There is actually a study guide because it’s a TGAU text. For anyone interested in the themes I might recommend reading that instead!
It’s useful to know what books NOT to buy!
On which note I read Blasu this weekend, by Manon Steffan Ros. Oh my, that was a warm relaxing bath and a bar of chocolate after the blincin’ Stafell Ddirgel.
I’d had a copy for a while but had been putting it off, because for some reason I had it in my head I found MSR a “hard” author. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve obviously improved as a reader since I came to that conclusion and it was pure bliss to read. Like coming home after battling through cross country in the wind and the rain.
At least from a language perspective… From a story perspective there were lots of tears!
Thanks for the recommendation of Blasu. I also somehow had the feeling that Manon Steffan Ros was “hard”, but it sounds like a good book to read next when I’ve finished Y Plygain Olaf. Also my reading skill have probably improved since I bought the book and then put it to one side.
I really don’t know where you’ve all got the idea from that Manon Steffan Ros’s books are “hard”! I’ve found them immensely readable and enjoyable, even in my early days as a Welsh reader. The dialogues when the characters speak are easy to follow and also helpful as a learner. In addition to novels for adults she has also written for the “Stori Sydyn” series which are short and aimed at encouraging people to read in Welsh, and also for teenagers (such as Pluen). These are a really good place to start with reading her work and will leave you feeling more confident in your reading and wanting to progress She’s one of my favourites as I don’t need to keep reaching for a dictionary and the stories are captivating. I can be persuaded to part with these two if any one would like to make me an offer. They’re so good, I’ve read them twice already!
I think it’s because the first one of hers I read was Llyfr Glas Nebo, which is very dialectal. I enjoyed it, but it took me a few chapters to get in the zone. And then I’d picked up Llanw but also not slid right into it so put it down again.
Moral of the story, never say never! Keep calm, keep reading, and keep coming back to things!
I’m with Caroline on this one one, sorry Cetra I really struggled with my first MSR book, Y Stelciwr which is another title in the Stori Sydyn series. It probably didn’t help that I’d only read a couple of Mynediad books at the time and was very early in my Welsh learning journey. It also didn’t help that I didn’t like the story but I persisted with it sporadically whilst reading other titles by other authors. Everyone was raving about Llyfr Glas Nebo so I duly bought that and left it on the shelf to gather dust, fearing to go there after my earlier experience. When I did I was surprised how much easier I found it. I got through it fairly rapidly and I enjoyed reading it (for reading experience that is, not necessarily the content). I tend to use the library (lucky me living in Wales ) or buy from charity shops so now tend to pick up anything and give it a whirl. This thread has been brilliant for suggestions/reviews BTW. For someone who is not an avid reader I’ve really pushed myself to read Welsh books. Since starting to learn Welsh I’ve read more and used the library more than at any other time in my life and for me it’s right up there among the best things I’ve ever done. I’m also now reading more English books as well. It’s not been easy but it’s a definite win on so many levels so I’ll echo/paraphrase Caroline’s words - daliwch ati!!
I’m actually loving hearing people share their procrastination and worries. I know I do it when I I post, but it’s so easy to only show the books ticked off the list, the “achievements”, not the messy feelings and frustrations along the way.
Books started but not yet finished? At least five, plus a few where I have dipped in and looked at the first page.
If you’re looking for a book to start your reading adventure and feel that Blodwen Jones is a little too chick lit for you, Yn Ei Gwsg, also by Bethan Gwanas, might be a good place to start. I’m not actually sure why I bought it because it was a bit simple for my reading level even 3 years ago, but I was gathering a few books to go to the charity shop when I realised I had never read it. I put that right today and I can say that it’s an excellent story that held my attention and there is a surprise at the end.
Dafydd Jones has several problems. His wife has left him for a man who has more money, but that wasn’t the main reason. She left because he walks in his sleep. He did it as a child, but never grew out of it.
One morning he wakes up very early covered in blood and as the story unfolds Dafydd, assisted by Wmffra his brown Labrador, discovers what happened in the night when he walked in his sleep yet again. Despite the cover, it’s not a horror story and everything works out more or less happily.
There is useful vocabulary at the bottom of each page for quick reference and a complete list of the words used at the back.
I’ve been debating getting a first welsh language book to read and this sounds like an idea suggestion. Especially with the vocab lists. Thanks!
There’s a whole series called Cyfres Amdani which goes from Mynediad to Uwch in terms of difficulty. They all have vocab at the bottom and are in a range of styles from humour, to drama to factual. Reading my way through them was what taught me to read in Welsh, so I definitely recommend taking a look at them.
Thats a great tip. Thank you!
This week’s book was Llanw also by Manon Steffan Ros.
The book tells the story of Llanw (tide), who grows up in a house on the sand with her twin brother Gorwel (horizon) and her grandmother, in the early part of the twentieth century. Gorwel yearns for adventure, while she takes comfort in the familiar. She grows up listening to her grandmother’s stories of the sea, but is terrified of it.
Like Blasu, also by MSR, the story follows the protagonist through her life, but unlike Blasu is told from her own perspective.
I haven’t quite made up my mind what I think of the book. I really enjoyed the final third covering the latter part of her life, but as a 280 page book those first two thirds make for a hell of a slow burn.
It’s probably fairest to say it just wasn’t my kind of book. Probably the main problem was I found Llanw herself hard to connect with, so didn’t get into it until she was an adult later in the book. However it was an interesting portrayal of early twentieth century life in Aberdyfi and I found the final third very moving. I also suspect there are layers of reference and meaning in the stories interspersed throughout the book that I just don’t have the patience to grasp. So probably would suit a more thoughtful reader than me!
Linguistically I’d say it was harder than Blasu. I don’t have both books next to me to compare, but my impression is Llanw has more narrative, less dialogue and more description, which for me often equals more unfamiliar vocab. I wouldn’t read it as a beginner, but should be fine for anyone used to reading books for native speakers. You’ll be able to gloss over a lot of the unfamiliar vocab without losing the plot.
I love ‘e-ffrindiau’. It was the first Welsh book where I found myself looking forward to being able to sit and read, as opposed to ploughing on doggedly to improve my Welsh. I’ve read more of hers since and enjoyed them too. I’d definitely recommend it for anyone getting close to the end of Mynediad lefel.
Can you let me know if e-ffrindiau is written in north or south Walian? I’m trying to find south books so I’m not wrestling with new words and North words
It’s written in South Walian. Enjoy
Fab thanks - I note on Amazon it is one of a ‘set of novels’ do you know of the others? (and are they also South Walian?
I just looked on Amazon, but could not see a “set of novels” with e-ffrindiau. Lois Arnold has written other books. I have Sgŵp (novel) and Ffenestri (graded short stories and poems) Both are very good, both are South, and I found them much more interesting than e-ffrindiau. I find that gwales.com is very good for buying books in Welsh.
Fabulous thanks - really helpful. Coincidentally have just bought https://www.gwales.com/bibliographic/?isbn=9781800991446&tsid=4 which is by Lois too