Mystery Solved!

4 Mar

After my last post, I was seriously concerned about what I have actually been doing for the last 3 months. After much brain-racking, noggin-searching and head-scratching I have finally what it is. Though I warn you to be disappointed…

The last 3 months I have been mainly reading. Not very rock and roll, is it? I have spent most of my time with my head in a book and I have loved just about every minute of it. I would class myself as an avid reader but sometimes I can find reading a bit of a chore, especially when I can’t get into the book and the characters or the plot are unbelievable or unrealistic. This year I am yet to encounter this problem. It seems that I have effortlessly got into a book, devour it in a few days and then I am ready for the next one.

For the past few years, I have been attempting to read (on average) one book a week. I have always failed. I have an app called Goodreads, in which I can record what books I have read. This means it is easy to keep a record of how many I have read and what I have read. There is nothing worse than getting 50 pages into a book and realising that you have read it before.

Last year I read 39 books in total. In 2015, I read 31 books. So far this year, I have read 11 books and I am sure that I will finish my twelfth over the weekend. This means I am on course to read (on average) one book a week in 2017.

Four of the books that I have read this year have been in German. These books are shorter than a novel than I would read in English and a couple of them were aimed at a level that is a little bit lower than my level of German but I was still able to learn a few new words that I haven’t yet encountered. I am not sure if books read in another langauge should be counted as double for the purposes of this venture.

stack-of-books-1001655__340

Reading is actually a very good way to increase your learning of a language. Even if you do not understand all of the words in the story, you can look up words that keep reocurring and reinforce some of the grammar themes that you have learnt. Some people find it easier to rote learn grammar from a sheet but I find it much more effective to see how the grammar is used in context. Once you have seen the grammar three or four times in context, it is more likely to stick in your brain.

I also think that reading texts which are a little bit too hard is good practice if ever you decide to do a language exam. It is extremely unlikely that you will know all of the words printed on the exam paper and so it is important to be able to work out the meaning of the word by instinct and interpretation. A best guess is better than having no clue at all.

I am just looking at the list of books that I have read this year. It is an eclectic mix. There is the story of an MP who accidently kills an endangered species of owl, a story about life of teenagers living in the time of the Berlin Wall and a cult, who prey on vulnerable people in order to fund other nefarious activities.

Thinking about it in these terms, the reason why I have lost track of what I have been doing lately is because I have been transported to 1980s Berlin, I have been following the unraveling of a political scandal (with a Conservative MP as the lead, surprise, surprise) and I have been trying to piece together clues to solve a criminal investigation. And the whole time I was on the train to work!

That is why I love books.

6 Responses to “Mystery Solved!”

  1. John March 4, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

    Hi Lyndsay. Not the same thing, but theres an American motivational speaker called Brian Tracey.

    In one of his books, he talks about how you can change your vocation (I was a bit skeptical, but read on).

    Apparently, what we call a PHD, is knowing most of the major concepts or ideas from 50 books (I know the books your talking about are fiction, but the book a week idea is what peaked my attention).

    So, if you wanted to open a fishing shop and be an expert, read 1 book a week on course fishing !.

    I’ve never tried it, but these days I learn from online stuff like Plural Sight. I find it easier than reading a technical book and my all time favourite author Wilber Smith has gone a bit of the reservation.

    Next up for me is the dice man which I got at Christmas. Have you read it ? Is it any good ?

    • ourgirlinzurich March 9, 2017 at 8:45 am #

      Hi John, if I decide to open a fishing shop at least I know the opening will only be a year away according to your theory. I guess this is the same theory as if anyone practices a skill for 10,000 hours you can become a master at it. I haven’t read Dice Men but I had a look on Wiki and it looks interesting. Let me know how you find it and I might put in on my list!

  2. Confuzzled Bev March 6, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    I could never be disappointed to hear that someone has been reading. Reading is my favourite thing! (Maybe that’s why I find it so difficult to make friends?). I used to read German children’s books when my German level was much lower than it is now. I still do sometimes. And even though my German is basically fluent there are still sometimes words that I don’t know.

    • ourgirlinzurich March 9, 2017 at 8:41 am #

      I am sad to hear that you don’t make friends easily. It was only the other day I was thinking that I would probably get on like a house on fire with you! And, yes I agree, there are always some little words that you can pick up along the way. Slowly but surely is my motto!

      • Confuzzled Bev March 10, 2017 at 7:55 am #

        Aww, thanks! I get nervous around new people so I either get tongue-tied and sit in silence or force myself to speak, overcompensate and don’t know when/how to shut up, so most people either think I’m antisocial or a total weirdo.

      • ourgirlinzurich March 10, 2017 at 7:59 am #

        I’m a bit like that too! We’re not antisocial or weird, it’s other people who are 😉

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