Milestones in German, and Book Review

I’ve finally, after quite a delay, hit a milestone in my German:  I finished two books.  One was actually extremely easy, the other started out difficult until I was halfway done with it.  In trying to improve and enjoy my German, I’m trying to read material at a good level (not too easy, but also not too hard that I have to look up every other word).  This is something that’s frequently noted by language learners, but there aren’t always clear examples of what is too easy and what is too difficult.  So, lets see how well I did:

Auf dem Strom

It’s an extremely good first read.  Very short, pretty large print text, and an easy to follow story.  There’s also a good amount of actual dialogue between characters, which doesn’t always happen in reading.  I tend to think this was written with younger readers in mind, so the language used isn’t too challenging.  I think this was probably either exactly at my level or maybe even a step below it.  Even with the words I didn’t know, I really didn’t have trouble understanding the content.  So really, this probably was not a good one to read as far as improving vocabulary, grammar, etc.  I don’t regret reading it, because it was a pretty enjoyable story, and a quick read, and I learned some good vocabulary from it as well.  I think you could really be at any point in your learning and start with this book.

 

Homo Faber

Okay, this was a good read!  An interesting plot, with a lot of implicit meanings, somewhat jumping around so that I really had to pay attention, and a lot of great new vocabulary.  It started out challenging, because the character in the story would mention details of things such as airplane parts, but about halfway through it really didn’t take much of an effort to read it at all.  One of the most difficult aspects of this for me was the constant use of sub-clauses.  From not being used to seeing this, it was challenging at first to get into a rhythm, but again, that fixed itself as the book continued (and now it isn’t even a problem to see those).  As far as the level:  out of curiosity, I just Googled “Homo Faber, CEFR” and on one page it was listed at being C1.  Assuming that’s accurate, I actually found it to be a really good fit for my level.  It probably really is one step above than where I currently am, so this probably was the ideal level to read.  I can’t really say what my comprehension rate was, but in general when reading it, I could get a mental picture of the scenes taking place.  So obviously, it was high enough!

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