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Do you have a plan to read a Chinese book of your interest?

Posted by Grace Feng on May 25, 2012

Do you have a plan to read a Chinese book of your interest?I can’t imagine a person could claim he or she has mastered a new language without completely finishing reading a whole book. One might be able to read short stories and articles. But reading a whole book is quite different experience. A good book with a certain length should be able to lead you into a different place that could make you forget about your current surroundings or even your mother language. It sets up a secluded language environment for you to sink in. It trains your brain logic to follow the new rules in new language and culture. It can largely enhance your feel of the new language.

My own experience on learning English, for example, climbed up a new high after I finished my first English novel – a thriller by Agatha Christie. For the very first time of my life, I totally enjoyed a book in a different language from my mother tongue. That experience was getting better and better after I finished more novels. I like thrillers, and I chose to read thrillers that I would have chosen to read if it’s in Chinese. The result was just amazing. I finished 30 novels in 2 years after the very first one!

Do you have any plan on reading Chinese novels? If you do, what kind of books you think you’ll have a craving to read? Feel free to share your interests and maybe I can help you with some recommendations.

 

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11 Responses to “Do you have a plan to read a Chinese book of your interest?”

  1. nothing

    Barry:

    05-25-2012 12:09 pm

    Hi Grace, I like to read stories by China’s classic modern writers such as 鲁迅, 老舍, 朱自清 etc. But at the moment I can only read very short stories (at most about 15 pages), which can still take quite a bit of time; beyond that it is too much of a struggle having to look up words in a dictionary. Because these guys are writing at a very high literary level they often use idioms and seldom-used phrases which I have a feeling that even Chinese people themselves might not use too often, so this greatly increases the difficulty (I may be wrong though). Perhaps I should try to read living Chinese authors, or those using more colloquial language, yes?

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace:

      05-26-2012 4:36 am

      Barry,

      You’re right, the high literary level writers liked to use remote phrases that are not so easy to understand or reuse. For Chinese learners, I’d recommend to start with colloquial stories that are based on the real world. Fictions from 海岩 fit our needs perfectly. He’s a very popular and productive writer of the current time in China mainland. Almost all of his novels were turned in movies or TV episodes. His writing style is simple, colloquial, get to the point. That might come from his work experience as a sodier, policeman and businessman. If you want to learn the language from your reading and reuse them, try 海岩’s books. Most of them can be found online free. 五星饭店 (Five Star Hotel) might be the most colloquial one of his. It’s a thriller, very well written story. You can have a look to see if you’re comfortable reading it:

      http://book.qq.com/s/book/0/5/5039/index.shtml

      Grace

      Reply

  2. nothing

    Barry:

    05-27-2012 8:47 am

    Thanks for your suggestion Grace. Yes, that book is noticeably easier to read than the writers I mentioned in my first post.

    I’d like to buy a book of his, preferably a collection of short stories, if he has any available. [I generally don’t like to read material online, much prefer to hold a ‘real’ book in my hands :)]

    Do you know any website – it’ll have to be an English site – where I can buy this books? Failing that, I could ask one of my Chinese friends to send/post me a copy over from China.

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace:

      05-28-2012 4:11 am

      Barry,

      I can’t seem to find an English online site that sells the book. I read the book online long time ago. However, there’s a link on dangdang.com of the book. It’s a book with pictures :-), you can check out it’s online price in RMB and the sample illustration there:

      http://product.dangdang.com/product.aspx?product_id=20034266&ref=suggest-1-0

      If you can ask your friend to purchase and mail one to you, that might be a good idea. :-)

      Grace

      Reply

  3. nothing

    Barry:

    05-28-2012 2:35 pm

    Hi Grace,

    嗯,是的,最好的办法是让我一个住在中国的朋友首先买,然后寄给我。

    白睿

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace:

      05-29-2012 2:57 am

      白睿, 如果我现在在中国, 我一定会帮你寄一本过去. 不过上次在Toronto图书馆我还看到过海岩的小说.你也许可以试试你附近的图书馆呢…

      Grace

      Reply

  4. nothing

    白睿:

    05-29-2012 4:46 pm

    那是一个很好的建议Grace。下次去图书馆的时候我会试试看。

    Reply

  5. nothing

    白睿:

    05-30-2012 6:29 pm

    哈哈,Grace,你信不信?我这附近的图书馆里面的中文书全都是用繁体字!原因可能是因为住在这儿的华侨大多数都来自香港,广东,浙江等的中国人、他们一定会读繁体字,是不是?

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace:

      05-31-2012 3:22 am

      中国解放前用的都是繁体字, 解放后(after 1949)才慢慢用简体字代替了繁体字. 但香港和台湾两地还保持繁体字. 你所看到的书都是台湾和香港出版的.大陆只出版简体书.

      多伦多图书馆也有很多繁体字书, 但随着大陆移民增多, 简体字也开始增加了. 你可以用中文书的作者或书名的拼音在图书馆网站上搜索, 应该会搜到一些. 海岩的书可读性很强, 又很大众化, 很适合学中文的人阅读.我觉得他写得最好的两本是”永不瞑目”和”玉观音”. “五星饭店”最口语化. 其他的写得也各有各的特色, 都不错.

      Reply

  6. nothing

    Ute:

    12-21-2014 2:36 am

    Hi Grace,
    I have come across this website for the first time this very moment and am amazed at your productivity, knowledge and helpfulness!
    I am gradually working my way up from the beginner’s to the intermediate level. My special interest is Taiji and Traditional Chinese Medicine and spirituality. So the dream is to one day be able to read about that kind of thing in the original. Would you have any recommendation about study material and the balance between general and specialist Chinese?
    Many thanks, Ute

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      12-24-2014 5:24 am

      Hi Ute,

      Thanks for your note!

      To be honest, although my Dad is very good at Taiji, and I did take Chinese medicine when needed, I’m no expert to any of these. If you want to search material in Chinese, try “太极","中医","草药","电子书"those keywords.

      Sorry I can’t be more helpful. I do wish you can realize your dream one day, sooner than later :-)

      加油!

      Grace

      Reply

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