Reading Roundup

What’s on my nightstand? Nothing I want to name here, unfortunately, since it is my policy to speak only of books I like in such a public venue. If anyone wants to pay to me review books, well, then I’ll be open and honest, but until then I’ll keep my negative opinions to myself, believing wholeheartedly that writing a book, even one I don’t happen to like, is a tremendous accomplishment, and my ragging on it, post-publication, can serve no useful purpose.

I was surprised to not like one particular book this week, liking the author’s other work as much as I do. This story struck me as excessively adult, though it’s billed as MG. While most chapters are written from a young character’s POV, what I would call the real main character is an adult pursuing a very adult goal. That didn’t work for me. The story felt disjointed, and in the end, I didn’t take away or feel anything. I was never drawn in.

On one hand, it’s kind of comforting to see that even a proven-talented author doesn’t always hit his/her mark. On the other hand, I wonder why this was published, and whether the author’s good name is enough to carry the book to some sort of success.

instant-immersion-spanishWhat’s on my mp3 player? Instant Immersion Spanish, by TOPICS Entertainment and Dr. Blair’s Spanish in No Time, by Dr. Robert Blair.

I’m really trying to learn some Spanish; I will be tested in 2010. In addition to audio recordings, I’ve queued up a bunch of Spanish movies on Netflix so we can hear it being spoken as we read subtitles.

My sense is that Mike isn’t entirely thrilled with Spanish being my primary movie-selecting criterion. The first movie was pretty awful. Plus, they were speaking Spain Spanish, where the s-sounding c is pronounced like “th.” I need to learn South American Spanish. dr-blair-spanishThe dialogue was way too fast for me to catch much. In fact, I caught and understood more Italian words in a recent Italian movie than I caught in the Spanish movie. And that’s based solely on knowing some Spanish; I’ve never learned Italian. I’m not giving up on my movie plan, though.

I wonder if there are any bilingual novels with Spanish text on one side and the English translation on the other. I recall reading Shakespeare like that and liking it. Does anyone know if such a thing exists?

Your turn. What are you reading?

Update: The books I want are called “dual-language” books or “parallel texts.” Of course they exist! Now to get my hands on one.

Categories: Reading