Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Ongoing language-learning challenges, and team challenge logs (but not individual logs)
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Serpent
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fluent or close: Finnish+ (certified C1), English; Portuguese, Spanish, German+, Italian+
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exploring: Latin, Karelian, Catalan, Dutch, Chaucer's English
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Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:21 pm

Challenge: Banned Books Challenge
Rules: read one or more books that have been banned or demanded to be removed from school libraries etc
Levels:
Making Waves: 1-2 Challenged Books
Trouble-Maker: 3-5 Challenged Books
Rabble-Rouser: 6-9 Challenged Books
Rebel: 10-14 Challenged Books
Leader of a Revolution: 15+ Challenged Books
Wrap-up: optional
1 x
: 40 / 40 Budva na pjenu od mora: 3rd season (Croatian/Montenegrin)
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)

User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:54 am
Location: Moskova
Languages: heritage
Russian (native); Belarusian, Polish

fluent or close: Finnish+ (certified C1), English; Portuguese, Spanish, German+, Italian+
learning: Croatian+, Ukrainian, Czech; Romanian+, Galician; Danish, Swedish
exploring: Latin, Karelian, Catalan, Dutch, Chaucer's English
+ means exploring the dialects/variants
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Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:33 pm

Book: Paulo Coelho - The Devil and Miss Prym (El Demonio y la Señorita Prym)
Challenges: TBR Pile, Mount TBR, European books (France), Books in translation, Bookshelf love, Feminist reading
Purchase details: my dad gave it to me for New Year 2015 along with a few other books in Spanish. He bought it in some physical bookstore in Moscow
Learner's notes: I found it quite easy, perhaps also because I've read Coelho in Spanish, Portuguese (and Russian) before. This book also had more of a plot than the ones I've read before. It's similar to the Da Vinci code in some ways, especially the pace/structure. (It's intriguing but not a typical detective or mystery story)
Representation notes: tiny bits of ableism, sexism, European superiority. Generally attributable to the characters but I'm not 100% satisfied with how it was handled in the narration. Still better in this regard than most books I've read though. I especially liked several female characters, and the way female sexuality is approached by the narration (it's not a central topic or anything). Coelho knows how to make his characters human, whether that's a priest, a woman or a demon :D (Yes, there are religious undertones, but also an exploration of the human nature)
Other: I liked it more than the Alchemist. It's more generally interesting/applicable and has some great quotes for everyone.

0 x
: 40 / 40 Budva na pjenu od mora: 3rd season (Croatian/Montenegrin)
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)

User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:54 am
Location: Moskova
Languages: heritage
Russian (native); Belarusian, Polish

fluent or close: Finnish+ (certified C1), English; Portuguese, Spanish, German+, Italian+
learning: Croatian+, Ukrainian, Czech; Romanian+, Galician; Danish, Swedish
exploring: Latin, Karelian, Catalan, Dutch, Chaucer's English
+ means exploring the dialects/variants
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Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:52 pm

Book: Miranda Gray - Red Moon (Luna rossa)
Challenges: TBR Pile, Books in translation, Bookshelf love, Feminist reading
Purchase details: ordered from bookdepository back when they still shipped to Russia (summer 2013). In fact it was one of the first things I ordered when I found the site.
Learner's notes: the vocabulary is challenging and the translation is less than ideal. it randomly alternates between addressing the reader as both tu and voi, and overall it's a bit clumsy. it took me over 2 years to get through, despite being familiar with the concept through Miranda's websites.
Representation notes: Unfortunately the book is mostly heteronormative, and transgender/non-cis people aren't mentioned at all. Well, it was written in 1994 and there's a newer edition.


and someone's cool pic :)
0 x
: 40 / 40 Budva na pjenu od mora: 3rd season (Croatian/Montenegrin)
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)

User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:54 am
Location: Moskova
Languages: heritage
Russian (native); Belarusian, Polish

fluent or close: Finnish+ (certified C1), English; Portuguese, Spanish, German+, Italian+
learning: Croatian+, Ukrainian, Czech; Romanian+, Galician; Danish, Swedish
exploring: Latin, Karelian, Catalan, Dutch, Chaucer's English
+ means exploring the dialects/variants
x 3297
Contact:

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:10 pm

Mount TBR Checkpoint
I've read 3 books from my TBR pile, meaning I'm on track with my modest goal of reading 12 this year. This is Pike's Peak according to the challenge rules. I had actually never heard of this mountain before, but it's apparently 4302 m high, meaning I've climbed a bit over 1000 m.
For now I'm also on track for reading the 12 books in 12 languages, having read the three first books in Italian, Danish and Spanish.

Coelho's book The Devil and Miss Prym surprised and even shocked me. It has a fascinating and somewhat creepy plot. In some ways it reminded me on the Da Vinci Code.
0 x
: 40 / 40 Budva na pjenu od mora: 3rd season (Croatian/Montenegrin)
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)

User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:54 am
Location: Moskova
Languages: heritage
Russian (native); Belarusian, Polish

fluent or close: Finnish+ (certified C1), English; Portuguese, Spanish, German+, Italian+
learning: Croatian+, Ukrainian, Czech; Romanian+, Galician; Danish, Swedish
exploring: Latin, Karelian, Catalan, Dutch, Chaucer's English
+ means exploring the dialects/variants
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Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:25 pm


(more pics here)

Book: Vicente Azpitarte, José Manuel Puertas - Luka Modrić: El hijo de la guerra
Challenge: European books
Purchase details: It came out in February 2016, I ordered it in April, got it in May and finished in June. Ironically the best place for the shipping costs turned out to be Libreria Canaima in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria :lol: While looking for a way to get the book, I got in touch with the authors and they were excited and asked me to take pics of their book in Red Square. I went there for the first time since I was 12 :mrgreen:
Learner's notes: quite a stretch for my advanced Spanish. Definitely more difficult than a typical sports biography in the 1st person, although they're generally written by journalists anyway.
Representation notes: Doesn't really apply here, but something felt wrong about the notion of talent being in your blood, intelligence being innate and fixed etc. Minor ableism that's hard to pinpoint. I also would've liked to hear more about the women in his life.
1 x
: 40 / 40 Budva na pjenu od mora: 3rd season (Croatian/Montenegrin)
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)

User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:54 am
Location: Moskova
Languages: heritage
Russian (native); Belarusian, Polish

fluent or close: Finnish+ (certified C1), English; Portuguese, Spanish, German+, Italian+
learning: Croatian+, Ukrainian, Czech; Romanian+, Galician; Danish, Swedish
exploring: Latin, Karelian, Catalan, Dutch, Chaucer's English
+ means exploring the dialects/variants
x 3297
Contact:

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Sun Jul 17, 2016 4:44 pm

Book: Mia Couto - Pensageiro frequente
Challenges: TBR Pile, Mount TBR
Purchase details: bought via wook.pt. Previously tried buying from leya.pt but was unable to download it. I wanted to read some Mia Couto because of iguanamon's recommendations and this book was the cheapest.
Review: I wanted to start it a few days before my trip to Finland last autumn; I read the preface and found out it was a compilation of stories written for an airline magazine, so the timing was very fitting :D I decided I would read it during flights, on the way to/from airports, while waiting etc. I finished at least one story in a different situation (but still not at home), but I think I started them all before/during/after flights.
It was very fitting for my first flight alone. I read the book from my Moscow-Helsinki flight to the Prague-Moscow one.
The stories are on various topics. My favourite one was about Brazilian Portuguese, I also loved the ones about different rivers, islands, trees, birds ;) The ones involving people weren't my favourites :? There was a little about football, mostly quite cheesy.
Representation notes: The stories about people and relationships had some sexism in them, and even casual racism towards the Chinese :| However, he also challenges the notion of Africa as a single entity. I still want to read more Mia Couto.
Learner's notes: The magical realism sometimes made me wonder whether I had misunderstood something. I skipped some local vocabulary.
1 x
: 40 / 40 Budva na pjenu od mora: 3rd season (Croatian/Montenegrin)
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)

User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:54 am
Location: Moskova
Languages: heritage
Russian (native); Belarusian, Polish

fluent or close: Finnish+ (certified C1), English; Portuguese, Spanish, German+, Italian+
learning: Croatian+, Ukrainian, Czech; Romanian+, Galician; Danish, Swedish
exploring: Latin, Karelian, Catalan, Dutch, Chaucer's English
+ means exploring the dialects/variants
x 3297
Contact:

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:37 pm

Book: Agatha Christie - Treze à mesa (Thirteen at Dinner/Lord Edgware Dies)
Challenges: TBR Pile, Mount TBR, European books (UK), Books in translation, Bookshelf love, Feminist reading
Purchase details and misc: Espejismo gave it to me for free. Well... I met him together with Cristina, and he brought two Agatha Christie books, for us to decide who takes which one. I was a bit disappointed because it's much easier for Cristina to get a Christie book in Portuguese (and she's not even learning it). We finally sorta settled on me taking both, reading one until the end of her stay in Moscow and giving it to her. I picked Death on the Nile which I'd read in English before, but the challenge just seriously demotivated me (despite the awesomeness of Cristina assuming it would be no big deal for me to read the book in a few days :)) The book also got somewhat damaged by snow. I did half-heartedly try to set up another meeting with Cristina on the day she left, but she caught a bad cold/flu. I decided that I would read the other book more carefully and give it to Cristina. (that was all last February) I'm not really speaking behind Cristina's back here, but if she doesn't come across this post, please don't point her to it ;)
Learner's notes: Don't know whether it's common for Agatha Christie, but this book does have a narrator. It seems like he's meant to be less intelligent than the reader. I think being in the first person makes the book easier. And as always, the good thing about her works is that you can look up any amount of words - only a few or many, or none at all. The book will remain interesting.
Representation notes: Christie's usual minor sexism, racism, ableism, some femmephobia too (and apparently some anti-semitism was edited out too...). I did like the variety of the female characters.
Other: I wanted to reread the part leading to the murder several times, until I found the solution. I ended up "just" making sure I understood everything, and I started a mindmap with some things from the book. That's really awesome, I'll try to use mindmaps more now. Nevertheless I still couldn't predict the solution of the two main mysteries, partially because of the historical context of the book.
After being undecided for a week I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads. It wasn't perfect but too good to get less than that.
Favourite quotes:
Com maior percepção do caráter inglês, servi uma forte dose de uísque com soda e coloquei-a na frente do desditado inspetor.
(With more insight into the English character, I poured out a stiff whisky and soda and placed it in front of the gloomy inspector.)

—Então o senhor tem uma teoria?
—Um detetive, M. Martin, sempre tem uma teoria. É o que se espera dele. Pessoalmente, não chamo de teoria. Digo que é uma ideiazinha. Essa é a primeira fase.
—E a segunda?
—Se a ideiazinha for acertada, então eu sei! É bastante simples, como se vê.
—Gostaria que me dissesse qual é a sua teoria... ou ideiazinha.

2 x
: 40 / 40 Budva na pjenu od mora: 3rd season (Croatian/Montenegrin)
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)

User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:54 am
Location: Moskova
Languages: heritage
Russian (native); Belarusian, Polish

fluent or close: Finnish+ (certified C1), English; Portuguese, Spanish, German+, Italian+
learning: Croatian+, Ukrainian, Czech; Romanian+, Galician; Danish, Swedish
exploring: Latin, Karelian, Catalan, Dutch, Chaucer's English
+ means exploring the dialects/variants
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Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:44 am

Book: Laura Esquivel - Como agua para chocolate
Challenges: TBR Pile, Feminist reading, Banned books. I won't count it for books in translation but really I've read most of the Russian translation in the process
Review: Food porn, basically. I personally didn't find most of the foods appealing, but I loved the amount of sensory detail. The plot is both strange and predictable. Some awesome glorification of the human body. I've already written so much about this book in Spanish that I don't know what else to say.
Representation notes: A mixture of feminist and patriarchal notions. The art of cooking is valued but strongly seen as feminine and almost innate. There are some sexist issues like rape culture and also simply gossip. Possible classism too. One exotified token indigineous character and one background character described through racial stereotypes (black people's mostly positive "innate" qualities).
Learner's notes: Like with Mia Couto: the magical realism sometimes made me wonder whether I had misunderstood something.
I read it for the HTLAL book club and I can say it was definitely a challenging choice.
Some boring details of my reading process:
During the first chapter I looked up the unknown words. For the second I found a Russian translation, which I liked surprisingly much. For the third I continued and during the fourth I ended up just reading in Russian :shock: I read the whole fifth chapter too. Then I used the audiobook to catch up and read some parts in Spanish (not while listening) I LR'ed the chapters 6-11 (Russian text, Spanish audio) and LR'ed the last one with Spanish text, Spanish audio. I always went back to read/reread most of the Spanish text (and compare it to the Russian translation).
0 x
: 40 / 40 Budva na pjenu od mora: 3rd season (Croatian/Montenegrin)
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)

User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:54 am
Location: Moskova
Languages: heritage
Russian (native); Belarusian, Polish

fluent or close: Finnish+ (certified C1), English; Portuguese, Spanish, German+, Italian+
learning: Croatian+, Ukrainian, Czech; Romanian+, Galician; Danish, Swedish
exploring: Latin, Karelian, Catalan, Dutch, Chaucer's English
+ means exploring the dialects/variants
x 3297
Contact:

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:25 am

Book: Sergey Dovlatov - Compromesso (The Compromise)
Challenges: TBR Pile, Books in translation, Bookshelf love, Banned books
Purchase details: Bought it in March 2013 from a woman who was selling lots of Italian books. It's been published in Sicily and likely purchased there
Learner's notes: easy for me as a native speaker of Russian (and mostly familiar with the culture) but likely to be confusing if you're new to it. I also found some cultural notes helpful (since the book takes place in the 70's)
Representation notes: An honest and funny approach to what the everyday life in the USSR was really like. An ironic take on anti-Semitism from someone who was part-Jewish on the "wrong" side of the family. There are some sexist ideas but mostly humorous or benevolent. Women certainly aren't seen as "less than", but different. There's ableism (mostly in terms of mental health - the issues are glorified, laughed off or casually "diagnosed"). Also, some lgbt-bashing by a peculiar character.
Other: The book is a collection of short articles he wrote as a journalist in Estonia, and the backstory for each article, a compromise between the reality and the press. Lots of dark humour. Cynicism but somehow also optimism. Wrt the banned books challenge - he finished this specific book in America, already when he had no chance of getting published in the USSR. not that it would've been possible to publish this collection anyway...
The book has taken me 2-3 years to finish, with a long break (I don't think I read any story in 2015). The best places for reading it were St Petersburg, Vyborg and Belarus. And I think I was going to read it during the original super challenge :lol:

0 x
: 40 / 40 Budva na pjenu od mora: 3rd season (Croatian/Montenegrin)
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)

User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:54 am
Location: Moskova
Languages: heritage
Russian (native); Belarusian, Polish

fluent or close: Finnish+ (certified C1), English; Portuguese, Spanish, German+, Italian+
learning: Croatian+, Ukrainian, Czech; Romanian+, Galician; Danish, Swedish
exploring: Latin, Karelian, Catalan, Dutch, Chaucer's English
+ means exploring the dialects/variants
x 3297
Contact:

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:43 am



Book: Mary Roach - Glup (Gulp)
Challenges: TBR Pile, Books in translation, Bookshelf love, Feminist reading
Purchase details: via bookdepository back when they shipped to Russia
Learner's notes: A decent read which can teach you lots of new vocab, but also accessible at B1+ or so. Most of the vocabulary isn't crucial and can be skipped. I looked up almost every unfamiliar word.
Representation notes: Some casual sexism, heteronormativity, cissexism. Not awfully problematic but it's always disappointing when female authors are a bit sexist.
Other: It's non-fiction about the human digestive system :ugeek: I quite liked the book but I had expected more, and I was disappointed when I realized the author doesn't even have a medical education. The footnotes contained mostly puns and silly jokes, instead of in-depth "boring" info. The Spanish translation isn't very good and I wished I hadn't chosen it over German.
0 x
: 40 / 40 Budva na pjenu od mora: 3rd season (Croatian/Montenegrin)
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)


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