French Week 7 - Book Power

Latest blog here: http://haisell.net/2016/02/21/french-week-7-book-power/

Week 7 target: 5473 known words.
Week 7 result: 6255 known words.

Last week I started reading my first book in French, Le Linguiste by Steve Kaufmann. Steve wrote this book about language learning in English but it is available to read in many different languages for free at LingQ. I did wonder whether it was too soon to start reading books in French, but I am very glad I made the leap. Reading books, rather than lessons or short pieces of dialogues, is so much more engaging. Good books are written to keep the reader hooked for many pages and thousands of words. So if you are reading a good book you want to keep reading, and this is so important when you’re looking for motivation to read in your target language. The power of reading a good book is reflected in my word targets for this week, where I have overshot my original target by almost 800 words!

I am half way through Steve’s book and I am now thinking about what I should read next. I wasn’t expecting to start on books so early on in my French adventure, but now I’m thinking “why not?”. So I am now looking for recommendations for good books in French, preferably with audio available. Let me know of any really good books that you have read that helped improve your French, and left you wanting more.

Week 8 target: 6955 known words.

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where did you get the book? I am considering to start to read books in Swedish as well but I don’t want to pay for my first book because I do not know if I have the vocabulary for that.
My suggestion of a book is the little prince, if you dont mind children’s book.

The book is freely available in the LingQ library, in many languages. I read it here in Spanish three years ago. The Little Prince is a lovely book, but I don’t really want to read children’s books. Although I was thinking of maybe reading Jules Verne as that could be quite fun - and the books are free with audio on Librivox and Project Gutenberg.

Sadly the book is not available in Swedish.
Jules Verne is such a great author, if you can handle the vocabulary, you will improve your French massively. Animal farm is also a good option since it is a small book making it easier. Thanks for the website’s names, I’m definitely going to check it out.

No problem. Animal Farm is quite a good suggestion, as I love Orwell. I’m not too worried about vocabulary. I would much prefer to read an interesting book with 20% unknown words than a boring book with 5% unknown words.

And I’ve also had a sneaky peek at the French LingQ library material for intermediate and above. Wow! There’s so much! I am so grateful for all the time put into providing this material, thank you guys!

Hey! I admire your progress, well done so far!! How much time does it take you per week on average? Are there any ‘distractions’ present - work/studies…?

Thanks! I’m a phd student so I find learning French provides me with a bit of a distraction FROM my studies, something relaxing to do that doesn’t require the same kind of concentration. Not sure how many hours I dedicate to my French at the moment - at least an hour a day, probably more. It only competes with time I would be otherwise reading in English or Spanish, so I don’t notice it eating into time for other activities.

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I’m currently reading and listening at the same time to La Vérité sur l’Affaire Harry Quebert – a French mystery novel that’s available on Amazon in both e-book and audiobook form. (There is also an English edition if you want to read along with it.)

Simul-reading and listening to audiobooks is hands down the best and most fun way to build up vocabulary along with reading and listening comprehension, IMHO. And Amazon / Audible keeps adding more and more titles of e-books and audiobooks in various languages, so I’ve been hooked on doing that for while.

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Thanks, I’ll check that one out - I find mysteries and thrillers good books to learn with because they are classic “page-turners” - they keep you hooked.

My only problem with Amazon+Audible is that I’ve never been able to import the Amazon format into LingQ… for that reason I prefer to use epubs of mobi formats. Do you import the amazon books into LingQ, and if so, how?

No, you can’t import Amazon format to Linq, but what you can do is configure your Kindle, or Kindle app on a tablet, to use the available French dictionary on the device itself. So, you can highlight a word in the e-book and it will give you the definition. So, it can be a similar experience – sort of. You don’t get the same satisfaction of keeping track of your word count right away, but you will build up a lot of vocab for yourself, and next time you’re on Lingq you can just mark those words as you come across them. That’s what I try to do.

The advantage, as you pointed out, is modern thrillers are a lot of fun to read, especially in a new language :slight_smile: You get to solve two mysteries: who-done-it, and what-did-they-just-say? I find myself much more engaged with this material than the public domain titles available. With the exception of perhaps the Three Musketeers, which I highly recommend. Alexander Dumas has a way with sentence structure that’s a great deal of fun to work through. They have the audiobook of Musketeers on Audible, and I bet you could find a Lingq friendly version of the text somewhere.

Yes I have a good Spanish dictionary loaded into my kindle which works really well. LingQ+Kindle was a powerful combination in my Spanish learning. However I still want to process the books through LingQ to keep track of new words and review lingQs - especially because my learning technique makes heavy use of phrasal lingqing. For that reason I stick to epubs. Once my French known words are somewhere beyond 40,000+ I’ll probably be less bothered about this. Three Musketeers is another good recommendation :wink:

Sounds like a plan :slight_smile: BTW, how do you import e-pubs into Lingq? Is there an easy way, or do you have to run it through some decode process?

Copy and paste :slight_smile:

Have you considered using a program such as Calibre to convert Kindle ebooks into an e-pub? That’s what I’ve been doing to get my books on to LingQ.

Oh really? I use calibre all the time but I always thought that it was impossible to convert kindle books because they were encoded and Amazon threaten you with a Fate Worse Than Kindle Death if you dare touch their format. I’ll have a look.

All you have to do is add a plugin to Calibre - which isn’t too dificult. I also feared the wrath of Amazon but came to the conclusion that the risks are worth the rewards.

Cool, I’ll look into it. No shortage of content at the moment… but maybe further down the line.