My first Spanish novel

Hi all,

I just finished reading my first ever full-length novel in Spanish (or any foreign language for that matter) two days ago. The book I read was “La Isla de las Tormentas” by Ken Follett, which is “Eye of the Needle” in English. It took me over six months to read, mostly on LingQ, but I also have the paperback edition that I read a few chapters with. The six plus months of reading were on and off and very inconsistent since I was graduating high school and doing various things during that time, and I actually read over two thirds of it in the past 3-4 weeks.

What I’ve noticed about my Spanish after finishing this novel is:

  1. My reading speed has greatly increased. At the start of this book it would take me 30+ minutes to finish a lesson on LingQ (~2000 words), whereas the last few lessons only took me around 10 minutes each.
  2. I can read much better without LingQ. My ability to infer the meaning of words out of context has greatly improved, especially from reading a few chapters outside of LingQ.
  3. My attention span has increased. At the beginning of this book I didn’t want to read more than 4-5 pages at a time (maybe because it was so slow and painful), but now I can read for an hour or two and get through 30-40 pages with no problem.
  4. Overall, my word count went up around 3500 words since I started, which includes some other lessons on LingQ, but mostly just the book. Since it was all one author, many words were repeated which really helped in remembering them.

That is my experience with reading my first full-length novel in Spanish. Let me know about your experience reading in your foreign language (I truly believe it’s the most efficient way of learning) or if you want to start. Also, I need book suggestions as I’m trying to read two more Spanish novels before I go to college in late August.

Thanks for reading!


This is a very good result. You yourself have rightly noticed that the speed of your reading has increased noticeably and that’s fine. Now you should practice reading without additional helpers. Focus on your strengths. And if necessary, contact for help. I started a little differently. At first, I just listened to the speech, then amplified the phrases. Then I will turn to the courses with the native speaker - English abroad: language schools and courses in Malta , where I successfully mastered the spoken language. Reading itself came after all these moments.


Congratulations on your progress. It is always nice to see the success of other people. I like you also about another language. Also I will try)

That sounds great. Congrats on your progress! I’ve experienced all the same points, albeit with Russian, and highly recommend tackling a whole book as soon as you’re able to – if not a little sooner. Some advantages of sticking with a book vs. jumping from one short piece to another:

  • Any author has preferred vocabulary and grammatical structures that he will repeat. That repetition over the length of a book really helps you learn them.
  • Any book (which is not an anthology) will repeat specific vocabulary in support of the story, again helping you learn that.
  • If the book is compelling, that postpones the problem of where you’re going to find good content until you finish it.
    I’ve always been a book reader, and it was a treat to be able, with Lingq’s help, move up to tackling full novels. Now I’ve bought a hardback copy of one of my favorite Russian books to re-read offline with the added enjoyment of being able to hold the book and turn the pages.

Wow well done buddy! I’m just about to finish my first native level book in mandarin and it feels so good! Pretty much summed up exactly what I’ve found over the course of reading! Keeping going!
I’m currently learning spanish also but i’m still in the beginner stages, just finished the mini stories here and lingq. Any suggestions for first stories?


¡Enhorabuena! Es un gran paso. Desde que empecé a aprender en serio inglés y francés, ya hace varias décadas, leer novelas siempre ha sido mi forma favorita de alcanzar un buen nivel en el idioma

I’m curious, What happens in your mind when you read a book in a foreign language? Do you instantaneously translate to your native language in your head or do you read in Spanish, in your case, without translating back to English? I assume that most people hear their native language in the head, but wondered if people get to the point of reading the foreign language directly?

As for suggestions. Since you seem o like suspense novels, I’d advise to try some of Arturo Pérez Reverte’s novels. I’ve already talked about them in other threads. Some are historical, some are mysteries or adventure. They are well-written

There’s an edited version of “El Principito” available on LingQ that is a great place to get started reading, as well as Steve Kaufmann’s book about his experience with language learning. I’d recommend starting there, although they could be above your level since you just finished the mini stories.

Thanks for you kind words and good luck with your Mandarin and Spanish!

¡Gracias por tus palabras amables! Compré el libro “La Mujer en la Ventana” y empecé leerlo ayer (más rápido que “La Isla de las Tormentas,” por supuesto), pero después de esto, definativamente buscaré libros de Arturo Pérez Reverte. También quiero leer libros de Stephen King en español, pero quizás esperare hasta leo un libro de Reverte.