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Book of the Month May 2020 (or whenever!) - 《草鞋湾》 by 曹文轩

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Geiko

Of course! I'll send it to anyone else or back to you, the more people read it and comment it on the forums, the better!

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Geiko

@roddy and @Tomsima, the book has reached me, thank you so much! I'll start it right now, trying to keep on with 笛安's novel.

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matteo

Hey guys, I've been trying to buy this book from NZ today but no luck, I tried registering on JD.com but it gets stuck on the 验证码!
Any ideas? Cheers!

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roddy

Are you starting from global.jd.com ? Although here in the UK I think it redirects you to that automatically. Are you getting any particular error message, or does it just not arrive?

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matteo

hey @roddy just sorted it out thanks! I started from the global website, I had problems with the verification code (never received) and tried without success for a couple of days. 

Then my girlfriend gave it a try with her number and it worked pretty much straight away! 

 

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roddy

Excellent! Hope it arrives soon. 

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jiaojiao87

This book is also available on the Chinese amazon site as a kindle book.  You can't use foreign credit cards anymore on that site, so I just asked a friend to buy it for me and sent them the 18 yuan cost through wechat.

 

Just an option if you prefer ebooks!

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murrayjames
46 minutes ago, jiaojiao87 said:

I just asked a friend to buy it for me and sent them the 18 yuan cost through wechat

 

That’s a good price. I paid twice as much on 京东. Enjoy the book, and be sure to share your impressions with us as you read it!

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Lu
On 7/5/2020 at 5:45 PM, Geiko said:

I'll start it right now

@Geiko, are you still reading? How do you like it?

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PerpetualChange

Back in stock for $15 on amazon for those unwilling or unable to use mainland websites. 

Shipping is slow (Oct) but it'll get here eventually. I just put my copy on order!

 

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matteo

got the book from jd.com in record time (well duh, I had to spend 20 bucks in shipping for a book that is worth 7 :D)

 

I read the first couple of chapters and enjoying it at the moment! the story has barely started so I can't really comment on that. What I find slightly peculiar (at this initial stage) is the vibe... from a certain point of view it feels like a typical children book, with its naive and over simplistic atmosphere, and lots of cliches...but then here and there some pretty dark elements  casually pop up! ...maybe I just don't remember how a children's book is supposed to feel...😁

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PerpetualChange
On 9/7/2020 at 2:52 AM, matteo said:

got the book from jd.com in record time (well duh, I had to spend 20 bucks in shipping for a book that is worth 7 :D)

Funny! Mine arrived too. I bought from Amazon, where it was $24 (but only $3 shipping, lol).


I think I'll read it next, once I finish Gu Long. The relatively short length and the copious notes and summaries left by those in this thread should make it a relatively easy read. 

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matteo

Finished the book!!

Spoiler

 

I quite enjoyed the story,...about the ending, not really sure what to make of it!

Perplexed? Maybe a little disappointed? I'm not a big fan of open endings , but also...I mean, was it really necessary to do "the right thing" and pretty much screw up the only positive thing that was left? Just because you gotta do what you gotta do?

 

I liked the atmosphere throughout the book which is simple and colorful, sometimes melancholic and generally "soft".

Like how the bad guys are actually mostly harmless and dumb, and they don't wanna go too hard on 沙小丘 cause, you know, his dad might get mad and then we're really f&@%^.

And you are thinking well of course it's a children's book but then in contrast to this...there is some serious unadulterated sadness!

阿珠's original family is completely gone and - just to make sure it's really clear that there isn't a glimmer of hope left - we are taken for a tour with the mad-as-as-cow mum living in a  shack.

And you think well, this might be so 沙丘克 is saved from having to "do the right thing" and mess up his ex-wife life (again) - but then no he does it anyway! Whaaathe...

 

And what about little 沙小丘 who's always alone, a bit sad, trying (unsuccessfully) to figure out his father? but hey it's all cool cause we are detectives, c'est la vie.

 

...So yeah not sure how I feel, the book is more complex than I expected. It's kind of like someone tells you "smile for the camera" but then he punches you in the face instead.

 

 

 

 

About the difficulty, I found it not too bad but definitely harder than 余华,with quite marked differences between the "action" chapters which were very flowy and easy to read, and the "descriptive" chapters (the ones where nothing happens) which used more advanced vocabulary.

 

 

 

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PerpetualChange

Started!

 

Just read the first chapter. Very nice, I thought. I thought it was interesting how, toward the end, when talking about the one thing missing in the house, the narrator goes on to reference the magpies, rather than the mother...

 

But I guess it's not really about the magpies and that's kind of the point! 

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PerpetualChange

Read Chapter 2 this morning. Definitely enjoyed it! It thought the father-to-son explanation of why Qiuke wasn't taking the case was very interesting and touching. It seems a little more realistic and world-weary than I was expecting for a children's novel (i.e., saying that stopping individual bad guys is fine but admitting that he felt too powerless/scared to go up against a gang).

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PerpetualChange
On 5/12/2020 at 10:26 AM, Lu said:

Chapter 3: After being told the great detective would not take their case, the entire Sheng family comes to the Shas' house to beg him to take the case and find their 阿珠. It's a very dramatic and emotional scene (and in the end 沙丘克 says yes, of course).

 

Some words:

疑惑    yíhuò        to doubt, to distrust, to puzzle over
缭绕    liáorào        to spiral up, to curl up; to entangle
猖獗    chāngjué    rampant, running wild
非但    fēidàn        not only, as in 可非但没有… But not only did he not…
扑簌簌    pūsùsù        (of tears) trickling down

 

All words you can easily guess the meaning of from context, or ignore and still understand everything. So far this book is so easy that it might actually be that mythical 'As a beginner, you should start with reading children's books' children's book.

Agreed! I just finished Chapter 3, I think one of these words made the SRS deck, as the others were all inferred. 

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jiaojiao87

Final got around to finishing this one.  Overall, I'd recommend it.  Not sure how I feel about the ending, feels a bit out of place compared to the rest of the book.

 

Next up, I'm going to try to read a bit of 《黄帝内经说什么》.  I'd like to understand a bit more on this topic, based on a conversation I had with a friend, but am not up for, or interested in, trying to struggle through classical chinese.  I might quickly give this book up, though, if it is too dry.

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PerpetualChange

Up to Chapter 9 now. Enjoying it for sure. The vocab seems to get a bit tougher after the first three chapters, though, so it's not as easy as I expected at first. 

The "gun chapter" was full of new words for me, maybe of which I just decided to skim over as it would have been way too many word look ups anyway. 

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PerpetualChange

Through Chapter 13 now. Not much to say really, it's still enjoying, but the action seems to have dipped a good bit since the early chapters. One funny observation is

 

Spoiler

How I think I've read more stretches of Sha Qiuke stating that he's thinking about quitting than doing much detective work...

 

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