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imron

Book of the Month - December 2011, 圈子圈套

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Gleaves

I just started this one today. Thanks for all the good info. I've been trying to make use of audiobooks lately to work on my listening, so this one fits the bill nicely. I'll probably listen to a chapter, then read the same chapter, or something along those lines. My goal is to get through the book and audio by the end of the month.

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rob07

Finished this a few days ago. Thumbs up to Imron for the recommendation. If you like clear demarcation between your goodies and baddies, fast pacing and a neat resolution, you won't go wrong with this. It is not exactly a deep study of moral ambiguity, but that might have been harder to understand.

It has also got me excited about the audio book format. My original plan was to listen to it as I walked to and from work each day but that proved a bit ambitious as the noisy city was too distracting. So audio books don't fit as well into my day as I had hoped, but they are worth making the time for. I also found the first couple of chapters a bit tough and needed to listen to them a couple of times, but Imron's chapter summaries were helpful and once I got a handle on who was who I was able to cruise through the rest of it OK after that.

Next up is the audio book version of 杜拉拉升职记.

I noticed that some parts were left out, but those probably weren't all that important for the story in my opinion (like the scene with Jackie on the Hong Kong airport).

My version of the audio book had this scene, although I bought it from a bookstore when in China on holiday, rather than downloading it from the internet.

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Gleaves

I finished this one tonight. I found it mildly entertaining, but it did not set my world on fire. I couldn't help but want for more stuff to happen. I was a little disappointed there wasn't even more double, triple crossing, 尔虞我诈 as the book calls it. My eyes glazed over during some of the 投标 bits, but the ending worked for me. Simple, but satisfying.

I had intended to listen first, then read, but I ended up reading the book and have lagged behind in listening. The book works well as an audiobook. As folks have mentioned, the audiobook is very well done (except for the music).

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rob07
I myself really liked 洪钧 and other characters (thanks to that superb voice acting, it's a pity they only recorded the first book)

Old news now I'm sure, but they have now recorded the second and third books. Picked them up last month and am now a few hours into 迷局篇. I prefer 圈子圈套 to 杜拉拉升职记 (very similar styles of book) because I think 圈子圈套 takes itself a bit less seriously. (I'm comparing the (audio) books here, I would nominate the 杜拉拉升职记 movie for inclusion on a list of the worst movies of all time).

I noticed that some parts were left out, but those probably weren't all that important for the story in my opinion (like the scene with Jackie on the Hong Kong airport).

The audio book I bought from the bookstore included that part. I also noticed that when comparing the bookstore audio 杜拉拉升职记 to the text on the internet, that the internet text version of 杜拉拉升职记 was also missing bits. I think when buying from bookstores, you do generally get something for your money in terms of quality.

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Sarevok

What I meant was the radio drama adaptation. AFAIK, they only made it for the first book. The other two books are also available in audio format, but the voice actors are different...

Although I wanted to practice my reading after the first book, it turned out to be more of a listening practice. While I was still in China, a friend of mine borrowed the first book and I forgot to take it back before I left the country in February. I started reading the second book after coming home and took it to China again while I was on a short business trip there. I bought the first book for the second time, for the sake of having a complete trilogy on my bookshelf... and then forgot the second one on a plane :D So I finished it as an audiobook and continued like that with the third book as well - I am about halfway through the 终局篇... actually, I got there in June and I am having a hiatus since then. This thread reminded me, that I should finish it :)

Anyways, it now seems, that the contents of this trilogy might become relevant to my own career - later his year I am also going to do 销售 related work in China. It's going to be a different 圈子, but I am sure it will also have its 圈套s. Although it's only a fiction, there are still some useful bits of information here and there...

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edelweis

I got a copy from the library yesterday :) so I'm ready to start whenever you guys want for the December 2011 iteration.

From what I read of the 1st page, the language is decidedly more contemporary than 活着 and will review many HSK words so I'm quite happy with that. (the plot is probably more complex than the one in 活着 though... not sure I'll understand it well enough to follow the story, we'll see.)

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jkhsu

I'm in as well. This will probably take me more than 3 months to finish though.

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rob07

Yes, this was my first audio book earlier this year, so I can say from personal experience this is a great early book, not too difficult. I want to recommend again the audio book format as well, I found it really helpful for my listening skills.

the plot is probably more complex than the one in 活着 though

There's a big hump at the beginning with the software related vocab (and, as with any other book, getting a sense of who is who). This is where Imron's chapter summaries come in (make sure to vote them up). After the first couple of chapters I wouldn't say it was any harder than 活着. Not sure if this is coincidence but Imron stopped writing his chapter summaries just as I stopped needing them.

It is fun but I am pretty sure I will have had enough of it after the first one - I assume it is not necessary to read/listen to the whole trilogy?

To answer my own question, now that I am a few hours into the third book, the first book is a completely self contained story, but the first book does feel a bit pat in the way it builds almost too logically to a conclusion. The trilogy as a whole feels more like real life, as there are more ups and downs along the way. As I expected though, it was not the sort of trilogy where I pick up the next book as soon as I finish the last one. The story is OK but the real attraction is that it is a readily available audiobook at the right level for me.

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imron
Not sure if this is coincidence but Imron stopped writing his chapter summaries just as I stopped needing them.

Haha, that was just because I was too lazy about writing them :D Looking back at an earlier post I see I said I would still write some more, so I might do that for a couple more chapters if there is a need.

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edelweis

Thanks for the comments rob07.

Imron, could you change the thread title to 'Book of the Month - December 2010 and 2011, 圈子圈套' or something? I think we would get more visits and possibly more participants if people realise we're starting a new group reading of the book, and not just discussing an old BOTM.

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edelweis

Thanks Imron.

I only read a few pages so far - because I read them on the hard copy, then again the next day on the computer with a pop-up dictionary, then again on the hard copy...

Unlike 活着, this book has so many words that I'd like to remember... makes me feel greedy :mrgreen: and perhaps afraid to go too fast. Also, chengyus in the wild! new (for me) words made up from basic characters (合同)! euphemisms (“那个”)!

I feel like I am in front of an enormous chocolate box - impatient, gluttonous and afraid of indigestion. (well, the chocolate also makes me afraid of putting on weight, thankfully reading a book won't do that to me... right?)

(活着 was great, but at my current level I felt no need to clutter my memory with the farming, military and political vocabulary, which I didn't really need to look up most of the time because the important and moving stuff was expressed in extremely simple words and sentences.)

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jkhsu

I agree with edelweis that this book has words that are more useful than 活着, especially if one works in the tech industry. I started a few pages and had to go back and re-read stuff. I'm still not at the comfort level as I was with 活着 when the old man was telling his story. We'll see if it gets easier as I read more.

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realmayo

I was a few chapters into this until I, erm, stopped reading Chinese a month or so ago :oops:. The fact it's now BOTM is great and I will be restarting the reading and following this thread. I relied loads on Imron's explanations for the first two or three chapters -- I would probably have given up if it wasn't for them -- but then found I was able to crack on and enjoy reading.

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edelweis

Finished chapter 1 this weekend, now I'm reading it again and trying to work out a few things :)

...终于要被盼来了... does this mean "at last [it] was expected to come"? I don't get how these characters 被盼来 fit together.

而真正让洪钧有些按耐不住的是:... I understand from the context that 有些按耐不住的 must be a more positive feeling than 疲 or 淡, but what does it mean exactly?

洪钧代理ICE中国区的首席代表已经将近一年,从最初的兴奋到想尽快做出成绩的急切,到最近已经开始变得有些焦虑了。

I understand there is a 3 phase process, with the initial phase 最初的兴奋, middle phase 想尽快做出成绩的急切 and lastly 最近已经开始变得有些焦虑了, is that right?

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imron
I don't get how these characters 被盼来 fit together.

I think it's a bit like you've been expecting and wanting something to happen, and then it does. If you do a search for "终于被盼来了" you'll see it talks about things people wanting for a long time and then finally happens - house prices falling, first snow of the year, people trying to conceive a child, etc. With added, e.g. 终于被盼来了, it means the thing you've been wanting/expecting hasn't yet happened, but it looks like it's about to. In this case, it's referring to finally landing 合智 as a client, who they've been eyeing for so long.

而真正让洪钧有些按耐不住的是:... I understand from the context that 有些按耐不住的 must be a more positive feeling than 疲 or 淡, but what does it mean exactly?

From the surrounding context (not quoted here, but which I can see from my book), it's saying that for Jim, the novelty of winning contracts has worn off ( 感觉上”疲“了、”淡“了)and that the 合智 contract wouldn't be enough to make him excited, rather, what is making him feel a little bit unable to contain his excitement these days is that he is about to receive a promotion to chief representative of the China region, finally getting rid of the term "deputy" from his official title.

I understand there is a 3 phase process,

I think that is correct.

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jkhsu

Just finished chapter 1 and read imron's awesome summary. I'm now at the same comfort level with this book as 活者. On to chapter 2...

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edelweis

@Imron: thanks.

@jkhsu: I also found that at the end of chapter 1 reading was getting easier. I still want to understand more details though so I will review a bit before proceeding to chapter 2.

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imron
I also found that at the end of chapter 1 reading was getting easier

What I've tended to find is that at the start of reading any given book (especially when you are first starting to get into literature), that there is always a period of adjustment while you get used to an author's style as well as learn some key vocabulary related to the context of the book. This not only helps with the rest of the book, but even better, this knowledge then carries over into other books and so as you get exposed to a broader range of styles and genres, that period of adjustment gets shorter and shorter and paves the way for you to start reading books of increasing difficultly level without feeling like there has been any real increase in effort.

There's also no harm in going back and re-reading sections to help reinforce vocabulary and sentence patterns. Spending time figuring out how stuff fits together is an important part of the learning process, and I've found that vocab/grammar learnt this way tends to stick in my mind a lot more clearly than from other methods.

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roddy

Imron (or anyone), have you read the sequels? Any good

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