I especially never worry if the first chapter is rough. The first chapter typically introduces some new vocabulary, and it often uses fancy, descriptive vocabulary that won't show up again.
Xmmm wrote:But given that you pick a book that is short and clearly written, it's not such a big deal to read a novel in your TL if you have a pop-up dictionary to help you along. In my opinion, people do themselves a disservice running to junk like Harry Potter as their first target, at least for major languages like Russian and French with enormous amounts of literature on line.
The big selling points of Harry Potter are:
- You can buy it online from Pottermore without any DRM or region restrictions. If you're studying a major language and you get lucky, you may also be able to buy the audiobook as a downloadable MP3. This is a big deal for a language like French, where most ebooks are DRMed and region-locked. You can avoid this by reading classics from before 1928, but not everybody actually wants to limit themselves to old books.
- There are a huge number of people under 30 (and a fair number over) who have read the entire series multiple times, which aids significantly with comprehension in a new language.
- The series starts out as an older kid's book (about halfway between B1 and B2, at least for an anglophone learning a romance language), and gradually becomes more difficult over the course of several thousand pages.