Notes from Spain and Spanish Forum Learn REAL Spanish now!  

Go Back   Notes from Spain and Spanish Forum > Spanish Forum > Learning Spanish

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 9th December 2009, 01:54 PM   #1
Londoner_at_heart
Madrileña mediterránea
 
Londoner_at_heart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Madrid
Posts: 131
Default Learning Spanish by reading literature in Spanish

Dear all,

following Ben's last entry in his blog, I thought I'd start a thread about books in Spanish for those of you who enjoy reading and might like the idea of learning Spanish this way.

I'm suggesting this because I learnt a lot of English by reading books WITHOUT using a dictionary, guessing the meaning of words from the context -which I found much more efficient and lasting than looking up the equivalent word in Spanish. For two reasons, a) there isn't always an exact equivalent and you end up missing out on subtle differences, and b) for the brain it is really easy to forget the foreign word if you give it a familiar one instead (economy of effort). At the beginning it feels exhausting, but at some point it just clicks and your brain stops trying to translate and just graps the abstract ideas and meanings. Pretty much the way one learns one's mother tongue.

If you love reading in your own language, you will love reading in Spanish too! Plus, you'll get a sense of accomplishment and will be able to enjoy Spanish and Latin American literature in its original version. And there's plenty to discover! Also, we can then comment them here (in Spanish, of course) and share recommendations.

I'm struggling to come up with great suggestions for each level, maybe Ben and Marina and other foreros can give me a hand. Here's my first, clumsy attemp:

BEGINNERS
This is a tricky one. Because I don't really believe in Easy Readers, nothing like the original, but maybe for beginners it is the best option. Otherwise I would go for children's literature if you like that kind of content -but you have to enjoy it because otherwise you'll lose interest fast. I recommend Gloria Fuertes, there are lots of short stories and poems' collections available. Not much in Amazon, though...

INTERMEDIATE:
El príncipe destronado, de Miguel Delibes

ADVANCED:
La familia de Pascual Duarte, de Camilo José Cela

I've included links to Amazon for those of you who live outside of Spain, but those are pretty famous novels and I'm sure they are easy enough to find pretty much everywhere.

Looking forward to your comments

Last edited by Londoner_at_heart; 9th December 2009 at 05:58 PM. Reason: misspelling
Londoner_at_heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th December 2009, 04:50 PM   #2
richardksa
Jedi Forero
 
richardksa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Madrid
Posts: 1,848
Default

I couldn't agree more with LAH. Reading in Spanish really does wonders for both understanding and vocabulary building. I also agree with her about "Easy Readers". You kight just as well get stuck in. However, while learning, Cervantes is not for you. I found my best level with children's books for 9 to 13 year olds - and especially the "Pequeño Nicolas" series (they have been traslated from theur original French) which not only gives you a good starting level, but are incrediably funny.
I was given a tip when I first started reading which was, as LAH suggests, to read three books straight through without using a dictionary. With the many similarities between English and Spanish it is amazing how much it is possible to understand - and how much sticks in the head.
richardksa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th December 2009, 06:06 PM   #3
Londoner_at_heart
Madrileña mediterránea
 
Londoner_at_heart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Madrid
Posts: 131
Default

Richardksa reminded me of a very funny book for children: Manolito Gafotas by Elvira Lindo. Not only funny, also very very Spanish. In fact very Madrileño. Not sure about the level, though, I read it ages ago... It was also made into a movie for those of you who prefer moving pictures to good old ink
Londoner_at_heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th December 2009, 08:47 PM   #4
La Podenquera
Podenco loca
 
La Podenquera's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: En las afueras de Estocolmo
Posts: 57
Default

Para los principiantes recomendo los libros "El misterio de la llave" de Elena Moreno.
- En el viejo Toledo han aparecido los restos de una sinagoga del siglo XII. Allí han encontrado copas de oro, monedas antiguas y una llave con misteriosas inscripciones en árabe y hebreo. Dos hombres, un arqueólogo y un escritor, se preguntan qué puerta abre la extraña llave. ¿Conduce, como sueñan todos, a algún maravilloso tesoro?

Y "Soñar un crimen" de Rosanna Acquaroni Muñoz.
- Desde que, de vacaciones de Marbella, vio a esa mujer por primera vez. Carlos vive como en un sueño. ¿Quién es ella? ¿Por qué lo busca? ¿Qué quiere de el? Su vestido gris y su pelo rubio le recuerdan a alguien. ¿Pero a quién? No lo sabe, pero siente que la vida se la va de las manos. Se ha perdido en el bosque de sus sueños y no puede salir.

Para los avancados recomendo, "Los hombres que no amaban los mujeres" de Stig Larsson.
- Harriet Vanger desapareció hace treinta y seis años en una isla sueca propiedad de su poderosa familia. A pesar del despligue policial, no se encontro ni rastro de la muchacha. ¿Se escapo? ¿Fue secuestrada? ¿Asesinada? El caso está cerrado y los detalles olvidados. Pero su tío Henrik Vanger, un empresario retirado, vive obsesionado con resolver el misterio antes de morir.....

En esta pagina de web podeís leer cuentos infantiles como "La niña de los fosfores" de H.C Anderssen.
- ¡Qué frío tan atroz! Caía la nieve, y la noche se venía encima. Era el día de Nochebuena. En medio del frío y de la oscuridad, una pobre niña pasó por la calle con la cabeza y los pies desnuditos.

http://www.cuentosparachicos.com/ESP...naFosforos.htm
La Podenquera is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th December 2009, 12:44 AM   #5
daveyboy
Super Forero
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: madrid
Posts: 108
Default Reading

Hey guys, recently i have started reading from spanish books for at least an hour a day, at first i just read the books quietly to my self, they got more easy to read after a while but then i thought it would be better to read the books out loud.. haha.. it was twice as hard to do..!! reading and pronouncing at the same was so so hard for me to do.. but after 3 to 4 days reading out loud it started to get more easy and my pronounciation started getting better and better, i still make loads of mistakes with the words but i just go over them again and again.! I dont really understand what i am reading at the moment but every now and again i think yeah i understood that verse or section. I dont use a dicionary i just read and read but little by little the words [ in context ] are becoming more understandable. So i have a question for you guys: Does reading in spanish help you construct the sentences better when your talking in spanish in a conversation..? do the construction of the phrases/sentences in the book eventually transfer in to the mind for talking good spanish later..? What do you guys think..? any advice would be great..!!!

muchas gracias..

Last edited by daveyboy; 10th December 2009 at 12:48 AM. Reason: errors
daveyboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th December 2009, 06:52 AM   #6
greytop
Hero Forero
 
greytop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Pego, Spain
Posts: 3,363
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveyboy View Post
...... So i have a question for you guys: Does reading in spanish help you construct the sentences better when your talking in spanish in a conversation..? do the construction of the phrases/sentences in the book eventually transfer in to the mind for talking good spanish later..? What do you guys think..? any advice would be great..!!!

muchas gracias..
You'll certainly begin to think "that doesn't sound right" when you come across a phrase in the forum. Next step is to think the same in Spanish
greytop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th December 2009, 10:37 AM   #7
richardksa
Jedi Forero
 
richardksa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Madrid
Posts: 1,848
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveyboy View Post
So i have a question for you guys: Does reading in spanish help you construct the sentences better when your talking in spanish in a conversation..? do the construction of the phrases/sentences in the book eventually transfer in to the mind for talking good spanish later..? What do you guys think..? any advice would be great..!!!

muchas gracias..
For me - not so much. As I wrote a couple of posts ago, it's great for greater understanding and vocab, but I find the best way to get syntax is to write out a phrase I am interested in using. I write it half a dozen times trying not to copy, but to do it from memory. I do it on the computer, scrolling down each time to hide the phrase, so I am forced to try and remember. Making yourself remember is key. Then, (Hopefully) it sticks.
richardksa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd January 2010, 01:32 PM   #8
JohnlearningSpanish
Forero
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 6
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveyboy View Post
Hey guys, recently i have started reading from spanish books for at least an hour a day, at first i just read the books quietly to my self, they got more easy to read after a while but then i thought it would be better to read the books out loud.. haha.. it was twice as hard to do..!! reading and pronouncing at the same was so so hard for me to do.. but after 3 to 4 days reading out loud it started to get more easy and my pronounciation started getting better and better, i still make loads of mistakes with the words but i just go over them again and again.! I dont really understand what i am reading at the moment but every now and again i think yeah i understood that verse or section. I dont use a dicionary i just read and read but little by little the words [ in context ] are becoming more understandable. So i have a question for you guys: Does reading in spanish help you construct the sentences better when your talking in spanish in a conversation..? do the construction of the phrases/sentences in the book eventually transfer in to the mind for talking good spanish later..? What do you guys think..? any advice would be great..!!!

muchas gracias..
I agree with everything you said. It is alot harder to read outloud. When i read out loud i am not concrentrating on what the words or frases mean just trying to say it right.

As for sentencing im not really sure. It could help you to order the sentancing properly, but for me i usually tend to say the things translated perfectly from english which doesn't really make sense.

So wether or not you can get better it certainly won't hurt.
JohnlearningSpanish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th December 2009, 04:17 AM   #9
tobyo
Forero Senior
 
tobyo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Roseville, MN, USA
Posts: 89
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Londoner_at_heart View Post
Richardksa reminded me of a very funny book for children: Manolito Gafotas by Elvira Lindo. Not only funny, also very very Spanish. In fact very Madrileño. Not sure about the level, though, I read it ages ago... It was also made into a movie for those of you who prefer moving pictures to good old ink
oooo! I think I will have to get that one!

thanks for this thread too, I agree wholeheartedly. I am adding some of these books to my amazon list. whee!!
tobyo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th December 2009, 09:43 PM   #10
j7david
Forero
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Chester, UK
Posts: 7
Default

I've been studying Spanish for a year now and read my first book in Spanish a week ago - El Alquimista (by Paolo Coelho). I'd recommend it to anyone else who's at my kind of level - I had to look up about 10 words but the rest are figure-out-able from context; it doesn't take long to read and is a nice story (IMHO). I know it's translated but I'd guess that Portuguese-Spanish translations lose less character than English-Spanish translations.

I'm just getting into La Sombra Del Viento (Carlos Ruíz Zafon) as my second ever book in Spanish and enjoying it (two chapters are available free online - Google it - to see if you like it before buying).

It'll be interesting to hear other people's suggestions.

Jonathan.
j7david is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th December 2009, 01:42 PM   #11
markh
Novato
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1
Default

I'm really interested in this as a method myself, but I'm never sure how well it works (so I'm heartened to read londoner_at_heart's comments that it helped with English!). I do feel it's improving my 'ear' for Spanish which is no bad thing.

Getting hold of genuine spanish literature isn't as easy as it should be! The books in shops here are often straight versions of Cervantes/García Márquez/etc - which I do want to read, but I'm definitely not ready for yet!

I've found the 'easy reader' style books variable ; I prefer those where I can't easily read the English version and they're on separate pages or something, otherwise it's too easy to cheat! I think these can work really well for pure beginners. In the UK there are some bilingual short story collections from Penguin/etc, but I often found them fairly advanced and really not that fun to read.

The BBC Mundo news site has loads of new articles and is updated quite frequently, I use that a lot. Finally, there's children's books (!) - which are surprisingly demanding, but I figure I'm seeing a lot of expressions I hadn't met before.
markh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th December 2009, 05:18 AM   #12
xan
Super Forero
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 163
Default

I can recommend Carlos Ruíz Zafon´s novel La Sombra del Viento, as a good read. A bestseller in many languages, they tell me.

Arturo Pérez Reverte has also published many novels, most of which are interesting and entertaining. I do not wade into the debate about whether he is
overrated as a novelist; I really don't care, since the whole point is to find stuff written in Spanish which one can read with pleasure and interest. Pérez Reverte passes that test.
xan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st December 2009, 04:42 PM   #13
Jane Wylen
Forero
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Posts: 6
Default How to use literature to learn Spanish (and French)

Several years ago, I started reading French literature to learn French. Phew! It took perseverance and patience, but it worked. My technique was to underline every word I did not know, and look it up in a French-to-French dictionary.

At first I had to look up gobs of words. Now there are always words I do not know, but I can figure out their meaning from the context.

Obviously the same method can be used with Spanish. Therefore, I appreciate the suggestions posted by the creator of this thread. I have also found books by Isabel Allende easier reading than other Spanish books I have picked up.

Another tip: You can download classical French literature from Scribd. I assume you can do the same with Spanish literature.
Jane Wylen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th March 2010, 12:19 PM   #14
thatguy71
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 10
Default Beginners books

Hola,

As a beginner I really like to read Spanish but understand little of the newspapers and many books.
Do you know of any kids books, like learn to read ones that maybe Spanish speaking kids use in school. Find the ones with pictures pretty good and simple sentences help alot.
Just good for a starting point for us new speakers
thatguy71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th March 2010, 09:55 PM   #15
sammybump
Forero
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Kent
Posts: 17
Default

Hi Londoner,

I would like to join in if I can get hold of the book. I've just looked on Amazon and it is £24.95 There is an Easy Reader version for less but I don't know if the text will have been changed and simplified for that version.

If anyone knows where to get it for less I'd be most grateful.

Sam
sammybump is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th March 2010, 02:50 PM   #16
Grimace
Big and Purple
 
Grimace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Madriz
Posts: 159
Default

It may be possible to search for the book in question on this site if you really want a free copy.
Grimace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th March 2010, 01:58 PM   #17
Londoner_at_heart
Madrileña mediterránea
 
Londoner_at_heart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Madrid
Posts: 131
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sammybump View Post
Hi Londoner,

I would like to join in if I can get hold of the book. I've just looked on Amazon and it is £24.95 There is an Easy Reader version for less but I don't know if the text will have been changed and simplified for that version.

If anyone knows where to get it for less I'd be most grateful.

Sam
Hi Sam,

when I last looked I'm pretty sure it was cheaper! However, there's still the 12.99 option: http://www.amazon.co.uk/El-Principe-...8567703&sr=8-4

Or try the site suggested by Grimace. I don't personally like Easy Readers but it's just my personal opinion...

Best of luck with the search, keep us posted.
Londoner_at_heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th March 2010, 03:22 PM   #18
chrislow
Forero
 
chrislow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 8
Default

When i started to learn Spanish i bought "Spanish verb tenses" by Dorothy Devney Richard this is a brilliant book i would highly recommend it for beginners and intermediate. You can get it on Amazon pretty cheap. You will find lots of great reviews on there to
chrislow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th March 2010, 05:24 PM   #19
greytop
Hero Forero
 
greytop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Pego, Spain
Posts: 3,363
Default

This article in Las Provincias today caught my eye. It pays homage to a gentleman called Miguel Delibes who was a Castillian with a 50 year ouput of literature until he died on 12th March.
Sounds like his work may suit some of us who struggle with the more flowery writers.
Further obituary from El Pais
greytop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th March 2010, 09:56 PM   #20
sammybump
Forero
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Kent
Posts: 17
Default

I didn't see that option before, but I have just been able to reserve a copy from my library - for the hefty charge of 25p! So looks like I will be able to join you
sammybump is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks
Learn REAL Spanish now!

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 02:30 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.