books

Pera Pera’s Top 10 Books for Learning Chinese

大家好!The good folks over at Pera Pera listed their top ten favorite books for learning Chinese. I haven’t used any of the ten personally, but I certainly have used and benefited greatly from Pera Pera’s free Firefox add-on (a sweet, Chinese-English-Pinyin pop-up dictionary). Based solely on that positive experience alone, I am willing to bet their suggestions are helpful. (I plan to write soon about how I use the Pera Pera dictionary in my sermon-prep workflow.) For now, check out Pera Pera’s recommended reading for learning Chinese:

Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide

If you buy only one book for Chinese, get this one. Easily the best book I have found for everything. It is split into two parts, Part A for the structure of Chinese and explaining all the grammatical features, and Part B for situational Chinese like how to describe things etc. Explanations are solid, provides tons of example sentences and everything is in Simplified and Traditional characters.

Practical Audio-visual Chinese (Traditional)

My friend in Taiwan swears by this series and he used this at his language school when he studied in Taiwan. He was on book 3 and was at a very impressive level of Chinese. Comes with CDs and has workbooks if you want them. Only Traditional characters and starts with teaching you Zhuyin, but also has all the sentences in Pinyin as well. I am on book 3 now also and have to say it is my favorite course book.

Colloquial Chinese: The Complete Course for Beginners

This was actually the first book I used for Chinese that a friend recommended when I was starting out. A solid beginner course that is lesson based and comes with CDs. Spent a good bit of time with the pronunciation using this one. Another good option if you are looking for a starter course. Also has an intermediate book as well in the series. New Practical Chinese Reader: Textbook 1

If you want more of a course-type book this series is a good introduction. I did the first book in their series using Simplified Characters. Concise and nicely organized. Would recommend it as your first introduction to Chinese and Chinese characters. Especially good if you like the dialog lesson format. Comes with CDs.

Conversational Chinese 301

Bought this one when I was in China. It goes at a faster pace than the above course, but would still say it is good for beginners. Either one of these are a good introduction course. No CD though, so take that into consideration. The Michel Thomas Method: Speak Mandarin Chinese For Beginners

For working on speaking this is probably the best starter course. Harold Goodman does a good job of introducing the tones with concept of colors as an aid for remembering them. I love the Michel Thomas method and have used this series for other languages as well (French, Russian and German!).

Pimsleur Chinese

Pimsleur courses tend to be a little slow for my tastes, but if you are looking to learn a language while exercising or driving this would be the one to get. If you are sitting down and can focus, Michel Method is better and will get you to think more about what you are saying, while Pimsleur kind of hypnotizes you into memorizing, and that’s better than nothing when you cant devote all of you attention.

Remembering Simplified Hanzi: Book 1, How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Chinese Characters

I don’t actually own this book but I’m a big fan of the method and used it to learn all the Kanji in Japanese with the original “Remembering the Kanji” book by the same author (see my Japanese book reviews). Comes in Simplified or Traditional versions.

Tuttle Learning Chinese Characters

Since I did Japanese before Chinese, I had already done my time learning 2000 characters, so I don’t actually own this one either. My friends at a language school love it though, and the method sounds very similar to the “Remembering the Hanzi” mnemonic system. So I would just pick either one and stick with it.

Chinese Demystified: A Self-Teaching Guide

A good overview of the Chinese language. I personally would buy the Modern Chinese Grammar over this one if I could only choose one, but that one can be intimidating since it is rather thick and does read a bit like a textbook with alot of explanations using grammatical terms. If that puts you off and you want a gentler overview of Chinese, but still with solid content, I would recommend this one.

By Francis Campbell. Originally Posted at http://www.perapera.org/best-10-books-for-learning-chinese/

As Much as I Love Books and Literature: Marginalia

As much as I love books and literature, the books in my library are not eternal. Every physical book I own is in the process of returning to dust—“For you are paper pulp and to paper pulp you shall return.” I keep this in mind when I uncap a pen and begin scrawling my notes into the pages of a book. My books are not fragile museum pieces to archive behind a glass display; my books are well-worn hand tools—hammers, tin snips, measuring tapes, and vice grips—to help me remodel my brain.

-Tony Reinke in Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books

A Copy of St. Andrews Seven

John Piper said St. Andrews Seven is one of the best books he has read on missions, so a lot of people (including me) flocked to Amazon to buy said book, months ago.

This book is no longer in print.

That afternoon, the prices increased from $30 to $50 to $75 and then…almost $300? (We’re talking about a tiny, used book). I didn’t buy it originally because I thought $30 was too steep for a used book…

I was creating an Evernote about the experience today as I sat down to read the copy I checked out at HST (from the phenomenal library on campus), when I decided to check to see if there are any copies on Amazon  still for $300 a pop), just for the sake of accurate note-creating, today, and there were some.

The price was still jacked up except for on one copy! Caught and bought after being sought for months–you rascal!

St Andrews Seven

St Andrews Seven

I think I’ll wait for that copy in the mail, so I can make notes in it (with pencil).

This evolved from an Evernote note, to a Facebook Status, to a blog post before I could save or submit the former–

My, how things can escalate quickly.

How to Think Like an Editor — CanonWired

So, I watched the following video earlier today–all 40 minutes of it. What can I say other than I was sucked into it. What was meant to be a quick glance at an editor (who looks  a tad like Einstein) turned into almost an hour venture.

Usually I post faith-related updates flavored like a Bible study. That was my plan, anyway. However, the English major in me (which was my undergraduate work) loves stuff like this.

John Wilson, editor of “Books & Culture: A Christian Review” describes his experience in being a editor in order to help aspiring writers to think on both sides of the equation instead of just one.

Near the end, Mr. John Wilson has some great advice, and I’ll paraphrase what I can remember (with apologies to Mr. Wilson): don’t feel like you have to have read all of the classics, or whatever the latest gab is about. Read what you enjoy, and enjoy what you read. That is not to say that we shouldn’t read anything difficult, or that we shouldn’t read the classics. They’re classics for a reason.

So, have “…not a belligerent rejection but an independent spirit…”

“There is a sort of false idea that there is some set of books that if you want to be really educated, or you want to be really hip, or whatever the category is–you have to do this, you have to do this–and it’s false…

I might start to read Books and Culture sometime. Thank you for telling the truth, Mr. John Wilson.

How to Think Like an Editor — CanonWired.