I’ve been taking part in the Tadoku competition again this month, in French, Japanese and German.
My Japanese is pretty basic, so I’m reading beginner readers that have only a couple of sentences on each page at most, with the majority of them being repetitious in order to give practice at certain phrases. Only a few of these are particularly enjoyable in terms of text content: The Shinkansen series previously published by Heinemann are good. The DEE Publications readers are good practice and have nice illustrations, but can’t be classed as particularly entertaining. The interesting part of those books are actually the cultural notes at the end in English. Some Japanese little books for very young children that I acquired in Japan are amusing, partly for their innovative layout (Inai inai baa!).
In French I’ve been reading books at the 700-1000 word vocabulary level, plus a few other books of a similar level of difficulty. After reading quite a few books for adolescents about adventures and mysteries etc, I seem to have hit saturation point with the genre. I’m still enjoying crime mysteries and some classic stories (though not all), but my new interest is stories from Africa. There is a series of African stories published by Heinemann in 5 levels of difficulty. I stumbled across these when visiting a Dutch shopping site, and ordered a couple at Niveau 3 to try. They are a refreshing change from the fodder I’ve been reading recently. They don’t pull any punches though. I’ve read La Valise Ensorcelée, which has an element of magic to it, as well as a moral. I’ve also read “L’usine de la Mort”. This book shocked me a little, but I’m glad I read it. I don’t think it’s great literature by any stretch, but certainly interesting, moving, and sufficiently different for the jaded easy reader reader. As a result I’ve bought more books from the series.