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The SSiW Welsh Book Club 📖 📚 👓


Y Corff ar y Traeth - T Llew Jones

This is an old paperback I picked up in the Welsh Air Ambulance shop in Caernarfon. As such - published in 1970, price 5s - it’s probably a bit dated, but I found it a quick and thoroughly enjoyable read. It’s aimed at native-speaking adults, but I found the straightforward, plot-driven prose rather easier than some contemporary teenage fiction I’ve read (e.g. Lleucu Roberts’ series Yma, which I’m enjoying much more slowly, or Manon Steffan Ros’s Trwy’r Darlun, which I’ve just started). Even though it uses southern/West Walian colloquialisms and I’ve basically stuck to Northern, I finished it in two days flat, having looked up on average maybe one word a page, so I guess I’d peg it at fairly comfortable intermediate level.

It’s a bit of a pot-boiler, somewhere between Colin Dexter and Agatha Christie, with key revelations saved right till the end (no spoilers): a police sergeant on holiday with his wife discovers the chair of the local bench of magistrates dead and near-naked on the beach, and gets roped into the ensuing murder inquiry.

As a second-hand find, I don’t expect anyone else to come across a copy, but I might be up for lending it or swapping it at some point.


He narrowly escapes from a bomb, then flies to Geneva where he is kidnapped, tied in a sack and thrown in the lake. He is rescued by a speedboat. He then borrows a Ferrari 400 GTS and, pausing only to shout “peiriant otomatig V12, 4.8 litr o nerth, chwech carburedur, camshafft ddwbl, a’i gyflymdra dros saith ugain milltir yr awr” he chases after a villain into the Mont Blanc Tunnel.
James Bond? No, this is Marc Daniel.

@RichardBuck, would you fancy a swap/loan?


I’ll try to bring my (much less dramatic) offering along to Caffi Bap :slight_smile:


Great! I love Agatha Christie and Colin Dexter.


At our Welsh book group, we have just read:

Stryd y Bont is beginner level. I don’t think Manon Steffan Ros can write a bad book. Even though it’s only 36 pages, uses a very small vocabulary and is mainly in the simple present or past tense, the story, about a man who goes missing, is interesting, and there’s an unexpected twist at the end.

Gwers mewn cariad is by our very own Beca Brown! It’s rated intermediate, and most of the difficult words are translated at the bottom of each page. A few pages into the story, about a middle aged woman whose family take her for granted, I could feel my blood pressure rising, and it rose even further when the worm finally turned. I shall be sending my prescription bill to @beca-brown.

Technically, both these books are below the level I have reached in Welsh, and I am trying to read books not aimed at learners now. But it’s hard work. So, if you want to disappear into a book and read for sheer pleasure rather than homework, I recommend reading books below your current level of Welsh.


I find it really helpful to use Memrise to learn some of the Welsh vocabulary used in books that I’ve read and books that I’d like to read. Memrise doesn’t make it easy to find such courses/decks, so I’ve compiled a list of all the ones that I’m aware of.

Books for children/young adults
Harri Potter a Maen yr Athronydd by J K Rowling, Memrise Deck by @louis (This version is in alphabetical order)
Harri Potter a Maen yr Athronydd by J K Rowling, Memrise Deck by @steve_2 (This version is in page order but only covers the first 20 pages)
Charlie a’r Ffatri Siocled by Roald Dahl
Y Gwrachod by Roald Dahl
Mr Cadno Campus by Roald Dahl
Tân ar y Comin by T. Llew Jones, Memrise Deck by me
Pluen by Manon Steffan Ros, Memrise Deck by me

Books for learners
Modrybedd Afradlon by Mihangel Morgan, Memrise Deck by @netmouse
Bywyd Blodwen Jones by Bethan Gwanas (first 12 pages only)
Goreuon y Ganrif by Christine Jones (I think this Deck covers 4 of the 15 short stories which are in the book)

Books for adults
Hi Yw Fy Ffrind by Bethan Gwanas, Memrise Deck by me
Semtecs by Geraint Jones

Please let me know if I’ve missed any out, or if you’d like to be credited for one that I’ve listed.


I know there are some Llyfr Glas Nebo fans here so I just thought I’d let you all know that it has been shortlisted for the Welsh Language Fiction award category in this year’s ‘Llyfr Y Flwyddyn’ - :slight_smile:


Bwystfilod a Bwganod - Manon Steffan Ros

This was the 4th book written by MSR (Trwy’r Darlun, Trwy’r Tonnau a Fel Aderyn were the first 3) and one aimed at the 9-13 age bracket. (I can’t wait till my Welsh is good enough to read a book aimed at 9 year olds without using a dictionary. :roll_eyes:) It centres around three teenagers, Hilda, Tom and Hywel, who get the day off school because of the appearance of monsters and ghosts and the like all around the world. They decide to go in search of one such creature that has appeared in their home town of Tywyn and end up going on a tour around Wales in search of more …

As you know from this thread I’m a fan of Manon’s work and very used to her writing style by now so it felt comfortable to read. This book is obviously aimed at young teenagers but I found it very absorbing and the depth of the story with a line of mystery throughout was enough to keep me interested right from beginning to end. A very entertaining and enjoyable read.

I would put this at an intermediate level but still very accessible to earlier readers keen to push themselves.


Thank you, @Malwen for the list of Memrise decks. I started “Hi Yw Fy Ffrind” a while ago but gave up. I shall try learning words from your deck and see if that helps. It will be an interesting experiment.


Sorry, I forgot I was going to add a book to this list, but now is perhaps the time:

Almost two years ago I was sitting in the Cymdeithas Yr Iaith campsite Ti-Pi on Ynys Mon at the National Eisteddfod. I was talking to a lady and she mentioned that she had written a book. I finally got around to reading it as it is for fluent readers book, with all the death and darkness I now expect in Cymraeg novels. Diolch Manon Steffan Ros!

It’s called ‘Oes Heddwas?’ by Myfanwy Alexander and set in a fictional national Eisteddfod, centered around a local detective who is investigating the deaths and drug abuse at the Eisteddfod [note fictional Eisteddfod, though it does really capture the essence of the Eisteddfod experience too!]. It’s really funny and basically a humorous take on the Eisteddfod.
It’s relatively easy to read, but not aimed at learners. There were bits I sailed through and read normally and then there were passages I got fairly lost in, but I enjoyed it all the way though. I am looking forward to returning to more learner orientated books for a bit before plunging back into my next full grown-ups book.


Gwyl Llen Maldwyn/Monty Lit Fest - 14-16 June 2019 - Gregynog Hall, Newtown, Powys, SY16 3PL. celebrating Authors in Wales and Welsh borders. Also children’s section.
Manon Steffan Ros and Myfanwy Alexander along with many other authors contributingMore info on


Okay, I am very simple. I am only on my second challenge - enjoying it. I do have Irish, which helps with some of the consonant mutations at the start of words, and there are odd words that are - not quite in common but recognisably similar and thus easy to remember. But I am very much a beginner.

What easy reader books can you recommend?


The magazine “Lingo Newydd” is the place to start. It’s a bi-monthly and caters for different levels from complete beginners to intermediate and a whole range of subjects.


Y Trioleg Melanai - Bethan Gwanas
Efa - Y Diffeithwch Du - Edenia

I’m trying to do all 3 books in this trilogy at once here because, after all, they are one story and follow directly on from the last.

The princess of Melania has to kill her mum, the queen, on her 16th birthday to take the crown. That’s how it’s been for thousands of years and ensures that a young, healthy and strong queen rules over the land. It works for the honey bee.

Efa, the princess in waiting, doesn’t think it’s right that she has to kill her mum so decides to run away and seek a new life with her closest and most faithful friends to a land called …

Y Diffeithwch Du which turns out to be a wild, unforgiving land where it seems like every animal wants to bite them, sting them, hurt them or eat them. It gets a bit blood thirsty on times but no-one said running away would be easy. They eventually find themselves, slightly worse for wear, in a place called …

Edenia, where society is different to what they’re used to. Friendships are tested as they adjust to new surroundings. And what is happening back in Melania?

I know these books, although it doesn’t state, are aimed at the younger market, and I’m nearly half a century now, but I really enjoyed all three as a whole. I read them in 12 days simply because I couldn’t resist ploughing on. If I was to be honest, maybe the ending came a bit sudden and lacked a really good finale and some of the moral lessons were a little forced but that’s me being really harsh. A very, very good story. If you like fantasy adventure this is for you. It’s based in the future but with a middle ages feel … horses, bows and arrows, queens and princesses, etc.

The reading level is probably intermediate at least with these, but not impossible for beginners with a dictionary to hand.


Mis yr Ŷd - Manon Steffan Ros

Here’s a moral story about acceptance in our society which starts off with group of travellers arriving in a small seaside community. This is written from a first person point of view and follows Tom as he befriends one of the traveller kids and comes to learn more about how they live and how easily people’s opinions of others are swayed by rumours and reputations.

A very well written book (as we’ve come to expect from MSR) of only 91 pages that is aimed at 12-14 year olds. I’d put this in the late beginner bracket so one for almost everyone.



“Oswald”, by Lleucu Roberts, is another book in the Stori Sydyn series, costing only £1. Oswald had a job writing obituaries for a local newspaper, but he lost his job after he wrote an obituary of his mother’s boy-friend, who was still alive. Many years later, and ten years after his mother’s death, Oswald still visits as many funerals as possible and writes them up in his little red book. One day he goes to a surprising funeral.

For a really good review in Welsh, try this winning entry from the 2016 online Eisteddfod. It’s by “Sion y Brag” but I don’t know the winner’s real name.


This is a trilogy about Owain Glyndwr, Silver Fox - It begins

Jenny Sullivan also has lots of books published in English by Gomer press and a few kids books in welsh too.


There’s three with similar names on the Apple store MyLibrary, MyLibrary! and My Library. Assuming (possibly stupidly) that the same app you’re using is in the store, is it one of these? :slight_smile:



Thanks Grunt - doesn’t seem to exist for iOS, but I found something called BookBuddy which seems good at first glance. Will see how it goes.