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Book of the Month June 2020 (or whenever!) - 《景恒街》 by 笛安

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imron
3 hours ago, Lu said:

and then decided by me a bit unilaterally (sorry)

Don't apologise.  Taking charge is how things get done.

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Lu

Oh but I'm not actually sorry. I was just being polite 😁

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roddy

The downloads here seem to work if anyone can't get hold of a copy by other means, but I've not looked at them closely. There's also a bit of a review here. Do hope to read this one (although the twisty-murder one sounds a little more interesting) but won't be immediately. 

 

Thanks, Lu!

 

Edit: A few stats from CTA: 146k total characters, 9,000 unique words, 32% of total words and 70% of unique words are *outside* of HSK1-6.

Edit Edit: I see elsewhere that the book has 170k characters - which makes me think the electronic version might not be complete. Be careful. 

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Jellyfish
3 hours ago, roddy said:

A few stats from CTA

 

Thank you so much for this! What is this "CTA" and how can I use it? I really need to improve my reading skills but get frustrated when I have to look up so many words, having a rough idea of what I'm getting myself into in advance would be so good.

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roddy

Careful. It has opinions.

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Lu
5 hours ago, roddy said:

A few stats from CTA: 146k total characters, 9,000 unique words, 32% of total words and 70% of unique words are *outside* of HSK1-6.

With that many 'rare' words I wonder if many of these words aren't 错别字 in the electronic copy. So far it doesn't read as particularly difficult, although there is some jargon here and there I guess?

 

Chapter 2: Lingjing spends all day and then most of the night in the hospital with Xiaoya having her baby, and in the process forms a friendship with her. Xiaoya entrusts her with her tasks for the duration of her six-months' parental leave. The three partners debate on making Xiaoya a partner as well, to reward her for her insight on the 蔓越莓 case and to prevent her from being headhunted by another company, but they decide to wait. Lingjing meets with a string of hopeful startup founders (with some really sarcastic commentary in the book about their pitches), then sees the next name on her list and is shocked. We'll hopefully find out why in the next chapter.

 

I don't know where any of this is going yet, but it has a sitcom's sense of quick and slightly mean humour and I like it.

 

Please ask if you'd appreciate a vocab list, now or in the near-ish future, because then I might actually make one.

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Geiko
1 hour ago, Lu said:
7 hours ago, roddy said:

A few stats from CTA: 146k total characters, 9,000 unique words, 32% of total words and 70% of unique words are *outside* of HSK1-6.

With that many 'rare' words I wonder if many of these words aren't 错别字 in the electronic copy. So far it doesn't read as particularly difficult, although there is some jargon here and there I guess?

 

I analysed the text with CTA too and I had a 95% of known words, at first sight I didn't notice any obvious 错别字 ( doesn't mean that there aren't). As far as I see, the most frequent not-so-common characters must be propper names, because they appeared right after a family name (伊舵、冯镁、潘垣、芮辛……). I've added 40+ words to my Pleco flashcards and reached 96% of comprehension, so in a couple of days I'll join you all with the reading of 景恆接. 

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roddy

I haven't spotted any 错别字, but as I've said I'm not 100% on the quality of this file - like I said, it seems to be 25k short for a start. And there will be segmentation issues. But bear in mind the stats I gave are referenced against the HSK lists, which are only 5,000 - not a lot for a novel. And, for example, in the HSK lists you only get 妈 in 妈妈. So every instance of 妈 in 我妈,他妈,大妈。。。 becomes unknown. Similarly quite common terms aren't in the HSK list - 百万, 粉丝, 服务生. 那个人 gets counted as a word, as it's in CEDICT, but it's not in the HSK lists like that, so there's 25 unknown words (I... think?) when perhaps it would be better to regard it as 50 or 75 known words. Etc. 

 

So definitely take the statistics with a grain of salt, but I suspect the highness of those numbers is as much to do with the limitations of the HSK lists as a reference point. But they're what we've got. Plug in the old HSK lists, or the HSK 3.0 ones when we get them, and the figures will come down significantly.

 

In retrospect, I should probably have just said 'looks like a fairly easy read', which it does, and not bothered with the numbers. 

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imron
7 hours ago, Lu said:

With that many 'rare' words I wonder if many of these words aren't 错别字 in the electronic copy.

The stats seem consistent with other novels - partly it's due to the issues roddy said about the HSK lists not containing words that CTA will treat as words, but I think the main cause is because HSK lists are general and are designed to cover a broad range of texts and broad range of genres, so it goes broad rather than deep.

 

This is the opposite of most novels, which will be on a specific topic, in a specific genre and go deep rather than broad.

 

Note, one of the main reasons I added the HSK stats was to show just how far off the HSK is from native content.

 

4 hours ago, roddy said:

So definitely take the statistics with a grain of salt,

Due to segmentation and other issues, the word statistics should be treated as ballpark level correct, rather than absolutely correct.

 

This still makes them suitable for comparing texts (because any texts you compare will have the same issues), and also for extracting frequently used unknown words (because even with segmentation errors, frequently used words will still float to the top).

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PerpetualChange

My copy arrives tomorrow. I'm 80% through Sahala Suiyue right now so I should be ready to start this by the middle of the month. 

I look forward to benefiting from whatever word lists @Lu decides to post :)

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Geiko
On 6/2/2020 at 7:39 PM, Lu said:

It's a pretty hefty book, 326 pages in my edition, separated into five parts, which are in turn separated into chapters

 

In the electronic version linked by @roddythere are parts 1 to 3, plus an ending and a 后记 (see photo attached). Is it the same as in the printed version? If not, that would explain why the online version has only 265 pages and 25k less characters.

Screenshot_2020-06-04-16-01-08-277_org.readera.jpg

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Lu

Yes, it's the same in my printed edition.

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Geiko

Then the mystery of those 25k missing characters goes on... 😁

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roddy

I'll try and figure it out when my copy arrives. Not very hard though. 

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murrayjames

Currently halfway through Chapter 1. Feels odd seeing words like 微信 and 投资方 in a novel. Most Chinese fiction I’ve read is set in mid 20th century.

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Lu
1 hour ago, murrayjames said:

Currently halfway through Chapter 1. Feels odd seeing words like 微信 and 投资方 in a novel.

My technical double take was when Lingjing says 'hold up, I need to install Weixin first'. She's working for an internet company and didn't have it yet? Then I leafed back and saw that the chapter was explicitly set in 2011, where that would have been pretty normal.

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Geiko

How is everybody going with the reading? I finished chapter 3, things are getting more and more interesting! The first pages were a bit confusing for me, with all that business conversations, but in the second chapter I was much more interested, I'm more familiar with what goes on in a delivery room, and also the situation was fun. And then, in the third chapter we find out who the "he" and "she" of the first page are!

 

Spoiler

So right after 小雅 has her baby, 灵境 and 钢铁侠 go out to have a drink together and end up in bed. He seems to be married, which worries her, but he says he hasn't seen his wife for a couple of months, without explaining why.

 

We also know the details of that 粉叠 app MJ is working on: it will be an app for fans, to talk about their idols, organise activities, create fan clubs and even write your own fan fiction or have more chances to meet your idol. After taking her maternity leave, 小雅 has given 灵境 a pdf file with a list of more or less famous people. In that list she finds 小潘 , who happens to be her flatmate. He isn't extremely famous, he only participated in a talent show seven years before, but he's handsome and people remember him.

 

At the end of chapter 3 灵境 receives at the office another famous person from that pdf file, 关景恒. I'm very puzzled by him, I had understood the title of the book litteraly as a street name, and now I think I might be wrong. 灵境 seems to have fallen in love with him, as she wonders 说不定有一天, 他会喜欢我.

 

 

A couple of expressions I had to look up:

 

十八线艺人: not so famous celebrities, belonging to the "D-list" . 人气高的我们称之为一线明星,人气稍差的称为二线明星,十八线,指不怎么有名气,或者说基本上没有名气。(From Baidu)

 

猫王: Elvis Presley. Why is Elvis Presley known as Maowang in Chinese?

 

孽海姐妹花: it seems to be a book, but I can't find much information about it (Baidu).

 

If you find some mistake or misinterpretation in my comment, feel free to tell me! I like to read other people's opinions, because I'm sure I'm missing some things.

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Lu

I finished chapter 3 but neglected to post about it, thanks for your summary!

 

I read it not so much as Lingjing falling in love with him, but rather that she's completely star-struck. Or maybe both star-struck and smitten.

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Geiko

That makes more sense, thank you, Lu!

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