Summer Challenge

Because I don't have enough challenges on my plate...Arenel at  Slightly Cultural, Most Thoughtful and Inevitably Irrelevant  is now Ekaterina at In My Book.  She is hosting a Language Freak Summer Challenge!  In other words, brush up on whatever language you need to practice by reading a book!  The rules are long (yet entertaining) so I'm not going to quote them all here; go take a look.  But this challenge is for you if you answer yes to any of these questions: 

Do you love learning foreign languages?
Have you ever suspected that something is lost in translation when reading a book?
Do you feel ashamed of not practicing some foreign language enough?
Are you an unbearable snob who tells everybody that they haven't read a book if they have read it in translation?

I can answer yes to the first three, though I hope #4 does not apply!  (I'm pretty sure it is true, which makes me really sad because I will never read Russian anywhere near well enough to enjoy Tolstoy properly.  Sigh.  But I would not go around squishing people by saying so.) 

My mother tongue is English, and once upon a time, I spoke Danish pretty fluently.  I even did a couple of Scandinavian lit classes in college and read the books in the original, and I have quite a few Danish books around the house.  But I have gotten rusty and I am ashamed (#3).  I have never really enjoyed reading books in Danish, because it is much harder work than reading in English and I have to go slow, plus the quotation marks are wonky and don't produce dialogue in my head.  But the remedy for that is practice, so!  I hereby commit to reading a Danish book this summer!  I also studied German and Russian in college, and they are pretty much gone.  But if Ekaterina helps me out with finding something very very easy--like, kindergarten easy--I will take a stab at reading a Russian book.  I can still read the alphabet and recognize some words.  That makes 2 books, which puts me at the Intermediate level.  If I read a super-easy German book too, I would be at the Advanced and the Crazy Linguist level, but that would be a bonus.

There we go--summer reading challenge, here I come!


  1. Welcome, my first participant!) I'm browsing for books in Russian for you right now, so I hope I'll find something nice) I'm also thinking about what super-easy German book to pick, and Grimm tales seem to be a nice option. And yes, I'm sorry for all the name-changing problems, it's all Google accounts and the need to cut this long name short for all the challenges =)

  2. Oh how I wish I knew any language well enough to take up this challenge.

    I have a copy of Struwwelpeter in German, if you want it. That's a classic, right?

  3. Yes, it's a classic, but it's too hard for my pathetic German skills! I need the German and Russian equivalents of The Cat in the Hat.

  4. I am SO going to do this this summer! I read (and reviewed) an Italian book in January, but I definitely want to try reading more. It was wonderful practice! (I really should have posted the review in both languages, too... now THAT would have been practice haha) Thanks for posting about this challenge!

  5. How about "the little prince" in German (Der kleine Prinz)? Real kindergarten (there you go - a German word) level would be "Das kleine Ich bin ich" (The little I am I) I also love "Die Geggis" and "Valerie und die Gute Nacht Schaukel" - which are delightful children books (The Geggis are about tolerence and Valerie and the Good Night Swing is about a little girl who refuses to go to bed). I could go on :)


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