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Tadoku Reading Challenge 3 (May 2021) – introduction

Tadoku Reading Challenge 3 (May 2021) – introduction

At the start of the year I posted to say that I was planning on possibly taking part in a couple of Tadoku reading challenges in 2021. Today the third Tadoku challenge of the year starts, and I am thrilled to be cracking open another book in a non-native language.

In case you’re new to Tadoku let me explain the principal.

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WWW Wednesday – 21/4/21

WWW Wednesday – 21/4/21

Although I’ve been having a fantastic time of reading others’ blogs since re-starting this one, I’ve been feeling a little isolated from the book blogging community, so I’m going to participate in this meme on a trial basis to see whether it helps me feel more connected to the community as a whole.

When I first started blogging, WWW was one of the first weekly events I discovered, and I got to know some fantastic books (and readers of said books), sadly we all stopped blogging at the same sort of time. So this is going to be a lovely walk down nostalgia lane.

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Posted by on April 21, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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{Wrap Up} Tadoku Reading Challenge 2 (March 2021)

{Wrap Up} Tadoku Reading Challenge 2 (March 2021)

The Challenge

The goal is incredibly simple: read as many pages as you fancy/ are able to in the foreign language or languages of your choice. I loved the open-ended nature of the challenge. With some reading challenges it can feel a little overwhelming to retrospectively find criteria to shoe-horn books I’ve read into to finish a challenge.

The Tadoku challenge took a lot of that stress away. Instead I just had to ask myself one question: “is this book in the challenge language?” This time around I chose just French as the challenge language. I have a shamefully large pile of books in French that I’ve bought that have languished on my TBR pile. If this challenge tickles your pickle then you can sign up here. The challenge runs every other month (January, March, May, etc.)

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Posted by on April 5, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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{Review} Mousseline La Serieuse by Sylvie Yvert

{Review} Mousseline La Serieuse by Sylvie Yvert

This is one of two books that have loomed unread for no good reason since January’s Tadoku challenge.

Mousseline La Sérieuse tells the story of Marie-Therese Charlotte de France (Mousseline La Sérieuse was her nickname). Born to Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, Marie-Therese had a life of luxury until the French Revolution which started when she was ten years old. She and her family were placed under house arrest and eventually imprisoned in Temple Tower.

Gradually her parents, aunt, and younger brother were separated from one another, and for two years she was imprisoned alone. The silence of her days punctuated with the sound of her 9 year-old brother’s cries as he was beaten. Of her family, she was the only one to survive. This retelling of her incredibly tragic life follows her from youth to old age, but dwells on the horrors she endured during the Terror.

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{Half-way check-in} French Tadoku Reading Challenge 2 (March 2021)

It’s half-way through March, which means there are only 15 days left in this month’s Tadoku challenge! If you’re not sure what Tadoku is, then this is a link to my introduction post.

My reading goal for this challenge was to read L’inconnu du donjon by Evelyne Brisou-Pellen, and try to finish Mousseline la Sérieuse by Sylvie Yvert. My overall goal was to consume 1000 pages of French-language material.

So far, I’ve completed L’inconnu du donjon, and am a third of the way through Mousseline la Sérieuse. With a decent few days of reading, I *should* hopefully be able to finish Mousseline and end this month feeling like a champion.

My overall page count so far is 702.6, which puts me 15th in the challenge. Not too shabby for someone whose reading speed in French has dropped to a drunken snail’s pace. Providing I keep gaming in French (and reading, of course) it looks like I will easily reach my 1000 page goal.

Even though I am frustrated by my reading speed, by making time to consume French content my reading fluency has picked up a little. If I keep this up, then by the end of the year I almost be back up to my old reading speed.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2021 in 2021 Challenges

 

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Sunday Post: a week of reading slowly

Sunday Post: a week of reading slowly

It’s Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and lets us recap our week in whichever way we want to.

On Monday, we celebrated International Women’s Day. Today is Mother’s Day in the UK. In light of everything that’s happened between the 3rd and today, both celebrations have rung even more hollow than usual.

I’ve been trying to keep busy this week, and spent a disproportionate amount of time on Zoom/ Skype/ Meets with friends. As it’s been difficult to focus on one thing for long, I’ve been playing a lot of Terraforming Mars, and Pokémon in French to get in some extra French content for this month’s Tadoku.

Just Finished

Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity – Felicia Day
This one got a mention in last week’s Sunday Post. This book aimed to do what it said in the title: face your fears and be creative. As someone who often struggles to be kind to herself, there was a lot to take away about embracing the joy of just doing A Thing and not worrying about it being a frivolous waste of time/ horrifically grotesque.

L’inconnu du donjon – Evelyne Brisou-Pellen
Set in the middle of the 100 Years War, L’inconnu du donjon follows Garin Trousseboeuf, a young scribe, who tries to solve the mystery of a prisoner’s disappearance in Castle Montmuran.
The story was a fun, frothy read in spite of the multiple murders that occur. Despite it being the second time I’ve read this book, the ending still took me by surprise. D’oh!


Currently Reading

Mousseline La Sérieuse – Syvlie Yvert
After finishing L’inconnu, and watching that documentary about Mousseline’s life, it’s been easier to pick up this book again. There is something quite moving about the current chapter I’m on where Mousseline talks about daring to hope that the worst is behind her and her family [spoiler: these are going to seem like halcyon days compared to what will follow].

The Rise and Fall of Intelligence: An International Security History – Michael Warner
Recommended by a friend who recently completed his PGDip in Terrorism and Security. It’s been interesting to learn how the definition of “intelligence” has changed over the centuries. I’m currently wading through a chapter on WWI and how the UK used “strategic insight [to] cause strategic effects through the control of communications”.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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French Tadoku Reading Challenge 2 (March 2021) – introduction

French Tadoku Reading Challenge 2 (March 2021) – introduction

In January I participated in my first ever Tadoku challenge, and I’m back again for the second Tadoku reading challenge this month! The goal is incredibly simple: read as many pages as you fancy/ are able to in the foreign language or languages of your choice. I loved the open-ended nature of the challenge. With some reading challenges it can feel a little overwhelming to retrospectively find criteria to shoe-horn books I’ve read into to finish a challenge.

The Tadoku challenge took a lot of that stress away. Instead I just had to ask myself one question: “is this book in the challenge language?” I chose French as the challenge language. I have a shamefully large pile of books in French that I’ve bought that have languished on my TBR pile.


Goals

Back in January I didn’t really click with the first book I started to read (Mousseline La Sérieuse was just too sérieuse for me), and I floundered before picking up an old favourite.

This time around I’m going to finish the much-loved L’inconnu du donjon and then finish Mousseline. Why continue with a book that I didn’t warm to originally? Well I didn’t really know much about her life, and I’m not normally a fan of plunging into historical fiction until I have a good idea of who the fiction is about. After having watched a TV programme about Mousseline, which included a couple of contributions by the author of the above book, I feel as though I have an idea of who she was. I want to read this imagining of her life.

It’s day 1 of the reading challenge, and I’ve already read 33 pages of L’inconnu du donjon. At worst I should finish this book at least.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Tadoku Reading Challenge 1 Round-Up (January 2021)

Tadoku Reading Challenge 1 Round-Up (January 2021)

The Challenge

In January I participated in my first ever Tadoku challenge. The goal is incredibly simple: read as many pages as you fancy/ are able to in the foreign language or languages of your choice. I loved the open-ended nature of the challenge. With some reading challenges it can feel a little overwhelming to retrospectively find criteria to shoe-horn books I’ve read into to finish a challenge.

The Tadoku challenge took a lot of that stress away. Instead I just had to ask myself one question: “is this book in the challenge language?” This time around I chose just French as the challenge language. I have a shamefully large pile of books in French that I’ve bought that have languished on my TBR pile.


The Goal

My goal had been to slowly read Yvert’s “Mousseline la Sérieuse“, and then possibly re-read “L’inconnu du donjon” by Brisou-Pellen.
Side-note: if you’re in the market for a children’s book series in French, “L’inconnu du donjon” is an absolute classic. It always makes me a little sad that they’ve never been translated as the ones I’ve managed to get a copy of are sparklingly written. But I digress. Rave over for now.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really connect with “Mousseline La Sérieuse” and only made it to page 66 before deciding to call it a day, and starting “L’inconnu du donjon“. However, I decided to watch a “Secrets d’Histoire” documentary on Mousseline which did a fabulous job of humanising her. In addition, the author of Mousseline (Sylvie Yvert) appeared a few times in the documentary, and talked with such passion and authority that I got almost as excited as she was about Mousseline. Long story short, I’m now all psyched up to finish the book now that I know more about her life.


The Result

In total I only read 150-ish pages, and 0 books in French in January. Quelle horreur ! But it’s also the first time I’ve read any fiction in French since 2018 so I’m not that disappointed in myself for taking so long to read so little.

The next Tadoku challenge is in March, so I’ll get a chance to improve my reading speed and frequency next month. Who knows, I might even finish Mousseline next time round..

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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2021 Language Learning Challenges

2021 Language Learning Challenges

Over the years I have built up a small collection of language learning resources that I have looked after and taken with me as I moved around the country. Now that I’ve settled down for good, I am going to try to do something I always mean to do but never get around to: I am going to use some of those resources to learn languages.
As this year is a bit of a strange one with a lot of free time ahead of me, I am going to aim to complete four language challenges. Click on the one that interests you most to jump down the page to it.

100 Days of Mandarin

In December of last year, I completed the HSK 1 and 2 coursebooks, and took both the HSK 1 and HSK 2 language exams. I even passed them, which came as a surprise as I’d spent years telling myself I’d never be able to learn Mandarin. (Yay!)
But those 300 characters I’ve learned barely get my language level up to A1. (Boo!)
So I am going to keep on increasing my knowledge of characters and grammar. By doing an hour of studying every day for 100 days, I’m hoping that I’ll have learned a couple of hundred more characters, and will be able to understand a few more snatches of speech when watching C-Dramas. Who knows, I might even be able to pass HSK 3 by the end of the year…

Introvert Language Challenge

I actually created this challenge for myself because, as mentioned above, I have a lot of language learning resources. The aim of the challenge isn’t actually to get to B2 or anything lofty like that. Instead I’ve created this challenge to give myself permission to dabble in learning different languages. If I’m feeling nostalgic for LangJam, I might even spend a weekend or two learning the “survival basics” of other languages.

This year I am aiming to complete two of the self-study language courses that I have at home. To make life easy for myself (and because I have wanted to learn some Norwegian since about 2010) I am going to start by working through the Teach Yourself Norwegian course. When I’ve finished it, I’ll work through another language course, as the mood takes me.

The Output Challenge

I lurk on Language Learners’ Forum being inspired by others’ progress, but have never actually made an account on there. So I’ve not officially signed up for the ambitious Output Challenge, which involves writing 50,000 words in your target language AND recording 50 hours of speech, but I am going to aim to complete this challenge.
Spanish is my stronger-weakest language: I used to be on frustrating B2/C1 cusp, but have not used it at all since leaving Spain in 2015 and have regressed back to B1 for all things production-related. I really want to de-rust my knowledge of Spanish this year. If this baptism by fire does not help then nothing will! I sense some very earnest and very terrible fiction is about to be written. Forgive me, world…

Tadoku

As one of my goals this year is to read more books written in languages that aren’t English, I thought why not make an event of it and join a Tadoku challenge! As of January, I’ve started participating in one in French, and am reading Mousseline la Sérieuse. Here’s hoping I’ll complete at least 1 book per challenge!

If you’re learning a language this year, or are even thinking of it, I’d love to hear about which language you’ve chosen!

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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