Hoping to get to know you better, to make my to-read list even longer and maybe even to practice written Welsh:)
What are you reading now? (Beth ydych chi’n darllen nawr?)
Your favourite Welsh book - in Welsh or in English? (Beth yw’ch hoff lyfr Cymraeg - yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg?) By Welsh I mean books by Welsh authors:)
And to start the thread - this week, I’m reading “The Celtic twilight” by W.B.Yeats in Russian. The Irish folktales were what first made me fall in love with the Celtic culture - but it’s the first time I’m reading this particular book (though Yeats is, probably, my favourite foreign poet). And it’s really, really excellent. There’s everything in it - the wisdom of the ancient tales, and humour, and this sadness about the changing world that is so characteristic of Yeats’ best poems. It’s his “Under the moon” - in prose.
I’m also reading a book about Hedd Wyn in Welsh - “Diffodd y ser - Hanes Hedd Wyn”. It’s a fictional biography, told through the eyes of the poet’s little sister. I’ve been reading since January and I’m not even halfway through it (sometimes I have to look up every second word on the page and the unfamiliar spellings make me cry) - but I’m determined to read it, and then maybe to reread it again. I also want to get a book of his poems - they’re incredibly beautiful.
Shmae @seren-Stellafach!! Just to show I found your new thread and thank you!!
I realise I may not be as atypical as I thought, ie.someone who has returned to re-learning Cymraeg having been taught by methods involving reading!! It is frustrating to have a fairly wide vocabulary which I have forgotten how to spell and poor facility for actually chatting!! I have books which I can no longer read easily, even ones for kids, like the story of the pink dragon!!
Having just acquired Y Mabinogion in Cymraeg, I shall try to find time to do more than admire the cover!!
Oh, what is it called? I like dragons:)
There was a wonderful Russian film last year, “Он - дракон” (He’s a dragon), set in a stylized medieval Slavic country, about a princess who gets kidnapped by a dragon on her wedding day - and falls in love with him. Hardd iawn! And shows that the Russians can make good films too))
I can only read it in Russian at the moment:) Or admire the beautiful illustration by Alan Lee.
My son gave me that book about Hedd Wyn for Christmas the year before last. It is a good read, but I think the unfamiliarity of a lot of the words is to do with their being dialect of the area, so don’t despair!
I’ve just posted this interesting article on another thread:
And I’ve just been to visit our new Welsh-language centre here in Cardiff (the Hen Lyfrgell), which has a small-but-perfectly-formed selection of books for sale. I struck up a very interesting conversation with another shopper at the book stand, who was recommending all sorts to me.
I’ve slightly over-extended at the moment (I’m usually a more-than-one-book-at-a-time person, but under some kind of reasonable control). Right now, I’ve got bookmarks in Norman Doidge’s ‘The Brain’s Way of Healing’, Adam Grant’s ‘Originals’, Jerry Hunter’s ‘Ebargofiant’, the Bible, the Koran, the last book of Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ series, and ‘War and Peace’.
Probably need to get a few of them finished and not start anything new for a while…
Favourite Welsh book: ‘O! Tyn y Gorchudd’ by Angharad Price (with ‘Blasu’ by Manon Steffan Ros and ‘Y Gongol Felys’ by Meinir Pierce Jones hot on its heels). Also very fond of ‘Draw Dros y Tonnau Bach’ by Alun Jones and ‘O law i law’ by T. Rowland Hughes.
I’m reading “Llanw” by Manon Steffan Ros at the moment but have been at that one for a while now, I keep putting it down to read magazines and short stories. My favourite book in Welsh happens to be by MSR also, “Blasu”. I’ve also read “the Seasoning” which is the English version and is also very good but without the sense of achievement I get from finishing a book in Welsh.
Maybe I should explain why reading Llanw has taken so long, I keep it in work so only read it when I get a quiet hour on a night shift. That type of reading is much more suited to magazines and shorter, easier books but we must persevere.
I’ve just started another “Stori Sydyn” book last night, “brân i bob brân” by Rowan Coleman. I’ve read a lot of these books over the last 2 years our so, they are short, cheap and usually easy to read being written mainly for the younger reader. They’ve really helped a lot and have sometimes been a very good read, “Hunllef” (Manon Steffan Ros) and “Bryn y Crogwr” (Bethan Gwanas) being two of my favourites, with the latter being just £1! Bargain.
I’m reading two very different books at the moment - ‘O Ran’ by Mererid Hopwood and ‘Trysor y mor ladron’ by T Llew Jones.
‘O Ran’ is a contemporary story set in the context of a young woman’s train journey from London back to Wales. I’m only half way through, but during the journey she is reading tributes to her father, a well known musician, who brought her up single handedly in Cardiff. So far, she is mostly reflecting on her early childhood in Cardiff. It’s not too hard to read as most of it is describing day to day life in day to day language,which is enjoyable enough, although I’m wondering what she’s going to make of it in the second half.
‘Trysor y mor ladron’ is a swashbuckling adventure story aimed at older children, about a young boy who gets caught up with a famous pirate / Pembrokeshire land owner who is sailing back to Panama to search for his hidden treasure… I chose it because I noticed by chance that it’s set in the same decade (1670s) as the last book I read, ‘Y Stafell Ddirgel’ by Marion Eames, so is an interesting contrast! (That one is a bit harder, and is about the rather serious subject of the persecution of the early Quakers in Ceredigion. But it’s a good read and well worth the effort if you like that sort of thing.)
Thank you everyone who’s participating - I’ve written down all the books you are mentioning. A to-read list can’t be too long:)
I have heard from a lot of people that this is their favourite book, so I’m very-very interested in reading. Can you tell me what it’s about, roughly and what made you like it? There’s amazon, of course, but it’s so much more interesting to get a recommendation from someone you know!
I love Blasu so much … it made me cry more than once. It’s the life story of Pegi, which starts at her 80th birthday but then zooms back to her childhood and moves chronologically. But what MSR does that is so clever is that each chapter is narrated by a different character about Pegi - we form our impression of her character, motivations, feelings by a kaleidoscope of different views of her. We also build up knowledge of the cast of characters around her in the village. Each chapter also begins with a recipe, and that dish then crops up somewhere in the chapter - often incidentally. Food is a theme that runs throughout, not just in the recipes but in the characters’ lives. It’s an extraordinary construction (and quite a feat to pull off), but by the end of the book you really feel that you know Pegi intimately. But of course, you don’t - there is a twist.
I have recommended this book to just about everyone I know, short of stopping people in the street (and I’ve been tempted…) I was so pleased to see it come out in English so that I could buy it for my mother. And I recommended it to the tutor of a structural editing workshop that I went to at my last editors’ conference - I hope she’s managed to get hold of it!
I wanted to tell you all about, not my favourite book, but my favourite bookshop!! Some time back, I ordered something from Amazon and it turned out to come from this shop. Then Amazon let me down over an order and I e-mailed this shop to see if they had the book!! The owner was really helpful and sent it straight away!!
I, at first, was a bit wary of the shop, for no good reason! It just happened to be in the town where a parcel force van ran into the car behind me and he ran into me. It was years back, but very inconvenient at the time, because my boot-catch suddenly failed as I was about to go onto the motorway!!
The town is Ammanford and the shop is College Street Books.
The owner is Tim Savage and the e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Postal address: 15 College Street, Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, SA18 3AB. Wales
Problems: He can’t do credit card sales by post. He takes cheques, which few shops do now!! BUT I doubt he’d be able to sort out payment from Seren or Tatjana!! If you want a book, e-mail and he’ll tell you if he has it. He will search for out-of-print.
p.s. @aran If I shouldn’t advertise, please remove this!!
However, @Seren and @Tatjana, Ammanford (Rhydaman) is only a few miles from me and I can collect, pay, forward, etc, on your behalf. I was there (not in the bookshop, but in the swimming pool) this very morning.
I’m doing various things at once (or trying to) which I might talk about later, but I recently finished “Si Hei Lwli/Twilight Song” by Angharad Tomos, translated by Elin Ap Hywel, a parallel text in Gomer’s “Trosiadau/Translations” series. This was one I had put aside as too difficult 2 years ago. (even with the English there, although the lines were not well aligned which didn’t help).
Two years on, and knowing a bit more vocabulary, and having become acquainted with at least some of the forms only (or mostly) used in writing, it seemed more approachable. It started well, but got more difficult, as some of it is written in what I can only call a surrealistic style. However, I got through it, and although I was afraid it was going to be depressing, it has an uplifting end.
I’m just starting another in this series: “Y Lôn Wen / The White Lane” by Kate Roberts, translated by Gillian Clarke. I believe this is quite famous and regarded as a classic of its kind. It looks easy to begin with with short paragraphs as she describes her early life. But it looks as though it gets a bit more difficult later on. Also it’s longer (302 pages, i.e. 151 pages of Welsh).
There are a few other books in that series, and as mentioned elsewhere I’ve found other parallel texts on Gwales and Gomer websites. I’ll probably get some more of those in due course.
Unfortunately, what there doesn’t seem to be in parallel text form is popular/light fiction, e.g. detective fiction, which would be a bit easier for the beginner reader, and also have that “page turner” appeal.
Blasu was one of my first ‘grown-up’ books - thoroughly recommended, as Sara says.
I read it with the help of the website bliubliu.com. You can pay a fairly nominal subscription to be able to upload an ebook (a slightly roundabout process) and then be able to click on words for an instant translation. It’s also mobile compatible so I would read on my phone or tablet. I think there are various other websites that do this too, these days. It’s a good bridge, nice not to have to keep stopping to look up words.
Thank you, @margaretnock! That is so very kind of you, just today I was looking sadly at the amazon page with Welsh books, thinking about all these wonderful books I can’t buy!
I was wondering if there might be some fans of poetry here? I like it very much, but I’m afraid that my knowledge of the Welsh poetry stops somewhere in the Middle Ages. I only know Hedd Wyn because my speaking partner mentioned him and told me to watch the film about him. Who are the best (your favourite) poets of the 20th-21st century?