A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

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

Postby Spoonary » Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:02 pm

Hey readers!

I would love to take part in this book club of yours, but I find it difficult to figure out what the book of the month is at any given time (eg. What is October's book? :? )

Could this be written in the subject/title of the thread perhaps? Or could there just be a clear post each month that showed what that month's book is?

I'm sorry if I'm the only one not keeping up here, but I nip in and out of threads like these and I'm a bit lost :lol:
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby Mista » Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:55 pm

Spoonary wrote:Hey readers!

I would love to take part in this book club of yours, but I find it difficult to figure out what the book of the month is at any given time (eg. What is October's book? :? )

Could this be written in the subject/title of the thread perhaps? Or could there just be a clear post each month that showed what that month's book is?

I'm sorry if I'm the only one not keeping up here, but I nip in and out of threads like these and I'm a bit lost :lol:


Sounds like a good idea! Maybe that's why we seem to be so few... :?

Book of the month for October: My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk

Nothing has been decided yet for next month, suggestions are welcome
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby MamaPata » Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:23 am

Okay, I have finally finished La Reine Étranglée and yeah, I'm definitely in accordance with what has already been said. It's a filler book, the point is just to rush the plot through. I was a bit sorry that some of the characters that were key in the first one just disappeared (mostly Isabelle but it felt a little like d'Artois' characterisation shifted quite a bit). I will keep reading the series but I'll probably read another book or two first.

From a language point of view, my experience with this book and the first were pretty similar (though for obvious reasons this was easier). I'll have a page or two with maybe a couple of unknown words, and then a sentence where I don't know half of them. In the first book, this was particularly noticeable when conversations switched from secular politics (great, all good) to the Church (totally lost, my religious vocabulary is limited in English). Despite the search for a pope, the second one (it seemed to me) had less religious discussion, so mostly words I struggled with were things particular to the setting (archaic words for measurements, etc). Mostly I didn't need those for the plot and I just moved on. I am currently going through the first chapter looking words up, but we'll see how long I keep going with that.

I'm not particularly interested in the next book and have a few of my own lined up (or I need to just finally finish) so I'll probably sit it out for October. But some suggestions for November/December:

- An Austen novel? They're quite widely translated, English learners have a wealth of films and series to watch, quite a few people on the forum have read or like her.
- The Wizard of Oz. There's definitely a Russian/Soviet translation of this, I assume there must be others.
- An Anne Holt novel? Again, widely translated, quite engaging, there seem to be a few detective fans on the forum.
- I think Jules Verne had been suggested previously?
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby I_likes_languages » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:09 am

I would like to suggest Petit Pays/Small Country by Gaël Faye for the November/December vote. I've recently read the book and thought it was amazing. It is also rather short, and might be a good choice for November for everyone who needs to catch up after the longish Orhan Pamuk. The language is simple, so it would be a good choice even for less advanced learners. Amazon.com has the English, French, Dutch, German, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese editions. According to the author's twitter page there are also editions in: Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Slovene, Serbo-Croatian, Hebrew, Arabic, Romanian, Japanese, Greek...(probably missed some). The title seem to be a direct translation of "small country" for the most part, so it should be easy to search for. Racking up this many translations although the book has only been out for about 2 years is amazing imo.

From Amazon:
Burundi, 1992. For ten-year-old Gabriel, life in his comfortable expatriate neighborhood of Bujumbura with his French father, Rwandan mother and little sister Ana, is something close to paradise. These are carefree days of laughter and adventure – sneaking Supermatch cigarettes and gorging on stolen mangoes – as he and his mischievous gang of friends transform their tiny cul-de-sac into their kingdom.
But dark clouds are gathering over this small country, and soon their peaceful existence will shatter when Burundi, and neighboring Rwanda, are brutally hit by civil war and genocide.

A novel of extraordinary power and beauty, Small Country describes an end of innocence as seen through the eyes of a child caught in the maelstrom of history. Shot through with shadows and light, tragedy and humor, it is a stirring tribute not only to a dark chapter in Africa’s past, but also to the bright days that preceded it.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby kanewai » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:15 pm

Spoonary wrote:Hey readers! ... I'm sorry if I'm the only one not keeping up here, but I nip in and out of threads like these and I'm a bit lost :lol:

Is there a way to make a 'sticky' post that always shows up showing the next couple books?

MamaPata wrote:Okay, I have finally finished La Reine Étranglée and yeah, I'm definitely in accordance with what has already been said. It's a filler book, the point is just to rush the plot through. I was a bit sorry that some of the characters that were key in the first one just disappeared (mostly Isabelle but it felt a little like d'Artois' characterisation shifted quite a bit). I will keep reading the series but I'll probably read another book or two first.

Isabel made a surprise appearance last night in a podcast I listen to, The History of English. The episode was on "The Celtic Fringe," and it dealt with the development of a Scots language distinct from English during the 1300s. Edward I (the "Hammer of the Scots") dies, and Edward II inherits the crown, and quits the war to 1) marry Isabel, and 2) bring his lover Piers Gaveston back from exile. He sat with Piers at the wedding rather than Isabel.

No wonder she was angry.

I missed her in La Reine étranglée too. She wasn't a 'good' person per se, but she was a lot more interesting than any character in the second book. It looks like we won't see her again until the fifth book, La Louve de France.

I_likes_languages wrote:I would like to suggest Petit Pays/Small Country by Gaël Faye

I took a glance this morning, and tore through the first couple pages on the "preview" tab. This looks fascinating. There's no way I'll be ready for a new French book in November ... so I kind of hope it wins the polling for December :) I'll be reading it either way.

MamaPata wrote:I'm not particularly interested in the next book and have a few of my own lined up (or I need to just finally finish) so I'll probably sit it out for October.

I wasn't interested at first either. I find a lot of modern authors are too intellectual, and forget to tell a good story. I'd read Kar (Snow) by Pamuk, and it felt like a bit of a chore to get through. I admired the 'sense of place' he was able to conjure up, but wasn't invested at all in the plot.

I'm not sure when or why I decided to give My Name is Red a try. I was going to skip this month too. But now I'm 50 pages into the French translation, and I'm hooked. It feels like a natural translation - that is, I have to remind myself that the book was originally written in Turkish, not French. I like the Renaissance-era İstanbul setting, and am enjoying the shifting perspectives, though "le chien" is by far my favorite.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby kanewai » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:15 pm

How's everyone doing with My Name is Red?

I've reached page 100 here. So far I like it, though I'm also confused by some of the plot. I can't quite figure out the relationship between the book maker and the head of the miniaturist workshop. Are they working together, or in competition, or just suspicious of each other?

The book reminds me a lot of The Name of the Rose. A lot of historic research went into both books, they're both very intellectual, and both have tons of cultural references that sometime go over my head.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby Ani » Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:01 am

I was really hoping to read this one but I'm out for this month :(
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:45 pm

Still trying to finish Le Roi du Fer over here. I’m so close, life has just been getting in the way... What’s the November book?
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby Systematiker » Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:30 pm

Lawyer&Mom wrote:Still trying to finish Le Roi du Fer over here. I’m so close, life has just been getting in the way... What’s the November book?


Yeah I still haven’t finished it either...
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby Mista » Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:46 pm

Lawyer&Mom wrote:Still trying to finish Le Roi du Fer over here. I’m so close, life has just been getting in the way... What’s the November book?


Unless someone else wants to do it, I'll try to put up a poll within the next couple of days, so we can figure that out.
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