 days and come back to it again in 6 months. 

I'm definitely struggling in the first chapter - there's just so many new words and new usages to old words or grammatical patterns I haven't seen much of. 

Quite a step up from Gu Long being the only other Wuxia novel I've read. I'm following the plot but missing out on a great deal of the nuance, probably. Will check back in after a few days - I may move to something easier if this winds up being too difficulty. 

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PerpetualChange

I decided to spend a few bucks on a kindle English translation of 雪山飞狐, and within a half-hour I got caught up to where I'd gotten to in around 2-3 hours of reading the Chinese version. My comprehension was actually pretty good, and a lot of what I missed where names/titles that I don't think any learning could have prepared me for - not sure any previous book or textbook would have helped me parse that all those characters after someone's name mean "Chief Escort of the Beijing Overlord Convoy" 😂

 

 It was good to see that I wasn't falling off track, though I am hoping that I don't lean to heavily on the English version, now that I have it.... Maybe I'll ignore it, and only consult it if I'm lost at the end of a reading session. 

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dangran

Lately I've been reading Mo Yan 莫言. I finished 酒国 (the Republic of Wine) in October, and started to read 红高粱家族 (Red Sorghum) right after. I'm now half way through it. 

 

Mo Yan is a famous Nobel Prize winning author so I'm sure many of you are very familiar with his work. Am I the only one who thinks that 酒国 and 红高粱 are complete opposites? 酒国 was an extremely difficult read, not only because of the language, but because of how the story was constructed. It basically has three overlapping texts (the main storyline, letter exchange between Mo Yan himself and his student, and the short essays of his student). For me,  it was a very disturbing book, one of the main plots was about corrupted elite in a place called 酒国 who like to eat soy marinated babies. Mo Yan likes to write in a very descriptive way, which sometimes frustrates me. His style has been said to be "hallucinatory realist", which also was not my cup of tea. I'm not saying its a bad book, I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't read it in Chinese. Now the combination of language difficulties, weird story composition and the absurdness of the story itself was too much for me. But I finished it! :) 

 

Red Sorghum on the other hand... This is something I enjoy. Compared to, for example, Yu Hua, the text IS harder and slower to read for me, I still have to use Pleco more often that I'd like to admit. Occasionally I feel like I'm studying the text instead of reading it, but in some parts I can breeze through the book with very little effort. Even if you're not interested in the Sino-Japanese war and the turbulent period of modern China, I'd still recommend this book because more than anything, it is a story of one family and their personal experiences. 

 

After finishing this one, I still got one more Mo Yan waiting for me: 生死疲劳 (Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out) , but to be honest, I think I need something completely different and new! Thats why I came here to see what everybody else is reading, to get some fresh ideas. 

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EnergyReaper
On 9/18/2020 at 6:10 AM, matteo said:

Has anyone tried reading the Chinese translation of Edgar Snow's "Red Star Over China"?

I haven't read it yet, but today I found there was a TV series based on this book, https://v.qq.com/x/cover/9rd3p0eshp1do42.html. I'll try it first.

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PerpetualChange

Oh boy, Jin Yong is just too tough, and I'm completely lost without the English translation now. There is so much stuff that I'd just never get, it's not just the vocab but also the sentence patterns and grammar. I'm looking up like half the words in each sentence - including words I "know" because I have no idea what they mean in the context - and then still coming up with nothing. This sucks, I haven't felt this bad about my Chinese in a long time. Definitely putting this down and not sure I feel like even trying to jump into anything else for a bit. Probably just take a break. 

 

 

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imron

Erp, sorry for the poor suggestion.  

 

I went through something similar with my first Jin yong book, and in the end put the whole genre aside for 10 months, but at least this will serve as a useful data point when you eventually return to Jin Yong. 

 

Taking a break from Chinese is one option, the other would be to find something easy enough that you can restore your comfort with reading. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PerpetualChange
11 hours ago, imron said:

Erp, sorry for the poor suggestion.  

 

I went through something similar with my first Jin yong book, and in the end put the whole genre aside for 10 months, but at least this will serve as a useful data point when you eventually return to Jin Yong. 

Sorry about that. I suffer from low self-esteem and my attitude about things can really spiral out of control when I'm frustrated. Unfortunately I'm also very driven and the fact I can't do something will drive me nuts. Your suggest was a good one - I should not let frustrating things get to me so badly. 

 

Anyway, because of this, I'm still going. I'm diagraming sentences and breaking them down into parts of speech. I have not done this in years, and thought I was beyond it, too be honest. I can have fun this way, when I look at it like more like an exercise in patience. 

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PerpetualChange

I’m currently on chapter 3 of 雪山飛狐. Jin Yong uses some words and concepts that are strange to me but the hardest part is just keeping track of all the characters - though not sure it even matters, because they’re (so far) all just getting their butts kicked lol

 

My SRS already blew up to 200+ words so for my own sanity I think I will start a new deck and try and add less to it (everything seems so useful though!)

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Lu

Currently reading Mai Jia's Decoded (in English translation). I had expected a spy novel and I was surprised to find a long saga about a family, with a math genius, and another math genius, and someone who starts a university, which is very succesful, and so on and so forth, then about the main character's youth, and his teachers... I'm almost halfway through the book and he only just got to his actual decoding job. It's a fun book though, I'm enjoying it.

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imron
9 hours ago, PerpetualChange said:

everything seems so useful though!

It won’t be!

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kanumo

I tried to read 著 but it’s still above my level.

the last episode of the „you can learn chinese“ podcast brought up the idea of trying a book that is for Chinese kids/ teens.. so not a kids book that parents read to the child, but rather a book geared to kids who can read by themselves..

 

anyone aimed into that direction yet?

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Lu
2 hours ago, kanumo said:

the last episode of the „you can learn chinese“ podcast brought up the idea of trying a book that is for Chinese kids/ teens.. so not a kids book that parents read to the child, but rather a book geared to kids who can read by themselves..

 

anyone aimed into that direction yet?

Try this, and join the thread if you do! It has vocab lists, summaries and discussion.

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