A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

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MamaPata
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby MamaPata » Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:04 am

kanewai wrote:La Reine étranglée - first look. Since I've already read the first book, I figured I'd read the second in the series along with you all. So far it's good, and in some ways far easier than the first book. Since I already know the characters and the general setting I feel a lot less lost with all the intrigues. Without getting into spoilers, though, I'm still not buying that it's the "original Game of Thrones." It's a good historical novel, but it's nowhere near the epic scale of GoT.


Is the stuff about it being the original GoT not just because Martin has said he liked it?

I'm also reading La Reine Étranglée because I read Le Roi de Fer last year, though there was definitely enough new vocabulary for me to do a re-read. I'm also finding it easier, though a little less interesting. (Though this may just be my general mood). I started it a couple of weeks ago but haven't read anything for a little while. Hopefully I'll get back into it now!
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby I_likes_languages » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:16 pm

I finished the first part yesterday, and so far I'm liking it. I'm definitely learning a lot of new words and plugging holes in my vocabulary, although I'll probably have to wait for a long time to use aumônière or bûcher in an actual conversation. I'm not hooked to the series yet, which may be because I spoilered myself with the actual history. In case anyone is interested, here are some links (French) to decent podcast/videos (the French wikipedia page is also very good). And by decent I mean that there are a lot of weird history channel like ones which just pick a clickbaity version of events.

Au coeur de l'histoire - Les rois maudits (40 min) - By far the best podcast I've found on the topic. It specifically compares the historic context with the books and also dispels some myths. There is a very interesting section where they dissect in what way Maurice Druon's work has to be seen in the context of his time. There is also a more recent one on Isabelle, which I haven't listened to yet.
As for Youtubers, I liked Philippe le Bel & les Rois Maudits Les Chroniques de France 5/12 by Arcana les Mystères du Monde (16 min).
For an introduction to the Hundred Years War and its origins, I thought the video by Questions d'histoire (13min) was useful. There is also a one hour podcast by 2000 ans d'histoire which is good but not entirely relevant here.

L'ombre d'un doute - Les Templiers (70 min) gives a nice overview over the Templers and their role/history, but fully subscribes to the "Philippe le Bel did it for the money" version.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby kanewai » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:38 pm

MamaPata wrote:Is the stuff about it being the original GoT not just because Martin has said he liked it?

I'm also reading La Reine Étranglée because I read Le Roi de Fer last year, though there was definitely enough new vocabulary for me to do a re-read. I'm also finding it easier, though a little less interesting. (Though this may just be my general mood). I started it a couple of weeks ago but haven't read anything for a little while. Hopefully I'll get back into it now!


It's actually a direct quote from Martin, which the publishers are milking for all its worth (the Starks and the Lannisters have nothing on the Capets and Plantagenets. Whether you are a history buff or a fantasy fan, Druon's epic will keep you turning pages. This was the original game of thrones).

For me, the book works as history more than 'fantasy,' and I'll probably keep reading the series for that. I've been avoiding reading too much on the historical background, though - I hate spoilers! (Which is silly for novels based on real events, and yet ... ) And I already know which queen is étranglée, and by whom.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby Mista » Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:15 am

The book is something else, certainly - but there are some clear similarities, and it's not hard to imagine that G. R. R. Martin was inspired by it. The way we follow a different character in every chapter, the large scope of the story, the way everyone has their own intrigue going on - all those things are likely to be inspired by this book, but in Martin's books, the scope is even bigger, the intrigues more complex, and the characters more numerous.

One thing I remember from A Game of Thrones was that in the beginning, I thought I knew who the main character was and what the story would be - and then he died. And as the story proceeds, this happens again and again and again.... and halfway through the series, you don't trust anything anymore (including that the series will ever be finished ... :roll: ). In Le roi de fer, it struck me at page 100 that there was a lot going on, but I had no idea where the story was going. Then, just a few pages later - I think on page 106 - the magical word appeared and suddenly I knew exactly what was going to happen, and I was never in any doubt that every prediction made on that page was going to come true.

It was a nice read, and I'll probably want to read more at some point. I ordered just the one book, however, so I'll have to read some more of the books I already have in my shelves before I order any new ones. For now, I've started on a crime novel by Fred Vargas (Dans les bois éternels), and I hope to finish that one in a few weeks, when it will be time to start on Mon nom est Rouge (which I will also read in French, as you can tell by the title).
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby kanewai » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:48 pm

I finished La Reine étranglée last night. I mostly enjoyed it, though it felt much thinner than the first book. Or rather, it felt like it was much more one part of an an on-going series rather than a stand-alone story. The first book stood up better on it's own. I'll keep the rest of the series on my to-read list ... though there are a lot of books I want to read first.

I'm looking forward to next month's Mon nom est rouge. It will probably take me more than a month to finish, though.


For whenever the next round of voting comes up, I have one more suggestion: Röde Orm by Frans G. Bengtsson. It's a two-volume Swedish adventure novel about 10th Century Vikings. From the introduction by Michael Chabon (one of my favorite American writers): In my career as a reader I have encountered only three people who know The Long Ships, and all of them, like me, loved it immoderately. Four for four: from this tiny but irrefutable sample I dare to extrapolate that this novel, first published in Sweden during the Second World War, stands ready, given the chance, to bring lasting pleasure to every single human being on the face of the earth.

Beyond that I trust Chabon, I also like that 1) most of us don't know Swedish, so most of us would be reading it in translation; 2) it's almost unknown in the States, and yet sounds like a classic, and 3) Vikings.

I found it on Amazon (US) under the following titles:
Swedish: Röde Orm (original)
English: The Long Ships
French: Orm le rouge
Italian: Orm il Rosso: Le navi dei vichinghi
German: Die Abenteuer des Röde Orm
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby iguanamon » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:43 am

In Spanish, the book has been translated very recently by Ivette Miravitllas as "Orm el rojo". The publisher's blurb:
Edhasa wrote:Bengtsson se convirtió en un clásico de la literatura escandinava, y al tiempo de la narrativa de tema naval, con esta poderosa saga épica en la que pone de manifiesto un extraordinario conocimiento de la vida, las costumbres, las creencias y los códigos de los vikingos.
Capturado de niño en su aldea, Orm no tarda en convertirse en un vikingo respetado por sus camaradas por su audacia y valor en los saqueos en que participa, pero cuando desembarca en Al-Andalus, donde es hecho prisionero y se pone al servicio de Almanzor, descubre un mundo nuevo por completo. Y nuevas experiencias le esperan en Irlanda, donde conoce una religión con la que no puede sino chocar, antes de regresar a su patria.
Una emocionante novela histórica, una saga apasionante traducida por primera vez al español.

This looks to be a interesting book to read. I've enjoyed reading Poul Anderson's sci-fi books about Viking times and this book, even without an artificial time travel element, looks to be a grand adventure through Middle Ages Europe. Jeff and Elenia could even read it as a parallel text. At 477 pages, sadly, it would take me more than a month to read with all I have on my plate right now.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby I_likes_languages » Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:26 pm

Röde Orm has been translated into more than 20 languages (the titles can be found on this page), but Amazon.fr doesn't seem to have the French version in stock right now.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby kanewai » Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:40 pm

I_likes_languages wrote:Röde Orm has been translated into more than 20 languages (the titles can be found on this page), but Amazon.fr doesn't seem to have the French version in stock right now.


That's because Amazon hates Swedish. It's the only explanation I can find. If you search for orm le rouge Amazon "corrects" your search to oem le rouge. Every single time, whether you cut and paste or type it out. If you correct it back (use the 'search instead' button) you'll find the paperback from $10 and up! Amazon search.

I've had this problem with Amazon for other languages too. It's weird, especially since it's correcting orm to oem ... which isn't English either.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby kanewai » Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:45 pm

kanewai wrote:
I_likes_languages wrote:Röde Orm has been translated into more than 20 languages (the titles can be found on this page), but Amazon.fr doesn't seem to have the French version in stock right now.


That's because Amazon hates Swedish. It's the only explanation I can find. If you search for orm le rouge Amazon "corrects" your search to oem le rouge. Every single time, whether you cut and paste or type it out. If you correct it back (use the 'search instead' button) you'll find the paperback from $10 and up! Amazon search.

I've had this problem with Amazon for other languages too. It's weird, especially since it's correcting orm to oem ... which isn't English either.


iguanamon wrote: This looks to be a interesting book to read. I've enjoyed reading Poul Anderson's sci-fi books about Viking times and this book, even without an artificial time travel element, looks to be a grand adventure through Middle Ages Europe. Jeff and Elenia could even read it as a parallel text. At 477 pages, sadly, it would take me more than a month to read with all I have on my plate right now.


I think it's actually two books that were published as one volume in English. But I feel you with having too much on your plate. I'm hoping that by November (or whenever the next selection is) I'll be ready.
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El bosque oscuro: 0 / 100
Il consiglio dEgitto: 0 / 100
Mon nom est rouge : 100 / 730
Le comte de Monte-Cristo III: 6 / 27

Ulysses: 7 / 25

Mista
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby Mista » Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:24 am

I'd like to suggest Life of Pi by Yann Martel, which seems to have been translated into 41 languages (can't find a list, probably because I don't know what I'm doing).

It's probably time to start thinking about what we'll read next month. The decision process will take some time, and we should leave some time for people to get hold of their books as well.

Are there any more nominations?
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