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In my 13 years of teaching English to speakers of other languages, Reading Explorer by National Geographic is the best tool I have discovered to build reading skills.

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The image to the left is from China's Taobao.  In China, Reading Explorer comes as a set of 6 books divided into levels starting at Foundation and going up to Level 5.

In Hong Kong, the set I bought was just 4 levels - Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced.  The 4 books contained more or less the same material as the 6 books.  The books were simply divided differently so the Hong Kong books had more pages in each book.  The cost is higher in Hong Kong than in mainland China IF the version you buy in Mainalnd China is printed in China.

If you buy online, you'll want to check to see if you are getting a physical book or online book.  Also to see if it is the latest edition.  The images shown are for the 2nd edition which is what I bought when I was in China.

 

In the US,  Amazon.com sells the books, but as you might expect, the price is higher in the US than China.  While checking for this blog, I noticed the US Amazon site shows a newer edition.  They now have the 3rd editon.  It does appear the US version now has the same 6 levels as China starting at Foundation and ending at Level 5.  The US Foundation, 3rd ed version is shown below the Chinese Taobao advertisement image.

I do NOT get any money by recommending these books.  I do not have any connection to National Geographic, Amazon or TaoBao other than as a customer from time to time.

 

 

 

 

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Sample:  Below is a scan from the first Reading Explorer Book I bought in Hong Kong from what I guess is the First Edition of the book.  It will let you get an idea of how the books may help you.

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Each Unit has a Theme.  Each unit has a different theme from the other units so you will get exposed to a lot of topics.  Here I chose Unit 2 - Favorite foods.  Everyone likes food, right?

Note this page asks you questions BEFORE you start reading. This is generally about the broader topic and just to get you thinking about the topic.

 

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Now you get to the first page of the reading.  Again, it asks you questions BEFORE you start reading.  This is one reading skill.  Predicting and thinking what you might read about.  They also give you a topic related image.

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The first actual reading part of the Unit.  The lines are numbers and words are highlighted in red.  These are the key vocabulary words they want you to learn.  Note the reading section here isn't very long.  1 page.

9537514094?profile=RESIZE_400xNow follows a page with questions.  This is on the backside of the reading section and features questions to check your ability to understand what you read including Inference skills.  

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Next is a section USING the new vocabulary including other forms of the word.  Maybe the reading used the noun and now they see if you can understand the adjective or the reading uses one tense and now you need to use a different tense.  

 

You have just finished 1 part of the Unit.  Congratulations.

As you can see, it doesn't take much time to do 1 part.  5 pages total with 1 page being reading.

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Next comes a second related reading topic.

This section follows the same order as the first section of the Unit.

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 Now you know why I chose the 2nd unit - one of my favorite foods - chilis / chiles / chilis.  As I mentioned at the beginning, this particular book is a little out of date now.  It was the first edition and today they are on a 3rd edition.  The Ghost chile is no longer considered the hottest in the world.

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There are 2 final sections but they are shorter.  Just one page with a shorter reading and some questions followed by

 

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a page of questions.

The final section is designed to watch a short video and answer questions.  I just discovered I didn't scan those 2 pages but ot resembles the above 2 pages but refers to a video.  The video DOES NOT come with the book or at least it didn't come with mine.  I suppose they want you to buy it separately.  Note the answers to all the exercises are also NOT included with the book.  They sell a teacher's book that has the answers but I never bought one.  

So that is how Reading Explorer by National Geographic and Cengage Learning is laid out.  

Reading is the best way to improve vocabulary and also helps with learning grammar since you see it being used.  I had every one of my IELTS students using this material to mprepare them for IELTS - it helps both with the reading sections of IELTS, the listening sections (If you understand the topic you are listening about it improves your recognition of what they are saying) and writing and speaking - again the knowledge of different topics you gain help you talk and write about the topics they give you on the exam.

Maybe this will be useful to some of you.

I have no idea what countries have these books available and which ones don't except I know China and the US has them.

 

 

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It's a bit chili here today

It's a bit chili today (pun intended).9519340452?profile=RESIZE_710x

Some fresh Carolina Reapers and Red Ghost to dry;

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40+ dried Carolina Reapers ground with seeds;

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Brasilian Malaguetas used to make a new bottle of pepper sauce (not shown).  But 

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These are some of my existing Southern Pepper Sauce of various spice levels.  Just combine chiles / chilies / chillis (Spelled a variety of ways) with 5% vinegar and a little salt in a glass bottle.  If you want it spicier, cook the chiles in a little oil before adding the vinegar.  Puncture each chile before cooking it or it will "explode".  

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Drying other varieties chile today

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using a commercial grade dehydrator.

Word of caution:  Chiles are misnamed.  Don't wear contacts nor touch your eyes when working with these super hot chiles; there's nothing chilly about them except the name.

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Using a Kindle to improve English

Improve your reading and English with a Kindle

 

I love reading.  I love to read physical books but also to read electronic books or ebooks.  To read an ebook, you need a device since the words are not printed on paper but designed to be read on an electronic device.  The one I am most familiar with because I use it is the Kindle from Amazon.  Other e-readers may have similar features.

So how can a Kindle help you improve your reading and your English?

When you are reading, you don’t want to stop every time you come to a new word.  You want to continue reading at least until you reach the end of the sentence but even better until you reach the end of the paragraph or longer section.  IF you are seeing too many new words, the material is too high of a level for you at this stage.  The general rule is you want to understand 75% or more of the words.

But back to how a Kindle can help.

When you see a new word while reading the Kindle, you can check to see what it means.  The Kindle has (1) a dictionary; (2) wikipedia access and (3) translation access built-in.  You need wifi to access wikipedia or translations.  

Press the word you don’t know and Kindle will select it and Kindle opens the dictionary to show you the definition. You must download the dictionaries you want to use such as English, Chinese, Spanish, and others but Kindle has free dictionaries available.


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The same panel will provide access to wikipedia and translation (you can see the 3 circles showing the different tabs; just scroll to the right). 

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You can choose the different languages that you would like Kindle to use for translation.  Hopefully your language is one supported by Kindle.

So this is one way Kindle can help you with both reading and learning English.  There’s no need for you to stop and use a dictionary or online translator.  It’s built in.

 

A second way is connected to the first.  It is called Vocabulary Builder.  You need to “Turn On” this option in your Kindle Settings.  In Settings you have Reading Options.  Vocabulary Builder is one of those options.  Turn it on.

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Now every time you check the meaning of a word (use the dictionary function) on your Kindle, the Kindle stores that word in the Vocabulary Builder.   Now while you are in any book on your Kindle, you can select Vocabulary Builder from the menu at the Top (You will see 3 vertical dots or 3 horizontal lines at the top right corner of your Kindle; select it and Vocabulary Builder will be one option).

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When you choose Vocabulary Builder, your Kindle will display a list of every word you have looked up.  It saves them as flashcards. 

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You can review the words by selecting one and opening the flashcard or by Choosing Flashcards at the bottom - I suggest this later option. 

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It provides you with the Usage - it will show the word as it was used in the book you were reading and also the Dictionary Meaning so you can check to see if you remember the word or not.  If you are sure you know it, you can mark the word as “mastered” or even delete it.  

 

So this is a few ways using a Kindle to read can help improve both your reading and your English.

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100 Stories that Shaped the World

100 Stories that shaped the World

1 Odyssey - Homer

2  Uncle Tom’s cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe

3 Frankenstein Mary Shelley

4 1984 George Orwell

5. Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe, 1958)

6. One Thousand and One Nights (various authors, 8th-18th Centuries)

7. Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes, 1605-1615)

8. Hamlet (William Shakespeare, 1603)

9. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel García Márquez, 1967)

10. The Iliad (Homer, 8th Century BC)

11. Beloved (Toni Morrison, 1987)

12. The Divine Comedy (Dante Alighieri, 1308-1320)

13. Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare, 1597)

14. The Epic of Gilgamesh (author unknown, circa 22nd-10th Centuries BC)

15. Harry Potter Series (JK Rowling, 1997-2007)

16. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood, 1985)

17. Ulysses (James Joyce, 1922)

18. Animal Farm (George Orwell, 1945)

19. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë, 1847)

20. Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert, 1856)

21. Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Luo Guanzhong, 1321-1323)

22. Journey to the West (Wu Cheng'en, circa 1592)

23. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevksy, 1866)

24. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen, 1813)

25. Water Margin (attributed to Shi Nai'an, 1589)

26. War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy, 1865-1867)

27. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee, 1960)

28. Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys, 1966)

29. Aesop's Fables (Aesop, circa 620 to 560 BC)

30. Candide (Voltaire, 1759)

31. Medea (Euripides, 431 BC)

32. The Mahabharata (attributed to Vyasa, 4th Century BC)

33. King Lear (William Shakespeare, 1608)

34. The Tale of Genji (Murasaki Shikibu, before 1021)

35. The Sorrows of Young Werther (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1774)

36. The Trial (Franz Kafka, 1925)

37. Remembrance of Things Past (Marcel Proust, 1913-1927)

38. Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë, 1847)

39. Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison, 1952)

40. Moby-Dick (Herman Melville, 1851)

41. Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston, 1937)

42. To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolf, 1927)

43. The True Story of Ah Q (Lu Xun, 1921-1922)

44. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll, 1865)

45. Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy, 1873-1877)

46. Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad, 1899)

47. Monkey Grip (Helen Garner, 1977)

48. Mrs Dalloway (Virginia Woolf, 1925)

49. Oedipus the King (Sophocles, 429 BC)

50. The Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka, 1915)

51. The Oresteia (Aeschylus, 5th Century BC)

52. Cinderella (unknown author and date)

53. Howl (Allen Ginsberg, 1956)

54. Les Misérables (Victor Hugo, 1862)

55. Middlemarch (George Eliot, 1871-1872)

56. Pedro Páramo (Juan Rulfo, 1955)

57. The Butterfly Lovers (folk story, various versions)

58. The Canterbury Tales (Geoffrey Chaucer, 1387)

59. The Panchatantra (attributed to Vishnu Sharma, circa 300 BC)

60. The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas (Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, 1881)

61. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Muriel Spark, 1961)

62. The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists (Robert Tressell, 1914)

63. Song of Lawino (Okot p'Bitek, 1966)

64. The Golden Notebook (Doris Lessing, 1962)

65. Midnight's Children (Salman Rushdie, 1981)

66. Nervous Conditions (Tsitsi Dangarembga, 1988)

67. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 1943)

68. The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov, 1967)

69. The Ramayana (attributed to Valmiki, 11th Century BC)

70. Antigone (Sophocles, c 441 BC)

71. Dracula (Bram Stoker, 1897)

72. The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula K Le Guin, 1969)

73. A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens, 1843)

74. América (Raúl Otero Reiche, 1980)

75. Before the Law (Franz Kafka, 1915)

76. Children of Gebelawi (Naguib Mahfouz, 1967)

77. Il Canzoniere (Petrarch, 1374)

78. Kebra Nagast (various authors, 1322)

79. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott, 1868-1869)

80. Metamorphoses (Ovid, 8 AD)

81. Omeros (Derek Walcott, 1990)

82. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1962)

83. Orlando (Virginia Woolf, 1928)

84. Rainbow Serpent (Aboriginal Australian story cycle, date unknown)

85. Revolutionary Road (Richard Yates, 1961)

86. Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe, 1719)

87. Song of Myself (Walt Whitman, 1855)

88. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain, 1884)

89. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain, 1876)

90. The Aleph (Jorge Luis Borges, 1945)

91. The Eloquent Peasant (ancient Egyptian folk story, circa 2000 BC)

92. The Emperor's New Clothes (Hans Christian Andersen, 1837)

93. The Jungle (Upton Sinclair, 1906)

94. The Khamriyyat (Abu Nuwas, late 8th-early 9th Century)

95. The Radetzky March (Joseph Roth, 1932)

96. The Raven (Edgar Allan Poe, 1845)

97. The Satanic Verses (Salman Rushdie, 1988)

98. The Secret History (Donna Tartt, 1992)

99. The Snowy Day (Ezra Jack Keats, 1962)

100. Toba Tek Singh (Saadat Hasan Manto, 1955)

 

I've read at least 41 of the 100 so far.  I am not sure which Shakespeare plays I have read versus just know about.  Romea and Juliet I definitely read since we had it in school not once but 2 or 3 times.  The others?  I probably read them but I'll reread them to be sure. 

Many of these are ancient texts and were originally written in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, etc.  Many of you may have read them in your native tongue.  I must get by with reading a translation if I can find the book at all.

If you want to know where this list originated, you can check here - 

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20180521-the-100-stories-that-shaped-the-world

 

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Building on my last blog post, which was 7 years ago, what book, especially fiction,  from your native country or territory would you recommend to me?  

Most of you will be English learners so you will be recommneding to me books written by non-native English authors.  

I have the list of books compiled in the Reading the World blog but those are books she selected.  This way I can get books you suggest giving my reading list a different feel from hers.

And I am interested in modern authors more than "classic" authors.  And while I prefer fiction, if your favorite book is nonfiction,  that is ok also.  

The more input I get, the more likely I can find a new book to read.

For the native English speakers, you are welcome to suggest titles and authors also.

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Books from around the World

I find this to be an interesting idea.  As a bibliophile, I find the idea intriguing, and I'll try to find some of these books to add to my reading "Bucket List".

This is from a news article I read.  The link follows to her website / blog and I am copying and pasting her suggested list.  It looks like one must click each country name to see which book she chose to read however. As Time permits I'll try to get a short list of the books she actually wrote and highlight them in Orange as I have done for the first Country Afghanistan. Green shows a book I have read.    Here is the link:  http://ayearofreadingtheworld.com/thelist/

Here is the "Long List":  

The list

This contains all the valid recommendations I’ve had. I chose one book  for each nation. Country names are links to the reviews of the books I read.

  • Afghanistan Khaled Hosseini The Kite Runner; A Thousand Splendid Suns / Anna Badkhen Waiting for the Taliban / Emmanuel Guibert The Photographer /  (as told to) Batya Swift Yasgur Behind the Burqa / Atiq Rahimi A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear; The Patience Stone
  • Albania Ismail Kadare The Palace of Dreams; Broken April / Fatos Kongoli The Loser
  • Algeria Leïla Marouane The Sexual Life of an Islamist in Paris / Anouar Benmalek Abduction / Assia Djebar So Vast the Prison / Boualem Sansal An Unfinished Business / Al-Tahir Wattar The Earthquake / Anouar Benmalek The Lovers of Algeria / Yasmina Khadra The Attack
  • Andorra Albert Salvadó The Teacher of Cheops
  • Angola José Eduardo Agualusa My Father’s Wives; Creole / Pepetela The Return of the Water Spirit / Ondjaki Good Morning ComradesThe Whistler / Jose Eduardo Agualusa The Book of Chameleons
  • Antigua and Barbuda Jamaica Kincaid LucyAnnie John / Marie-Elena John Unburnable / Althea Prince Loving this ManLadies of the Night / Gisele Isaac Considering Venus
  • Argentina Martin Kohan Seconds Out / César Aira How I Became a Nun; An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter / Ernesto Sábato The Tunnel / Alicia Steimberg Musicians and Watchmakers / Jorges Luis Borges / Tomás Eloy Martínez Purgatory (trans. Frank Wynne) / Matias Nespolo 7 Ways to Kill a Cat (trans. Frank Wynne) / Carlos Gamerro The Islands / Iosi Havilio Opendoor / Luisa Valenzuela / Ricardo Piglia / Guillermo Martínez / Manuel Puig / Adolfo Bioy Casares The Invention of Morel / Julio Cortázar Hopscotch
  • Armenia Armand Inezian Bringing Ararat / Grigoris Balakian Armenian Golgotha
  • Australia Tim Winton Cloudstreet / Helen Garner The Children’s Bach / Markus Zusak The Book Thief / Nam Le The Boat / Andrew McGahan The White Earth / Elizabeth Jolley / Alex Miller Lovesong
  • Austria Elias Canetti The Torch in my Ear / Anna Kim Frozen Time / Thomas Bernhard Extinction / Stefan Zweig / Julya Rabinovich Splithead
  • Azerbaijan Gioulzar Akhmedova Magnolia / Maksud Ibragimbekov / Anar Razayev / ? (exact author unknown)  Ali and Nino
  • The Bahamas Ian Strachan God’s Angry Babies / Garth Buckner Thine is the Kingdom
  • Bahrain Ali Al Saeed Quixotiq / Sarah A Al Sahfei Yummah
  • Bangladesh Taslima Nasrin Shame / Tahmima Anam The Good Muslim / Humayun Ahmed To the Woods Dark and Deep / Ekhlasuddin Ahmed When the Evening Darkens / Shawkat Osman The Laughter of a Slave / Anwar Pasha Rifles Bread Women
  • Barbados Karen Lord Redemption in Indigo / Agymah Kamau Flickering Shadows; Pictures of a Dying Man / Glenville Lovell Fire in the Canes; Song of Night; Too Beautiful to Die
  • Belarus Artur Klinov The Sun City of Dreams / Uladzimir Karatkievich King Stakh’s Wild Hunt / Uladzimir Bykau Sotnikau / Viktar Martsinovich Paranoia / Svetlana Alexievich Voices from Chernobyl
  • Belgium Hergé The Adventures of Tintin / Peter Terrin The Guard / Stefan Brijs The Angel Maker / Francois Emmanuel Invitation to a Voyage / Dimitri Verhulst The Misfortunates / Louis Paul Boon My Little War / Paul Verhaeghen Omega Minor / Amélie Nothomb
  • Belize Zoila Ellis On Heroes, Lizards and Passion
  • Benin Gisèle Hountondji / Jean Pliya / Florent Couao-Zotti / Adelaide Fassinou / Rashidah Ismaili Abubakr Stories We Tell Each Other
  • Bhutan Kunzang Choden The Circle of Karma / Karma Ura The Hero with a Thousand Eyes / T Sangay Wangchuk Seeing with the Third Eye / Dorji Penjore Bomena / Pema Euden Coming Home / Sonam Kinga
  • Bolivia José Edmundo Paz-Soldán / Víctor Montoya / Renato Prada Oropeza / Giovanna Rivero Sweet Blood / Juan de Recacoechea American Visa
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina Zlata Filipovic Zlata’s Diary / Saša Stanišić How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone / Aleksandar Hemon The Lazarus Project / Ivo Andric The Bridge on the Drina / Meša Selimović Death and the DervishFortress
  • Botswana Angus, Maisie and Travers McNeice The Lion Children / Bessie Head A Question of Power / Unity Dow
  • Brazil Joao Ubaldo Ribeiro House of the Fortunate Buddhas; An Invincible Memory / Clarice Lispector / Rubem Fonseca / Paulo Freire / Clarice Lispector / Jorge Amado / João Guimarães Rosa / Paulo Coehlo / Machado de Assis Dom Casmurro
/ Chico Buarque Budapest
  • Brunei Eva Maria Kershaw Dusun Folktales: A Collection of Eighty-eight Folktales in the Dusun Language of Brunei with English Translations / Christopher Sun (aka Sun Tze Yun) Four Kings
  • Bulgaria Elias Canetti The Tongue Set Free / Kalin Terziyski Is there Anybody to Love You? / Georgi Gospodinov Natural Novel / Kapka Kassabova Street Without a Name / Anton Donchev Time of Parting / Milen Ruskov Thrown into Nature / Emiliyan Stanev The Peach Thief
  • Burkina Faso Sarah Bouyain / Frédéric Pacéré Titinga / Nobert Zongo The Parachute Drop
  • Burundi Marie-Therese Toyi Weep Not, Refugee
  • Cambodia U Sam Oeur Crossing Three Wildernesses / Alice Pung Unpolished Gem / Vaddey Ratner In the Shadow of the Banyan / Loung Ung / Haing S Ngor / Bree Lafreniere and Daran Kravanh Music Through Dark
  • Cameroon Mongo Beti La Pauvre Christ de Bomba (The Poor Christ of Bomba)Mission to Kala / Beatrice Fri Bime Mystique: a collection of lake myths
  • Canada Robertson Davies / Nicole Brossard Mauve Desert / Alice Munro / Lauren B Davis Our Daily Bread / Darcie Friesen Hossack Mennonites Don’t Dance / Anne Michaels Fugitive Pieces / Thomas King Green Grass, Running Water / Elizabeth Hay Late Nights on Air / Michael Ondaatje In the Skin of a Lion
  • Cape Verde Germano Almeida The Last Will & Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo
  • Central African Republic Bamboté Dada’s Travels from Ouadda to Bangui
  • Chad Joseph Brahim Seid Told by Starlight in Chad
  • Chile Roberto Bolano The Savage Detectives / Alejandro Zambra The Private Lives of Trees; Bonsai / Isabel Allende The House of the Spirits (trans. Magda Bodin) / Diamela Eltit / Alberto Fuguet / María Luisa Bombal / Luis Sepúlveda / Antonio Skármeta
  • China Zhu Wen I Love Dollars / Jian Rong Wolf Totem / Ma Jian Stick Out Your Tongue; Red Dust/ Cao Xuequin Dream of the Red Chamber / Wu Cheng’en Journey to the West / Zhang Yueran / Chan Koonchung The Fat Years (trans. Michael Duke) / Yan Lianke Dream of Ding Village / Mo Yan The Garlic BalladsShifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh / Zhu Wen / Zhang Yueran / Han Dong Banished! / Yan Ge / Xialou Guo Village of Stone / Mian Mian Candy / Wang Shuo Playing for Thrills / Chen Xiwo I Love My Mum / Xu Zechen / Xue Xinran The Good Women of ChinaChina WitnessMessage from an Unknown Chinese Mother
  • Colombia Evelio Rosero The Armies / Pilar Quintana Tickles in the Tongue / Juan Gabriel Vasquez The Informers / Eduardo Garcia Aguilar Boulevard of Heroes / Fernando Vallejo Our Lady of the Assassins / Hector Abad Faciolince / Laura Restrepo / Fernando Vallejo
  • Comoros Mohammed Toihiri The Kafir of Karthala
  • Congo, Democratic Republic of Amba Bongo /  Frederick Yamusangie Full Circle
  • Congo, Republic of Emmanuel Dongala Johnny Mad Dog; Little Boys Come from the Stars / Sony Lab’ou Tansi The Antipeople
  • Costa Rica Anacristina Rossi / Carmen Naranjo / Oscar Nunez Olivas Cadence of the Moon / Anacristina Rossi The Madwoman of Gandoca / ed Barbara Ras Costa Rica: A Traveler’s Literary Companion
  • Côte d’Ivoire Bernard Dadié Climbié / Ahmadou Kourouma Allah is not Obliged
  • Croatia Miroslav Krleža On the Edge of Reason / Dubravka Ugrĕsic The Ministry of Pain; In the Jaws of Life / Slavenka Drakulic A Guided Tour through the Museum of Communism / Marija Jurić Zagorka Daughter of the LotrščakA Stone on the Road
  • Cuba Mayra Montero Dancing to Almendra / Ena Lucia Portela One Hundred Bottles / Alejo Carpentier / Reinaldo Arenas / Antonio José Ponte / Leonardo Padura / Reinaldo Arenas / Leonardo Padura Fuentes / Virgilio Piñera / José Lezama Lima / Severo Sarduy /  Guillermo Cabrera Infante / Lydia Cabrera Afro-Cuban Tales
  • Cyprus Anna Marangou/Andreas Coutas (trans. Xenia Andreou) Famagusta: the Story of the City / Eve Makis / Christy Lefteri A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible / Panos Ioannides Gregory and other stories / Elmos Konis Magnette / Nora Nadjarian Ledra Street
  • Czech Republic Bohumil Hrabal Too Loud a Solitude / Hana Demetz The House on Prague Street / Tomáš Zmeškal Love Letter in Cuneiform Script / Josef Škvorecký The Engineer of Human Souls (trans. Paul Wilson) / Jáchym Topol The Devil’s Workshop
  • Denmark Jakob Ejersbo Exile: Book One of the African Trilogy / Morten Ramsland Dog Head / Christian Jungersen The Exception / Louise Bugge Laermann Constanze Mozart
  • Djibouti Abdourahman Waberi In the United States of Africa; Passage of Tears
  • Dominica Phyllis Shand Allfrey The Orchid House / Elma Napier Black and White Sands / Jean Rhys / Pupils of Atkinson School The Snake King of the Kalinago / Alick Lazare Pharcel / Various Home Again / Christborne Shillingford Most Wanted: street stories from the Caribbean
  • Dominican Republic Juan Bosch / Arambilet Neguri’s Secret / Junot Diaz The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao / Pedro Mir When they Loved the Communal Land / Julia Alvarez 
  • East Timor Luis Cardoso The Crossing
  • Ecuador Jorge Icaza Huasipungo 
  • Egypt Ahdaf Soueif The Map of Love; Cairo: My City, Our Revolution / Sonallah Ibrahim Stealth / Mohamed Mansi Qandil Moon Over Samarqand / Waguih Ghali Beer in the Snooker Club / Naguib Mahfouz Midaq Alley; The Thief and the DogsMiramarThe Final Hour/ Alaa Al Aswany The Yacoubian Building / Radwa Ashour / Nawal El Saadawi / May Telmissany Dunyazad / Salwa Bakr / ed. Marilyn Booth My Grandmother’s Cactus / Gamal al-Ghitani Zayni Barakat / Yusef Zeidan Azazil / Radwa Ashour Granada / Ibrahim Abdel Meguid No One Sleeps in Alexandria / Bahar Tahir / Muhammad Bisati
  • El Salvador Horacio Castellanos Moya Senselessness
  • Equatorial Guinea Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel / Donato Ndongo Shadows of your Black Memory / Maria Nsue Angue Ekomo
  • Eritrea Senait Mehari Heart of Fire / Sulaiman Addonia The Consequences of Love
  • Estonia Jaan Kross Professor Martens’ Departure; Treading Air / Viivi Luik The Beauty of History
  • Ethiopia Maaza Mengiste Beneath the Lion’s Gaze / Dinaw Mengestu Children of the Revolution / Abraham Verghese Cutting for Stone
  • Fiji Peter Thomson Kava in the Blood / Epeli Hau’ofa Kisses in the Nederends; Tales of the Tikongs / Mikaele M.K. Yasa Of Baluka and Nibong Palm
  • Finland Arto Paasilinna The Year of the Hare / Mika Waltari The Egyptian / Johanna Sinisalo Troll: A Love Story / Sofi Oksanen Purge
  • France Alain-Fournier The Wanderer / Marie NDiaye Rosie Carpe / Marie Darrieussecq My Phantom Husband / Colette Chéri / Faiza Guene Dreams from the Endz / Raymond Queneau Exercises in Style (trans. Barbara Wright) / Georges Perec Life:a User’s Manual (trans. David Bellos) / Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio Wandering Star / Jean Echenoz Lightning / Delphine de Vigan Underground Time / Faïza Guène Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow / Alexis Jenni The French Art of War / Laurence Cossé A Novel Bookstore / Hélène Grémillon The Confidant / Jérôme Ferrari Where I Left My Soul
  • Gabon Daniel Mengara Mema
  • The Gambia Dayo Forster Reading the Ceiling / Dembo Fanta Bojang & Sukai Mbye Bojang Folk Tales and Fables from The Gambia
  • Georgia Sana Krasikov One More Year / ed Elizabeth Heighway Contemporary Georgian Fiction
  • Germany Jenny Erpenbeck Visitation / Günter Grass The Tin Drum / Christa Wolf / Heinrich Böll The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum / Emine Sevgi Özdamar Bridge of the Golden Horn / Walter Benjamin Illuminations (trans. Harry Zohn) / Clemens Meyer All the Lights / Christa Wolf Medea / Franz Fühmann / Inka Parei The Shadow-Boxing Girl / Hans Fallada Alone in Berlin / Jurek Becker Jacob the Liar / Herman Hesse Siddhartha
  • Ghana Ayi Kwei Armah The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born / Isaac Neequaye / Ama Ata Aidoo / Jo de Graft Hanson Amanfi’s Gold / Gheysika Adombire Agambila Journey / Various Anansi Stories
  • Greece Kostas Hatziantoniou The Black Book of Bile; Agrigento / Margarita Karapanou Kassandra and the Wolf / Panos Karnezis / Nikos Kazantzakis Freedom or DeathThe Last Temptation
  • Grenada Tobias Buckell / Merle Collins The Ladies are Upstairs
  • Guatemala Miguel Angel Asturias The President / Rodrigo Rey Rosa
  • Guinea Camara Laye The Radiance of the KingThe Guardian of the Word
  • Guinea Bissau Amilcar Cabral Unity and Struggle
  • Guyana Oonya Kempadoo Buxton Spice
  • Haiti Marvin Victor / Lyonel Trouillot Children of Heroes / Dany Laferriere How to Make Love to a Negro without Getting Tired; I am a Japanese Writer/ Louis-Philppe Dalembert / Edwidge Danticat The Farming of the Bones / Franketienne / Gary Klang / Josaphat-Robert Large
  • Honduras Augusto Monterroso / Guillermo Yuscaran / Ramón Amaya Amador
  • Hungary Sándor Márai Embers / Dezső Kosztolányi Skylark / Zsigmond Móricz Be Faithful Unto Death / Antal Szerb Journey by Moonlight / Peter Esterharzy Not Art / Tibor Fischer Under the Frog / Antal Szerb The Pendragon Legend / László Krasznahorkai War and War (trans. George Szirtes) / Ferenc Karinthy Metropole /  Imre Kertész Fatelessness / Albert Wass / Rejtő Jenő
  • Iceland Arnaldur Indridason Jar City / Halldór Laxness The Atom Station / Ófeigur Sigurðsson / Gyrðir Eliasson Stone Tree / Auður A Ólafsdóttir The Greenhouse
  • India Suketu Mehta Maximum City / Rohinton Mistry Family Matters; A Fine Balance / Premchand / Rahul Bhattacharya The Sly Company of People who Care / Amitav Ghosh River of Smoke / Tabish Khair The Thing about Thugs / Aman Sathi A Free Man / Sunetra Gupta / Omair Ahmad Jimmy the Terrorist / UR Ananthamurthy Bharathipura / Chandrakanta A Street in Srinagar / Siddharth Chowdhury Day Scholar / Kishwar Desai Witness the Night / Namita Devidayal Aftertaste / Manu Joseph Serious Men / Kavery Nambisan: The Story that Must Not Be Told / Kalpish Ratna The Quarantine Papers / Uppamanyu Chattergee Way to go / Chandrahas Choudhury Arzee the Dwarf / Manju Kapur The Immigrant / Neel Mukherjee The Immigrant / Mani Sankar Mukherji The Middleman / I. Allan Sealy The Trotter Nama / Shashi Warrier / Aniruddha Bahal /  Vikram Chandra /  M T Vasudevan Nair MistThe LegacyThe Demon SeedSecond Turn / Asha Poorna Devi / Ruskin Bond / Gurcharan Das India Unbound / Mark Tully / Shashi Tharoor The Great Indian Novel / Mahasweta Devi  Imaginary MapsBitter SoilHajar Churashir Maa / RK Narayan Malgudi Days / Jhaverchand Meghani / Kushwant Singh Train to Pakistan; The Portrait of a Lady / ed Rakesh Khanna The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction / Shivaji Sawant Mrityunjay / OV Vijayan / Govardhanram Tripathi Saraswatichandra / Satyajit Ray Feluda series / Sunil Gangopadhyay Those Days / Rabindranath Tagore / Sashi Deshpande / Kiran Nagarkar CuckoldSeven Sixes are Forty-Three / Charu Nivedita Zero Degree / Tarun Tejpal Alchemy of Desire / Manoshi Bhattacharya Chittagong Summer of 1930 / Sankar Chowringhee
  • Indonesia Yusuf Bilyarta Mangunwijaya Durga Umayi / Ayu Utami / Mochtar Lubis / Pramoedya Ananta Toer
  • Iran Akbar Golrang Parpin Flowers /Nasrin Alavi We are Iran / Shahrnush Parsipur Touba and the Meaning of Night / Mahmoud Dowlatabadi The Colonel (trans. Tom Patterdale) / Adnan-Ahmed
  • Iraq Samuel Shimon An Iraqi in Paris / Ali Bader The Tobacco Keeper / Hassan Blasim The Madman of Freedom Square / Rodaan Al Galidi Thirsty River / Samira Al-Mana / Wafaa Abed Al Razzaq / A Alwan The Sheikh’s Detective / Fuad al-Takarli The Long Way Back
  • Ireland James Joyce Ulysses / Maria Edgeworth Castle Rackrent / William Trevor / Sebastian Barry The Secret Scripture / Flann O’Brien The Third Policeman
  • Israel David Grossman Falling Out of Time; To the End of the Land / Amos Oz A Tale of Love and Darkness (trans. Nicholas de Lange) / Savyon Liebrecht / AB Yehoshua / Ronit Matalon / Alex Epstein / Aharon Appelfeld Blooms of Darkness / Sara Shilo The Falafel King is Dead / Etgar Keret / Yehoshua Kenaz
  • Italy Roberto Saviano Gomorrah /  Leonardo Sciascia The Day of the Owl (trans. Archibald Colquhoun) / Fabio Geda In the Sea there are Crocodiles (trans. Howard Curtis) / Elena Ferrante The Lost Daughter / Antonio Tabucchi Pereira Maintains / Diego Marani New Finnish Grammar / Alessandro Baricco Ocean SeaMr Gwyn
  • Jamaica Kei Miller / Lindsay Barrett / Margaret Cezair-Thompson The Pirate’s Daughter / Colin Channer / Brian Meeks Paint the Town Red / Patricia Powell / Victor Stafford Reid / Vanessa Spence / Marlon James John Crow’s Devil
  • Japan Haruki Murakami Kafka on the Shore; 1Q84 / Natsume Sōseki The Miner; I am a Cat/ Michitsuna no Haha (Michitsuna’s mother) The Kagero Diary (trans. Sonja Arntzen) / Yukio Mishima Death in Midsummer (trans. Seidensticker, Keene, Morris, Sargent) / Hiromi Kawakami Manazuru / Shiba Ryotaro / Yoko Ogawa / Yoriko Shono / Yumiko Kurahashi / Yoko Tawada / Yasunari Kawabata Snow Country
  • Jordan Ibrahim Nasrallah The Time of White Horses
  • Kazakhstan Rollan Seisenbayev The Day the World Collapsed / Mukhamet Shayakhmetov The Silent Steppe: The Story of a Kazakh Nomad Under Stalin / Nursultan Nazarbayev My Life, My Times and the Future / Ilyas Esenberlin Nomads
  • Kenya Binyavanga Wainaina One Day I Will Write About This Place / Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o A Grain of Wheat; Wizard of the Crow / Philo Ikonya Kenya, Will You Marry Me?
  • Kiribati Teweiariki Teaero Waa in Storms
  • Kuwait Saif Marzooq al-Shamlan Pearling in the Arabian Gulf / Jehan S Rajab Invasion Kuwait / Haya al-Mughni Women in Kuwait / Danderma The Chronicles of Dathra, a Dowdy Girl from Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan Chinghiz Aitmatov JamiliaThe Place of the Skull
  • Laos Outhine Bounyavong Mother’s Beloved
  • Latvia David Bezmozgis The Free World / Agate Nesaule A Woman in Amber / Inga Zolude A Solace for Adam’s Tree / Sandra Kalniete With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows
  • Lebanon Joumana Haddad I Killed Scheherazade  / Elias Khoury Yalo; Gate of the Sun / Hanan al-Shaykh One Thousand and One Nights; The Locust and the Bird / Jabbour Douhaiy June Rain / Alexandra Chreiteh Always Coca-Cola / Iman Humaydan Wild Mulberries / Amin Maalouf Samarkand; Leo the African / Rashid al-Daif Dear Mr Kawabata / Amin al Rihani / Gibran Khalil Gibran
  • Lesotho Thomas Mofolo Chaka / AS Mopeli-Paulus Blanket Boy’s MoonThe World and the Cattle / Morabo Morojele How We Buried Puso / Various Basali! Stories by and about women in Lesotho
  • Liberia Helene Cooper The House at Sugar Beach / Ellen Johnson Sirleaf This Child Will Be Great / Mardia Stone Konkai: Living Between Two Worlds
  • Libya Hisham Matar In the Country of Men; Anatomy of a Disappearance / Ibrahim Al-Khoni Anubius: A Desert Novel; Gold Dust; The Animists; The Bleeding of the Stone; The Puppet; The Seven Veils of Seth / Ahmed Fagi Homeless Rats; 30 Short Stories
  • Liechtenstein Iren Nigg / Stefan Sprenger / Heinrich Harrer Seven Years in Tibet / CC Bergius The Noble Forger
  • Lithuania Laura Sintija Černiauskaitė / Various No Men, No Cry (‘Collective Series’) / Ricardas Gavelis Vilnius Poker / Jonas Mekas / Juozas Baltusis / Andrius Tapinas Hour of the Wolf / Balys Sruoga Forest of the Gods
  • Luxembourg Jean Back Amateur / Robi Gottlieb-Cahen Minute Stories
  • Macedonia Rumena Bužarovska Scribbles; Wisdom Tooth / Goce Smilevski Sigmund Freud’s SisterConversation with Spinoza/ Elizabeta Bakovska On the way to Damascus
  • Madagascar ed. Jacques Bourgeacq and Liliane Ramarosoa Voices from Madagascar
  • Malawi Samson Kambalu The Jive Talker / Aubrey Kachingwe No Easy Task
  • Malaysia Shih-Li Kow Ripples and Other Stories / A Samad Said
  • Maldives Abdullah Sadiq Dhon Hiyala and Ali Fulhu
  • Mali Amadou Hampâté Bâ The Strange Destiny of Wangrin / Yambo Ouloguem Bound to Violence
  • Malta Immanuel Mifsud Happy Weekend / Pierre Mejlak / Simon Bartolo
  • Marshall Islands Ed Daniel Kelin Marshall Islands Legends and Stories / Marshallese school students (the Unbound Bookmaker Project) The Important Book about Majuro / Jack Niedenthal For the Good of Mankind / Bob Barclay In Melal: A Novel of the Pacific / Dirk R Spennemann Bwebwenatoon etto: a collection of Marshallese legends and traditions
  • Mauritania Mohamed Bouya Bamba Angels of Mauritania and the Curse of the Language
  • Mauritius Anand Mulloo Watch Them Go Down / Barlen Pyamootoo Benares
  • Mexico Juan Pablo Villalobos Down the Rabbit Hole / Octavio Paz The Labyrinth of Solitude (trans. Lysander Kemp) / Laura Esquivel Like Water for Chocolate (trans. Carol Christensen and Thomas Christensen) / Martín Solares The Black Minutes / Carlos Fuentes / Jorge Volpi / Rosario Castellanos / Carmen Boullosa / Mario Bellatín / Elena Garro / Juan Rulfo / Elena Poniatowska / Sergio Pitol / Juan Rulfo Pedro Paramo
  • Micronesia, Federated States of Luelen Bernart The Book of Luelen
  • Moldova Ion Drutse Moldavian AutumnThe Story of an Ant
  • Monaco ed. Richard and Danae Projetti Grace Kelly: Princesse du Cinema
  • Mongolia Galsan Tschinag The Blue Sky
  • Montenegro Petar II Petrović-Njegoš The Mountain Wreath / Andrej Nikolaidis / Xenia Popovich A Lullaby for No Man’s Wolf 
  • Morocco Diss Chraïbi Heirs to the Past; Le Passé Simple (The Simple Past) / Tahar Ben Jelloun The Sacred Night; This Blinding Absence of Light (trans. Linda Coverdale); A Palace in the Old Village (trans. Linda Coverdale) / Bensalem Himmich The Polymath / Mohammed Achaari The Arch and the Butterfly / Fatima Mernissi / Muhammad Shukri For Bread Alone / Muhammad Barrada The Game of Forgetting 
  • Mozambique Mia Couto The Sleepwalking Land; Under the Frangipani / Paulina Chiziane Niketche / Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa Ualalapi / Luis Bernardo Honwana We Killed Mangy Dog
  • Myanmar Cho Tu Zaw / Ma Thida / Nu Nu Yi Inwa Smile as they Bow
  • Namibia Joseph Diescho Troubled Waters / Neshani Andreas The Purple Violet of Oshaantu
  • Nauru Timothy Detudamo Legends, Traditions and Tales of Nauru / Ben Bam Solomon et al Stories from Nauru
  • Nepal Samrat Upadhyay Buddha’s Orphans / Ajit Baral The Lazy Conman and Other Stories / Parijat Blue Mimosa
  • Netherlands Harry Mulisch The Discovery of Heaven / Cees Noteboom Lost Paradise; All Souls’ DayRituals / Tessa de Loo / Gerbrand Bakker The Twin / Kader Abdolah The House of the Mosque / Abdelkader Benali / Jan van Mersbergen Tomorrow Pamplona / Arthur Japin The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi / Tommy Wieringa Little Caesar / Bernlef Out of Mind / Jan Wolkers Turkish Delight / WF Hermans The Darkroom of Damocles / Arnon Grunberg TirzaSkin and Hair
  • New Zealand Charlotte Grimshaw Singularity / Maurice Shadbolt Season of the Jew / Keri Hulme The Bone People / Lloyd Jones Mr Pip / Alan Duff Once Were Warriors / Witi Ihimaera Tangi / Janet Frame
  • Nicaragua Gioconda Belli Infinity in the Palm of her Hand
  • Niger recounted by Nouhou Malio The Epic of Askia Mohammed
  • Nigeria Wole Soyinka The InterpretersSeason of Anomy / Toyin Falola A Mouth Sweeter than Salt / Lola Shoneyin The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives / Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Americanah / Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart
  • North Korea Ri In Mo My Life and Faith / Kye Wol Hyang
  • Norway Karl Ove Knausgaard My Struggle / Per Petterson To Siberia; Out Stealing Horses (trans. Ann Born) / Knut Hamsun Hunger / Lars Saabye Christensen The Half Brother / Jan Wiese The Naked Madonna / Linn Ullmann Before You Sleep / Agnar Mykle Lasso Round the Moon / Gerd Brantenberg Egalia’s Daughters
  • Oman Ibrahim Farghali Smiles of Saints / Khadija bint Alawi Al-Dhahab My Grandmother’s Stories / Unni Wikan Behind the Veil in Arabia: Women in Oman / Abdulaziz Al Farsi Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs
  • Pakistan Mohsin Hamid Moth SmokeThe Reluctant Fundamentalist / Sara Suleri Meatless Days / Bapsi Sidhwa Ice Candy ManAn American BratThe Pakistani Bride/ Bina Shah A Season for Martyrs; Slum Child / Jamil Ahmad The Wandering Falcon / Daniyal Mueenuddin In Other Rooms, Other Wonders / HM Naqvi Home Boy / Uzma Aslam Khan / Musharraf Ali Farooqi The Story of a Widow; Between Clay and Dust / Ali Sethi The Wish Maker / Kamila Shamsie KartographyBroken VersesBurnt Shadows / Mohammed Hanif
  • Palau Susan Kloulechad Spirits’ Tides
  • Palestine Ibtisam Barakat Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood / Sahar Khalifeh Wild Thorns / Susan Abulhawa Mornings in Jenin / Mahmoud Shukair Mordechai’s Moustache and his Wife’s Cats, and other stories
  • Panama Juan David Morgan The Golden Horse / Carlos Russell
  • Papua New Guinea Russell Soaba Maiba / Regis Stella Gutsini Posa / Russell Soaba Maiba / Bernard Narokobi Two Seasons / Vincent Eri The Crocodile / Nash Sorariba / Michael Somare Sana /
  • Paraguay  Augusto Roa Bastos The Prosecutor
  • Peru Mario Vargas Llosa Death in the Andes; Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (trans. Ursule Molinaro, Hedwig Rappolt) / Jaime Bayly / José María Arguedas / Santiago Roncagliolo
  • Philippines Charlson Ong / Joel Toledo / Miguel Syjuco Illustrado / F Sionil José / Jessica Hagedorn Dogeaters / Bino Realuyo The Umbrella Country / Ninotchka Rosca State of War 
  • Poland Stanislaw Lem / Olga Tokarczuk Primeval and Other TimesHouse of Day, House of Night / Pawel Huelle Cold Sea Tales; Castorp; The Last Supper; Mercedes Benz/ Zygmunt Miloszewski Entanglement; A Grain of Truth/ Witold Gombrowicz Pornografia / Wiesław Myśliwski Stone upon Stone / Magdalena Tulli In Red / Dorota Maslowska Snow White and Russian Red / Marek Krajewski The Eberhard Mock books / Grazyna Plebanek Illegal Liaisons / Antoni Libera Madame / Andrzej Stasiuk On the Road to Babadag; Dukla; Fado; Nine; White Raven / Stefan Chwin Death in Danzig / Michal Witkowski Lovetown / Jacek Hugo-Bader White Fever / Wojciech Jagielski The Night Wanderers / Kazimierz Moczarski Conversations with an Executioner / Wojciech Tochman Like Eating a Stone
  • Portugal Eca de Queiroz The Mandarin and Other Stories / José Saramago Blindness; The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis; The Gospel According to Jesus Christ / Fernando Pessoa / Pero Vaz de Caminha Carta de Pêro Vaz de Caminha
  • Qatar Mohammed Ali Victory over Abu Derya: The Quest for Pearls in the Arabian Gulf / Abdul Aziz Al Mahmoud The Corsair
  • Romania Herta Müller The Passport / Filip and Matei Florian The Baiut Alley Lads / Mircea Cartarescu / Mircea Eliade
  • Russia Alina Bronsky The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine / Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (trans. Ralph Parker) / Vladimir Sorokin Day of the Oprichnik / Mikhail Lermontov A Hero of Our Time / Mikhail Bulgakov The Master and Margarita (trans. Michael Glenny) / Roman Senchin MINUS / Alan Cherchesov Requiem for the Living /Off the Beaten Tracks: Stories by Russian Hitchhikers / Oleg Zaionchkovski Happiness is Possible / PD Ouspensky Strange Life of Ivan Osokin
  • Rwanda Philip Gourevitch We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with our Families / Jean Hatzfeld Into the Quick of Life / Barassa Teta / John Rusimbi By the Time She Returned / Gilbert Gatore The Past Ahead
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis Caryl Phillips / Bertram Roach Only God Can Make a Tree
  • Saint Lucia Derek Walcott Omeros / Garth St Omer A Room on the HillShades of GreyNor Any CountryJ-, Black Bam and the Masqueraders / Dr Earl Long ConsolationVoices from a Drum / McDonald Dixon Season of Mist / Michael Aubertin Neg Maron
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines H Nigel Thomas Spirits in the DarkBehind the Face of WinterReturn to Arcadia / George Thomas Ruler in Hairoona / Cecil Browne The Moon is Following Me / Richard Byron-Cox Were Mama’s Tears in Vain? / Marcia King-Gamble / Trish St Hill /  Nickie Williams /
  • Samoa Misa Telefoni Retzlaff Love and Money / Lani Wendt Young Telesa / Albert Wendt The Adventures of Vela; Sons for the Return Home; Pouliuli / Sia Figiel Where We Once Belonged; The Girl in the Moon Circle; They Who do not Grieve
  • San Marino Giuseppe Rossi The Republic of San Marino
  • Sao Tome and Principe Olinda Beja The Shepherd’s House
  • Saudi Arabia Rajaa Al-Sanea Girls of Riyadh / Raja Alem My Thousand and One Nights: A Novel of Mecca / Abdul Rahman Munif EndingsCities of SaltThe TrenchVariations on Night and Day / ed. Abubaker Bagader Voices of Change / Ghazi Abdul Rahman Al Gosaibi
  • Senegal Mariama Bâ Une Si Longue Lettre (So Long a Letter) / Ken Bugul Riwan ou Le Chemin de Sable (Riwan or The Path of Sand)
  • Serbia Ivo Andric Bridge in the River Drina / Milos Crnjanski A Novel About London; Migrations / Danilo Kiš / David Albahari Bait / Milorad Pavic Dictionary of the Khazars / Srdjan Valjarevic Lake Como / Zoran Živković
  • Seychelles Glynn Burridge Voices / William Travis Beyond the ReefsShark for Sale
  • Sierra Leone Aminatta Forna The Memory of Love / Ishmael Beah A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of  Boy Soldier
  • Singapore Su-Chen Christine Lim Fistful of Colours
  • Slovakia Pavol Rankov / Peter Pistanek Rivers of Babylon / Daniela Kapitánová Samko Tale’s Cemetery Book
  • Slovenia Slavoj Žižek / Nataša Kramberger Heaven in a Blackberry Bush, a Novel in Stories / Andrej Blatnik You do Understand / Andrej Skubic Fužine Blues / Miha Mazzini The German Lottery / Vladimir Bartol Alamut
  • Solomon Islands John Saunana The Alternative / ed. Alice Aruhe’eta Pollard and Marilyn J. Waring Being the First: Storis Blong Oloketa Mere lo Solomon Aelan / Celo Kulagoe
  • Somalia Nuruddin Farah Secrets; Sweet and Sour Milk
  • South Africa Gavin Evans Dancing Shoes is Dead / Ingrid Winterbach The Book of Happenstance / Damon Galgut The Quarry / Kgebetli Moele The Book of the Dead / Diane Awerbuck Cabin Fever / Siphiwo Mahala African Delights / Henrietta Rose-Innes Nineveh / Ivan Vladislavic The Loss Library / Nelson Mandela The Long Walk to Freedom / Alan Paton Cry, the Beloved Country / Bryce Courtenay The Power of One / Dalene Matthee Fiela’s ChildCircles in the Forest
  • South Korea Hwang Sok-yong The Guest; The Old Garden / Lee Hye-Kyung A House on the Road / Shin Kyung-Sook Please Look After Mom
  • South Sudan Julia Duany ‘To Forgive is Divine not Human’
  • Spain Miguel Delibes Five Hours with Mario / Javier Cercas Soldiers of Salamis; The Anatomy of a Moment (trans. Anne McClean) / Alberto Mendez The Blind Sunflowers / Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote (trans. Edith Grossman) / Carlos Ruiz Zafon The Shadow of the Wind /  Enrique Vila-Matas Dublinesque / Juan Goytisolo Exiled from Almost Everywhere / Antonio Muñoz Molina Sefarad
  • Sri Lanka Romesh Gunesekera Reef / Carl Muller The Jam Fruit Tree / Shehan Karunatilaka Chinaman / Ru Freeman A Disobedient Girl / Siri Gunasinghe The Shadow / Kathleen Jayawardena Circles of Fire / S Ponnuthurai Ritual / Sunethra Rajakarunanayake Metta / Keerthi Welisarage The Doomed / Martin Wickramasinghe
  • Sudan Amir Tag Elsir The Grub Hunter / Tarek Eltayeb The Palm House / Tayeb Salih Season of Migration to the North / Leila Aboulela Minaret
  • Suriname Cynthia Mcleod The Cost of Sugar; The Free Negress
  • Swaziland  Sarah Mkhonza Weeding the Flowerbeds
  • Sweden Henning Mankell Chronicler of the Winds / Per Olov Enquist The March of the Musicians (trans. Joan Tate); The Story of Blanche and Marie / Jens Lapidus Easy Money / Karin Altenberg Island of Wings / Jonas Hassen Khemiri Montecore / / Hjalmar Soderberg Doctor Glas / Lotta Lotass / Amelie Posse / John Ajvide Lindqvist Let the Right One In
  • Switzerland Friedrich Dürrenmatt The Pledge / Hansjörg Schertenlieb A Happy Man / Gottfried Keller A Village Romeo and Juliet / Annemarie Schwarzenbach / Friedrich Glauser In Matto’s Realm / Peter Bichsel Children’s Stories / Aglaja Veteranyi Why the Child is Cooking in the Polenta / Hugo Loetscher Noah / Gerhard Meier Isle of the Dead 
  • Syria Fadi Azzam Sarmada / Zakaria Tamer Breaking Knees / Ghadda Samman / Rafik Schami Damascus Nights / Hassan Bahri / Hanna Mina Sun on a Cloudy Day / Khaled Khalifa In Praise of Hatred
  • Taiwan Su Wei-chen / Pai Hsien-yung Crystal Boys
  • Tajikistan Andrei Volos Hurramabad
  • Tanzania Muhammed Said Abdulla / Abdulrazak Gurnah Desertion / Edwin Semzaba / Ismael Mbise Blood on Our Land / Agoro Anduru / Adam Shafi / Bethsaida Orphan Girls’ Secondary School Their Voices, Their Stories / Sophia Mustafa Broken Reed / Tengio Urrio The Girl from Uganda / S Ndunguru The Lion of Yola / Ronny Mintjens More Than a Game
  • Thailand Chart Korbjitti The Judgement; No Way Out; Time; Mad Dogs & Co / Kukrit Pramoj / Kampoon Boontawee A Child of the Northeast
  • Togo Jeanette D Ahonsou / Pyabelo Chaold Kouly / Tété-Michel Kpomassie An African in Greenland
  • Tonga Joshua Taumoefolau A Providence of War / Epeli Hau’ofa Tales of the Tikongs
  • Trinidad and Tobago VS Naipaul A House for Mr Biswas; In a Free State / Monique Roffey The White Woman on the Green Bicycle / Robert Antoni / Keith Jardim Near Open Water / Earl Lovelace Is Just a Movie / Vahni Capildeo One Scattered Skeleton / Errol John Moon on a Rainbow Shawl
  • Tunisia Habib Selmi The Scents of Marie-Claire / Abdelwahab Meddeb Talismano / Hassouna Mosbahi A Tunisian Tale / Ali Douagi / Mahmoud Messadi
  • Turkey Orhan Pamuk Snow / Latife Tekin Dear Shameless Death / Elif Shafak The Forty Rules of Love / Erendiz Atasu The Other Side of the Mountain / Murathan Mungan / Orhan Kemal / Halide Edip Adıvar / Reşat Nuri Güntekin / Refik Halit Karay / Sabahattin Ali / Yaşar Kemal / Kemal Tahir / Fakir Baykurt / Sait Faik Abasıyanık / Güneli Gün On the Road to Baghdad
  • Turkmenistan John Kropf Unknown Sands / Ak Welsapar The Tale of Aypi; Cobra
  • Tuvalu Various Tuvalu: a history
  • Uganda Okot p’Bitek Song of Lawino / Moses Isegawa Abyssinian Chronicles; Snakepit / Doreen Baingan Tropical Fish: Stories Out Of Entebbe
  • Ukraine Andrey Kurkov Death and the Penguin / Theodore Odrach Wave of Terror 
  • United Arab Emirates Qais Sedki Gold Ring / Maha Gargash The Sand Fish / Ameera Al Hakawati Desperate in Dubai / Mohammad Al Murr The Wink of the Mona Lisa; Dubai Tales
  • United Kingdom Angus MacLellan Stories from South Uist / Christina Hall To the Edge of the Sea / Deborah Levy Swimming Home / Siân Melangell Dafydd Y Trydydd Peth / Vanessa Gebbie / Caryl Lewis Martha, Jack and Shanco
  • United States of America Neil Gaiman American Gods / Sean Murphy The Time of New Weather / Norton Juster The Phantom Tollbooth / Michael Shaara The Killer Angels / Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible / Cormac Mccarthy All the Pretty Horses / Eliot Weinberger / Jhumpa Lahiri / Amy Tan / Sandra Cisneros
  • Uruguay Juan Carlos Onetti The Shipyard; The Pit and Tonight / Felisberto Hernández Lands of Memory / Rafael Courtoisie / Cristina Peri Rossi /Eduardo Galeano / Mario Benedetti / Horacio Quiroga The Decapitated Chicken
  • Uzbekistan Sabit Madaliev / Hamid Ismailov The Railway / Bibish The Dancer from Khiva: One Muslim Woman’s Quest for Freedom
  • Vanuatu Sethy Regenvau Laef Blong Mi: From Village to Nation
  • Vatican City Luigi Marinello & The Millenari Shroud of Secrecy or Gone with the Wind in the Vatican
  • Venezuela Francisco Suniaga / Alberto Barrera Tyszka The Sickness / Ana Teresa Torres / Romulo Gallegos / Federico Vegas Falke
  • Vietnam Phan Hon Nhien The Joker; Cold Eyes; Left Wing / Bao Ninh The Sorrow of War (trans. Frank Palmos, Phan Thanh Hao) / Nguyen Nhat Anh
  • Yemen Wajdi al-Ahdal A Land without Jasmine / Zayd Mutee’ Dammaj The Hostage
  • Zambia Gaile Parkin Baking Cakes in Kigali / Field Ruwe / Binwell Sinyangwe A Cowrie of Hope
  • Zimbabwe Petinah Gappah An Elegy for Easterly / Tsitsi Dangarembga Nervous Conditions / Brian Chikwava Harare North / Tendai Huchu The Hairdresser of Harare / Shimmer Chinodya Chioniso and Other Stories / Stephen Lungu Out of the Black Shadows

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Sorry I've been Absent

My new job in Shenzhen is pretty good, not perfect mind you, but pretty good. The only BIG negative currently is that I live over 2 hours away from where I work. I am hoping to find a new place to live closer to Nanshan Central District (where I work) next month. I must save enough money first which is why I haven't moved yet.

Yesterday I finished my application for the correct visa to work in China. I will pick up my Passport in 2 weeks and be good to go (or should I say stay).

Until I move though, my time to access MyEC will remain very limited. I work 5 days a week and leave my apartment at 10 am and return at about midnight. That is due to the travel time. Once I move, I'll try to carve out some time to get back involved here at MyEC

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I quit my job today

I knew when I agreed to take the job in Longgang, Shenzhen, Guongdong, China I was taking a risk.  Red Flags had arisen early.  Supposedly hired in early June of 2013, I heard nothing on the paperwork I needed to obtain my Visa.  I finally contacted the "Managing Director" in early July and was told that the Chinese Government was moving slowly.  I waited.  At the end of July I was asked to come obtain an F Visa instead of continuing to wait on a Z Visa (Proper work Visa).  I was told they would get the proper Z visa for me once I arrived.

Knowing I was taking a risk, I went ahead and obtained the Visa and flew to Shenzhen.  Eight months later (today) I quit.  I came to China to see how it compared to other places I had been and to experience more directly the culture.  Now I am left wondering " Are all English Language Centers run the same as this one?  Are all untrustworthy?"  The only way I will discover the answer is to find work elsewhere in this twin metropolis area.  I will start looking on Monday.

Meanwhile, the center I just left sent me a threatening letter. Should I be worried?  Should I take them serious?  A center they brought me illegally to work in China is going to take me to court?  I don't know.

Many end up in these situations blindly.  I have no such excuse.  I knew I was taking a risk.  I am prone to trust someone until they prove they can't be trusted.  That is my personality.  Maybe this is just one bad apple.  I hope it is but am afraid it isn't.

My F Visa expires August 9.  If I can find sufficient work, I will stay until then.  If I can find an honest employer, I may stay longer with a proper Z Visa.  That assumes that I am not tossed out earlier by the government.

Time will tell.

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This Slideshow on the BBC News sites  "More than a Handshake" discusses some of the cultural differences among nationalities in a business setting.  If your country isn't listed, how are your customs the same or different from those listed?

The U.S. is listed but you will see variances in different parts of the U.S.   The South tends to be less formal in my experience than many other areas.  

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Flo-Joe's four steps to FCE exam success: is a site where you can take practice Cambridge Certificate exams.  Even you you do not plan to take the FCE, the skills tested here will be similar to the skills you need for other English assessments such as the IELTS or TOEFL.  There is a variety of areas covered.

The direct link to the Practice Tests is http://www.flo-joe.co.uk/fce/students/tests/tsindex.htm

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ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN?

 

 

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

 

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

 

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She then pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

 

Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?"

 

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

 

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

 

The granddaughter then asked, "What does it mean, Grandmother?"

 

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity -- boiling water -- but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

 

"Which are you?" she asked her granddaughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

 

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

 

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?

 

Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

 

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of your life. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

 

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level?

 

How do you handle adversity? Are you changed by your surroundings or do you bring life, flavor, to them?

 

ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN?

 

~Author Unknown

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Another link to an article online.  For those wanting to improve your vocabulary, the study indicates two ways that are the best.  The first is no surprise - live in a country where English is the native language.  The second was more of a surprise to the researchers.  People who read lots of fiction books have a larger vocabulary than people who read a lot but not lots of fiction.

Noted statistics from the study:

  • Most adult native test-takers range from 20,000–35,000 words
  • Average native test-takers of age 8 already know 10,000 words
  • Average native test-takers of age 4 already know 5,000 words
  • Adult native test-takers learn almost 1 new word a day until middle age
  • Adult test-taker vocabulary growth basically stops at middle age
  • The most common vocabulary size for foreign test-takers is 4,500 words
  • Foreign test-takers tend to reach over 10,000 words by living abroad
  • Foreign test-takers learn 2.5 new words a day while living in an English-speaking country

http://www.economist.com/blogs/johnson/2013/05/vocabulary-size

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Have you been fishing lately?

The English Language is like a vast ocean.  It isn't uniform, and it contains a lot of variety with many possibilities lurking out of sight, hidden away under its murky waters.  In some places its depth is shallow and easily understood while in other areas it may go very deep indeed - deeper than even experienced ocean voyagers may realize.

As you are fishing in its depths where you are, you may not catch every possibility.  The rule you have reeled in may not be uniform; it may have some snags attached called exceptions (and probably does).  The word you hooked is likely not the only species in the English Ocean.  There may be other words better tasting than the one you have caught.  The person who has been your navigator may have taught you all they have learned and know, but they may have only learnt the straits around where they are and as a result may not be familiar with what lies beyond or even the deeper depths in the straits they do know.  They may even have fears that if they venture too far into the Ocean they will fall off the edge, so they hug the shorelines they know. So you learn the limited area they know.  So someone who has experienced a different part or perhaps a greater region of the English ocean will have an understanding that your navigator doesn't.

 I don't think it is possible for any one person to know all there is to know about this vast realm.  I certainly do not.  People who navigate upon its waters are always learning or they become stale and obsolete.  However, those who grew up fishing its waters, mining its depths for treasures, roaming its shores and living on its and sustenance have an advantage over those who are just discovering it or even those who discovered it years ago but weren't nurtured on it from conception.  If an educated Native English Teacher tells you that something is or is not true about this Ocean, more than likely you can take it to the bank even if it is not what you have previously been taught.  Rules seldom are absolute.  They are merely tools to help people learn.  Substance is more important than form.

For example many of you will have been taught the following:

“We can use action verbs with the continuous, but state verbs are not normally continuous.”

Oxford Guide to English Grammar John Eastwood p. 79

 

In other words you have been taught that words such as understand, believe, love, want, see

should not be used in the progressive /continuous tense.  You have been taught that “State” verbs such as these are not used in the continuous or progressive form .  A rule intended to help but which leads to a false understanding; a misunderstanding of English.

This is an example of learning a rule both incompletely and without learning the substance. First it is not an “absolute” rule.  Note the use of “normally”.  Also it is more of a British English rule than an English rule since American English uses many of these “State” verbs in a continuous manner fairly frequently, especially compared to their use in British English.  But even in British English, the substance is what matters, not the rule.

The substance is that the rule only applies to an unchanging state. 

Here is the part you probably missed or was never taught:

“We can use the continuous with some state verbs if we see something as active thinking or feeling for a period of time, rather than a permanent attitude.

I love holidays. (permanent attitude)”; I'm loving every minute of this holiday. (active enjoyment)” 

Oxford Guide to English Grammar John Eastwood p. 80

 This latter statement accurately reflects the substance of English.  “I am wanting something to eat” is not wrong if it is an ongoing, continuous state rather than an unchanging state.  “I am not understanding you” is correct when used to talk about the ongoing present situation.  Context in English is everything.  Rules are just tools.  Barron's 501 English Verbs lists continuous aspects for many of the "State" verbs.  Only a few are NEVER used in a continuous aspect.  

 Without knowing the rules, Native Speakers know how the language is used.  They know that many "State" verbs are in fact used in the continuous aspect.  They use them in their daily lives.  They have no prescriptive rules barring them from using the language correctly.  So before you tell the Native English speakers they are wrong, consider the possibility that the rule you have learned is incomplete.  

Native English Speakers have a built-in advantage.  They have always known the English language ocean.  They have an innate knowledge that those coming to it years later struggle to comprehend.  There will be aspects of it they may not fully know, but their instincts will usually guide them true.  The better educated they are, the more likely this homing instinct is to be inerrant.   Can Native Speakers be mistaken?  Yes.  Many are lost in the Grammar Seas of English. Being a Native Speaker is not equivalent to speaking, knowing and using English well, but the better educated ones will tend to be excellent guides.  There is a real good possibility that the latecomer will actually have a better knowledge of the maps than the Native Speaker because the Native Speaker will seldom use one; they will only consult a map if they are in unfamiliar territory.  But once the Native Speakers consult a map, the Native Speakers will again be at an advantage understanding the map.  They will know landmarks and details that aren't shown on a map.  They may even know some areas not shown on the map or where the map is not entirely correct or up to date. 

So cast your nets fearlessly into the vast English Ocean. The more you plumb its depths, the more you will discover, and the more you discover the more confident you will become and the farther you will venture out upon the waters  to reach new destinations.   Learn your rules BUT try to discover the reason for the rule.  Rules can be great tools but also try to learn the substance.  That way, you will know when the rules apply, how they apply and, just as importantly, when when a rule is not applicable.   If you wander off course or get sideswiped by a wave, look around and see if  someone who has more experience navigating the waters is around to come to your rescue. If they give you advice, hearken to it.   Only a fool rejects good advice. 

 Some quotes I like tossed into your nets for free:

"Do not be discouraged by what you do not know — but be encouraged by what you can learn." Unknown

 

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make a mistake” Rowan Ahmed 

 

"Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words." Mark Twain

 

"One learns grammar from language, not language from grammar.” Lomb Kató,

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I know I am writing about something that many of you will not have access to where you live.  But since this is a global community, it may benefit some of you.  I recently acquired a Kindle Paperwhite from Amazon.  The Kindle Paperwhite is an electronic book (e-book) reader (an e-reader) that has its own built in lighting.

Some of its other features that I appreciate include: the ability to change the font size (but it doesn't work for pdf documents) with a quick touch;

the ability to store a large number of ebooks and sort them into folders

since I often will be reading several books in parallel switching from one to the other as the mood strikes me (I am currently reading Rebecca, When you Catch an Adjective, Kill it, and The Haunting of Hill House);  it has built-in dictionaries that let you touch a word on the screen to call up it's definition which can be invaluable to those learning a language such as English; and it 

 also supports translation from one language to another.  However for that feature to work, you need to have it connected to the internet by wifi or buy the 3G version.  The Kindle uses internet translation sites such as Google Translate and as many of you already know, those sites have their own pit-falls depending upon which languages you are translating from and into when using them.  

As you can see from the photographs the Kindle Paperwhite is about the same length and width as a normal paperback book but much thinner.  Here it is compared to an oversized paperback (one that is about the same size as most hardback books) -

The only real negatives so far with this e-reader is it does not support many ebook formats including e-pub.  However, you can use free software from calibre-ebook.com to convert almost any format including pdf into .mobi or .AZ3 to use on the Kindle.  That is what I do.  Then you can use non-DRM books you have from other sources such as www.gutenberg.org/ on it in addition to books downloaded from amazon.  You can connect the Kindle to your computer using a USB port and move e-books back and forth directly from your computer to the documents folder on the Kindle.  You can not nest folders within folders as I do on my computer, and Amazon advises you not to move folders onto the Kindle but just the e-book document itself.

So do any of you use a different e-reader?  How does yours compare as to features?  

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I was insulted on chat! or was I?

Narcist!  

The word glared at me from my computer screen as I was chatting.  How should I respond to such an exclamation?  Should I be angry?  Demand that the person be tarred and feathered and run out of EC on a rail?  Should I demand they be given a thousand lashes with a wet noodle?  Should I laugh and ask if they know what the word narcist means?

90+ % of the people who chat at EC do not speak natively fluent English.  In any group of people trying to use a foreign tongue, whether here or elsewhere, there will be some faux pas.  I've made them as I have traveled around in non-English speaking countries, and I have witnessed many made by English language learners.  I've put my foot in my mouth more than once.  It's natural.  While teaching in Mexico, I told one of my students that she had made a "silly" mistake on her paper.  In her Spanish - English dictionary, the word silly was translated as "tonto" which means "fool" in its worst meaning.  She was in tears.  She misunderstood the expression.  If I had called her "tonto", I would had been in the wrong.  As it was, the misunderstanding was there.  When I explained what "silly mistake" actually meant, she wasn't offended but laughed at how it was different from what she thought.  She still talks to me to this day.  She is my friend.

Opportunities abound to be offended IF you chose to look for offenses.  It is a good idea to always give the person you are chatting with the benefit of the doubt.  Or as Benjamin Franklin once said "Search others for their virtues, thy self for thy vices"     Poor Richard's Almanac December 1738".    As illustrated by my two real examples above, it is easy for communication mistakes to happen when language learners gather.  The wrong word or expression will be used, or used in the wrong context.  

It is even easy for them to happen when you have all native speakers communicating.  I spent a month one time with people from 12 large corporations who were trying to write an agreement on a project where they all shared an interest.  We spent one month on one paragraph.  One day I realized that everyone wanted the exact same thing.  The problem was that half of the people thought the existing language provided what they all wanted while the other half interpreted that language to have a different meaning altogether.  The solution was to change the wording.  A whole month of miscommunication due to two or three words.  

So don't be quick to "fly off the handle" when somebody says something to you in chat that maybe just doesn't sound proper or even sounds out and out rude such as "Narcist!"  It may just be that what they said wasn't what they intended. Or perhaps they have a different understanding of the word or expression than you (see my example above with "silly").   Mistakes happen but  "[t]he greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make a mistake"  R Ahmed.  Don't be the one that creates an atmosphere on chat where people fear to make a mistake.  No one has ever learned any language without making mistakes.  Learn to laugh rather than scold.  Make sure the person really intended to offend you before you get offended.  Your understanding and their intention may not be the same. And remember "He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help."  Abraham Lincoln.  

Now how do you think I responded when (name withheld to protect the guilty) called me "Narcist!"?  

How will you respond the next time someone says something to you on chat that you interpret as "rude" or "bad"?

PS:  A side benefit to reading and pondering this blog , other than learning to be more tolerant of others and slower to jump to conclusions,  is that you can also learn some new words, quotes and expressions along the way.  

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To Chat or not to chat, that is the question

The chat room here is as good or as bad as you allow it to be.  Not every person who comes here to My EC comes with a good intention.  Not every person is a "good" person.  There are some who come to prey on others.  They enjoy abusing others or they are looking to take advantage or prey on others.  It is up to each person here whether this is allowed or not.  If you permit it, you become part of the problem because you are encouraging it.  Every time you chat with a person who is here to abuse others, you encourage them.  I would encourage you to "just say no".  

If someone is here talking about sexual issues, using sexual language or innuendos, they are not here for a good purpose.  It is not appropriate and you should not encourage them by sympathizing with them or laughing or agreeing to chat with them in private.  Each time you give them attention, you are encouraging them to return with the same agenda.  Yes, perhaps it is part of your culture to be nice to everyone.  But being nice to predators is like throwing gasoline on a fire.  And some of them know it is your culture and nature to be nice which is why they chose to come here and target victims.  To them it is a game.  Don't be naive.

Let them know that such conversation is not appropriate and then ignore them so long as they persist in coming here and acting in such a way.  If no one responds to their posts, especially in friendly way, they will eventually cease coming here looking for victims.   They are seeking attention - don't give it to them.  And never go into private with such a person or give them information about your Skype, other IM, email or personal information.  They are looking to open the door with you.  And every year people fall victim to people they first meet online.  Yes there are bad people on the internet and in real life. Protect yourselves and others.  Stop it here before it takes root.

The more you encourage them, the more they will return.  If you think you are strong enough not to be a victim, what about their next target?  The next person may not be as smart as you are.  They may indeed become a victim.  And in reality, the whole chat becomes a victim because people will quit coming to chat in that atmosphere.  I know I will.

Such misconduct makes the chat a much less attractive place to be.  The quality of the chat will suffer and eventually, if it continues, you will suddenly see less and less of me and other people who actually come here with pure motives.  The chat room here is as good or as bad as you allow it to be.  It's your choice.  

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