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What are easy chinese novels to read?

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Hello, I'm a chinese learner since a long time ago (I started from when I was in elementary school, but I stopped, then I started learning again last year). And, now, I'm trying to find a good chinese reading material, preferably the easy ones. I can read Mandarin Companion Series Graded 1-2, and Chinese Breeze series level 1-3, and maybe some webtoons stories that are translated in Chinese. What do you think a suitable read for me? I also prefer an online story too so I can use pera-pera as my reading helper. Thank you.

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I have no idea what level those Chinese Readers are at, but here is a thread you might find useful.

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There's an index thread of graded readers.

As for native content, do check out the thread given by somthingfunny above.

My impression is, 余华‘s 活着 is many people's first Chinese novel. His language is deliberately simple.

You can also try the Chinese translation of Le Petit Prince 小王子 or the Harry Potter series 哈利波特系列.

P.S. If you're using Firefox, you can load a .pdf or .txt file either by Right click on the file->Open with->Choose default program->Browse or Alt->File->Open file (Ctrl-O). Firefox is not as fussy about local files as Chrome. Perapera should work perfectly.

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Hi. I just finished levels 1-2 of Chinese Breeze and Mandarin this week, so I'm in a similar situation.

 

I decided to start reading 笑猫日记: 会唱歌的猫. (The Smiling Cat Diaries, #18: The Singing Kitty). It's a very popular series of children's books. The author has been nicknamed "The Chinese J. K. Rowling". I purchased the book in 新华书店 in Beijing. It was just 15 RMB. I wish I had brought the complete collection, but at the time I was just exploring the book store, and didn't want to carry too much stuff with me. I'm attaching a picture of the cover and of a phrase I found funny in the first chapter. 

 

Of course, being a book for native kids, there are a lot of new words and chengyus for me, so I decided to look for a TXT version and loaded it in Pleco document reader, for reading it alongside the much cuter paper version. So far, so good. I really like it! I think it's much more entertaining than the Chinese Breeze and Mandarin Companion readers. And with Pleco's help, reading it is a "Breeze"... the book will become your new "Companion". it doesn't feel like a chore. The stories in this series have been described as "chicken soup for the soul", and with good reason. In the first pages, which are the only ones printed in color, you'll find a quick preview of the story: 二丫, 笑猫's daughter, in order to help an old dumb-deaf newspaper seller sell his papers, decides to learn to speak 人话 so she can 叫卖 the papers for the old man. Also, in order to help a woman in coma wake up, 二丫 asks again the same bird who helped her to learn 人话 to teach her to sing, so that she can sing this woman's favorite song.

 

I must clarify that, besides levels 1 and 2 of the above mentioned graded readers, I've also been doing intensive reading on a particular subject every single week for almost two years, and that I finished Heisig on december 2015, so your mileage may vary. Still, with Pleco's help, it should be manageable.

 

EDIT: Extra tip: You can use Chinese Word Extractor or Chinese Text Analyzer to automatically generate a vocabulary list in preparation for tackling this book, or any book.

 

祝你学习进步!

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I think generally, children's books are not the way to go. Yes, children just started reading and all, but native speaking kids know a lot of words that you don't, or they have an adult reading aloud to them, which makes their books relatively difficult to read for a learner. Instead, go with a book for adults which happens to have easy vocab and grammar. 活著 is a popular (and good) choice, as is the 圈子圈套 series. My first book was 張奚囯's 棋王, also very doable. Search the forums for 'first book' and such subjects and you'll find a host of recommendations.

 

Harry Potter is a popular choice as well, but personally I find that a waste of time. Harry Potter is best enjoyed in English, and besides, translated Chinese is different from regular written Chinese. Better enjoy a good Chinese author in their native language. Because now, you can!

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Agree with Lu about Harry Potter, and also there are too many non-Chinese names in the books: names of characters, names of spells and potions and names of other weird stuff which means too many unfamiliar words and indeed characters which won't be of much use in any non-wizard context... (Although if someone knew the stories inside out I suppose it might be worth it.)

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In general, translated literature isn't a good place to start. Just as we find 'clumsy' translations with strange non-English expressions in Chinese novels translated into English, you'll have the same in English novels translated to Chinese. The thread in the post by @somethingfunny is a great place to start.

 

A suggestion: some Chinese e-book sellers have generous book previews. I know Douban and Duokan do, they both have their own online readers, where you can use the Perapera or Zhongwen browser extensions, as well as Chinese Reader 8. You just click on the Preview button and the reader opens in another tab. The previews give you 1 or 2 chapters as well as the book's table of contents. So you can browser and 'preview' the books before buying them, almost better than visiting a bookshop. If you're in China. you can also use the Amazon.cn store for previews, the option is no longer available outside China.

 

 

 

 

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A children's series you may be able to read is 淘气包马小跳,a series about a naughty boy named Ma XiaoTiao.  I guess it's probably for Chinese kids in 3rd or 4th grade. It reminds me of Superfudge, Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing, and to a lesser degree, Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  I read 2-3 of the books years ago and it was a good stepping stone between graded readers and grownup novels. I understood enough to get the story, yet there were enough new words to challenge me. 

 

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Thanks! It's on my "to do" list after 笑猫日记。Both are by the same author, 杨红樱。Good to see someone else recommending this author. :)

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On 20/03/2017 at 1:57 PM, realmayo said:

 

Agree with Lu about Harry Potter, and also there are too many non-Chinese names in the books: names of characters, names of spells and potions and names of other weird stuff which means too many unfamiliar words and indeed characters which won't be of much use in any non-wizard context

 

 

I agree in general ... on the other hand, those funny words in HP are made from onomatopoeias and characters that are very frequently used to transcribe foreign names and words. Though you don't find them in any official list (such as the HSK), they are everywhere in real Chinese texts.

 

So learning how to say "咧嘴呼啦啦!" from Harry Potter in Chinese might be a fun way to learn those pesky characters. 

 

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