Books in Portuguese for Language Learners

When we are learning a foreign language, it’s important for us to immerse ourselves in it as much as possible. One way of doing so is by reading books in that language. However, when we are not yet fluent in a foreign language that may seem like a daunting experience, particularly as we may only have heard of books for more proficient readers. An easy option is to read the translation of a book we’re already familiar with. But what if we are looking forward to reading books that have been written by native speakers?

If you have just started learning Portuguese, my first language, or are considering the possibility of learning it, there are four books that I recommend. They were written with a young audience in mind, but they are not too childish. Three of the books were written by Portuguese authors and one by a Brazilian. There are many differences between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese when it comes to not only pronunciation, but also vocabulary and grammar. So, the nationality of the author is something to bear in mind if you’re only interested in one of the main variants.

 

O Cavaleiro da Dinamarca by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen had Danish ancestry, so it’s not strange that she chose the main character in this short story to be from Denmark. A knight who used to live with his family in a forest decided to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Lands. His journey is the main focus of this tale. Continue reading

High-rated Books I Didn’t Like

If there are books with a low rating on Goodreads that I liked, there are also high-rated ones that I didn’t enjoy. The last time that I checked, the four books listed on this post had an average rating of more than four stars, but I either didn’t finish them or rated them with two stars. No book can ever please everyone!

 

Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich

This non-fiction book was nothing but disappointing. Although it has an average rating of 4.43 on Goodreads, I couldn’t rate it with more than 2 stars. It’s a collection of testimonies about the nuclear disaster in Ukraine in 1986, which also strongly affected Belarus. The author interviewed displaced people, soldiers, doctors, scientists and people who returned to a village that had been evacuated. It raises interesting questions, but they’re never fully explored. The statements are not edited, analysed nor contextualised with further information.

 

The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov

When I decided to read this book, I wasn’t entirely sure about what to expect. I hadn’t heard much about it beforehand. I can now only describe it as a compilation of snippets from the narrator’s past, the life of this family and Bulgarian history, which the author tried to connect with the myth of the Minotaur. I rated it with 2 stars, as it is excessively rambling and mentions a myriad of themes that only rarely are interesting. Many people seem to like it, though, as it has an average rating of 4.09. Continue reading

Most Disappointing Books of 2019

Every year there are books that I hope to at least mildly enjoy but that end up being disappointing for a variety of reasons. 2019 was sadly full of those books. And they were not disappointing in the sense that I only didn’t love them as much as I was expecting to. I truly didn’t like them. Some I read in their entirety and rated with two stars, while others I decided not to finish, as I had no hope to start enjoying them at any point.

First, there were three books that I read until the very end but that I didn’t like.

 

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin

Two women, Hester and Rebekah, who are developing feelings for one another, try to discover why people are disappearing around London in 1831. The premise sounded promising. However, there is no aura of mystery throughout the book, in part because the descriptions are soulless. The plot is unjustifiably meandering. Some events are completely unnecessary for the clarification of what is supposed to be the main mystery. And there is also too much telling and not enough showing. I only kept reading because I was mildly curious to know the reason behind the disappearances. Continue reading

Book Haul – April 2018

On the 23rd of April, it was World Book Day in Portugal. To be honest, I didn’t know about the existence of such a celebration until I received a newsletter from a retailer announcing book discounts of up to 50%. As I later found out, UNESCO organises World Book Day annually to promote reading, publishing and copyright. However, World Book Day isn’t held on this date worldwide, because there is a probability that it may clash with Easter. For instance, in the UK, World Book Day is on the first Thursday in March.

Obviously, the promise of significant book discounts left me tingling with excitement. And I ended up buying the five books listed below!

 

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

This book by the Swedish author Jonas Jonasson has been on my wish list for years, maybe since I first started watching BookTube channels. I don’t recall why I thought I would like it. But, seeing that I heard many people praising it at the time of its release, I decided to finally read it for the ‘EU still 28’ project. According to the blurb, it follows Nombeko Mayeki, who is on the run from a secret service. Continue reading