The Language Freak Summer Challenge Wrap Up

8. September 2013 § 4 Kommentare

4dc6c-language_freak_button_newI joined the challenge a bit later than most of the participants – not that I noticed any of it, since our lovely host Ekaterina made me feel welcome instantly! She supported us participants with regular updates on her blog about our progresses and I’m very happy to have found in her a native Russian speaker, who’d read my Russian posts and encourage me to go on.

I also had the chance to read a few posts in German written by non-native speakers and help them out. It gave me such a happy feeling of being useful. I already saw, that Ekaterina deservedly got lots of positive feedback so I’d say it was an all around big success 🙂

I went in to the challenge with big ambitions. To re-cap: I wrote a post about the movie “Kukushka”, which was a very touching story about three people drawn together in a deserted area by war, trying to communicate in three different languages. My second attempt of writing a Russian post was about Anna Achmatovas sorrowful poems in her collection “Requiem”.

I didn’t meet all of my aims, since I really wanted to review at least another movie and at least another book. I’m planning on doing it regardless during September since it was that much fun 🙂

I had a lot of headaches and a lot of fun. Thank you, Ekaterina, for hosting such a wonderful challenge!

Finally I want to hint at italki.com, which is a website where a whole lot of language students post entries in the language they are learning and correct entries in their native language of fellow students – it’s very much like what happened through out this challenge and might be a motivation for bloggers to keep up their foreign language studies.

Isaac Asimov: The End of Eternity

30. August 2013 § Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Andrew Harlan is a Technician in Eternity and as such responsible for processing time changes. Eternity administrates all centuries up to the 70.000s to assure mankind’s wellbeing. Observers travel to any century, observing society and report to Eternity. Eternity then decides if the current situation is acceptable and if not changes it into a more agreeable scenario. These changes might cause inconveniences for some people – for example someone who was able to walk might be paralyzed in the new scenario, what was a happy and content family might be hating each other now and some people might not even be born – but for the sake of the welfare of the many a few sacrifices must be made.

Such are the beliefs and convictions of Harlan as well – at least until he meets Noys, an attractive girl from a century he had been assigned to observe. In his attempt to be with her he doesn’t shy back from even destroying Eternity entirely.

Personally I find the concept of time travelling very appealing. I’m quite in a pinch to tell my opinion about this book. On one hand I didn’t like it at all, on the other hand I still read through it in no time. The writing style is captivating and I really did want to know what happens next throughout the whole novel (even though the title really is one big spoiler…) So, why did I not like it?

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Neil Gaiman: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

15. August 2013 § 2 Kommentare

It was published in June and only know I hear of it? What the heck! How could this happen!
I usually am well-informed about the new books Neil Gaiman is bringing out. Back in 2008 I had The Graveyard Book preordered. So imagine how shocked I was to find, that there actually was a new Gaiman book I haven’t heard about yet. Of course I rushed into the next book store and catching my breath from running I demanded: „The Ocean. At the End. Of the Lane. Give it to me. Now.“ The sales clerk was a bit confused, probably because people don’t usually order in English where I live, but then he smiled and pointed at the English literature section.
I read it in one go. Except for the last 20 pages – real life disturbed my readings (all though pleasantly). Now I just finished it and I liked it a whole lot.

A seven-year old boy befriends Lettie Hempstock who lives at the end of the lane right beside a duck pond which she likes to call an ocean. The circumstances they meet in are not very pleasant as a man had killed himself in the boys family’s car right beside the Hempstocks premises. How was he supposed to know that this unpleasant incident was just the trigger for many so much more frightening and impossible events. (I just made that up and realised the last sentence to sound so much like and ad.)

I liked this book for the same reason I like all of Gaimans books I have read so far. Because he makes the most unreal and unreasonable things out to be the most normal and common. Since it is a book about travelling between worlds, worlds where you don’t belong and don’t know what’s what, it made me especially happy that he quoted Alice in Wonderland. It fit in perfectly.

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Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey

11. August 2013 § Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Nothanger Abbey is a parody on gothic novels, a genre very popular in Jane Austen’s days. It was evident from the first page onward and all the whilst reading it was I wishing for having read more gothic novels, for I am sure a lot of humour and clever hints went by me unnoticed.

Catherine is the imperfect heroine of this novel who doesn’t stand out either by looks nor by talent. One day she is allowed to accompany friends of the family to Bath, a place full of joyful occupations such as balls, plays and the delight of meeting old friends or finding new acquaintances. This exactly happens to Catherine who after a week or so befriends Isabella, a very obviously vain and flirtatious girl. However, Catherine does not see through Isabella’s empty talk and thinks herself lucky finding a true friend. As the story proceeds our heroine meets with her new friends brother John, who is as boastful as his sister but contrary to her can not win Catharine’s sympathy, as well as the Tilney-siblings. Henry and Eleanore Tilney are both very agreeable and it very predictably becomes clear who’s affection towards Catherine is to be trusted.

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Challenge accepted: Bout of Books read-a-thon

1. August 2013 § Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Summer is the perfect time to get into some reading challenges. I already have participated in a Bout of books read-a-thon this year despite being busy with work and school. Still I cleared all the goals I had set for myself, which means this time I’m going to aim even higher.

time devoted to reading: I’m planning on reading the whole week (from August 19th to August 25th), each day for a couple of hours.
my goals: I want to read at least four books and listen to one audio poem collection. My library has a huge collection of poetry-CDs, often even read by the author himself/herself, and I always tell myself I ought to listen to them all. So this is the perfect opportunity to go ahead and try. As for languages I’m going to read at least one book in English – maybe even all of them, depends on the books I’m going to be interested in two weeks from now. Poetry will probably be in German.

books to read: I don’t want to specify which books I’ll be reading yet. Last time I didn’t stay true to my list anyway.

EXTRA: I’m a fan of social media, but haven’t gotten into Twitter so much. It seems it is a big thing in the English-speaking areas but I haven’t found anything too thrilling in German so far. So, in order to lose my suspicions I’m challenging myself to at least tweet once a day. Maybe I’ll be able to find some new interesting blogs this way as well. That’d be totally awesome.

Douglas Coupland: Player One [Review]

25. Juli 2013 § Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

I read this one in English, might as well review it in English.

Player One is an apocalyptic novel. Five strangers coincidentely meet at an airport bar. Karen, who very much evokes images of an average mother in my head. She dresses sophisticatedly, has a 15 years old daughter, is divorced and lonely. She traveld across the American continent just to meet up with Warren, who she got to know in some dubious chat room online. Warren is described as looking like a repeat-sex-offender. He walks into the bar, immediately places his hands on Karens tights and insists on calling her „Sunshine“ all the time, giving me the notion he simply forgot her name. On the other side of the bar there is Luke. Luke is a former priest, who just this morning lost his faith, stole all of the Church’s money he had served for and escaped to this godforsaken place. Behind the bar works Rick, who has been dry for the last fourteen months and is about to be hoaxed by some fake TV-life couch. Rick is excitedly looking forward to this. Across the room sits Rachel, who tries to get the bars computer to work and has some mild autism symptoms. She overheard her father doubting her being a human being; so she came to this bar to prove him wrong by the only way she can think of. By reproducing. And lastly, there is Player One, who is introduced as a ghost of a machine or Rachels avatar in Second Life. At the end of each chapter it gives an outlook onto the next chapter, therefore predicting the future of every person in the room.

All of this people are confined together when suddenly the oil prices explode. Power and water supplies stop, there are some explosions heard not too far away and people going crackers. It’s anarchy right away.

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Lets get started: Language Freak Summer Challenge

28. Juni 2013 § 4 Kommentare

Nikolai Gogol: Nos. Stuttgart: Reclam Verlag, 2011

Nikolai Gogol: Nos. Stuttgart: Reclam Verlag, 2011

Today I completed all the stressful tasks I had to do until the end of June, which means I’m finally free to officially enter the Language Freak Summer Challenge.

In celebration of that I got myself two essential items to get started – so consider this a little haul.

First I got myself an edition of Gogols „Нос“ (The Nose), which I conveniently already have in German on my bookshelf. As you can see, this special edition comes with a little list of translated vocabs at the bottom. They even explain grammar or unusual vocabs. For example Gogol uses „Кофии“ for coffee, which Russians nowadays would call „кофе“. Now this is awefully convenient. Still, I needed 10 minutes to read this page alone. I’m really not used to reading Russian and this is pretty much the original text. And even though I really needed a long time to understand every single word, I did it without a dictionary. I’m really looking forward to read through this.


Next I went to the library. The awesome thing about our public libraries is, that they don’t only have books, but DVDs and CDs as well in their stock. All kinds of DVDs. Even in Russian. So I got my hands on „Kukushka“, an award winning movie about “the language of love” by Sergej Eisenstein. It’s in Russian and comes with German and French subtitles. Naturally I’ll try watching it without subs and then watch it again with the German subs enabled.

So, this is what I’ve been up to. Thought that I should let you know 🙂

Let the games begin!

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