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The SSiW Welsh Book Club 📖 📚 👓


I would very much agree with @stephenbranley’s recommendation of “Yn ei Gwsg”. Also in Cyrfes Amdani at Sylvaen level is “Y Stryd” by Helen Naylor, translated for the series by Mared Lewis. It is a set of little stories about people who live in the same street. I have to confess that it took me about 2 years to finish “e-ffrindiau”. It didn’t hold my attention either - probably something to do with the e-mail format. I love Lois Arnold’s other books, particularly “Sgŵp”.
Going up a level perhaps, there are some good (and cheap) books in the Stori Sydyn series. I like “Hunllef” by Manon Steffan Ros. This is a much darker story than “Yn ei Gwsg”. These books don’t have vocabulary because they are aimed at reluctant readers who can speak Welsh, but they are simple enough to be approachable for learners.


Diolch. Not sure what levels I find easy. Somewhere in the middle I think. Glad I’m not alone in struggling with e-ffrindiau


Thanks, @Betterlatethan! I was considering Y Stryd and what you’ve said about it, and the fact you also enjoyed Yn Ei Gwsg, I think that’s what I’ll try next. I’m also tempted by Sgŵp as I got on well with Ffenestri (I was never tempted by E-Ffrindiau - I think the “Ladies of Letters” format put me off!).

Not sure I’m ready for Manon Steffan Ros yet. I think she’s still a level above me. Sylfaen is comfortable for me at the moment. Don’t want to push on too fast in case I find it discouraging when I struggle.


Hi all, just wondering if anyone knows of a book suitable for young children that tells the story of the legendary explorer-prince Madoc ap Gwynedd?


A Oes Heddwas - Myfanwy Alexander

I had a bit of a wobble halfway through reading this and stopped reading for a while, hence the gap in my entries here. I finished it about a week ago and wasn’t disappointed. It’s aimed firmly at the adult market with language and content that’s not for the squeemish or prudish. The main character is Daf Dafis, a policeman in Dyfed Powys police, who is going through a whirlwind time in his life, both through the really busy period of the Eisteddfod being on his doorstep, and through his complicated private life.

I read the first chapter twice, purely because of the amount of characters introduced, I got very confused who was who, but once I got going it was very interesting how the plot never really went in a straight line with lots of twists and new happenings to keep things on the edge.

Looking back on it now (I’m 3/4 of the way through reading the next book) I would say this is a great introduction to all the characters in Daf Dafis’s life which makes the next book so much easier. As for the story, I was kept well entertained all the way through but wasn’t left with a great “wow, what a book” feeling, it didn’t really have any massive shocks or great conclusions at the end. Good all the same.

Mid to experienced learners for this one, definitely don’t make this your first book.


Pwnc Llosg - Myfanwy Alexander

It was only natural, I guess, that a Powys County Councillor would write her second detective novel using the backdrop of local politics. Again we find Daf Dafis at the centre of the story but this time, after a little, all be it temporary, promotion, he’s running the show. A local councillor has died in a fire in her office. A lot of people are kind of happy to have her out of the way. Who was the one person brave and brash enough to have actually done it though?

Again, as with the first book, A Oes Heddwas, the amount of characters make it quite confusing on times. When I start the third book I’ll be making notes of who’s who (note to any budding authors … keep it simple!). A bit of political knowledge might ease the flow but not needed by any stretch. There’s a lot of comings and goings but in the main I found it really entertaining with a few laugh out loud moments. I read this (396 pages) in less than a week while still dealing with family life and attending some “bŵtcamp” meet ups which shows how difficult it was to leave alone.

The reading level is the same as the first one, unsurprisingly, so definitely mid to experienced.


Pobl Fel Ni - Cynan Llwyd

Another Stori Sydyn publication and another £1 book. I’d read the blurb for this a few months ago and was really looking forward to reading it, even suggesting it to read during the bŵtcamp. I’m kind of glad we didn’t (we went for Inc instead). It’s definitely worth a pound of your money but don’t expect a masterpiece this time.

It’s a really good read for the most part, telling the story of two young adults from different backgrounds and cultures falling for each other. Then an explosion during a local concert changes the atmosphere completely in their area to one of protests and open racism (already bubbling under the surface for months before). It’s a really good attempt at a very serious and important issue but, for me, it narrowly missed by getting too cheesy. Still worth a read though.

Stori Sydyn so as usual is very accessible for all (especially with a dictionary to hand of course).


What about Y Llythyr by Helen Naylor in the same series, Cyfres Amdani. It’s an engaging story, which held my attention throughout and moved me.


Thanks! I’ll add that to the list.


Stryd y Bont by Manon Steffan Ros
I have been struggling for a while with books that are a bit too difficult for me, and I wanted something simpler to give me a boost. Stryd y Bont is in the Cyfres Amdani at Mynediad level and it was just what I needed. I read the whole thing in bed before going to sleep because I couldn’t stop. There are only 35 pages, but it is quite a thriller in miniature. Does everyone in the street know more than they are willing to tell the police?


I’d also like to suggest books by Bob Eynon “Arian am Ddim” is one I found fairly easy to read, decent story and not too long. I have Castell Draciwla yet to read. image


T Llew Jones is Nia’s grandad, in case you didin’t know that is :slight_smile:


Does anyone else log their reading on Goodreads? I try to rate and review everything I read there. Feel free to ‘friend’ me on the app and comment on my reviews. My username there is vcmc. It’s a nice way to see comments about books all in the same place, no matter when people read them. Doesn’t replace this lovely forum of course!


Llwybrau Cul by Mared Lewis is in the Cyfres Amdani at Uwch level.
Rich girl Siwan encounters Alfan, who is sleeping rough. She offers to pay him well if he will come with her to spend a weekend with her family and pretend to be her boyfriend. It is her brother’s engagement party. Alfan is in no position to refuse, but the proposition is decidedly odd. How does this relate to the introduction? I fear that all will not end well.
I am having to work at this one, but I am enjoying it. I have to find out what happens.


Y Plygain Olaf - Myfanwy Alexander

This is the third book by Myfanwy Alexander about Daf Dafis, of Dyfed Powys police. This time it’s just before Christmas and Plygain season is just starting. Illtyd Astley, a bit of a celebrity, dies in an “after-show party” following a local Plygain and Daf Dafis happens to be present. A few people are set to profit from his death including his wife, ex-wife and daughter.

As I promised with the last book I made some notes about characters as they were introduced, it made a difference and made it much less confusing. I enjoyed this book much more than the others, maybe because I’m getting used to the writing style, maybe because I’m getting familiar with all the main characters, but either way I’m looking forward to Daf Dafis’s fourth adventure, Mynd fel Bom.

As with the previous two this isn’t for inexperienced readers.


I think I’ve found you. :slight_smile:


Great. It’ll be nice to share book reviews.


So I’ve picked up ‘Mynd Fel Bom’ by Myfanwy Alexander, opened the cover and found a double page list of the characters in the area. I wonder if other people have mentioned the confusion trying to keep track of the plethora of characters in the first three books. :joy:


I’ve ploughed through quite a few Welsh novels with the aid of a dictionary. My spoken Welsh is terrible. I struggle to follow a simple conversation but reading is easier because you go at your own pace. The novels that impressed me most were Rara Avis by Manon Rhys, obviously inspired by her own childhood as a Welsh speaker in the Rhondda. It’s mainly in Welsh but conversations in English are rendered in English. It is a deeply felt book with some scenes you don’t forget. I also enjoyed Mihangel Morgan’s Pan Oedden Fachgen, which is South Welsh skit on Caradog Prtichard’s classic Un Nos Ola Leuad. I admit to having read the latter in English translation. Morgan is a tricksy writer, exemplified by the surreal goings on in Chroniclau Pentre Simon (which I quite enjoyed) but Pan oedden fachgen is again deeply felt reflecting his childhood as a Welsh speaker in Aberdare.


Mynd Fel Bom - Myfanwy Alexander

This is the fourth in the series (and latest at the moment) following Daf Dafis and his various adventures with Dyfed Powys police. This time someone has tried to blow up the local railway bridge … has ISIL come all the way to rural mid Wales?

I’ve said before about the sheer volume of characters in these books but this one felt a lot easier, a lot of characters show up time and again so there’s not so many new ones to deal with here. Daf always has a few cases on the go at the same time so it makes a very interesting, back and to type of plot line. The relationships between Daf, his wife and their best friends (another couple) makes for very awkward reading on times, really not sure what the author was thinking tbh. Again very enjoyable and, in my opinion, the best of the four.

Like the first three, more for experienced readers. Worth the effort though.