A couple days late, but I've been feeling worn out post-readathon. Is anyone else feeling the same thing?
Instead of doing the final meme, I'll just give brief impressions of the book I read.
1) La prochaine fois - Still don't like it after I've had some distance with that book, and I'm pretty sure Marc Levy is not the author for me. Actually he kind of reminds me of Nicholas Sparks in terms of the romance but with a dash of fantastical elements in it? Slow, meandering, and the chemistry lacklustre... Yeah, just didn't do it for me. Interestingly enough I was quite amused by the banter of Jonathan and Peter, the two main male characters, and I'm pretty sure they had a gazillion times more chemistry with each other than Jonathan ever had with Clara. It's like, with Clara Jonathan is all doom and gloom Tragic Hero, but with Peter he suddenly develops a sense of humour. It's quite disconcerting, actually.
2) Coeur de Jade - I think, my problem with this book was the fact that I walked in with expectations for a heroine's journey with tons of character development, and lots of fantasy elements in a historical backdrop, and instead it gave me a historical epic with a large multicast with minimal fantasy and lots of action and sword fights? Which is not to say that the latter wasn't good (the sword fights were most excellent), just that it wasn't at all what I expected. I still wish that they developed Jade Heart more, and had more explorations of the dynamic between her and the dragon, but I suppose I'll have to read the rest of the trilogy to find out more. At the end of the day, while I didn't enjoy this Chinese historical fantasy epic as much as I wanted to, I'm interested and invested enough to plan on reading the rest of the trilogy. The development of the settings was pretty solid, though I thought the author could have handled the transliteration stuff better (footnotes > glossary - it's the Truth), and if this book ever became available in English, I totally would recommend others to read it.
3) Perrault's fairy tales - Some fairy tales were more disturbing than I remembered them to be (Donkeyskin and Little Red Riding Hood, for example) but I really enjoyed Diamonds and Toads, and Blue Beard. Though, wtf at the translation of the Diamonds and Toads title, the original was "Les Fées", aka The fairies, and I was very confused when I read it and thought to myself that they sounded very familiar... Interestingly enough, most of the romances have the couple actually talking to each other before marrying, and it's an interesting clue-in on the emerging feminist thoughts in Perrault's time. Of course, there were still some stuff I thought could be construed as rather genderfail-y (me and Little Red Riding Hood, we must have Words) but still, very interesting.
4) La Treve - I totally wouldn't have thought of starting off this memoir if it wasn't for the non-fiction meme, so I owe RAT for this awesome read. Primo Levi has a lovely way with words. I only barely started reading this before the whole readathon thing was over, but I plan on finishing this off sometime in the near future.
Damn, reading so much French was damn hard. I can't read as fast as I want to, and I'm always deciphering words before I see the story beneath it all, and it's very frustrating and there's always that temptation to take constant breaks because my level of focus I have to employ reading in French is sooooooo draining and there's this disconnect I have when I'm reading in French than I do when I read in English. Probably because I can't sink into the story when I'm busy puzzling out the meaning. Hopefully if I just read more I'll get to a point wherein I'll be able to sink into the story instead of always floundering over elusive words, but I confess, the moment the readathon was over, I dashed off to NetGalley and read like, 3 English novels (Butterfly Swords, A Long Walk To Water, Hunger) in a day. I just miss reading novels and not having to second guess my level of understanding. I kind of feel guilty about it though, and will push myself to read more in French.
You know, maybe when I'm back in Canada or something I'll try the marathon with English novels. I've always read really quickly in English, and I'm curious to see how much I can do in 24 hours.
My Giveaway + Announcements
*My first manga review for Natsume Yuujinchou V.1 - please let me know what you think
Friday, October 8, 2010
So, I'm going to participate in this for the first time!
Priority Book List (aka I will finish them this readathon EVEN IF IT KILLS ME *_*):
Coeur de Jade, lame du dragon : Tome 1 - Le secret des masques par Kristoff Valla (trans. Jade Heart, The Dragon's Blade: Book 1 - The Secret of the Masks)
La prochaine fois par Marc Levy (trans. Next Time)
Other French Language Long Narratives:
La traversée du continent par Michel Tremblay (The Crossing of the Continent)
Les liaisons dangereuses par Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (Dangerous Liaisons)
The Sky Crawlers par Hiroshi Mori (A Japanese-to-French translated novel)
La Trêve par Primo Levi (The Truce - An Italian-to-French translated memoir)
Short French Language fictive works:
Contes par Charles Perrault ([Fairy] Tales)
Boys Next Door par Kaori Yuki (manga)
Kaine par Kaori Yuki (manga)
Neji par Kaori Yuki (manga)
The Royal Doll Orchestra - Tome 1 + 2 par Kaori Yuki (manga)
A Reluctant Cinderella by Alison Bond
Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
Other possible netgalleys I've received from publishers, etc.
The plan for this readathon is for me to read as much of my french novels as possible. The English novels are really just there for a placeholder in case I actually finish all these books before the 24 hours period (not likely, but you never know). Or, if, you know, I hit a certain point in my readathon wherein I start thinking I CAN'T READ ANOTHER DAMN FRENCH WORD, I have other options open to me, like the healing sight of the English word and its soothing presence of comprehensibility, or something.
Also, I may possible cheat on this 24 hour readathon, because well, this weekend the weather happens to be nice, and considering I've been living over a week of dreary rain, I fully intend on being out in the warm sun as much as possible. That would most evidently cut down on my reading time, so I may start before dawn and basically squeeze in reading time when it's dark out. Also, I intend on reading literally 24 hours, even if it isn't consecutive. Which means, let say I read for 3 hours and then took an hour's break - I won't count that one hour and consider what I've read as 3 hours in the 24 hours readathon scheme.
I will probably update this post with my reading updates on this readathon journey, so as not to bother those who have me on their feeds or google reader with a bombardment of spam.
Anyhow, is anyone else participating in this readathon? Are there any other participants planning on reading in their non-native tongue? I'd love to hear from everyone and good luck to all the participants! =D
So it's Hour 11 in this readathon and I think I'm going to have to take back what I said about reading literally 24 hours and just count whatever I read during this 24 hour period as what I'll end up with for the challenge.
I've finished my copy of La prochaine fois, which took me 2 hours and 41 minutes, not counting all the loooooong breaks I took in between reading this. (It got to a point wherein I basically welcomed distractions from my roommates. This book! So mind-numbing!) It was such a slow read for me, considering its tiny page number. (less than 300 pages) I'm not understanding the great popularity of this Marc Levy author? The Eternal Tragic Love romance mostly induced eye-rolling reactions the whole time I spent reading this book (I do like reincarnation stories, but the way it was handled here was just so CHEESY and ughhhhhh), and I suspect if I let my brain think harder about the roles of women in this book, I'd be enraged. (Women are manipulative evil crones! Unless they're your love interest-in which case she will sigh and pine away at hero's awesomeness and then waste tragically away and die in your arms as the narrative continues to focus about how this is so Tragic For Our Male Hero! The faaaaaaaail, and the whole treatment of justifying cheating fiancee's actions, blaaaaaaaaaaaaah) But as such, I'm more mildly annoyed than anything and try not to think too much about it while I was reading. Ah well, this was a book a friend lent me, so at least I can 1) finally return it 2) honestly say I've finally given Marc Levy a shot (and will probably never read anything else by him) and 3) practiced my french.
Was 50 minutes into reading Coeur de Jade and I've reached a point wherein I'm reading the words and not even understand what it's saying. Probably because it's like, 12 am as I write this. Also this being an action thriller, a lot of the fight scenes require that mental visualization thing that I've never been really good at, and it being in french just sucks out all my brain effort into this gooey mush.
Haha, so basically out of the 11 hours so far I only spent about 4 hours reading. Honestly the rest of the time I spent either eating or hanging around outside because YAY FINALLY GOOD WEATHER.
Will now go back to see if I can read Coeur de Jade but if now I'll pop open my Perrault's fairy tale collection or the manga I have lying around.
Update 2: Hour 12
1. What are you reading right now?
- I'm on Contes de Perrault.
2. How many books have you read so far?
- Well, I finished Marc Levy's La prochaine fois, was in the middle of reading Coeur de Jade until I decided to drop it for something lighter. Hopefully I'll get back to finishing it before this readathon is over.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
- Honestly if I manage to finish Coeur de Jade by the end of this I'll be quite content.
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
- ... Actually I... kinda allowed myself distractions? Ironically this Saturday was the first sign of nice weather in a week and I couldn't say no to going out to the park. Also the first book I trudged through was such a painfully slow read that everytime someone knocked on my door I'd be like 'Why yes, dear roomate, come in and tell me more about distraction things! Anything if it means I don't have to read this book!' So... yeah. 8D ^^;;;;;;;
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
- Kind of covered it in #4 but basically I just let them happen. When I found out today was going to be good weather though I did make an attempt to read before the start time to make up for the time I knew I was going to spend outside, but I didn't get far due to not liking my book, etc.
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
- Actually, I was surprised to hear that there is a French Readathon? I didn't know and if I did, I probably would have registered for that one instead. But oh well. Also the whole cheerleading business is very nice. I didn't expect it so when I saw all the nice comments on this post I was real happy. =d
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
- lol not really? It's been good so far.
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
- Choose less novels, more short stories.
9. Are you getting tired yet?
- sooooooooooo tired. I'm thinking of napping a little after this meme.
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
- haha actually I think I'm really not in the position of giving others advice this time around? Perhaps when I'm a more "seasoned" readathon-er, I'll have something to contribute here.
Update 3: Hour 23
The final stretch. I finished Coeur de Jade about an hour ago, so I got everything I wanted finished on my Priority List! Yay!
At first I thought of using the time left (besides taking the time to shower/eat/daily necessity things) to just finish off my Contes collection or maybe start a manga, but at around Hour 19 there was a Non-fiction challenge and I thought I'd crack open my copy of La Trêve. Man, I forgot how eloquent Primo Levi was. Thoughtful, and humble with his select word choice and cuts through all flowery language and is deeply moving. This is the kind of book I'd like to read through slowly.
1. Have you ever read a memoir/true story (Or book 'based on true events'?)
-I've read a couple, both for an outside of class.
2. If so, what was the title/author?
- Si c'est un homme by Primo Levi was the most recent one that comes to mind (I read this for class). It was about the author's experience in a concentration camp. I loved it so much I bought the sequel to it on my own time. For non-class readings, there was a time when I scoured my library for every Genghis Kan biography available. I especially liked the ones that focused on his years as Temujin. I read Rape of Nanking about two years ago and am still haunted by that book till this day.
3. What what it about?
-lol kind of answered this already in #2
4. Did you like it? Would you recommend it?
5. How many have you read?
- *shrugs* I think I read memoirs about once every one or two years? I'm usually more of the documenting historical events non0fiction reader.
6. Why or what made you want to read it?
-For Si c'est un homme, well, it was for class. I can't quite explain my fascination with Genghis Khan. Like all conquerors he committed terrible atrocities, but he had like, this grand vision, the way he thought about himself and his place in the world and I was just lured in by his story. I mean, you know how some people are like, fascinated by Napoleon (my dad is one of those people, lol) or Alexander the Great or something? Genghis Khan was that kind of person for me. Also I read The Rape of Nanking because it was the summer and I found a copy lying around my house.
7. What was the saddest/scariest one you read?
The Rape of Nanking for sure. EVERYONE, READ IT.
8. Did it have a 'happy ending'?
9. When choosing a memoir/true story, do you look for a certain kind? ( i.e. historical diary, inspirational like The Freedom Writer's Diary, Christian, non Christian)
- Not particularly. With memoirs I mostly go by recommendations from others.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
A MV of a French book I just recently finished direct link in case embed vid doesn't work
Looking back, I can't believe so much time passed by since I last posted. My Blogoversary went by without any comment from me, my birthday shortly afterwards, and now, it's October. *guiltyface* My apologies.
My Reading Journey In France: Reflections on Choice and Accessibility
When my Blogoversary was coming up, I had a hard time figuring out what I would say for it, mostly because I have no idea how my reading experience would be like in a different country. Because, you know, crossing an ocean to a country that predominantly speaks a non-English language really changes my reading habits. I don't have those shiny ereader things so I must rely solely on the local bookstores for books, and... You guessed it, it's hard to find English books in their original English text. Well, the ones that aren't top bestsellers or classics, at any rate. That, combined with the fact that I'm basically in France to improve my French, means that I will be doing my best to read almost exclusively in French. (This also means I'll be reading less books in general since, as I've discussed before, I read slower in French.)
I had a feeling this would impact my blogging, and, you know, it does. I'm still struggling over how I'd review a French book in an English review when 1) the book may not be available in English and thus my readers will probably not care about what I'm reviewing, and 2) I'm actually not at all well-versed in the French literary canon, (I used to not really read more than 3-5 French novels in a year, and most of that - if not all - comes from those compulsory reading materials in my French classes.) and I feel like I'm not quite at the point wherein I can fairly gauge how well the book was written on a word-by-word scale.
I'm looking at my book buying habits here over last month, and I believe that I'm buying more translated into French texts than works written originally in the French language. To be honest, this mostly has to do with the fact that manga here is cheaper than back home, and France licenses quite a number of shoujo manga I can't find in English, or they're releasing the volumes here faster, etc. Aside from manga, I'm also buying more translated novels because... Well, I find that the US publishing industry is not really up in the forefront on translating novels from other places into English. For instance, I've always wanted to read The Sky Crawlers because the movie that was based on this book was simply stunning, but so far there's no trace of a translation in English project in the works. When I found it in the local bookstore here in French I possibly may have made a public display of myself and paid 14.99 euros without so much as blinking. Also, when the book is translated from a language I am not fluent enough to read in its original language like Japanese or Korean or Chinese or Italian or German, etc etc, I feel like whatever language I read it in won't matter since things will be lost-in-translation either way and if I choose to read it in French, my French reading materials also increase.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Once again, sorry for my absence. I actually have lots of blog post ideas I want to put in, but I haven't gotten around to really focus on this book blog until this weekend. I'm working on scheduled posts as we speak and I can AT LEAST guarantee you one blog post tomorrow. My plan is to have the following week fully of blog posts up for y'all, but as I'm terrible with promises, I'll just shut up now. Actions speak louder than words and we'll just have to see if I actually stick to this, lol
Okay, so judging from my poll and comments on the last post, only a small number of people are interested in this reclist idea of mine. However, no one said they hated the idea, so I think I'll proceed with it anyways as a gift to all those who are even slightly interested. It's just that no one will be winning a personalized snail mail reclist from a draw. Basically, anyone who fills out the form at the bottom who's a follower of my blog will definitely receive an emailed reclist from me, ie EVERYONE'S A WINNER. =D
Your personalized reclist should arrive in your mailbox within 5 to 10 business days of having filled out this form. The reclist will consist of a minimum of 3 novels with a short summary and my pitch about why I think this book would be perfect for you. Any additional title mentions will come as honourable mentions without details/specifications on why I think the book is a good fit and will only come with a title + author mention. Please note that there is no real deadline to filling out this form, except that my followers giveaway will change the moment I hit 200+ followers. Please only fill out this form once.
Optional: If you wish to get a more detailed email on any of the honourable book title mentions for what I think you will enjoy the book, please reply to the reclist I send you with 'BONUS MATERIAL' mentioned somewhere in the subject line or the body message. As the first time, this next reclist within 5 to 10 business days of having received the replied message.
Please remember that this is specifically a gift to my followers, so, in other words, you do have to be a follower to enter for this reclist giveaway.