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The SSiW Welsh Book Club 📖 📚 👓


Look at what my daughter got me for my birthday! As a lifelong Asterix fan, this week definitely motivate me to keep reading… Especially as I already know most of the lines!


Wow this is great! I might have a look for it. Will be fun to see if I can understand any of the puns :smiley:


Oh, I have read that in English and enjoyed it so i will definitely try it yn Cymraeg.


I atteded a Sadwrn Siarad online last Saturday and we looked at the poem “Y Llwynog” by R. Williams Parry. I later found that this poem is included in the book “Hoff Gerddi Cymru” which has been sitting on my “read it some day” shelf for ages. I am not usually a reader of poetry either in Welsh or English, but this has encouraged me to give it a try.


We met the translator during a Bŵtcamp once and it was very interesting hearing how he went about it - going back to the original French, then creating puns and references that would make sense to Welsh readers. Very clever!


List of nofels/collections of short stories suitable for learners

Hi all. I’m helping the Welsh Books Council with a project. We want to compile a list of Welsh language novels/collections of short stories suitable for learners who have been reading books written specifically for learners e.g. the series Amdani Advanced level, and want to take the next step and try books that are not written for learners.

I’ll include my recommendations, and hopefully recommendations of a couple of Welsh language bookshops and recommendations of the National Center for Learning Welsh and Welsh tutors. I also want to include recommendations of other learners and would be delighted if anyone wants to contribute.

I’ll need the title of the book, the author’s name and a couple of sentences to explain why you recommend it - for example there is little dialect or the language is not too formal. You can post here or send me an email -


Matt Spry

Rhestr o nofelau/casgliadau o straeon byrion sy’n addas i ddysgwyr

Shwmae bawb. Dw i’n helpu Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru gyda phrosiect. Dyn ni eisiau llunio rhestr o nofelau/casgliadau o straeon byrion Cymraeg sy’n addas i ddysgwyr sydd wedi bod yn darllen llyfrau wedi’u hysgrifennu’n benodol i ddysgwyr, e.e. y gyfes Amdani lefel Uwch, ac sydd eisiau cymryd y cam nesaf a rhoi cynnig ar lyfrau nad ydyn nhw wedi’u hysgrifennu i ddysgwyr.

Bydda i’n cynnwys fy argymhellion i, a gobeithio argymhellion cwpl o siopau llyfrau Cymraeg ac argymhellion y Ganolfan Dysgu Cymraeg Genedlaethol a thiwtoriaid Cymraeg. Dw i hefyd eisiau cynnwys argymhellion dysgwyr eraill a bydda i wrth fy modd os oes unrhyw un eisiau cyfrannu.

Bydda i angen teitl y llyfr, enw’r awdur a brawddeg neu ddwy i esbonio pam y byddwch chi’n ei argymell - e.e. nad oes llawer o dafodiaeth neu nad yw’r iaith yn rhy ffurfiol. Gallwch chi bostio fan hyn neu anfon ebost ata i -


Matt Spry



This is a great idea @mattdspry - please keep us posted of your findings!


Helynt - Rebecca Roberts

This book was reviewed earlier by @caroline-18 so I’m just seconding what was said here.

From the back cover …
Missing the bus to school can change your life …

Rachel decides to go on an adventure in Rhyl town instead of going home (after all, the bailiffs have taken dad’s car), then finding herself in a night club on the front. There, she meets Shane, a handsome man, full of mystery who knows something about her past … a secret that can demolish her family. But Rachel is itching to get the truth out of him …

Probably aimed at mid to late teenagers (Rachel, the main character, is 15) it does lack some of the grittiness you’d find in an adult novel but that doesn’t take away from the story. Quite a lot of the subject matter deals with bullying and domestic abuse and does quite a good job of explaining that it’s not all about the physical aspect and that mental abuse/bullying also causes long term damage. It’s written from Rachel’s point of view as if she’d written the novel.

A very well written book that wouldn’t be out of reach for all but the earliest of learners. Intermediate readers will have no problems getting through this.


Thank you everyone who has contributed to this thread. Your recommendations came in very handy on a recent trawl round various bookshops in South Wales.


Pum Diwrnod a Phriodas - Marlyn Samuel

This is Marlyn’s 5th book and, although I’ve really enjoyed every one of them, I’ve got to say I think this one is the best. It’s got some real laugh out loud moments and some very heart warming, blurry eyed parts too.

Translated from the back cover …
When her youngest son decided to marry in Italy, Carys was looking forward to enjoying Sorrento, and of course, Gethin and Rebeca’s wedding. Being in the company of her oldest son and his family, and not forgetting her mum Thelma, was hard work to say the least! But everyone was in for a shock when a special guest arrived.

I’m sure Marlyn must use “research for a book” as an excuse to visit some lovely places. This one, for the most part, is based in Sorrento, Italy, and she’s done a great job in making it sound like the perfect holiday destination. The characters, again, are very likable and recognisable. Thelma, Carys’s mum, for example, could quite easily have been based on my mother-in-law … it’s uncanny. And I have to say that I’ve laughed at Thelma’s antics whereas the MIL just drives me up the wall. :joy:

This has been a great escape while being forced into resting after an injury.

The same as I wrote for Cicio’r Bwced, Llwch yn yr Haul, Milionêrs and Cwcw … This is a grown-up’s book so not an easy read like those aimed at teenagers or learners but I wouldn’t say it was difficult either. Marlyn uses straightforward, simple language that’s very accessible so I wouldn’t think it would be impossible even for beginners and certainly ok for intermediate readers.


I’ve just finished I Botany Bay by Bethan Gwanas.

The book tells the story of Ann Lewis from Dolgellau, a maid in the nineteenth century. And, well, you can guess from the title what happens to her…

Now I am someone who can’t watch shows where the characters make obviously terrible decisions, so I spent the first half of this book yelling “No, don’t do it, Ann!” And then I procrastinated and put the book down for a week when she was about to do the thing, because I didn’t want to watch it play out. It didn’t help that Ann is eighteen and I am…not…because she acts her age, and I found eighteen year olds confusing even when I was eighteen.

However I found the second half very moving, and in true Bethan Gwanas style there’s a sting in the tail.

I didn’t find it particularly difficult, but probably not one for a novice reader just due to vocab. (Historical novels are always harder on vocab.)


I recently read I Botany Bay too @caroline-18. I found the story a bit slow at the start but had become invested in the main character (didn’t want her to do it / wanted to find out what happened to her) so I didn’t put the book down and finished it fairly quickly. I wasn’t disappointed, although I was emotionally wrung out by the time I reached the end. But if someone’s writing can stir your emotions that’s a good sign in my view,

I do enjoy historical novels where you can recognise actual facts and characters amongst the fiction. I was reading Here be Dragons by Sharon Penman at the same time which I also thoroughly enjoyed. For anyone interested, here’s a synopsis:

Thirteenth-century Wales is a divided country, ever at the mercy of England’s ruthless, power-hungry King John. Then Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, secures an uneasy truce with England by marrying the English king’s beloved, illegitimate daughter, Joanna. Reluctant to wed her father’s bitter enemy, Joanna slowly grows to love her charismatic and courageous husband who dreams of uniting Wales. But as John’s attentions turn again and again to subduing Wales–and Llewelyn–Joanna must decide to which of these powerful men she owes her loyalty and love.


Next up, two fairly short books: Dirgel Ddyn by Mihangel Morgan and O Ran by Mererid Hopwood.

Dirgel Dyn is about a young man who scrapes a living teaching Welsh literature at night classes in the early nineties. In an effort to keep the numbers up so the class can continue, he enrols a fake student (the titular Dirgel Ddyn) by the name of Ann Griffiths… Only for an Ann Griffiths to turn up…

Told through the main character’s eyes, we learn Ann’s story, meet his neighbours and students, and ruminate on Welsh literature and the golden age of film.

O Ran is also narrated by the protagonist, told in flashbacks as she travels home to Cardiff on the Paddington train. As she reads the proofs of a tribute to her father, shortly to be published, she goes down memory lane, looking back at her childhood.

I’d say both books are fairly accessible to learners as they’re short and the language wasn’t too hard. However they’re not genre fiction, so it’s not always so easy to just guess where any particular page is going. You know, in a detective novel you can use what you know about detective novels to work out what’s going on even if there’s a lot of unfamiliar vocab, but you can’t with either of these.

However both interesting reads from key figures on the contemporary literary scene, so worth giving a go, especially if you’ve read through the standard recommendations already.


I enjoyed both of these Caroline! :slight_smile: There’s a sequel to Dirgel Dyn called Dirgel Dynas too :slight_smile: What’s your next challenge after reading all the TGAU texts? I was thinking of reading the “Llyfr y Flwyddyn”'s :slight_smile: I finished “Martha, Jac a Sianco” gan Caryl Lewis last night which was a winner. I really recommend it - it’s very,very good!! :slight_smile:


I absolutely loved this book and read it a couple of times. I’m sure I’ll read it again!

I really enjoy Caryl Lewis’s style of writing; in fact her book more for teenagers than adults Naw Mis was one that I tackled fairly early on and although it’s a long book, I found the level of Welsh quite comprehensible for someone without a lot of Welsh reading experience under their belt.


I agree Deborah - Naw Mis is very readable! :slight_smile: If you liked Marth, Jac a Sianco then I think you’ll like Y Bwythyn too - that was the first Caryl Lewis book I tried. Its another good story - she’s got a great imagination :slight_smile:


Yes, I have Y Bwthyn as well, and Plu :grin:


No specific plans. I rang Jo at Cantamil to ask for suggestions and came away with a small mountain of books, so my next challenge is quite simply to read them!

Incidentally, I was right chuffed about that. It’s the first time I’ve used “Welsh in the wild” ie not in a lesson or conversation practice. We had a lovely chat.


They’re very nice people in ‘Cantamil’ - well worth a visit when in Caerdydd!


So, next up one of Jo’s suggestions. She recommended Ioan Kidd and I selected Dewis.

At her sixtieth birthday, surrounded by husband, ex-husband, children, and grandchildren, Mari suddenly finds herself unable to cut the cake. Her left hand just can’t grip the knife.

As the implications of this unfold, the story flips between past and present. What choices will Mari make?

I really, really enjoyed this book. The characters were really engaging and I genuinely cared about them all. At the end of the day, this story could be any of us.

Linguistically, very Southern! But once I got used to it not that hard.

Definite recommend!