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Alexis Lopez
What was the first book did you read in a foreign language?

I read some books called 'graded readers', but now it's time to start with a normal one.
I bought a few novels and others stuff at Amazon Kindle store, but I couldn't decide which one to start with.
Finally, my choice was Cosmos by Carl Sagan. Despite I'm just reading
the second chapter, I've learned a bunch of new vocabulary and the most important thing, I've been transported to the time when I was a child, and I saw the respective serial.
He always will be one of my idols because he conveyed so much passion in spreading his knowledge to the world.
When I finish it, I have three books on my list: 'White Teeth' by Zadie Smith, 'Snow Falling on Cedars' by David Guterson, and 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee. I don't know in which order I'm going to read them.´


And what about you?
Feb 18, 2018 11:39 AM
Comments · 6
The first book I read in a foreign language was ( Reclaim your heart ) to Yasmin Mogahed, and I am determined to read it again and I feel shortage of the spiritual power, this book has overwhelmed me with passion and struggle, to find answers to some mysterious questions always rolling in my subconscious
February 19, 2018

The first book I read in a foreign language was a French translation of the first book in "A series of unfortunate events".  It was translated from English, but I had never heard of the series before, and when I was reading it I wrongly assumed that it had been originally written in French.  I remember spending several hours being confused by a particular paragraph, going back and forth between the book, a dictionary, and grammar tips in my textbook.  Finally, I realized that it was a long and convoluted fart joke, and I quite literally laughed longer and harder than at any other time in my life.  That moment still probably ranks in the top 20 of my life.  So, I always recommend joke-filled kids' books as a first novel in a foreign language.  You might like "Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians" or "Whales on Stilts".

Another great moment in language-learning was the first time I read a bad translation of a book I understood deeply.  I had read Heinlein's "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" several times during my adolescence, so I was excited to find a Chinese translation.  It was an awful translation: the translator had misunderstood something on almost every page.  But finding those errors became a wonderful treasure-hunt, and it did great things for my confidence. While I was learning new Chinese vocabulary and sentence-structures, which usually makes me feel overawed and inadequate, I was able to feel smirking and superior instead.  I definitely learned more from that bad translation than from any other book I've read.  That probably doesn't say good things about my psychology, but it worked....

February 18, 2018

I have read all of the books you have on your shelf to read. I'd recommend them in this order...

To Kill A Mockingbird, is a modern classic of American literature and read in schools. Since it is narrated by a young girl, the English is more straightforward than in your other two novels. 

White Teeth is very good, but long and  it has a lot of immigrant voices in it. So, there are people speaking in different "styles" of English (Indian, Jamaican, etc) and that might be confusing sometimes. 

Snow Falling On Cedars, if I remember correctly, is very poetic and "dense"...the prose is thick with images. Although I really liked it, for a learner, it will be little difficult.

Here is a tip: the first few pages are normally the author setting the scene. So, there are a lot of adjective, adverbs and complex descriptions. Many readers stop there because they think "This book is too hard for me"! Skip ahead a few pages to where the action starts and see if it's STILL too hard. That way you won't put down a book you could have read, because you were fooled by the beginning. 


I'm reading my first novel in Italian now. It's the Italian translation of JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy. It's exactly on my level of Italian and although there are many unknown words (for me to learn!) , the story is interesting and easy to follow. I'm enjoying it very much!

February 18, 2018
I stoped in the first pag.
February 18, 2018
So cool you could take a bad translation and turn into a tool for your learning. In my case, I read the commentaries to know whether it's a good translation, but that only happens if it's a famous book otherwise, I'll follow what you said.
February 19, 2018
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Alexis Lopez
Language Skills
English, Spanish
Learning Language
English