Sunday, August 3, 2008

Reading in Espanol

And now on a completely different topic, because I have little to add about the previous one, I want to admit that I'm a wuss. Yes, it's true!

The other day I read this post by Brian over at The Cheek of God. In it, he highly recommends a book that I've been avoiding, "The Last Lecture." I've been avoiding it, because the two seconds I took to look at it in the bookstore made me think it was just another trite rip off of the American reading public. I'm just being honest. But when someone whose taste I admire comes up with a recommendation (he said, "Run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore and pick up The Last Lecture"), well, I had to do it!

The problem is that I think everyone else in the world also read Brian's blog and went to the bookstore to buy it. It is on the bestseller list, incidentally. The only two copies left were in Spanish. I had to laugh. Though I took 1.5 semesters of Spanish in college, I'm not fluent by any stretch. I just walked away and sat down to have a coffee with my son.

"So buy it anyway," he said.
"But my Spanish is lousy."
"All the more reason to buy it! A book that might actually slow you down! Wow!"
"Oh, you're funny. No, I'm not spending twenty-plus dollars on a book that will frustrate me as I look up words in my Spanish dictionary."
"It will be good for you," he countered.

He brought the book over from the rack, and I made it through half of page one before needing to look something up. The rest of it would have been simply too daunting. So yes, I'm a wuss. My son dubbed me thus. If I were a great, thinking person, I would have jumped at the opportunity. Don't people all over the world have several languages under their belts? Shouldn't I?

The answer, of course, is yes, but I wimped out. Maybe I'll start with something easier, like the children's section. "Donde esta el perro? El perro es en la casa!"


Peace - D


Akelamalu said...

There's challenges and CHALLENGES - that would have been a CHALLENGE!

I don't blame you waiting for a copy of the English version. :)

Daryl said...

I cant imagine trying to read something as emotional as that in a language you have very little comprehension of .. wait for the English version and make sure you have a box of tissues close by


Max-e said...

Hi, thanks for the visits and the comments.
I don't think that you are being a wuss. We have 11 official languages in this country and I speak two of them. I have read two Afrikaans books in the past 30 years and thugh I enjoyed them, prefer reading in English

Jo said...

You must, must, must get the book when I comes out in English. You can also go onto YouTube and watch The Last Lecture. I was gobsmacked when I first saw it. How many of us go through life with so many blessings, and still we are not happy? I know someone like that, unfortunately. Randy Pausch teaches people how to be happy, even in the face of a terminal illness. That is truly a gift.

Jo said...

I meant when "it" comes out in English. But you know that... :-)

Typo, typo, typo...

Jay said...

Here's a tip - if you want to start reading in Spanish, pick up a kids' book. I have just enough French to make it through Asterix in French, and even then I have to look some things up - but that's the level at which it is good for you. You have the fun of being able to pretty much read the text, plus the fun of being able to say 'I read that in a foreign language!'

But to try to get the meaning out of a lengthy (and by the sound of it) emotionally charged book by reading it for the first time in Spanish would be more than a challenge, it would rob you of the experience of reading that book, in any real sense. Just my opinion.

I'll look out for it over here. Sounds as if it might be a similar type of book to the Diving Bell and the Butterfly, in a way.

tysdaddy said...

I thought I left a comment here the other day, but it's all hazy now.

As you know, I'm in the final semesters of my college education. I need to take my second year of Spanish, but have been putting it off. It's been four years since year one, so I have much refreshing to do.

One book I love is Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street. I have it in English and Spanish. I read them side by side. Difficult, but fascinating.

You'll no doubt find an English version soon . . .

Kate said...

Hola!!!! I like a challenge - just passed my 4th year Spanish at the tender age of 54 and already booked for the next class!! used to do a lot of translating books but because of the verb changes and different tenses its almost impossible!

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Forget Spanish! Go with Swedish woman! We'll even throw in a private lesson or two.

RiverPoet said...

So many great recommendations! Maybe I'll get some children's books in several languages and go from there.

And NATUI? Ja! That's all I know :-)

Peace - D