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 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:44 pm

As I missed last month's read, I'm not sure how the book discussion is supposed to go, so forgive me if I step on any toes. :|

I'm only 2 chapters into La ciudad de las bestias (ES) so far, and it seems to be a nice, easy read for me, which is absolutely what I need right now, to bring Spanish back into my life. :)

How is everyone else doing?
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Sun Aug 05, 2018 6:07 pm

I’m reading in French and really enjoying it. The language is hard enough that it feels meaty, but easy enough that I can read a chapter a night and not feel overwhelmed. Plus the story is engaging, with some unexpected twists.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby kanewai » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:16 pm

How's everyone doing with Ciudad de las Bestias? I ended up not finishing it, I like some young adult novels, but this one didn't work for me.

Looking forward, I've already read Le roi de fer. I have the second novel on my shelf, La reine étranglée. I might read that next month, just to be somewhat on the same page as everyone. As for Le roi ... if you don't like spoilers, avoid reading the wikipedia page on Philip the Fair! The story can get confusing with all the characters and their machinations, and the novel starts in the middle of the action. My copy didn't have a list of characters; maybe other versions do. Here's a safe (i.e. spoiler-free) list of the main characters, and where they stand in March 1314 when the book starts:

The Capetian Dynasty
Phillipe le Bel - king of France.
Charles de Valois - his brother and counselor
Louis le Hutin - his heir. Married to Margaret of Bourgogne.
Philip de Poitiers - his second son. The smart one.
Charles le Bel - his third son. The not-so-smart one.
Isabelle de France - his daughter, married to Edward II of England. He's gay. It's not a happy marriage.

House of Artois
Mahaut - Countess. Head of the house.
Jeanne - daughter, married to king's son Philip
Blanche - daughter, married to king's son Charles
Robert - Nephew of Mahaut, left out of succession

Knights Templar
Jacques Molnay - former leader, condemned with all the other Knights Templar to life in prison.
Geoffroy de Charnay - another Templar in prison.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby coldrainwater » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:09 am

kanewai wrote:How's everyone doing with Ciudad de las Bestias? I ended up not finishing it, I like some young adult novels, but this one didn't work for me.
I cut last month's selection into four distinct sections, each a bit too rushed for my imagination. Upon reflection, I enjoyed the book but my reading of it was fragmented by method. My temperment may be such that when I get into a book, I should just read it right through, throwing pacing to the wind. This thought merited change in the current month since I found myself reading chapters late. Instead of allowing me to savour the work, the technique interfered with my imagination, quite the opposite of my original intent. This month, I listened to Ciudad de las Bestias in its entirety as an audiobook very early in the month. The method I chose was good for me, the work a snappy listen with quite decent narration as I recall. I didn't care for the content as young adult novel however. Both in comparison to other young adult works and in comparison other novels from Allende, I found it less than inspiring.

Thanks for the info on Le roi de fer. Currently ruminating on how best to take advantage of the author/genre/language. I had Ciudad de las Bestias earmarked as an audiobook almost instantly and with The Three Body Problem, the cards fell to ES + kindle + weekend. Curious if any others have chosen to read with different techniques, in multiple languages, etcetera?
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:45 pm

I’m enjoying the book, I’m about 2/3 done. It’s definitely young adult, but that’s not a bad thing per se. A familiar story structure isn’t the worst in L2! I really like the novelty of the setting. Haven’t spent much of my French time in the Amazonian jungle. Nice to mix things up.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby Mista » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:09 pm

I have finished the book in German. I found it a bit unimaginative in some ways, with a very obvious sort of "Action framework" to the story - in the beginning, it reminded me of a standard Hollywood family film I recently watched the first half of - and flat and predictable characters. However, the story does take some unexpected turns, and so do some of the characters, and it's enough to keep the entertainment value up. Also, the level of the language is just right for an intermediate learner. I wouldn't bother reading the next two books just for the entertainment value, but for language learning I probably will (if only because I bought the complete set in one book, so I already have them available).

I'm currently reading another book in French, and will start on Le roi de fer in September.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby I_likes_languages » Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:56 pm

I agree with Mista on just about everything. I read the book in French and my level is probably a little too high to enjoy it. I might read the sequels in another language though, since I have always liked YA novels for language learning. I'm looking forward to Le roi de fer - if I like the first book, I'll have about 2000 pages before I need to think about chosing a new book.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:46 pm

Okay, now I’m 3/4 of the way through the book and I’m starting to dread my French reading time. The first half was fun jungle exploration, but the whole teenage spirit quest second half is not doing it for me. I miss the grownups. I want it to be done. I could just put it down, but it’s been so long since I actually finished a French book...
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby Ani » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:57 pm

Lawyer&Mom wrote:Okay, now I’m 3/4 of the way through the book and I’m starting to dread my French reading time. The first half was fun jungle exploration, but the whole teenage spirit quest second half is not doing it for me. I miss the grownups. I want it to be done. I could just put it down, but it’s been so long since I actually finished a French book...

I'll feeling the same way..
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2018

Postby kanewai » Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:40 am

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.
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