August 31, 2014

Language Freak Summer Challenge: Finish Line!

Hi, sweeties! Summer is over (can you believe it??) and it means it's time to wrap up this year's Language Freak Summer Challenge!

We did it! We've read quite some books in many (9!) different languages, and hopefully have brushed up our language skills and got more motivation to study! I truly admire your effort and thank you for your participation! I'd be happy to have you all as participants next summer!

As a host, I want to apologize for not being active enough myself, but this summer was not the best time in my life, so I slacked a lot. I'm so grateful for the enthusiasm of other participants, which kept the challenge rolling and helped me find motivation!

As usual, I'm giving you a grace period until Sept. 7. to finish your reviews. I'll add them to this review list at the end of next week. So if you've read something and haven't had time to write about it, use the time :)

Below, as usual, are all our reviews sorted by language. Note that August reviews have been marked by NEW!!! Please check that all your reviews are there and I haven't forgotten to include something!

Frog is Sad by Max Velthuijs (Carola @ brilliant years)

Hoši od Bobří řeky (Boys from Beaver River) by Jaroslav Foglar (me) - NEW!!!

The Solitude of Prime Numbers - Paolo Giordano (English) (Dutch) (Anja Kasap @ Reading 2011 (and Beyond))  - NEW!!!

Nuits de Juin by Victor Hugo (Cleo @ Classical Carousel)
Desiderata by Max Ehrmann (Cleo @ Classical Carousel)
Délicieusement Cru par Judita Wignall (Cleo @ Classical Carousel)
La Parure (The Necklace) par Guy de Maupassant (Cleo @ Classical Carousel) - NEW!!!
La Canne de Jonc - Alfred de Vigny (Anja Kasap @ Reading 2011 (and Beyond)) - NEW!!!
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (alwaysopinionatedgirl) - NEW!!!

Im Wunderschönen Monat Mai by Heinrich Heine (Cleo @ Classical Carousel)
Krabat, by Otfried Preußler (Carola @ brilliant years)

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami (Carola @ brilliant years)  - NEW!!!

Ferdinandus Taurus - Munro Leaf (Cleo @ Classical Carousel) - NEW!!!

Magpie Beloboka (Anja Kasap @ Reading 2011 (and Beyond))

Corre, Perro, Corre - P.D. Eastman (Cleo @ Classical Carousel)

Thank you for your participation and see you next summer!


  1. I don't know why or what is going on with me and learning Italian.

    I started with some Pimsleur CDs and both Rob and I got lost between lesson 3 and 4. We would get the former down pretty well but then be completely lost when we reached 4. After struggling with that for a month (seriously, four weeks we tried to make a smooth transition, going back to 3 after struggling with 4 over and over again), I decided to try a different approach.

    Enter: Italian for Dummies. I love reading and have taught myself many things through books. This time I was stuck in chapter 2 (or maybe 3, I forget). I don't know why language books insist on teaching grammar early. It makes no sense to start trying to explain the conjugation of verbs when I'm still working on pronunciation and remember lei and lui and when to use gli and al. Children aren't taught grammar. They listen and speak and repeat and listen and speak some more. I was once again stuck and not sure what to do.

    Then I read in someone's blog about Duolingo. I downloaded the free app and started with Lesson 1.1 of Italian. Breezed through it. So far so good. In fact, I breezed through all of Lesson 1 (5 parts) and moved on to Lesson 2 (also 5 parts) with a side step to Phrases (2 parts). I was going along fine until I reached Lesson 2.5. Once again, I simply could not remember when to use nel and not nello, etc. I was stuck. I kept trying and trying but eventually I found myself feeling more defeated than ever.

    So I'm stuck. After trying with three different resources. And I'm stuck in all three pretty early in the lessons so I haven't learned much at all. I'm not even sure if I should go back to the CDs or move to something else altogether. Rob seems to have given up altogether. He downloaded the app too but he hasn't used it at all.


    1. Well, I have never learned a language without a teacher, so I'm not an expert in dealing with this kind of blocks... But have you tried reading further? To not try to understand 100% of the info in a current lesson, just move forward to some other topics, and let the rules settle down by themselves on the way?

  2. I'm glad that we have a grace period for writing reviews, because I really need that. I have half written reviews, but I still have to finish them. It turned out that I had to swap a two books for shorter ones, because my summer turned out to be much busier than I had expected.

    1. I'm a person who always leaves everything for the night before the deadline, so I know how important a grace period is! :) I'm looking forward to your reviews! :)

  3. congratulations to all! I was not sure I would read any in French, and I ended up reading 4 this Summer, I'll join next year. thanks for the book by Murakami, shocked I had not heard about it

    1. You always read so much in French that you don't even need a challenge for that! :D But of course I'll be more than happy if you join us next year! :)

  4. I managed to just skate by with my final book - I finished it today! Here is the review in Dutch and the corresponding review in English (it makes sense when you read the reviews :) ) Ekaterina, thank you SO MUCH for this challenge, it was great motivation to read. I hope to do it again next year (and I have plans to use my time better so I can read more, too!).

    1. Welcome to the club of procrastinators putting everything off until the next day! :) The reviews are linked to the post! Hope to see you among the participants next year!


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