Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Ongoing language-learning challenges, and team challenge logs (but not individual logs)
User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3588
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 4859
Contact:

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:02 pm


Book: David McDowall - An Illustrated History of Britain
Challenges: Mount TBR, Diversity Challenge, European Reading Challenge (UK/Scotland)
Purchase details: Bought it in 2003 or so, at Biblio Globus (Moscow).
I looked wistfully at this book when I was preparing for my entrance exams at the lyceum at the age of 12. I looked wistfully at this book when I was preparing for my university entrance exams at 16. I looked wistfully at this book when I had a UK history class at 21. I'm not sure I ever actually opened it.
In February I was about to resell it and I wanted to browse it quickly... I ended up reading the whole thing.
Language learner's/geek's notes: Many say it's a very easy book, but honestly I wouldn't say so. I definitely wouldn't have understood everything at the age of 12.
As far as I can tell, Che storia was inspired by this book. I liked its structure more and it was definitely easier for non-natives. It has just five sections about the major time periods (the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages etc), while the UK one is more detailed. Well, at least it helped me close some gaps in my knowledge/understanding of history (including global history - parts of it read like world history from the UK perspective). The structure is not linear but I definitely liked that. It does what we call "разложить всё по полочкам" in Russian - literally put everything on its shelf.
Representation notes: It was probably very progressive for 1989, with each chapter making sure to mention what the life of women was like. There's a lot of focus on poor/working class people.
One jarring point was a reference to "N*gro slaves", not in a historical quote. Later he also claims that blacks and Asians only appeared in the UK in the last couple of centuries.
Each section also makes sure to describe the situation in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. I'm counting the book for Scotland because the author appears to be from there (his wife is definitely Scottish and they live in Edinburgh).
Other: It was especially interesting to find out things I never learned during Russian history classes, like how the UK was afraid Russia would invade the Orthodox/Slavic-speaking regions of the Balkans.
Some parts do sound a bit too much like justifying bad things.
0 x
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)
Corrections welcome

User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3588
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 4859
Contact:

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Sat Dec 21, 2019 7:27 pm



Book: Marco Lollobrigida - Fiorentina da impazzire
Challenges: Dread and read, European books, Mount TBR
Purchase details: Ordered via ibs.it in late 2012 along with a couple other books. The book itself cost under 7€ but the shipping was 20€ (I split the costs with someone)
Learner's notes: Another book I was going to read during the original Super Challenge :lol: I actually gave it a try when I went to Poland by train in 2013 (if you browse the pics you'll see how much my bookmark has faded!), but I quickly realized that I wasn't remembering anything, and this book is best read when you can look things up online (the book is about the history of the team I support in Italy, Fiorentina).
I also took a break to find out more about the history of Italian football. After that I ended up going back to the beginning and taking notes about everything. It felt good to write things by hand in Italian.
Representation notes: I was shocked when I decided to read more about the founder and realized he was a fascist (by the 20's definition, at least). The book doesn't mention that. He was the head of Italy's football federation in 42-43. :?
After that it was especially jarring to read about a player who served in the Italian army, became a partisan and was executed by the Germans in what is now Montenegro. His player ID card was found among his belongings.
Other: There are some typos, some inconsistency with non-Italian diacritics, some factual errors (the book says the player was executed in Croatia, for example). Sometimes it's simply imprecise, for example describing which new players joined the club in this or that season, and mentioning a new coach without specifying that he was appointed later in the season. Still a good foundation and some incredible stories. For example a Brazilian player had a clause allowing him to go home for three weeks for the Rio carnival (and didn't change his mind when another key player got injured just before he left).
3 stars on goodreads.
1 x
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)
Corrections welcome

User avatar
marie39
Yellow Belt
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:50 pm
Languages: English (N), Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Malay
x 182

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby marie39 » Thu Jan 02, 2020 3:59 pm

I love reading challenges! I'll share a couple of the ones I'm doing. This year I decided to only read foreign language books for some of the challenges.

Challenge: Romanceopoly
Book club: No
Giveaways: Maybe throughout the year on the blog
Rules: Click the above link for the long version. Basically, you travel around a monopoly board but the squares have been replaced by reading challenges. You land on a square then have to read a book that satisfies the challenge. It's more romance genre focused but they also have squares for thrillers, young adult, women's fiction, etc.
Misc: This is a year long challenge. There are two sets of challenges this year: the sun pack and the moon pack. I decided to go through the moon pack challenges only reading books in a language I am learning.

Challenge: Year of the Asian Reading Challenge
Book club: No
Giveaways: No
Rules: The book must be written by an Asian author and you have to have started and finished it within the year. Other than that, it's a pretty open challenge. Any genre counts.
Misc: This is a year long challenge. The goal is to read more books by Asian authors. I'm aiming to read between 11 and 20 books this year. There are optional prompts each month and recommendations by the host and co-hosts.

I'm also doing the European Reading Challenge this year. I found out about this challenge from this thread. As an extra goal for myself, I plan to read five books in Spanish to complete the challenge.
2 x

User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3588
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 4859
Contact:

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:10 am

Book: Alice Walker - The Color Purple
Challenges: Dread and read, Diversity challenge, Mental health reading challenge
Learner's notes: Most of the book is in AAVE and at first I was unable to read it and used the audiobook instead (I read the parts written in standard American English). By the end of the book reading got easier, and after I was done I skimmed/reread the beginning now that I already knew who was who and where the story was going.
Representation notes: A lot has been written about this book, and it's a must on various diversity lists. I have to admit that (aside from Pushkin) I've read very few books by non-white people. This is definitely my first one that actively centers black characters and their experiences.
I think most already know that the book deals with racism, misogyny/mysogynoir and violence. It's very raw.
LGBT themes are present (well, LGB).
One more aspect that needs to be noted is ableism.
Other: It was the book of the month in Emma Watson's book club on goodreads, for February 2016 (Black history month). That's when I started it.
0 x
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)
Corrections welcome

User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3588
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 4859
Contact:

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:10 am


(spoilers ahead)

Book: Racconti italiani (Italian short stories - browse the pics to see the cover and the list of stories)
Challenges: Dread and read, Mental health reading challenge, Diversity challenge, Mount TBR
Purchase details: bought it in Moscow back in 2011. The price on the back says 9,90 €, the sticker says 550 roubles. The exchange rate has worsened considerably, now I definitely wouldn't have bought it. I wouldn't even say it's worth the price I paid back then...
(Not sure whether that's clear but this is a very thin book)
Learner's notes: Another book I was going to read during the original Super Challenge :lol: (2012-2013)
The book includes four stories with footnotes in English/French/German/Spanish. To me that's obviously the best thing about it :D Initially I didn't want to look at the French equivalents but I kept noticing them anyway.
Some words are pretty useful, others too obvious and really not worth including. There are also comprehension questions at the end of the book. I honestly didn't bother to answer them, I just read the suggested answers.
Representation notes: some casual sexism and ableism but nothing major I think.
Other: I might review the glossaries but I can't say I enjoyed the stories.
My favourite (?) one was about a serial killer who killed shop owners/clerks for such things as offering 100+ types of ice-cream, including 5 kinds of cream and 7 kinds of chocolate. The author clearly misses the time when small businesses were more authentic and simple, when they didn't use all kinds of buzzwords etc. I can sympathize with that but the story is still ridiculous :lol:
Other stories were about an execution shown on live tv (in the name of democracy), a girl who had visions of Virgin Mary, a man who had an affair with a married woman (the last one was the worst, really boring and pointless).
The book was first published in 1999. I tend to consider this kind of books modern but in these specific stories the absence of mobile phones&Internet is very noticeable. Perhaps just a few years later the serial killer would've been content with making fun of the shop owners online :lol:
Due to these themes I'm counting the book for the Mental health reading challenge. I can't say they're handled well, but I'm also not sure it's possible to do it better, especially in somewhat humorous/satirical stories and especially if you're not writing in the first person.
2 x
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)
Corrections welcome

User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3588
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 4859
Contact:

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:40 am

marie39 wrote:I love reading challenges! I'll share a couple of the ones I'm doing. This year I decided to only read foreign language books for some of the challenges.
Challenge: Year of the Asian Reading Challenge
Rules: The book must be written by an Asian author and you have to have started and finished it within the year. Other than that, it's a pretty open challenge. Any genre counts.
Misc: This is a year long challenge. The goal is to read more books by Asian authors. I'm aiming to read between 11 and 20 books this year. There are optional prompts each month and recommendations by the host and co-hosts.
Yay I'm not alone here :D Will you be keeping track here on the forum or on an external page?

Thanks for the link, I'm joining the Asian challenge too! I'm aiming for the lowest level.
0 x
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)
Corrections welcome

User avatar
marie39
Yellow Belt
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:50 pm
Languages: English (N), Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Malay
x 182

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby marie39 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:09 am

Serpent wrote:
marie39 wrote:I love reading challenges! I'll share a couple of the ones I'm doing. This year I decided to only read foreign language books for some of the challenges.
Challenge: Year of the Asian Reading Challenge
Rules: The book must be written by an Asian author and you have to have started and finished it within the year. Other than that, it's a pretty open challenge. Any genre counts.
Misc: This is a year long challenge. The goal is to read more books by Asian authors. I'm aiming to read between 11 and 20 books this year. There are optional prompts each month and recommendations by the host and co-hosts.
Yay I'm not alone here :D Will you be keeping track here on the forum or on an external page?

Thanks for the link, I'm joining the Asian challenge too! I'm aiming for the lowest level.


I have a reading/book blog but I will also keep track of my reading here. I'll share the interesting books here at least. I read a lot and so I don't want to spam the thread :P

I'm looking forward to seeing what books you read for the Asian challenge! I really want to read more diverse books this year so I'm making an effort to branch out more.
0 x

User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3588
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 4859
Contact:

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby Serpent » Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:46 am


(click the arrows for some quotes)
Book: Jen Campbell - Verkaufen Sie auch Bücher? (Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops)
Challenges: Mount TBR, Diversity Challenge, European Reading Challenge (UK/England)
Purchase details: ordered it on amazon.de to my friend's address, then she gave it to me when I went to Finland (in 2015). I got a used copy for under 4€ (the shipping was 9€ for 4 books)
Representation notes: Very refreshing in terms of ableism. It's all in the eye of the reader, the author simply shares the quotes without labelling the customers as unintelligent or whatever.
Some things they say are definitely problematic (and included for the sheer wtf-ness). I also wasn't keen on some of the illustrations.
Book written by a woman.
Language learner's/geek's notes: Most of the book is pretty easy to read. If the inadvertent pun doesn't work in translation, the English one is explained.
Each translated edition comes with more quotes shared by local booksellers. I loved the different ways people try to say Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod :lol: but other than this I often had no idea which book they were referring to (but it generally wasn't difficult to google). However it's a nice way to identify some gaps in your knowledge of the L2 popular culture.
Other: As you can see I've had the book for a few years. I finally got around to it after I began decluttering and reselling stuff online :lol:
I was really close to finishing the book in late December, but just like with the Italian stories I decided not to push it.
0 x
LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)
Corrections welcome

User avatar
MamaPata
Brown Belt
Posts: 1022
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:25 am
Location: London
Languages: English (N), French (C1*), Russian (B1), Spanish (B1).

Long lost: Arabic and Latin.
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3004
x 1800

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Postby MamaPata » Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:58 am

Jen Campbell has a YouTube channel that people might find interesting - she talks about books obviously so it’s a good place to get recommendations, but also disability, LGBTQ+ stuff, writing. I’ve not read her books but I like her videos.
1 x
Corrections appreciated.


Return to “Language Challenges”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest