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skylee
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I liked the bit with the ship in the Panama Canal though, perhaps because it had some tension and action. Though I don't remember how near the end that was. If you have only 20 pages to go, I'd bite my teeth and finish it, just because you're so close.

 

I'm reading short stories by 鲁敏 and I really like them. She sets up the scene and introduces a problem or new development. The protagonist then tries to solve the problem, or deal with the new development. But in the end, the solution to the problem or the cause of the new development turns out to be something else then the protagonist could ever have thought, and often something entirely outside their control. After a few stories I start to cotton on, so I know the solution lies somewhere I can't see, but the resolution of the story is still an interesting surprise every time. Not a gut punch or a shock, but an intereresting surprise nonetheless. I'm not sure how to put into words what she does, I guess I'll keep reading until I can.

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10 hours ago, Woodford said:

 

I seem to remember there was a pretty rough section where the 三体人 were "unfolding" a proton (whatever that means) in order to build a 智子. That was, by far, the most confusing and disorienting part for me.

It's actually where I'm at now! I didn't have to read the English version that I have, but I did talk to a friend who had read the book before and he explained to me what's going on. With that in mind I was able to read the chapter and understand most of it aside from some of the details toward the proton folding process. And I actually enjoyed it. But I also feel like I cheated now. 

 

Oh well, five more pages to go. If there's nothing this bad in the next book, maybe I'll consider reading it eventually....

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12 hours ago, PerpetualChange said:

Oh well, five more pages to go. If there's nothing this bad in the next book, maybe I'll consider reading it eventually....

 

I also finished the first book recently and I’m feeling a bit the same. Hoping for less proton unfolding in the next book .. :D

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On 8/29/2021 at 9:49 PM, PerpetualChange said:

三體 has shifted from being a mostly enjoyable read to a thoroughly bad experience in the last couple chapters. The author really ramps up the jargon and junk science, and it's really hard to ever be certain you have a grip on the plot when some of the stuff going on is very theoretical anyway. I loathe the chapters in three body world so much here at the end that it makes me want to tear the book up lol

 

The flip side is I was worried the whole thing was going to be like this so the fact that the first 280 pages were mostly manageable was better than I expected. But I didn't expect this Marathon at the end. I've been reading it for almost 3 months now, I've got 20 pages to go, and I regret it. Might just drop it and call it there. Would be a shame, though.  


lol

I enjoyed the English audiobook version, though I now think of the first book as a little dull intro to the second and third book. I think the favorite parts for me were the three body world parts and the panama canal part. Moving the introduction chapter about cultural revolution away from the beginning doesn't really make sense to me but I can imagine the reason.


I began reading the simplified Chinese version a little while ago. It would probably go over my head if I didn't know the story already.

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I just finished. Ultimately I liked it and even that proton chapter upon a reread. But yeah, talk about an Encounter with Cthulhu.

 

Onto a light chaster - maybe a Star Wars novel. Followed by more Gu Long.  And then maybe if I'm feeling ambitious, back to 三體世界 next year...

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19 hours ago, PerpetualChange said:

If there's nothing this bad in the next book, maybe I'll consider reading it eventually....


There is going to be four dimensional space...
I really enjoy the author's imagination about such things.

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On 8/31/2021 at 8:18 AM, PerpetualChange said:
On 8/30/2021 at 10:01 PM, Woodford said:

rough section where the 三体人 were "unfolding" a proton (whatever that means) in order to build a 智子. That was, by far, the most confusing and disorienting part for me.

It's actually where I'm at now! I didn't have to read the English version that I have, but I did talk to a friend who had read the book before and he explained to me what's going on.

 

I'm reading Dark Forest now, and I keep an English translation open on another tab.  I feel it's sort of cheating, so I try to avoid doing that for most novels. 

 

I'm at or close being at required level of Chinese ability for the book, but I've had to cheat the most for DF.  I find it the English translation useful for:

 

1. Transliterated names & places.  I still have to conceptualize non-Chinese names in English in order to keep track of the characters and places in my head.  Clearly so for  names of western origin, but also for Japanese names like Keiko.

 

2. Tech terms, particularly future tech that doesn't exist yet so I can't find them in the dictionary.  Sophons, ball lightning, controlled fusion, reactionless drives, non-Von Neumann computers, holographic displays. 

 

I can't get a proper sense of "awe" or "cool"ness from just its Chinese name, even if I get it's some future-tech roughly to do with energy, space travel or weaponry. 

 

3. Of course, the long passages actually describing the future tech, to make sure I even get the concept for what he's saying.  Sometimes also, I get lost when he's describing strategems, like Diaz' battles ideas or when a Wallbreaker takes down a Wallfacer. 

 

I'm not sure I'm getting the nuance from just reading the Chinese passage.  DF has quite a few long expository passages of this sort.  Then some guys kills himself or someone else at the end of a long passage, wtf?!  Was it really that drastic?!  (recheck with translation...)

 

I'm also reading Legend of Condor Heros in comic book form, since I hear Jin Yong is a quantum level more difficult than your run of the mill novel.  (I've read Gu Long's Meteor Butterfly novel before, and that was a comfortable read, but it wasn't super easy.)

 

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On 9/1/2021 at 4:26 AM, phills said:

 

I'm also reading Legend of Condor Heros in comic book form, since I hear Jin Yong is a quantum level more difficult than your run of the mill novel.  (I've read Gu Long's Meteor Butterfly novel before, and that was a comfortable read, but it wasn't super easy.)

I thought my first and only Jin Yong novel was several times harder than 三体. That Gu Long in particular won't do much to prepare you for a lot of the tropes and common vocab of Wuxia that Jin Yong takes for granted. 

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I found a really good sounding audiobook/performance of 三体 on Ximalaya.

I began listen to it too to improve my listening and I'm really enjoying it. Someone also uploaded himself reading it on youtube, but I find the Ximalaya version a lot better and it seems to be professionally created.

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On 8/30/2021 at 3:01 PM, Woodford said:

I think my least favorite Chinese book so far (maybe my least favorite book in any language) is 解密 by 麦家.

I happened to really enjoy this book but I can definitely relate to loathing a book and/or its author because the commit the crime of using lots of words I don't recognise! And that basically means I have zero tolerance to any faffing around with plot/narrative structure/boring episodes that I then encounter in the book.

On 8/30/2021 at 3:01 PM, Woodford said:

Most people, being smarter than me, would have just put the book down and read something else. But...I'm somehow willing to subject myself to such torture.

However what I really want to know is whether you re-read this book your customary three or four times? :mrgreen:

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I have bad news. It turns out I underestimated the difficulty of 《秘密花园》。I could still read it, but it would take me quite a bit longer than I would prefer to spend on one book. So I am going back to all of those Chronicles of Narnia books I skipped over, starting with 《魔法师的外甥》。Should be a pretty easy read.

 

I have a question for everybody, though -- As I've been reading, there have been plenty of times where I've encountered a sentence (or, very occasionally,  a full paragraph) that I couldn't quite understand, even though I knew all of the words and presumably understood all the grammar. So far I have mostly ignored those, figuring that with time and experience and after reading tens of thousands of pages of literature, these kinds of occurences should become more and more rare. But is that a mistake? Should I be intensively studying these passages? Or do you guys feel my intuition is largely correct, and I shouldn't worry too much about them?

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As I've been reading, there have been plenty of times where I've encountered a sentence (or, very occasionally,  a full paragraph) that I couldn't quite understand, even though I knew all of the words and presumably understood all the grammar. So far I have mostly ignored those, figuring that with time and experience and after reading tens of thousands of pages of literature, these kinds of occurences should become more and more rare. But is that a mistake?

Ideally you would have a native speaker you can consult for a time about those passages not so much to get the correct meaning of each but to figure out what the obstacle is - is it slang? regional dialect?  lack of cultural knowledge? weird syntax?  or what?  Then you would have a better idea of whether you should be checking most such passages with someone or just passing over them. 

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On 9/5/2021 at 5:28 PM, 黄有光 said:

Should I be intensively studying these passages?

My hunch is that you should be doing some intensive reading because that will force you to learn in 5 minutes something useful - maybe it's a collocation or a grammar pattern or an idiomatic/slang usage. Otherwise you might see that same thing on 10 different occasions over the next year and never understand it, which is both a missed opportunity and a drag on your reading speed.

 

The difficulty is finding an appropriate text where it's worthwhile - for your level - understanding everything in it 100%. By worthwhile I mean it's obviously better to spend time on the more common stuff than the super rare. Personally, textbooks solve this problem for me but I know plenty of people don't like them.

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On 9/6/2021 at 12:28 AM, 黄有光 said:

So I am going back to all of those Chronicles of Narnia books I skipped over, starting with 《魔法师的外甥》。

 

I loved the Narnia books as a kid, so I read a few of them, including 魔法师的外甥, to start off.  I also considered Harry Potter, like I saw on one of the threads on here, but Narnia books are so much shorter.  I got a real sense of achievement from finishing one.

 

As for ignoring bits you don't understand, I'm a big fan.  I tend to let them accumulate until I come to the realization I can't follow the story any more, at which point, I go back and study the stuff I skipped over using dictionary lookups / Google translate.  If even that doesn't do it, I'll ask someone.

 

Once I figure out what I missed, and pick up the storyline again, I keep going.  Usually I consider part of learning the "style" of the book / author. 

 

Of course, if I have to do this too often, then the book is too hard, and I'll quit for a while and try an easier book.  In the back of my mind, I also have some aspirations of coming back to a book I've read before, when my language skills have gotten better.  Hopefully I'll be marvelling at how quickly I can read it, and pick up on all the nuances I lost :)

 

I'm not sure this is the best "language learning advice", but I tend to optimize for keeping my interest up. 

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On 9/5/2021 at 6:28 PM, 黄有光 said:

As I've been reading, there have been plenty of times where I've encountered a sentence (or, very occasionally,  a full paragraph) that I couldn't quite understand, even though I knew all of the words and presumably understood all the grammar. So far I have mostly ignored those, figuring that with time and experience and after reading tens of thousands of pages of literature, these kinds of occurences should become more and more rare. But is that a mistake? Should I be intensively studying these passages? Or do you guys feel my intuition is largely correct, and I shouldn't worry too much about them?

Some tactics to consider:

- If you can genererally tell what it's about (description of landscape, technical properties of thing) and the exact features/properties/whatever are not important to the story, you can skip it. But if something narrative is going on, that may be unwise, because you might miss something that is significant later in the story and the story itself will become confusing and not enjoyable.

- If you have the time, it's best to at least try and pick apart what's going on. Perhaps there will be one sentence left in a paragraph that you really don't understand, but the others do become clear with more attention.

- Consider just asking here. Someone will be able to tell you what's going on and explain why. See this thread for an example.

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On 9/3/2021 at 9:04 AM, PerpetualChange said:

@Woodfordmight be able to help us figure out just his bad the next two books are in terms of comprehension destabilizing future tech vocab


As I recall, the second and third books aren't really more difficult than the first. In fact, because they're written by the same author and in the same genre, they just get progressively easier. As somebody commented above, one of the later books gets into the topic of four dimensional space, which I think is one of the more technical aspects of the book. But if I am remembering correctly, books 2 and 3 spend more time on the story and less time on long-winded technical explanations. 

 

On 9/4/2021 at 2:44 AM, realmayo said:

However what I really want to know is whether you re-read this book your customary three or four times?

 

I actually did! Three times. My original plan was to read my first 4 books 4 times, then my next 4 books 3 times, then my next 4 books 2 times, and then starting on book 13, I would just read each book once. So I was basically starting with depth/intensity, and then slowly introducing more "breadth." However, I gave up this scheme on book #8. It was a good strategy for building up reading speed and confidence, but eventually, reading widely becomes a better use of time than reading deeply. At this point, I need to read as much new content as I can, rather than reviewing old content.

 

 

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On 9/5/2021 at 11:28 AM, 黄有光 said:

I have a question for everybody, though -- As I've been reading, there have been plenty of times where I've encountered a sentence (or, very occasionally,  a full paragraph) that I couldn't quite understand, even though I knew all of the words and presumably understood all the grammar. So far I have mostly ignored those, figuring that with time and experience and after reading tens of thousands of pages of literature, these kinds of occurrences should become more and more rare. But is that a mistake? Should I be intensively studying these passages? Or do you guys feel my intuition is largely correct, and I shouldn't worry too much about them?

 

That's something I think about a lot. When I'm reading some authors, everything is perfectly clear, so long as I can look up words in a dictionary. But when reading other authors, it seems I can read an entire paragraph and not be quite sure about what's happening! When I encounter something like that, I just look at it for a few good seconds to see if I can figure it out. If I can't, then I just keep reading, hoping that understanding such phrases will improve with more experience. Fortunately, out of the 12 books I've read so far, only a couple of them were so bad that my comprehension of the overall story was affected.

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