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The SSiW Welsh Book Club 📖 📚 👓


And another review courtesy of @Cetra! Thank you!

Lwyth by Bethan Gwanas.

This is aimed at 11-14 year olds so was a nice easy read. Fantasy is my favourite genre so I really enjoyed the opportunity read some in Welsh. I’d say it’s definitely aimed at the younger end of the scale, so not a very complex story and the language was pretty straightforward.

If you happy reading at Canolradd level why not give it a go? There will be vocab to learn about swords and spears, but all very guessable if you’ve ever watched any fantasy on TV.


I am reading “Fel Aderyn” by Manon Steffan Ros. She is one of my favourite authors and this was her first book for adults.
It is the story of six generations of mothers and daughters who lived in Tywyn, told in brief interludes swapping between times and protagonists in a way that I found rather confusing at first. Luckily a family tree is provided at the front, and I made frequent use of it to check what was going on. These women have plenty of trouble. Nearing the end, I am hoping that the latest generation will have a better time, and I am wondering whether family secrets will be revealed, or whether they will go to the grave with the people who know them.
I am enjoying this book and understanding enough of it without going to the dictionary. I find the language quite straighforward, not too formal and not full of difficult dialect. I would recommend it for anyone who is venturing beyond books written for learners.


I was up much too late last night reading “Fel Aderyn”. Oh my, what a book! The complexity that bothered me at first proved to be essential. The story would not have been anything like as powerful if told chronologically.
I had forgotten that this book had already been reviewed by @gruntius back in January. Sorry! I would have mentioned it before if I had remembered. I agree that the chapters about the abusive marriage are difficult to read, but they are all too true. The incident is uncomfortably similar to the account of a coroner’s inquest that my daughter found when researching a family tree for her in-laws. She can never, never, tell them what she found because it is too painful and close to home. Some family secrets are perhaps better kept secret. Family History is my hobby, but you have to be careful of what you might find. Mina’s daughter had better take up other interests when she gets older and leave the family alone. As for DNA testing… I didn’t mind the loose ends in the book. Life is full of loose ends and I thought that they added to the poignancy. I am still reeling. I did not expect the last secret, through it was in plain sight all the time if I had looked.
Sue (again)


Tu ôl i’r Awyr - Megan Angharad Hunter

On the front cover it says … “Y nofel orau, fwyaf pwerus i mi ei darllen ers blynyddoedd. Mae’n ysgytwol” - Manon Steffan Ros.

And on the back (roughly translated) … “It’s more than a novel - it’s a completely new literary experience and it fills your head. Raw, warm, full of hard blows and soft touches, every page is an emotional experience.” - Manon Steffan Ros.

“Anest and Deian are in the 6th form when they meet, and both of their worlds change for ever.”

“A funny and heartbreaking novel that offers a shocking glance at young adult lives that hasn’t been seen in print in Welsh before.”

I think I’ll be feeling the effects of this book for some time to come. All the cliches are true for this one, a real page turner, I couldn’t put it down, etc, etc. I would rate this a solid 10, I’m not surprised it won Welsh Fictional Book of the Year this year, it’s incredible.

A surprisingly easy book to read as far as the language is concerned, but it does come with a warning on the cover that the content may cause distress to some readers.


Diffodd y Sêr by Haf Llewelyn

I had been procrastinating over reading this, because it tells the story the famous poet Hedd Wyn, and I knew his fate already. From the cover, I thought it might dwell on his experiences in the ditches, which was never going to be cheery reading.

However the book is actually told from the perspective of his thirteen year old sister, Anni, so was much easier to read emotionally than I was expecting. The war is the background to everything, but at the start she actually knows very little about it, probably less than we do now, and of course she is preoccupied by other topics, such as her friendships. All in all, I found it about as gentle as can be given the topic. I studied the English war poets for GCSE and this was a lot less brutal than that!

The book is fairly short at 120 pages, and I thought the language was pretty clear so it should be fairly accessible to someone who’s ready to move off books for learners. If you’ve read Efa, for example, you could read this.


Milionêrs - Marlyn Samuel

This book is now out of print and it took me a while to find what I really think might have been the last brand new copy of it available anywhere … with the help of Marlyn herself and a combined effort from several bookshops around Wales. :grinning:

This is the third novel by Marlyn Samuel I’ve read (after Cicio’r Bwced and Llwch yn yr Haul ) and I have to say that I’ve enjoyed each one equally.

This one is about Wendi, from Ynys Môn, who is like so many of us, scraping a living from day to day, waiting for the next payday to arrive. Then she wins £9.1m on the lottery and her and her family’s lives change … not all for the better.

Rough translation of the back cover blurb …
"Wow! Winning the Lottery. There’s an experience every one of us wishes to have. When a busy wife, mam and gran wins £9.1 million it appears that her problems are over. But, very soon, Wendi discovers that life isn’t necessarily all rosy despite her bank account being remarkably healthy.

The same as I wrote for Cicio’r Bwced and Llwch yn yr Haul … This is a grown-up’s book so not an easy read like those aimed at teenagers or learners but I wouldn’t say it was difficult either. Marlyn uses straightforward, simple language that’s very accessible so I wouldn’t think it would be impossible even for beginners and certainly ok for intermediate readers.


Peter Moore: Y Gwaethaf o’r Gwaethaf - Dyfed Edwards

Another book in the Stori Sydyn series, this time the telling of two of the most famous violent crime cases in Wales.

First, Peter Moore, who has been described as one of the most dangerous people to set foot in North Wales. He attacked tens of men between the 70s and the 90s, killing 4 of them.

Second is the case of Lynette White, a sex worker from Cardiff, who was murdered back in 1988. This became famous more for being one of the worst examples of maladministration of justice ever in the UK.

Given the nature of this book it won’t be to everyone’s taste but I found it really quite interesting. If true life crime is your thing then this has to be worth £1.99 of your hard-earned.

Stori Sydyn = suitable for all abilities.


Hi Cetra, after reading your recommendation for Eva I’ve just taken the plunge and order the book. I do love a good page turner. Diolch julie


Helo bawb!

I hope you’re all keeping well and enjoying your siwrne Gymraeg.

I wonder if you could help. My son loves y ddraig goch. Whenever he sees one he points at it and says draig goch and he roars. Does anyone know of a good children’s book, yn Gymraeg, with a draig goch as a character? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated :blush:

Diolch ymlaen llaw!



:heart_eyes:Enjoy Julie! If you like Efa, be sure to order the sequel quickly - its a real cliffhanger!! :slight_smile:


Just an encouragement to all you regular reviewers, I love this thread! I am working my way through the recommendations on here, I’d be lost without your ideas of what to read next😀


PM me your address Anthony, I’ll send you one. It’s not completely in Welsh but there is some in it.


Are you sure?? That’s lovely of you!


I thought that I would give “Peter Moore Y Gwaethaf o’r Gwaethaf” a try, although it is not my favourite kind of book, as it is in Stori Sydyn. I tried Gwales, but it was unavailable. Temptation took over at that stage, and I somehow find that I have 8 books coming in the post. This was meant to be a low-spend month so that I can pay the dentist, but never mind.
I am expecting
Meddyliau Eilir by Eilir Jones
Perygl yn Sbaen by Bob Eynon
Dal y fynd, Chwynnu, Cicio’r bar by Sioned Williams
Llechi by Manon Steffan Ros
Oes Heddwas?, Mynd fel bom by Myfanwy Alexander.
Most (all?) of these have been described above, so thank you.


Oes Heddwas is the first of 4 with Mynd fel Bom being the 4th. It’s not a series as such but you’ll see characters developing if you read the other two in between.


Here are three great books by Dewi Prysor: Brithyll = Trout (stolen), Madarch = Mushrooms (the magic kind) and Crawia = the kind of slate you see used to make fences (stolen, twice). They tell the hilarious adventures of a colourful crew of characters. Warning! :warning: The language in these books is bad, and the behaviour is worse, but there are scenes that will have you crying with laughter. :joy: You’ll likely learn some new vocab that you won’t find in SSiW, or any other course for that matter! :joy: All three books are lively, funny, and well worth a read!



Thank you, that’s useful info. It may be some time before I get round to reading them.




Cwcw - Marlyn Samuel

Marlyn is releasing her 5th book, 5 Diwrnod a Phriodas, this week so I wanted to read this first. This is her 3rd book and the 4th one that I’ve read. Confused?

Translated from the back cover …
“She’s your sister!”

“Half sister. I hardly know the girl! And I’m not keen to get to know her either, understand.”

Two sisters meet in their dad’s funeral. The two are so different to each other, it’s hard to believe that they’re half sisters. So will they grasp the chance to get to know each other, or will they remain strangers for the rest of their lives?

In my opinion another enjoyable read from Marlyn Samuel. I’m now very used to her writing style and her sense of humour makes these a great way to release the mind from serious every day issues that us adults have to endure. Lowri and Seren are the daughters of a recently deceased serial adulterer who, in the past, has done the dirty while married to the mothers of them both. They meet in their dad’s funeral but, due to their completely different backgrounds, don’t exactly hit it off at first. Lowri is a high earning attorney with a nice house and seemingly perfect life, Seren is a motorbike riding, leather wearing, straight-talking type of woman. But you can’t chose your family.

The same as I wrote for Cicio’r Bwced, Llwch yn yr Haul and Milionêrs… This is a grown-up’s book so not an easy read like those aimed at teenagers or learners but I wouldn’t say it was difficult either. Marlyn uses straightforward, simple language that’s very accessible so I wouldn’t think it would be impossible even for beginners and certainly ok for intermediate readers.


I’m delighted to say I’ve finished Y Stafell Ddirgel gan Marion Eames. Delighted because it’s over…

It’s rare for me not to recommend a book, but honestly, I think this one will work for a pretty select audience, specifically those interested in Quakerism and religious persecution in the seventeenth century.

The book tells the story of Rowland Ellis, a squire near Dolgellau who converts to Quakerism, which changes his life forever as his friends and family are persecuted for their beliefs.

Unfortunately for me it’s written in the vocab of the period so I was wading through Acts of Tolerance, the commonwealth, the Light within, bearing witness, taking oaths, seizure of property, suffering persecution, Papists / Baptists / Quakers / other sects, people being dauntless / presumptuous / meek / tranquil. And I just couldn’t get through all the vocab to enjoy the story.

I don’t think that it helped that it’s a mid twentieth century historical novel, as they’re really different in style to contemporary tastes. People are persecuted and bad things happen, but then you just move onto the next chapter, usually after Rowland admires somebody for their tranquility and faith in the face of such suffering. Maybe if I were reading it in English I’d find it intensely moving and appreciate his inner struggle and personal growth, but I’m not a good enough reader and I really just couldn’t get into it. Instead of relating to a universal story of faith, I was bogged down in trying to understand what was being said. I only finished it because I’m stubborn.

I feel a bit bad to be so negative about it as I know it’s a classic, but I recently heard an author comment they they had tried to make their recent book one people wanted to read, “not like Y Stafell Ddirgel”. So I don’t think I’m the only one to feel this way.

And on that note, I think that’s me done with the first language TGAU prose texts. Although I haven’t enjoyed every book, I’ve enjoyed the project as a whole. I was surprised how much they differed in complexity, from the extremely readable to this beast. My favourite is probably still I Ble’r Aeth Haul Y Bore by Eirug Wyn - that genuinely moved me. If you’re regularly reading books for native speakers in Welsh, don’t be afraid to give some of these a go. It’ll broaden your horizons and boost your confidence.

Now I’m off to read something fun…