The FORMER A Language Learner's Forum Book Club

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The FORMER A Language Learner's Forum Book Club

Postby iguanamon » Sun Aug 16, 2015 5:56 pm

This is the former thread for Book Club discussion. The new thread for active discussion is here:

Welcome to A Language Learner's Forum Book Club! Its creation came about because of a need on the forum to have a place where people can discuss about the books they read instead of about how many books or pages they have read. This is not the Super Challenge, which I encourage all learners who wish to make a dramatic improvement in their language skills to do. This is about books in your TL's (this includes English for English learners and graphic novels, BD's, comic books or whatever you prefer to call them).

You are encouraged to write in any TL if you wish, but it isn't required. If you do write in TL, then you should at least provide a synopsis in English of your main points so that everyone may benefit from possibly discovering a new book or writer, even if they don't speak your TL. Recommendations of books to read are welcome, just flesh them out a bit instead of posting a simple list.

If you have read, or are reading, a book in TL translation from English or a TL translation from another language, this is ok. You can, indeed, talk about these books here and I encourage you to do so!

Group read-alongs are also encouraged- in any language.

A Word About TL Corrections: If posters wish to have their TL's corrected, they should state so clearly in the beginning of the post or at the end. If posters do not wish their posts to be corrected by non-native speakers, this should also be made clear. Posters should bear in mind that the forum's text interface isn't designed well for corrections and it can be a time consuming task for the correctors. If someone goes to the time and trouble to do this for you, they should be thanked. If a poster doesn't state that they wish to be corrected, the assumption should be that they do not want to be corrected without being asked. Private messages can be used to ask someone if they want a correction.

Illegal Downloads and Proper Attribution: No one should post links to illegal downloads as per Forum Rules. Quotes from books should be attributed to the author of said book or the book's title.

Images: Images can make a post fun, but keep in mind that too much of a good thing can spoil that fun, be judicious about image use. Please try to edit the size of images you post so that they don't expand the screen width in such a way that it makes reading a chore of scrolling back and forth from left to right for every line on the page. Please check your post to see if the photo is too large. If you can't edit the image to fit within the optimum screen width for reading, please delete it and provide a link instead. Please keep other members in mind. One post with giant photos can ruin a whole page of posts for everyone else. If this happens, feel free to point this out to the poster. Another fun way to illustrate a post is with links to publisher or fan-made "book trailers" (similar to movie trailers) on youtube. There are also plenty of "booktubers" giving reviews in multiple languages on youtube. Please bear in mind that many of the audiobook videos on youtube may be copyright violations, so be careful when posting links to audiobook youtube videos.

Disagreements: If you disagree with someone's post about a book, please, try to disagree without being disagreeable.

Membership: What do you have to do to join? There's no sign up list. The membership is everyone who enjoys reading in a TL. So, post, read and enjoy! Let's talk about books!
Last edited by iguanamon on Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:18 pm, edited 16 times in total.
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Re: Not the Real HTLAL Book Club 2015

Postby sillygoose1 » Sun Aug 16, 2015 6:20 pm

Is anyone here a fan of David Foster Wallace? I've read The Broom of the System and A Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again in Italian and I'm debating whether or not to start his "Infinite Jest", which is notoriously hard in English, in Spanish. I wanted to this Summer but didn't get around to it.

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Re: Not the Real HTLAL Book Club 2015

Postby brilliantyears » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:04 am

These days I'm mostly focusing on Japanese, and I'm currently reading 気まぐれロボット (Kimagure Robotto) by 星 親一 (Hoshi Shin'ichi). It's a collection of science fiction 'short-shorts' - short stories of around 5 pages. I'm about halfway through and the stories so far have been quite enjoyable. I love how each story ends with a punchline, but I must say they are getting a bit repetitive.

After this I am thinking of continuing reading Harry Potter. I started reading the first book a while ago but stopped after the first chapter because I got distracted by other books.

(repost of my last HTLAL book club post)
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Re: Not the Real HTLAL Book Club 2015

Postby sfuqua » Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:17 am

I'm reading _The Fall of Giants_ in Spanish. Like most of Follett's big books it is basically soap opera set in a historical setting. I mean, we are not dealing with great mysterious insights into human nature, we are dealing with melodrama. I quite like it. I'm about one fourth of the way through the book. The book is one of a trilogy, so if I read all three I'm on one twelfth of the way through. The whole thing is a big 4500 page (if you count 250 words a page) monster, which may be just what the language learner needs.

This book covers World War I from the viewpoint of a group of characters from different countries. In some ways it reminds me of Winds of War and War and Remembrance. by Herman Wouk. Wouk's work led me into years of reading on World War II and some interesting discussions with my father, a WWII veteran. Putting a good melodrama into a historical context keeps me turning pages.

Now that I found this thread, I promise to report on what is happening in my book. Please don't read this if you want intellectual stimulation. I've been boring my wife to death talking about my book, and now I can bore some electrons with my foolish ramblings....
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Re: Not the Real HTLAL Book Club 2015

Postby samfrances » Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:52 am

I tried to read Harry Potter in Spanish, but I found that it contained too much unknown vocabulary, so I'm currently reading Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate.


For me, this is just at the right level for extensive reading. It's also a very fun story. I'll probably read a few more Roald Dahl books in translation, as they were childhood favourites of mine. I'm also trying to find out about children's books at a similar level that were originally written in Spanish, as opposed to translations of English books.

Here's my ultimate goal:

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Re: Not the Real HTLAL Book Club 2015

Postby Via Diva » Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:55 am

I am afraid to read in German because my vocabulary is not big enough and my knowledge of grammar is like a map fill of white spots. Yet that didn't stop me from reading (listening-reading the book in German plus German audio) Herr aller Dinge. Andreas Eschbach isn't an excellent writer, at least from what I have heard, and if you're looking for quality sci-fi you probably need to keep on looking.
I have less demands here. What I need is an interesting plot (interesting enough to keep me reading, at least) and not too complex style (to be able to follow). And, well, I think, Herr aller Dinge can give you both.
It's a story of a Japanese boy and his dreams, be it the dreams of things he could do, or of people he cherish. Everything adds to the mix along the way - drama, adventure, politics, economy, history, sci-fi. I can only compare it to a soap opera. You have this boiling kettle of genres, and you present in in episodes, one line of the story changing the other abruptly each time.
The language is easy enough for me to follow. There is quite a bit of scientific stuff explained in the book, but the vocabulary isn't all too hard and it's fine if you don't need 100% comprehension. I don't know whether Eschbach has checked what he's written, because in one of his other books Ausgebrannt (which I read in Russian) he states that crude oil chemically (!) decomposes to a number or products including propylene while distilling. Call me when you find enough propylene in crude oil. Or that diesel and mazut are the same - and this is matters a lot, you'll know why if you read the book.
Still, I don't think that I should be too picky. I rated both these books 4/5 on goodreads, and I would recommend to at least try them, especially if you haven't read much in German beforehand.
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Re: Not the Real HTLAL Book Club 2015

Postby tomgosse » Tue Aug 25, 2015 2:29 pm

The first book in French that I am trying to read is Easy French Reader by R. de Roussy de Sales. It has three parts, a story about Marc et Julie, a section of articles Le Grandes Figures de L'histoire, and Histoires Célèbres.

I waited a few months for the third edition to be published because it advertised more audio recordings, and reading exercises. Sadly, these are not availabe. Here is my review from Amazon:
As other reviewers have written, this is the same text as the second edition. I bought is because I thought I was going to get audio readings of the text. Wrong! If and when you finally find the web site for the audio it has only twelve readings from the first part. They are titled Sample Readings from the Second Edition. There are no readings for either the second or third part of the book. There are no flashcards, progress tracker, vocabulary, or post reading exercises. I should have gotten the Kindle edition then I could cut and paste the text into Google Translate and have that read it to me.

Sorry McGraw-Hill, you dropped the ball on this one.

The good news is that the text is the same as the second edition. So save yourself a few dollars and buy that edition. As a first reader in French it is a good book.
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Re: Not the Real HTLAL Book Club 2015

Postby zatris » Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:46 pm

sillygoose1 wrote:Is anyone here a fan of David Foster Wallace? I've read The Broom of the System and A Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again in Italian and I'm debating whether or not to start his "Infinite Jest", which is notoriously hard in English, in Spanish. I wanted to this Summer but didn't get around to it.

I've only read some of his essays and the famous "This is Water" speech, but I plan to read Consider the Lobster later this year. I tried to read Infinite Jest in English some months ago, but it's way above my level for now. I hope to read it in Portuguese in September, during vacation.

The Brazilian edition is very cool:

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Re: Not the Real HTLAL Book Club 2015

Postby Zegpoddle » Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:17 am

tomgosse wrote:The first book in French that I am trying to read is Easy French Reader by R. de Roussy de Sales. It has three parts, a story about Marc et Julie, a section of articles Le Grandes Figures de L'histoire, and Histoires Célèbres.
This made me laugh because I'm about 20 pages from the end of the first book in the Spanish version of this series, Easy Spanish Reader by William Tardy. It has a similar structure: Part one is a story about "Enrique y Maria," Part two is a short "History of Mexico," and part three is a simplified adaptation of the picaresque novel Lazarillo de Tormes.

Is Marc an exchange student from France who is studying at American student Julie's high school? Or maybe Marc is the American and Julie is the visitor? I wonder how closely the books track each other despite the different target languages and cultures. (There's also an Italian version and maybe a German?) I found the first part rather boring because it was so obviously artificial and contrived.

Part Two was marginally more interesting only because Aztec society was so Gothic and the history of the European colonization of Mexico was so rapacious. It felt strange typing the words "sacrificios humanos" into my Anki deck. Not exactly high-frequency vocabulary these days, but it was fun to learn.

The third part is the best because young Lazarillo grows up to be such a shameless rascal, learning from the examples set by his entirely brutal and corrupt elders.

I wonder why the French version didn't include a "Histoire de la civilization française" as part two. Or are all the "grandes figures de l'histoire" French?

And what "famous stories" are included in part 3? Simplified adaptations of Maupassant's "The Necklace"? Flaubert's "Un coeur simple"? Stories are fine, but I prefer the single continuous longer narrative in the Spanish book. Lazarillo's adventures are so funny and engaging that I can't wait to read each succeeding chapter--which is *exactly* what a really effective reader should do. Now that I'm hooked by the story, learning the new vocabulary is a pleasure, not a chore. But I no longer write out answers to the exercise questions--that just bored me to tears.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2015

Postby Spoonary » Fri Aug 28, 2015 10:46 am

Wasn't someone talking about 'The Martian' by Andy Weir here? I was looking at my options for reading it and I noticed that the Kindle ebook of the Italian translation is very cheap. It's £2.12 in the UK and $3.37 in the US. I figured this might be of interest to someone... :?
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