Thanks @Betterlatethan I didn’t realise Tacsi i Hunllef was a sequel. Another charity shop bargain find! Do you think it works as a stand alone or would I be better to read the first one first!
I think that I read the sequel first and it was fine. They are separate stories.
Can anyone recommend second-hand bookshops in Wales that deliver? I am trying to strike a balance between supporting the authors, supporting second-hand bookshops and avoiding Amazon… diolch!
Diolch Cetra, not heard of them so I’ll have a look!
I thought I’d give another mention to Llwybrau Cul by Mared Lewis
@Betterlatethan mentioned it further up, but I wanted to flag how much I enjoyed it. It started slow, but was one I raced through quickly to find out what was going on. When I finished, I joked to my other half that it was ‘Cymru noir’.
I’m doing the Northern course and I found it easier than I expected . Yes, it’s Uwch so for a fairly confident reader, but I think the Uwch element is the phonetic spelling of Northern speech. SSiW in teaches those ‘dwim’ (not ‘dw i ddim’) spoken forms pretty early so they weren’t the challenge they might be for someone who always hears and says the ‘standard’ written forms.
I also wanted to call out Cyffesion Saesnes yng Nghymru by Sarah Reynolds.
@Hishiv reviewed it back in2018 but it absolutely cracked me up so I wanted to give it a big thumbs up. It’s pretty slangy so great fun to read and would be good for those doing the southern course as they could use them.
I particularly enjoyed learning how to say “alli di fynd â dy [pethau] a stwffio’r cyfan lan twll dy din di!” If my Welsh ever gets good enough to get a sentence like this out in a strop I’ll know I’ve made it!
From my latest book pile - I raced through Am Ddiwrnod and Camu Ymlean and would recommend them as good beginner reads, along with e-ffrindiau.
I really enjoyed Y Fawr a’r Fach (which I didn’t expect ti, because I didn’t like the book cover at all - and still don’t!), Cawl, Samsara and Os Mets (thanks Jenny) all about the same level. I particularly enjoyed Samsara because it dealt with a sensitive topic. I am now reading Sgor and feeling pleased with my progress.
I don’t look up every word I don’t know, which may be a bad idea, but I like that I can still understand the jist of things without it feeling like ‘work’!
I’ve just raced through and enjoyed Am Ddiwrnod myself!
And it was great to compare the experience - just flowing, and hardly needing to check the vocabulary below - to when I started reading my first Mynediad level book (Gangsters yn y glaw): at Bristol airport, coming back from Wales and struggling through every sentence!
Doesn’t it feel amazing?
Glad to hear you enjoyed Y Fawr a’r Fach, that I believe is often overlooked because of the misleading cover!
So you’re finding Cawl pretty much at the same level?
I was keeping it aside for later cause it’s officially Uwch, but maybe worth a try sooner?
I have to say I’ve paused Cawl. I’ve been working through in order from Mynediad up, and I would say it’s about the same as the other uwch books in terms of difficulty. But thematically it is not floating my boat at all. I’ve managed the first five stories and they’re all sad/dark in some way. I was reading, just waiting for the boot to drop, but not in a thriller/edge of your seat way.
I didn’t enjoy Twry’r Ffenestri by Frank Brennan either. I think one reviewer described the characters in that as being interesting but not necessarily likeable and that’s possibly true of Sawl as well. Not in quite the same way, but somehow I was dreading reading on rather than desperate to know what happened.
Obviously this is totally subjective and about what I enjoy as a reader, but by Uwch your reading opportunities are so much wider that you might as well pick stuff you enjoy.
It’s odd because most of the cyfres amdani are books I would never have read in English, and I’ve really enjoyed them. Even Y Llythyr and Cofio Anghofio which have gut wrenching moments. But for some reason these two left me cold.
On the plus side I have enjoyed all the others, and broadened my horizons not just be reading in Welsh but by reading stories I wouldn’t even have considered.
Which is a very fitting thought for World Book Day!
@gisella-albertini I agree, it is great to be able to read a book in Welsh without needing a dictionary!
I felt the same about Cawl, though I eventually made it through to the end. I am now feeling the same about Un Nos Lun by Dafydd Parri. It’s another collection of short stories. I don’t mind a bit of “noir” but I do like to know what is going on.
It’s a long time since I attempted Trwy’r Ffenestri, with much use of dictionaries, because I was asked to review it although I had begged for something more at Sylfaen level. I must give it another go. I seem to remember finding it interesting but unpleasant.
On the other hand, Y Nant (somewhere above) was a page-turner, a book where you have got to stay awake to finish the chapter, and the next, even though it is perhaps technically more difficult in the use of language.
It’s interesting, I really enjoyed the early collections of stories and they were a really accessible way both to start reading and to get exposure to a range of styles and vocab. However I can’t say any collections at canolradd and above have grabbed me. For example Croesi’r Bont was OK, but I didn’t have that ‘need to read on’ feeling.
Obviously this is completely subjective but I will probably try to stick to full length stories from now on. I think I find them easier to get sucked into.
The first book in Welsh I ever read (Cadw Swn by Colin Jones) had both Welsh and English side-by-side.
Some of first books I ever read in English when I was at school had Italian side-by-side, so I knew it’s much better to learn full expressions (that you might not be able to translate properly word-by-word, especially as a beginner). And much more enjoyable too.
Then, I decided to try the same method with other books, available in both languages and starting from one I had enjoyed as a film, so expected to enjoy also as a book:
“Charlie a’r ffatri siocled”
And it worked great! So I will definitely try it again with more books in the future.
After a few tests of different methods, my current favourite is:
- reading one full chapter in English
- reading the same chapter in Welsh (without using a dictionary)
Now I’ve finished the book, I might go back and take note of interesting/useful expressions and vocabulary.
Have you ever tried reading books like this? (I know several mentioned reading Harry Potter, but I don’t know if stopping and searching words, just carrying on or…whatever other method, and I’d be curious to hear experiences!
Y Gemydd - Ceryl Lewis
A bit of an intriguing read this one. It certainly isn’t my favourite book ever but I raced through the last few chapters needing to know the conclusion. Caryl Lewis seems to write very short chapters so her books are easy to read in snippets without ruining the flow. I got a bit confused about the relationships, they aren’t really explained very well, and also there are a few questions left unanswered and problems left unsolved that could have easily been tied up. Very frustrating on times.
In a nutshell … I didn’t like it that much. Well, you can’t like them all, can you? Maybe I just didn’t get the feel for it. I spoke to Eirian from Palas Print after finishing this and explained to her how I felt about it and she kind of agreed, saying it isn’t her (Caryl Lewis) best book and suggested I tried Bwthyn (which I already owned) as it’s probably the go to read of Caryl’s.
In the more advanced category.
Y Bwthyn - Caryl Lewis
So after having this recommended by Eirian from Palas Print I thought I’d give it a go. A wholly better book than Y Gemydd. It took a while to get going and some chapters are just a description of the landscape and a wee bit boring but it’s very well written and on the whole a good book, no more.
So, an elderly sheep farmer and his son, who really don’t seem to get on very well, find that a visitor has moved in to the small, long since disused cottage in the hills above their farmhouse. A visitor that will have a great effect on their lives.
I can’t bring myself to say this is great, maybe I just can’t get into the style of this author, but it is worth a read. I won’t, however, be rushing into buying any more of her novels. Just me I guess because she does seem to be quite popular.
Again, in the more advanced category.
And in contrast… I really enjoyed this book. Setting is important for me in novels, so the descriptions of the rural landscape added to my enjoyment. Then there was the complexity and the difficulties in the relationships, and the drama at the end… ! I’m going on to read more of her novels
Which was the one you liked, @Cetra ? Thanks for the reviews above, it’s helpful to know what people don’t like as well. We’re all different and it’s a big investment of time to wade through a book in another language, so it’s helpful to know whether a book might appeal to me as an individual or not.