Reading short stories challenge 2020

Ongoing language-learning challenges, and team challenge logs (but not individual logs)
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Serpent
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Re: Reading short stories challenge 2019

Postby Serpent » Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:52 pm

Welcome!

I finally finished a weird/creepy story in Italian that I remember trying to read in 2015 :shock: It's about a serial killer with a ridiculous motivation for his crimes.
Serpent wrote:Also just curious, has anyone read/counted a story thar you read within more than one week?
As for this, I've decided that it's okay to read a story in more than one week, but you can only count it for the week you finished it, and you have to read at least one full page within that week. (if you struggle to read a page in one week you need an easier story!) Reread the last page(s) if necessary.
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kanewai
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Re: Reading short stories challenge 2019

Postby kanewai » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:32 pm

Ahh, I had already decided to start reading more short stories in between the longer novels, so count me in for the final stretch. My plan for the end of the year is to have one or two longer books going, and to read short stories in the other languages.

Languages and levels: Italian, French, and Spanish. Decent reading ability in all, better in French. Speaking ability fluctuates wildly.

Goal: One per week.

Books you plan to read: I'll pick from collections I already have:
Marcovaldo, Italo Calvino.
Trois contes, Gustave Flaubert
selections from the oeuvres complètes of Guy de Maupassant.
Artifices, Jorge Luis Borges (second half of Ficciones)
I also have a collection of Latin American short stories on my shelf. A lot of them look older, so I'm not sure how hard they are, or how archaic the language will be.

A link to your profile/shelf on Goodreads: Goodreads
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Super Challenge Reading:
Spanish: 18 / 100
French: 14 / 100
Italian: 7 / 100

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kanewai
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Re: Reading short stories challenge 2019

Postby kanewai » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:39 pm

Story 1: L'aria buono (Primavera), from Marcovaldo, ovvero Le stagioni in città

Questi bambini, – disse il dottore della Mutua, – avrebbero bisogno di respirare un po' d'aria buona, a una certa altezza, di correre sui prati... Era tra i letti del seminterrato dove abitava la famigliola, e premeva lo stetoscopio sulla schiena della piccola Teresa, tra le scapole fragili come le ali d'un uccelletto implume. I letti erano due e i quattro bambini, tutti ammalati, facevano capolino a testa e a piedi dei letti, con le gote accaldate e gli occhi lucidi.

These children, said the doctor, need fresh air, at a certain altitude, to run on the meadows ... He was in between the beds in the basement where the family lived, and pressed the stethoscope against the back of little Teresa, between her shoulder blades which were fragile like the wings of a plucked bird. There were two beds and four kids, all sick, lined up head to head in the bed, with hot cheeks and shining eyes.

Marcovaldo says the only beautiful place he can afford to send them is the streets. Domitilla says they'll all sleep under the stars once they're evicted. But the next day the two start out on an adventure to try and find their children some fresh air in the city.

- I'm really enjoying these stories. They're simple on the surface, and easy to read, but there's an underlying complexity. There seem to be a lot of websites that have the stories on them, in Italian or in translation. I'm not sure how copyright law works in Italy ... if anyone knows if these stories are public domain I'll post the links.
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Super Challenge Reading:
Spanish: 18 / 100
French: 14 / 100
Italian: 7 / 100

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Re: Reading short stories challenge 2019

Postby kanewai » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:24 am

Story 2: Un coeur simple, by Gustave Flaubert. From Trois contes.

Pendant un demi-siècle, les bourgeoises de Pont-l'Évêque envièrent à Mme Aubain sa servante Félicité.

For half a century the bourgeois of Pont-l'Eveque were envious of Madame Aubain for her servant, Felicite. For the bourgeois Felicity is a perfect, dutiful, servant girl. But we soon learn that she, too, has her history of love. Elle avait eu, comme une autre, son histoire d'amour.

This is a beautiful, sad story about one quiet life. I'm not sure what to make of it. There's no real action or drama. Most of the major events happen off the page. But Flaubert has a magic about him, and writes about a servant girl with the same care that other writers would give to kings and queens.
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Super Challenge Reading:
Spanish: 18 / 100
French: 14 / 100
Italian: 7 / 100

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Serpent
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Re: Reading short stories challenge 2019

Postby Serpent » Tue Dec 17, 2019 10:19 pm

This week I "ate the frog" and read a short story on Monday. It was Tacuara-Mansión by Horacio Quiroga, from the book Los Desterrados.
One day I was picking something to read on the bus and this was (physically) the lightest book I could find. I chose the story based on its title (a Paraguayan footballer I have fond memories of is nicknamed Tacuara). I didn't finish it during the bus ride and shortly afterwards I finally got something to use as a music player (a used smartphone).
So I finished the story yesterday (and reread a lot because I had forgotten who's who). Nice to read something from Latin America. Can't say the story was interesting, but it was peculiar.

In November I went to Sochi for a few days and during the trip I read Apparizione inconcludente della Madonna by Ermanno Cavazzoni. Again, peculiar (but funny). Doesn't make me want to read anything else by this author :lol:
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Serpent
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Re: Reading short stories challenge 2019

Postby Serpent » Mon Dec 30, 2019 7:53 pm

Feel free to sign up for 2020, for now it's such a small challenge that I don't think we need a new thread :)

If you sign up for both 2019 and 2020, you can count two stories this week!
Stories read before January 1st don't count for the 2020 challenge.
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Serpent
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Re: Reading short stories challenge 2019

Postby Serpent » Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:31 pm

This year I completed my own challenge for the first time :D
I read my fifth story yesterday, which was another one from the Horacio Quiroga book.
When I read the previous story I mentioned, I thought I happened to come across a story where someone dies (I picked one in the middle of the book, based on the name)... Now I won't be surprised if the whole book is like that :lol: The new one was more interesting and had some medical stuff, which is something I enjoy :P The story is called La cámara obscura.
What I like about his stories is a clear structure, ie it's easy to take a break if you want. Like, you read the first sentence of a paragraph and you know "ok this will take a while, guess I have to stop reading if I don't have the time to read the whole thing now". The two stories I've read also had a very distinct "introduction" and "main part", where the former section introduces the characters and tells you their brief life story or something relevant about them. BTW so far there have been non-Hispanic characters from Hungary and Poland, and one more story is called van-Houten (sic) which is a Dutch name.

In terms of writing about death he reminds me on Bunin (I've read less than a handful of stories by Bunin and in each one someone froze to death in cold Russia). Except Quiroga is not so repetitive.
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Serpent
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Re: Reading short stories challenge 2020

Postby Serpent » Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:15 pm

Signing up :D

Languages and levels: see below for the list, mostly the Romance languages, some Finnish
Goal: 10 stories?
Goodreads shelf: "slow collections etc", which includes some books I won't count, like poetry or multi-chapter stories.

Books you plan to read:
Horacio Quiroga - Los desterrados +
José Eduardo Agualusa - Fronteiras Perdidas
Antonio Tabucchi - Piccoli equivoci senza importanza (not sure where my copy is)
Sicilia fantastica
Amor di Roma (stories about Rome)
Cuentos fantásticos modernistas de Hispanoamérica +
Las fuerzas extrañas; Cuentos fatales
Adolfo Bioy Casares - Historias fantásticas
Jutter Caine - Pesadelos
Johanna Sinisalo - Kädettömät kuninkaat ja muita häiritseviä tarinoita
Verenhimo: suomalaisia vampyyritarinoita
Den röda vanten och andra deckare
Mellan Stockholm och Åbo
Svenska konstsagor
120 сторінок содому. Сучасна світова лесбі/ ґей/ бі література. Квір-антологія (LGBT stories in Ukrainian)
Ivan Shamiakin - Collected works
Karel Čapek - Povídky z jedné kapsy (Ilya Frank's method)
Povídky současnych českých spisovatelů
Српске приче и баjке (tales)
(the last two have the same publisher and format, see also Svenska konstsagor above. there are glossaries and exercises)
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Serpent
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Re: Reading short stories challenge 2019

Postby Serpent » Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:43 pm

Serpent wrote:When I read the previous story I mentioned, I thought I happened to come across a story where someone dies (I picked one in the middle of the book, based on the name)... Now I won't be surprised if the whole book is like that :lol:
...
In terms of writing about death he reminds me on Bunin (I've read less than a handful of stories by Bunin and in each one someone froze to death in cold Russia). Except Quiroga is not so repetitive.
December 31 was Horacio Quiroga's birthday so I decided to read something (but only got around to it after midnight, so no more stories for 2019)
Usually I begin collections by reading the shortest story, but the shortest was a 7-page story called El hombre muerto, so my first pick was something else :lol: Now that I know many of his stories are about death, I went ahead and read this one :D

It had really beautiful descriptions of the nature, of dying peacefully from a fatal accident, in a rural area near your plantation, surrounded by things you've seen grow during your life. Nice. I also happened to be drinking coca cola and it fit the leisurely atmosphere :lol:

Before sleep I also finished a book of short stories in Italian. Also!!! I opened the book "Cuentos fantásticos modernistas de Hispanoamérica" and realized I had read many stories, probably in 2015 or so? Wow. Seems like I've read most of those under 5-7 pages. Interesting to realize that the difference between 3 pages and 8 pages must've been a big deal to me :D (admittedly Quiroga's book has a glossary)

Among the remaining ones there's one more story by Quiroga, which is probably what I'll read next from that book. Mostly because it's easier to read a familiar author.
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Christi
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Re: Reading short stories challenge 2019

Postby Christi » Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:43 pm

Serpent wrote:This year I completed my own challenge for the first time :D


Congrats! I also completed this challenge, yay!

I'm planning a reading binge for Korean this year so figured I might as well sign up for this challenge. I've got a bunch of bigger books, but also a few thin ones (20 pages), or short pieces of texts that are part of a book but more easily digestable than the rest of the book.

Level: low B1
Goal: 15

Reading list:

80 year old Mariko (마리코 80세). A manga containing 6 chapters of about 30 pages.
A kids' book about Einstein's life (20 pages).
The elves and the shoemaker (34 pages, but contains large pictures).
My papa is a simple man. Comic about the Korean independence war.
신고해도 되나요? - Can I Call The Police?. 120ish pages.
안읽어 씨 가족과 책 요리점 - The Restaurant Of The Family That Hates Reading. 123 pages.
Penguin loves Mev. Comic about a Korean woman who moved to England for love.
Olly Richard's Short stories for Korean intermediate I just remembered that I've pre-ordered this. It contains 8 short pieces of real fiction :D It's also on sale at Bookdepository right now!

Not sure if I will manage to read them all since I've also got goals for listening, writing, grammar etc. And I usually stop reading once I hit a certain amount of unknown words :lol:
Last edited by Christi on Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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2020 resolution words learned: 472 / 1000
Pages read at end of 2020: 220 / 1500


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