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Short Story Reading Club for 2014


Meng Lelan
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Using an tablet, laptop, computer or even smart phone to read books is not just a simply a case of installing a reader and then starting to read.

 

Good e book readers give you lots of settings, when I read on my tablet I have set the paper colour to a straw yellow with black text. This is so the contrast between the text and the paper is not so harsh.

 

Turn the brightness down till it is comfortable on your eyes, what is good for general computing may not be comfortable for reading for extended periods, i also find that I sometimes start with one level and then as my eyes tire turn it down a bit more to stop the glare, This is also useful if you are reading in bed and do not want to disturb a partner. Also do not read by the light of the device only, have a small light on around round you, if you have only one light source it can give you eye ache as you go from light to dark repeatedly.

 

Some e readers also have night reading option this basically swaps black and white to stop it being so glaring. This can be a bit odd but some people like it, but choosing a different paper colour is similar to this effect and is not so strange.

 

There is free program (for your PC or MAC) called Calibre that is an e book manager and converter. Excellent bit of software for keeping your e books sorted. You can load e books to your device having converted it to the format you need.

 

There are more and more devices out there that can handle Chinese characters it should be standard on most devices soon (I hope :) ) If your device has a PDF reader then that usually copes with characters.

 

Explore your e reader, there is usually a restore default settings so if it all gets out of hand you can reset and start again :)

 

I would suggest a tablet or smart phone as opposed to a laptop or pc as the laptop can be heavy and get hot, reading at a desk from a pc is not very comfortable for me. IMHO a tablet mimics the idea of a book better.

 

You can actually pick up a 7" tablet of reasonable spec for around £60.00. Maybe not too expensive to put on a Christmas present list or even get 2 or 3 people to pitch in and get it as Xmas or birthday present.

 

I like e books for several reasons, one is it stops a lot of trees from being chopped down, the cost of books is much cheaper and the resources on the internet offer a huge choice of books and I can carry a complete library around in my pocket.

 

As you have probably guessed I am a big e book fan, I had a franklin e book reader in the late 90's and i have been hooked ever since.

 

However having said all this I do still like and appreciate books for their content and beauty. But I would like to reserve my bookshelf space for books of art, language, atlases, etc.and mainly reference books and keep all my reading books and fiction electronic.

 

I also suggest a device that is not just an e reader as you will find the other things tablets can do great fun and useful. If you are a multi device person then a dedicated e reader would be ok.

 

e books yeah :)

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I'd be happy to join, but I'd prefer not to buy (m)any more books.  If there are some stories that are in the public domain, that would be ideal.

 

PS I don't have a tablet or e-reader and am, frankly, not in a position to buy/expect one as a gift, so if there are any on-line texts, that would be of serious interest.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you so much Meng Lelan!!!

Regarding Beginners:

It seems that 早安北京 by 徐坤 is in the Graded Reader 1 (Sinolingua Press; Bilingual edition (December 15, 2007), ISBN-10: 7802003741, ISBN-13: 978-7802003743)

It's only called "Good Morning" in the summary on Amazon, but it's by 徐坤 so it's got to be the very one.

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How are we going about this? Do we start reading any old book on the list and then eventually get to discussing it or will it be more structured? I'm excited! 

 

 

So am I! Welcome to this thread. We used to run this as a month by month project until we saw newcomers jumping in the middle of the year or middle of the month or whatever only to discover a story had "expired" so to speak.. And roddy has ordered all of us regulars to be nice (or nicer) to newcomers. :mrgreen: So yes, to be nice to our newcomers, you can read any story you like on the list and jump into the discussions. I have been splitting stories off into separate threads labeled by the story name, then a hyphen, then the phrase Short Story for 2014. And you can jump into the right thread when you've found it. 

 

Heh...just saw your reading list has the new story "Country of the Blind". I guess the editor John Pasden wanted to honor my career aspirations in blind rehab. So touching. Anyway that is a good list you have and I will look more into it after I finish splitting off stories. 

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我没有自己的名字 is in Advanced Reader of Contemporary Chinese Short Stories, Reflections on Humanity, by Ying Wang and Carrie Reed, which I recommend (I think it's been recommended here before). Another story in that book that I found very good is 喷壶 by 梁晓声. One of the few Chinese stories that's really gripped me.

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我没有自己的名字 is in Advanced Reader of Contemporary Chinese Short Stories, Reflections on Humanity, by Ying Wang and Carrie Reed, which I recommend (I think it's been recommended here before). Another story in that book that I found very good is 喷壶 by 梁晓声. One of the few Chinese stories that's really gripped me.

 

Yes, that book has been recommended here. I am about to split off 我没有自己的名字 into a separate short story thread and will try to find an online version. 

 

Looks like the Beginner and Intermediate stories are getting some attention though not sure how much interest there is in the Advanced stories, but we'll see. Like I said before I will come around again and again to throw in another batch of short stories into this mix. 

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Not sure if this might be of interest to you.  I organize a London Mandarin Learner's meetup group - and we attempt to meet together a couple of times a month to read bilingual articles and shortstories (Chinese native speakers read in English, everyone else reads in Chinese).  We do it on a paragraph by paragraph basis.  Our next one is Lu Xun's Kong YiJi.  Materials for this meeting are at

 

http://www.meetup.com/londonmandarinlearners/events/160493302/

 

but if you look through the <past meetups> for that group and search for "Reading Meetup", you can also see materials for previous meetings.  We read 狂人日记 - though my favorite Chinese short story of all time is Can Xue's 清路笔记 (An Affectionate Companion's Jottings - found in her translated short story collecton Vertical Motion)

 

We tend to do reading on an Intermediate to Advanced basis - the pinyin version means that the less expert can participate.

 

I am looking for more material for our meetup - so I am happy to generate pinyin versions for stories suggested here

 

Steve

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Many thanks for posting that information here, stivb, and great meetup page you have got there. Makes me wish I could live in London just to have a meetup like that. I think you will find more material for your meetups if you peruse the Chinese Forums. 

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Meng Lelan, first of all a Big Thank you  for organising this Short story reading group.

 

One problem though, I have got completly confused as to which story is for which group. It is my fault, not paying attention and losing track of what was what.

 

Could you clarify which stories are for beginners please?

 

Thank you :)

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Good to have you with us! Take a look at post #43 in here (it's got a "Popular Post" gold star on it) in which I put forth the stories for each group. The stories for beginners are as follows. I split each story off into a thread of its own. 

 

 杯弓蛇影 

 

年獸的傳說  / 年兽的传说i

 

早安北京

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  • 1 month later...

Ms. Meng, a couple of questions on how you envision this.

 

I like the questions, but are you expecting answers?  Would you welcome answers in spoiler boxes, or are they just for our thinking? 

 

Do any of these stories have English translations?  Yes, I've heard of this thing called "a search engine", but I'm lazy and wondering if people already know.  If there are, could you post a link to them?  I like them to "check my understanding" at the end.  If there are none for a given story, I might give a translation a try.

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Ah, I wasn't "expecting" answers though answers would be nice if anyone wanted to give those questions a try, spoilers or no spoilers. Those questions are really there to guide the reader through the story in terms of what is going on in the story and what the story is communicating to us. The stories that I chose, many don't have English translations that I am aware of (which makes them more appealing to me, heh, as I tend to be pro-immersion). 

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  • 2 months later...

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