(This is my second attempt to write this post, because the forum logged me out and I lost the previous version
A tip for the current state of the forum: copy anything you write before hitting the submit button, just in case!)
With the Super Challenge coming up in 9 days or so, it will be helpful for me to put my thoughts about what I may or may not want to do down in writing. This post will probably be edited and re-edited several times in the coming weeks.First decision: challenge languages
French-- I'll attempt a full challenge (100 films, 100 books) again in French. I've always managed to do the film half, but with the three challenges we've had, I've never finished the book half. Normally I started well but somehow lost steam or got busy with other things. "This time" (tm) I will complete a full challenge in French! Or not, either way I'll do a lot of reading and watching/listening which I will enjoy and which will improve my French.
German-- since I've been studying German again (endless false beginner there), I'll probably aim for a half challenge in German. This will be more of an aspirational challenge, and I don't really expect to finish it.
Hindi-- in order to keep my Hindi going, I'll aim for a quarter challenge in Hindi. Again, this is more aspirational than real.
The next thing to think about is what I have to watch, listen to and read in my languages, and how I might prioritize them. It will be useful to take stock of my resources, although I know that what I actually use will change and develop over the course of the challenge.French Books
(and other reading)
I have so many books that I want to read, and many that I've read and many more that I want to read again. When I was reading French regularly, I developed the habit of alternating between something relatively easy and something relatively difficult, as well as mixing in new reads and re-reads. I'll continue to work like that during this SC. I'm a big believer in the power of re-reading.
On the first day, I will probably pull out a few of my easy readers, just to get a few pages complete and recorded and to get my head in the game. Most books that fit in the "easy reader" category are just rubbish, but useful to a point. However, one book that I very much enjoyed when I was first starting with French was Enquête Capitale
by Marine de Courtis, an A1 reader but with quite an engaging story! Le petit Nicolas
- I will almost certainly begin the challenge by reading one or more of these books, and I will certainly read the lot at least once! These are always a joy to read and reread, my "happy place" in French. There are 14 collections of stories, all but one of which are on Kindle. I own 12 on Kindle (I believe I've read all but haven't completed one of them), and will buy the 13th "soon". Today, I ordered a used copy of the one that's not on Kindle, Le ballon et autres histoires inedites
series by Christelle Dabos. I have the first of the four books on Kindle (and Audible as well). If I enjoy it enough I'll continue with the series.Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret
by Georges Simenon. I've read a few of his books in easy reader format, but apparently the real things aren't very difficult. I bought this one for the last SC but never got around to reading it. I think I chose this particular volume among the many available on Kindle because it is a whopping 624 pages long! Value for money!Mon ami Maigret
by Georges Simenon.Un sac de billes
by Joseph Joffo. I read about half of this classic during the last SC, but I felt like it was finally a book that I wanted to read more intensively, taking notes, etc. Of course that meant that I stopped reading it! Le Chapeau de Mitterrand
by Antoine Laurain. I read this a couple years ago and loved it. Will re-read, and re-listen (I have it on Audible). La femme au carnet rouge
by Antoine Laurain as well. I bought this on Kindle and Audible because I liked Le Chapeau, but I haven't read it yet.Histoires des Jean-Quelque-Chose (Tome 1) - L'omelette au sucre
by Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod. I'll probably re-read (and re-listen) and maybe then get the second book. These are for children, not too difficult, somewhat funny, autobiographical slices of the author's life. I quite enjoyed the audiobook, but having listened to the stories several times I found the book a bit of a chore. It probably doesn't have the "repetition value" that I look for in literature I read for learning languages.Quand sort la recluse
by Fred Vargas. I bought this two years ago (again Kindle & Audible), but found the first chapter a bit difficult. Maybe next time.Un aller simple
by Didier Van Cauwelaert. Kindle & Audible. I quite enjoyed this book and will probably read it again.Les Maquisards
by Hemley Boum. I bought this on Kindle based on the strong recommendation of the arts correspondent of 7 jours sur la planète
, but I haven't read it yet.La Planète des singes
by Pierre Boulle, the original that inspired all the Planet of the Apes films. I read about half of it and got bored, possibly because I had read it in English not long before. I may try again.Ready player one (French Edition)
by Ernest Cline. With so many good books written in French to read, I've not really been interested in books translated from English. But I bought this on Kindle so I may read it.
That list above is probably more than enough to complete a full Super Challenge, but I'm sure I have load more books hiding on shelves here and there. E.g. several BDs which I'll probably read or re-read.French Films
(watching and listening)
I have too much to handle here. First of all, many DVDs that I have watched and want to watch again, and also several that I haven't gotten around to watching yet. I also have loads of audio books and podcasts to listen to. This time around I'm going to do my best to avoid English subtitles where possible. Here are a few of my high priority items:Le Dîner de Cons
Such fun!Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain
Utterly charming.Les P'tits Diables
children's cartoons based on a BD for children. When I first watched these on TV5 Monde I understood very little of the spoken language, although the stories were easy enough to follow visually. Like most TV they talk fast, and use a lot of abbreviations and colloquialisms. I bought both volumes (4 DVDs in all) from amazon.fr for the last SC. About two years ago I watched them and felt like I was understanding 90%.Boulevard Du Palais
was one of my favourite policiers on TV5 Monde, so when there was a 3 for 2 offer on DVD box sets from amazon.fr I bought the only 3 sets that were ever produced (about half of the total episodes). I watched about half during the last SC, and found it very difficult to follow without subtitles, but worthwhile nonetheless. This time I may continue where I left off or I may start from the beginning again. I'm not sure yet.Dany Boon: Des Hauts-de-France
, stand up comedy on Netflix. I watched about 5 minutes with French subtitles and decided that I could handle this, so filed it away under "soon" (tm). However, Netflix being Netflix, I better watch it quite soon before it gets removed.
Speaking of Netflix, although their French film collection is not as good as it once was, there are several highly recommended French series:Call My Agent
has been recommended to me several times. There are now 3 series, so it's obviously been popular.Au service de la France
. I've watched both series, but would definitely enjoy watching them again.The Bonfire of Destiny
, a historical drama set in 1897 Paris.German Books
(and other reading)German Easy Reader 1-3
by Brian Smith. I've read these three books recently, but I'll probably start my challenge with these and then move on to his Pre-Intermediate Reader
. At some point I'll tackle his three intermediate readers as well.Verschollen in Berlin: Deutsche Lektüre für das GER-Niveau A1/A2 mit eingebundenem Audio-File (TATORT DaF)
, by Gabi Baier. I bought this on Kindle a while ago to see if the series is worth it. [i]Die DaF-Bibliothek / A1/A2 - Kaltes Blut: Heimliche Rache in Garmisch
[/i] by Roland Dittrich. Same as above. Once I've read these two readers, I'll decide if it's worth buying others in one series or the other.German Films
(watching and listening)
One problem with German for me is that I don't have anything that I want to watch in German. I'm not aware of much media in German anyway.
Brian Smith's readers all have free audio files from his website, so a lot of my German listening will be to his audiobooks.Andrea erzählt
, a podcast for intermediate learners from podclub.ch. The website stopped their free podcast programme, and announced that they would be removing all of the podcasts from their website, but I managed to download all 106 episodes a day or two before the end.Hindi Books
(and other reading)Routledge Intermediate Hindi Reader
- This book was a great resource when I was last working on Hindi. The one serious problem with this reader is that the readings are rather short, only 2-3 pages each, with at least 2/3 of the book taken up with vocab lists and useless exercises. When I was last using this book I would read a chapter without looking up unknown words, but underlining them instead. I would then put all unknown words into Anki and begin rereading the chapter several times. I'll probably pick this book up again and do the same sometime this summer. The Routledge website also has sound files, which I will use for the film half of the challenge. The website also has English translations, but 2/3 of the way in I haven't needed them.Intermediate Hindi Reader, Usha Jain
- This is a much better reader than the Routledge one for several reasons, but mainly because it has much more text. The book is larger and longer, and has no useless exercises. Each chapter has a full vocabulary list, but helpfully has asterisks by the words the author believes are worth learning. The one downside is that there are no English translations available. I read the first 2-3 stories about 4 years ago, and while the first story was very easy, the difficulty ramped up quickly! So I always intended to leave this reader for later. "Later" in this case may mean this SC after reading other stuff, or it may mean next SC. Tintin
- I have almost the whole collection in the Hindi translation. These are fairly recent translations, and quite good from the bits I have read. Asterix
- I have Asterix the Gaul in a recent Hindi translation. Last I checked they hadn't made any more translations, but I may look again.Hindi Films
(watching and listening)
I own something like 35-40 Hindi films on DVD, so I have plenty of choice! My wife has been recently mentioning that we should watch Lagaan
again, but I've been secretly putting it off until May!
Netflix is another source, although they don't have as many Bollywood films as they did a few years ago, at least that's how it seems to me.