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The SSiW Welsh Book Club 📖 📚 👓

split this topic #282

A post was merged into an existing topic: Calling all SSiW meet-up organisers and coordinators


Hi everyone

A few of us have decided to start an online book group. The idea is that we agree on a novel to read, and then have a monthly hangout to talk about it. Our first hangout will take place on Monday 24 February at 7pm and we will read Sgwp! by Lois Arnold.

Full details are on Welsh Speaking Practice, and everyone is welcome!. Please contact me if you have any questions at this stage.

I look forward to seeing you on 24 February!

Pob hwyl



Among my next 6 months goals there’s reading more. Then I did a bit of shopping. :grinning:
p.s. I also received my official Cymraeg badge in the process! :star_struck:


That’s “Cysgod yn y Coed” by Lois Arnold hiding underneath, isn’t it? I think that’s a really good collection of short stories. Gwers Mewn Cariad too. Good stuff. Trwy’r ffenestri? I think that’s a lot harder but really good. I haven’t read Gangsters yn y Glaw. Any comments would be very welcome. Enjoy the reading!


I have just sent a furious postcard to Bethan Gwanas. How could she??? The offence in question is ‘I Botany Bay’. I was really enjoying it - it’s the imagined story of a real young woman, Ann Lewis, who was transported to Australia for stealing from the draper’s shop where she worked. I know the area well, and was able to walk with her round the Dolgellau streets, and home to the family farm on her Sundays off. Her arrest and imprisonment were beautifully told. And then came the end - unforgiveable! And worse, probably true!! Don’t say you haven’t been warned.


Definitely true … a very good book all the same.


Very fortunate to pick up a signed copy of I Botany Bay for 50c last week in a charity shop, plus 3 others books for £1:50. So my book pile is steadily growing and I’m now utterly intrigued by your posts @gruntius @BronwenLewis. I think it may be a while before I’m ready to read this one though.


I’m currently a quarter of the way through Dadeni by Ifan Morgan Jones (mentioned somewhere on the fforwm by @AnthonyCusack) and hugely enjoying it. I think it’s a little bit of a challenge in a couple of ways - some of the (south Welsh) colloquial language is going to be very hard to find in most dictionaries (it took @johnwilliams_6 looking in Dweud eich dweud to tell me that ta p’run 'ny on the end of a sentence just meant ‘anyway’), but that means most of it is exactly the kind of everyday speech SSiW covers; some of the stuff in the narrator’s voice is, as you’d expect, quite a bit more formal; and, since one of the characters is the severed head of Bendigeidfran, there are some definite “Wherefore ask’st thou questions whereof thou knowest the answer?” touches from time to time.

But it’s great: I’ve just had a Welsh archaeologist and his gay Goth son being chased through the sewers of London by undead corvids, carrying the head of Bran the blessed in a black bin bag, and I’ve realised what it reminds me of. It’s basically Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London meets the Mabinogi, and exactly the sort of thing I’d enjoy even were it English. I suspect I’ll be checking out what else he’s written once I’ve finished this!

Level is probably for pretty confident readers, I think - it’s written for native-speaking adults, but it’s not trying to be overly literary.


He’s written another one called Babel. It’s a steampunk story about a character that escapes a repressive family to the big city and becomes a journalist. I haven’t read it yet, own it but not read it, because I’m finishing another at the moment. However, it’s next on the list.


Most of this is way above my current level, but I just wanted to say thanks for the thread and for all the reviews and recommendations, both of books and of where to get hold of them. I’ll be bookmarking this and coming back to it in a few months’ time!


Are we still set for @Beca-brown’s Gwers Mewn Cariad in April @neil-pyper… Just thought I’s mention that here in this thread…


I certainly hope that we are!


Darn bach o bapur by Angharad Tomos.


This is one of the results of my recent spending spree on the Gwales sale. It tells the story of the Beasley family who asked for a rates bill in Welsh, and refused to pay until they got one. Their courage and determination in the ensuing struggle is amazing. The book is written, I think, for teenagers, but is accessible for learners. At first I had a bit of trouble with the switches from slightly formal narrative to colloquial speech, but I quickly got used to it. Highly recommended.


It must have inspired the Panto on WSP, eh @nia.llywelyn


Yes it definitely has! We’ll say a bit about that in the promo for the Panto @lornarhodes et al :smile:


I’ve been very lucky to hear Angharad Tomos speaking twice about the history of the struggles of the Welsh Language. She’s a very interesting and inspiring lady in her own right with regards to standing up for the language.


however I read the book and it is written very well but intermediate may struggle due to the spelling of the words


I think I may have found it. Diolch yn fawr for mentioning this! I am excited to have all these Welsh children’s books to listen to now!


I know this has been reviewed by others, but as I’ve just finished reading it I thought I’d post my thoughts on Yn Ei Gwsg, by Bethan Gwanas (with review shamelessly copied from my own website):

Dafydd walks in his sleep. It’s part of the reason, he suspects, for the breakup of his marriage and it gets him into all sorts of odd situations with his neighbours. One morning, however, it takes a more sinister turn when he wakes up covered in blood - not his own - and sets off with his faithful dog Wmffra to follow the bloody footprints to find out to whom the blood belongs.

The book is not nearly as dark as that synopsis makes it sound. It’s actually very light-hearted, humorous and a touch sad in places. Bethan Gwanas writes novels for native Welsh speakers as well as learners, and I think that helps her keep this novel simple yet clearly aimed at adults. The language used has clearly been thought about so that the level remains suitable for the target audience, yet also shows a progression from start to finish and introduces new words and phrases.

I really enjoyed reading it. Unusually for me, I found I could hardly put it down. I think this was partly because it was genuinely an enjoyable story, and partly because the level was pretty much spot-on for my ability (this is set as Lefel Sylfaen) so I found I was able to read straight through most pages without having to resort to a dictionary (the glossary of new terms at the bottom of each page, as is common for Welsh-for-adults books, helps enormously). The language used is more northern in style, but I didn’t find this a hindrance at all - in fact it helped to cement some knowledge of northern dialect that I’m bound to encounter in the wild anyway.

The last book I read before this was “Ffenestri” by Lois Arnold. If you’ve read up to the end of the Sylfaen level in that, you shouldn’t have any problems with this and I’d recommend it as not only a good book for learners, but a good read in its own right.

(Oh, and if anyone has a suggestion for what to read next at a similar level to this, I’d like to hear it. I tried Bywyd Blodwen Jones but couldn’t get into it)


I’ve been reading Lois Arnold a ffenestri and e-ffrindiau i stopped reading Ffenestri because it got too difficult and e-ffrindiau isn’t holding my attention. I think I need to read a novel instead.any recommendations?