What is this blog all about?

The main purpose of this blog is to give an overview of the things I do, in my everyday life, in order to improve my English. Since I am a very lazy person, I mostly read, and watch movies, and do things which make it possible for me to improve my vocabulary, my grammar and my accent without getting bored... So this blog is going to be about the books I read, the movies I watch, and some other things which I find relevant (or not)...

I hope you'll like it! Don't hesitate to leave comments if you have any suggestions concerning what I should write about!!

mardi 29 mai 2007

In the big rock candy mountains

Today, I am going to tell you about country music. Because the more I hear of it, the more I like it, and I think it is dreadfully underrepresented in my home country. And my sister thought it was a good post idea. Thanks (again) Marion!

Country music comes from the Appalachian mountains, and is a mix of folk music brought by Irish and Scottish immigrants, and other types of music like blues, polka etc. It has been mocked a lot, in France, for being typically white and conservative, old fashioned and dated, a music played only by stinky slobs in lonely dirty bars, deserted by all their friends but their out-of-tune guitar (damn, reader, I think I should write a country song myself!! I write rimes without even noticing, and I am a lonely slob...).

You want to sell a country album in France? Call it blue-grass, it's your only chance, because people don't know what it means.

And yet, look at me! I thought the same way too, until I went to the movies and saw O'Brother, the Joel and Ethan Cohen movie, and I really loved the soundtrack, which I subsequently got as a present. And then, I realised country could also have the cumulated charm of rock music and folk music and gospel. I think movie soundtracks are actually doing a great deal for the rehabilitation of country music in Europe, for example the "Elizabethtown" soundtrack, which made me discover Eastmountainsouth, which is really nice to listen to once in a while, or the "Walk the line" soundtrack, of course, without which I would never ever have listened to anything by Johnny Cash, if not at gun point.
Besides, the lyrics are often quite funny, and you do have country music for all your moods: You can cry to Alison Krauss, relax to Eastmountainsouth, be happy to Keith Urban, all your moods can be suited by country music, provided you know which artist to listen to.

Which, sadly enough, is not my case: I researched country music on Wikipedia, to have a little something to tell you which would not be just my opinion, and I found out that I did not know more than 2 of the listed artists. Isn't that sad, reader? How about you give me your suggestions? Maybe you're a country music fan, as well as a hockey-lover, what do I know??
Here are two links:
This one is a music video to a Keith Urban song. I personally think the video is lousy, but I really like the song.
This one is to an Eastmountainsouth song. The images have got nothing whatsoever to do with country music, it is a fan video for Alias, the TV serial. I enjoyed the pictures ;) but only the soundtrack is relevant to this article...

dimanche 27 mai 2007

Slováci ožijú

Dobre Djienn, reader! (that's a rough phonetic translation of the Slovak Hello, please do not use it in public, as it might as well mean something bad, if you pronounce it the wrong way, which I very likely do... )

I had a great time in Bratislava, which is a really pretty city!! I was a little worried about how it would look like, and if we were going to have enough things to see with my sister, but I really had a nice and interesting week end!!

The churches and squares are really beautiful, the people very welcoming, and we were so lucky as to have very good weather too, which was nice. We could stay outdoors all day, and it really felt like holidays. We walked all through the historical center of the city, and I was quite surprised at the great number of tourists over there, I mean, I did not think that Slovakia would be such a big touristic destination... But it's a very nice city, it's really worth visiting, especially for a flash week-end like that.

I liked the funny statues of people all over town, as well as the churches and buildings, freshly painted! It was a little more recent than I thought, as well, apart from the old medieval castle (Pressburg) on top of the hill in the center of town... the other buildings did not look mediaeval at all, more like Graz, somehow, or Vienna, but in more modest, maybe, and I liked the atmosphere better. But then again, I was there just for fun, so maybe this made a big difference.

It was also quite strange to see the big contrast between the nice and flowery city centre and the run down streets in some places, with broken windows and old bricks showing under the paint... but this had a certain odd charm as well.

What was less pleasing about the place was the fact that I could not understand a single word of what they were saying. Nothing at ALL! That felt strange, because I never was in a country where I did not understant the language before. I mean, I only travelled to either English or German speaking countries, so it was not too difficult to cope, but in Slovakia... Not a single word!! We got a flash course from my ex-roommate Petra, who taught us how to say "thank you" (sounds like dyakoo-yem), but I was too busy asking for news from Dublin to bother with a full language crash course.

Anyway. Bratislava is really a great city, I was very happy to see my sister, and I had a great time, though my feet are of a different opinion. But they are just being mean, really, because I treated them ill... And so are my shoulders, very itchy, complaining that they were in the sun all week end... I do hope they will forgive me overnight, because I'm getting slightly annoyed, to tell you the truth... But tomorrow I'll have to make up for this all-fun no-work week-end, so I guess I'll stay in the shade, and rest my feet!! Make my brain work a little, for a change... :)

jeudi 24 mai 2007

On the road again....


I'm off reader!! Going to Bratislava with my sister Marion this week end! I can't wait to see what it's going to be like! I don't know if I told you, but my room-mate in Dublin came from there, and it sounded like a cool place to visit, so here we go! I split! Bye Graz! I'll be back on Sunday evening!

Besides, I got a mail from the said Slovak room-mate today, and she will, per chance, be in Bratislava tomorrow as well, so I'll get to see her again, which I thought would never happen! I'm very happy about that as well.

Well, there is not much to say about my trip to Bratislava yet, I guess, so I'll say good night for now, have a very nice week end, reader!! Hope it will be sunny, wherever you are, and hope you'll get some rest! I'll be back on Sunday (or Monday, if I arrive too late on Sunday evening) with an account of my journey and photos, as well, supposedly!!

mercredi 23 mai 2007

We'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way...

Flash post again, reader!

Here is the link to the interesting article I talked about during my presentation today, in case you're interested!! It's about pro-Bush country and punk rock singers...
By the way, thanks for participating so much!! I did not feel lonely at all up there, thanks to you!!! :)

mardi 22 mai 2007

I still haven't found what I'm looking for...

Beuh, reader, I'm in a very very bad mood.
I read Tina's post about language learning this morning, and realized there was something seriously wrong with my German. I don't have a pattern. I don't have a plan. I thought, with German, it would go just as it went with English, I would read books, speak with people, try never to be shy, watch movies, and try to speak german to myself, think in German, and then, little by little, I would start being able to have interesting conversations, and write interesting stuff, and have good results. Obviously, it's a failure.
My French to German translation teacher handed our works in this morning, and I got a "nicht Genügend". OK, I guess I could live with that, no big deal. But I read the text over and over again, I thought very hard, tried to have a little bit of style, even though it was in German, tried not to translate stuff literally, I really tried to be a good translator. I thought I had actually made it! But no! Nicht Genügend!

I've been in Graz for what... about three months now, and still: Nicht bloody Genügend!! I'm so angry at myself!! I really do think that my German is getting better day by day, but obviouly it's not true!!! It's just so disappointing!! I mean, she told me "if your grammar was bad, I would try to give you a good mark because of your syntax and your style. If that was bad, I'd try to give you a good mark because of your grammar. But both your grammar and your style are hopeless, so what can I do?"... Imagine my face, reader!! I was not alone, which was good, she said that to all of us poor French Erasmus students taking this course, but still...

It would be pretty easy to blame it on the teacher I guess, saying she's mean, and stuff, but she isn't, she is only telling me the dreadful truth: My German sucks, after 3 months abroad and about 10 years of dreary studies.

There we go. I thought I'd open up to my beloved reader, because I'm feeling bad, and also write that down, so that I can't pretend it did not happen tomorrow. Anybody have an idea concerning what I can do? Appart from giving up on being a translator and just start casting for American Idol?

Well, reader, I guess I'll just leave it at that for today, and go fetch something very sweet to eat. And then I'll keep on learning my vocabulary for tonight's test, instead of feeling sorry for myself!

lundi 21 mai 2007

Tonight, we dine in Heeeeeeeeell!!!

Harrrrrrrrrrrghrhargh Reader!!!

I usually just say hi, but I recently went to see 300 with a friend, and I though it was time for me to barbarize my blog a little. Enough sweet posts about romantic comedies and handsome actors, time for Blood and Bruises and Cuts and Pieces of Flesh flying all around!

Well, surprisingly enough, reader, although I am a little sissy, I really liked the movie. It reminded me of all those old peplums, insofar as the dialogues were really old fashioned, just like the images and ideas defended. I don't actually like peplums usually, because I find them very ugly, with all those guys running around, sweating a lot, and making cheesy tirades every 2 minutes.

"But why, oh why did you like 300, then, oh Queen of this Blog?" asks my reader, heart in his throat?

Well, I can state several reasons, really. First of all, it's an ABSOLUTE backside must. Second, I found all the actors and actresses somehow convincing, and that's saying a lot, because I'm a cheat, reader, I went and saw the movie in German, (I was with an Autrian friend, who doesn't understand English, so the Royal English Cinema without subtitles would have been difficult). Even dubbed, and in German, I managed to believe in the characters nearly all the time.

And when you compare it to really bad failures such as Troy, for example (Yes. I plead guilty. I went and saw Troy too. Come on reader, you know me, how could I possibly resist Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana in the same movie???) it's so much prettier! (Incredible how they managed to make it prettier, now that I come to think of it :)

I like all those new movies they are making where the images look like they come out of your imagination, or straight from a book, and not from an actual camera. Like Sin City (didn't like the movie, but liked the pictures) or Captain Sky and the World of Tomorrow, things like that. Because it also gives the writer, somehow, a licence to pretend he is writing a book instead of making a movie: then it's OK to have dialogues which sound as if they were directly taken from the Odyssey, you don't need to try to be unnecessary funny, or adapt to your audience. Which, guess what, is not so thick as not to be able to understand the dialogues of the Odyssey, and comes to the cinema because they'd like a change of scenery!

So yes, in general, I must say, I like the movie very much. I wouldn't go and see it twice, but on the whole, I thought it really was respectable. Oh, yes, just one thing to finish, if anyone has seen it too, could they please give me their opinion about the music? That was reaaaaally bad, honestly, it screamed "come to me, young-gothic-punk-I've-got-piercings-all-over-because-I-am-a-big-rebel-person, and give me your money"... But of course, I'd be interested in the opinion of anyone who disagrees!! I don't actually know this type of music too well, but this one sounded really bad and cheap to me... Did I mortally insult a mythic hard rock group, or did I make new friends? Tell me reader!

mercredi 16 mai 2007

On the beach...

Yeah!! I finally found an expat blog worth talking about!!!

It's written by a Canadian guy who has moved to Australia 2 years ago apparently, and he seems to be enjoying himself quite a lot there. I like his blog because it's very funny and entertaining to read, very well written obviously, since the writer's mother tongue is English, and it gives you quite a lot informations about Autralia, because he seems to be very fond of visiting different places in the country.

I must say I have not read all of his posts since I only just found the adress (by the way, the http://www.expat-blog.com/ site is really really handy!) but so far what I read was really good. He seems to be fascinated by Australia's scary wilderness and dangerous animals, so he writes a lot about shark attacks and stuff. And also, obviously, being Canadian, he writes about hockey a bit... Which doesn't interest me all that much, but who know's maybe you are a hard core hockey fan, reader, how should I know??

Anyway, I really like his style, and he actually has one post about language, which I find nice.

Here is the link! http://www.a-reminder.org/notes/ Check it out (if you want...)

Anyway, I have to run... let me just tell you, as a conclusion, how much I hate the stoopid qwertz keyboards!!! They are driving me craaaazy! Actually, I think I should be angry about French Azerty keyboard, which have led to my taking bad habits and typing twice as slowly as usual when I am in a foreign cournty...

lundi 14 mai 2007

Spectacular spectacular...

Hey reader!

One more flash post!! I was having a look on YouTube yesterday, and landed on pieces of Craig Ferguson's late show, which is really really funny. I've added a little video bar down there, if anyone is interested!! He's got a great scottish accent, and he's really funny (did I mention he was funny? Did you know that Collin Farrell got refused at the Backstreet Boys casting?).

Hope you'll like it!!

samedi 12 mai 2007


I have not written anything in a while, so I thought, go, Claire, find inspiration. But it did not come. So I went on the stupid TV links website (baaaaad Claire) and watched most of the updates of the American Idol shows. I am ashamed, but some good was bound to come of it, and, in order to soothe my bad conscience, after watching the "Idol gives back" show, I added the www.one.org link to my favourite websites. Please go, have a look around, and just add your name and your e-mail adress on the list, you don't even have to donate! And Bono, the super-hero, will be personally grateful for your efforts. Isn't that wonderful? If he had a chance, I'm sure he'd come swooping through your window in his white cape too, and give you a kiss, but I'm told he's very busy lately, what with saving the world and stuff...

Anyway. Let's focus on something really important, i.e. my opinion about adaptations of books in the movies. My friends and I made a little presentation about that when I was in High School, and I just think it's a fascinating subject, so when my best friend V suggested I should make it a post subject, I thought it was a wonderful idea. Thanks V!

Some think books are always better, some think that the better is always the one you get to know first, but I have mixed feelings about the issue.

-Sometimes, both are just as satisfying, and thus watching the movie can save a little time. That's the case for Jane Austen's adaptations for the screen. Haven't seen any, from Clueless to Sense and Sensibility, which I did not like. And I am working hard on seeing them all.
-Sometimes, I can't read the books, because I think it's too hard and not worth the trouble. That's true only for theatre. Why should I bother reading Shakespeare when Kenneth Branagh will do the whole work for me?

-Sometimes, you read the book, then see the movie, and then get a terrible, murderous impulse. You want to go to the Airport, buy a ticket to L.A., and personally go and terminate the miserable carreer of the director by cutting his head off with a teaspoon. (Doesn't happen too often). The only case I can remember, it was already too late, the director had died of a natural death.

-Sometimes, you see the movie, love it, and then read the book, and you can't believe how it's possible to turn such a lousy, terrible book, into such a wonderful masterpiece. I think I should really mention the incredible Devdas, by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, here. I saw the movie at the cinema, lost 80% of my body water through my eyes, gave birth to a French Ganges at the Albatros cinema in Paris with my sister Françoise, and so I decided I would read the book, and see what would happen. I actually cried. Not for the same reasons. Have any of you seen the movie? No? Well, it's about a young man (Devdas, played by Shahrukh Khan, the one, the only), who is madly in love with a young woman (Parvati, the incredibly beautiful Aishwarya Rai), and blows his chances. She gets married to another man, and he becomes a drunk (now that's to make it short, the movie is actually a bit more than 3 hours long).

At some point in the story, he goes and sees her, on the day of her engagement, and begs her to leave with him. She refuses, because she can't dishonour her family, and he hits her with a pearl necklace, to scar her face forever, leave a mark on her, and punish her for her vanity. He leaves a bleeding cut on her forehead, reminiscent of the red powder that husbands put in their wive's hair on their wedding day in India. Now isn't that incredibly romantic reader?? You crying? No? Well, it's very moving when you actually get to see it. Now you read the same scene in the book: Devdas comes. "Marry me" says he. "No", says she. And then he gets angry, and hits her on the head with... a fishing rod.

A FISHING ROD!!! This is supposed to be the Ultimate Indian Litterature Classic!! The Indian Romeo and Juliet! Can you picture it, reader? Romeo hitting Juliet on the head with a fishing rod? How romantic is that? Not very. Anyway, my point is, some directors really have an incredible imagination, thank God for that.

There should be other categories, such as the cases when both the book and the movie are bad ("The DaVinci Code"), or movies you did not even know were adaptations (such as "The Dead Poet's Society"), but I'm afraid I'm running out of time, now, so I'll just leave it at that for tonight. I'm very proud I can actually classify this entry into both "Books" and "Movies" :)
Here is a little link to the scene of Devdas! Hope you'll like it!
(Please don't watch it if you've never seen the movie before, as it looks very silly, by itself...)
Good night reader! Sweet dreams!

mercredi 9 mai 2007

Oh oh I'm an alien...

Flash post, reader!

Here is a little video my sister gave me the link to... (Thanks Marion!)
Now that's our new president. He loves America, but apparently not English... :)

mardi 8 mai 2007

For those who've come across the seas we've boundless plains to share...

Hello Reader!
I have good news! One more expat interview!! Having a big family really is a blessing... Here is the interview of Eva Schonstein, one of my relatives who lives in Sydney, Australia. I spent three and a half month with her and her family in Sydney, which were absolutely great and helped me a lot with my English, of course. Here are her answers to my little questionnaire! Thanks Eva, for taking time to answer!! It's really nice of you!
1. How long have you been living in Australia

I have been in Australia since 1978

2. Why did you decide to move there?

For two reasons essentially: I met my (then future) husband, and most importantly I liked the openness of Australia, its proximity to the sea, and the friendly, open people (by contrast with Alsace people) (Hey reader?? It's me! Do you copy?? We're lovely in Alsace!! I promise!! Come and see for yourself!! ;) )

3. Did you run into any difficulties when you first arrived (concerning integration, paperwork, and such)

Well, yes of course, no emigration is totally straightforward. Firstly I had language difficulties as I started my university studies few days after arrival, and whilst my English was good, attending 5 hrs of lectures/tutes in English every day gave me headaches. I also had difficulties with assignments such as essays etc. Paperwork was easy, compared to France, Australia had at that time a very simple bureaucracy, it has greatly changed since, I am told. Integration was not so easy, either.
In Sydney, what school you go to seems to have been (and still is) very important, so I was often asked the question, and when I said I did not go to school in Australia, fellow students had difficulties in "classifying" me. The other issue was the marked difference between sexes in Sydney, which was far less marked in France; that is, there were norms in Sydney of what "girls" could drink, do, or even wear. For example, girls did not drink beer, this was for boys! I liked windsurfing and again, I was one of the only girls doing this. This has changed since then, and now Sydney has become a much more cosmopolitan city, and this difference between sexes is almost gone.

4. Do you think your experience would have been different if you had had a different nationality of origin?

Yes I do. I know this as I emigrated twice in my life: once as a Romanian into France, and the other as a French into Australia. The latter was easy, as it was seen as cool and sexy to be French! The first was far less pleasant as French people firstly did not know which part of the world Romania was in (Africa was often the belief, due to my somewhat dark skin color) and because of this, I was considered to be some kind of strange animal, coming from a very far away, unknown place. I coped with this by learning french very quickly, and trying to blend in as much as I could, and only then people in France approached me as a "normal" person.

5. What are the 2 aspects of the Australian culture that you like best?

Openness and multiculturalism. Australia is I think one of the countries most acceptant of other cultures. Australians are friendly people, helpful on the street, smiling most of the time.
- The two you like least?
Friendliness has a superficial side to it: it is difficult to make close friends in Australia when compared to France, for example. It is more the English way. The other aspect of Australians I like less is their apolitical attitude. Most Australians feel so far removed from the World's problems that they behave as if it is none of their business. There is also a confusion of identity in Australia as historically and culturally we are Europeans, but geographically and economically we are part of Asia, and a lot of people cannot somehow reconcile these two facts. It is a young nation with little real history of its own and a great guilt complex towards aboriginals, so there is much confusion in our identity.
6. Do you intend to stay there for ever?
The world is becoming smaller and smaller and for ever is a big word! I call myself a citizen of the world, and I intend to remain one. I will always have close ties to Australia I think, but I can easily envisage living somewhere else for some time. My old age will be spent mostly in Australia, I think.

There you go reader!! That's one more expat interview!! I need to go now, and eat my lunch before I come to class tonight!! I have a funny problem with my jaws... They are stuck open and I can't chew... It's very annoying... Maybe it's going to help my English pronunciation though, or magically give me an Austrian accent when I speak German... I wish...

lundi 7 mai 2007

Son jour de gloire est arrivé...

Hey reader... Well well well... I had my first bollywood dancing lesson yesterday, my legs are sore, and I proved to the world that I was about as graceful as a leek... Depressing, but well, one can only improve through exercise, as they say. It was really embarrassing mimicking the gestures of these incredibly beautiful actresses, who are also perfect dancers...

Anyway, dancing lessons, however passionating, are not what I wanted to tell you about, because we had the French elections results yesterday evening, and I figured I should say a word about them... (not passionating either? Who's that in the background trying to discourage me from writing? You're out!)

Personally, I am not pleased with our new president, but then again, my personal favourite did not make it to the second round. Even though it is a French election, going on in french in France, I thought some aspects of our campaign could belong on this blog.

Fist of all, in his first discourse as freshly elected president of France, M. Sarkozy said that he would try to restore our friendship with America. I think he admires the American political system very much, somehow, and I don't quite understand how we did not really talk about that during the campaign. I haven't seen that many elections so far (I'm a young, innocent person) but still, it amazed me how he made huge meetings in big stadiums, and invited famous people over to praise him and say how great he was, and most important of all, what really worries me most, is the fact that he started using quite a lot of religious vocabulary and metaphores. He talked about Jesus, Mother Theresa, Joan of Arch, and I find it quite shocking that he should have done so. Especially in today's France, where the situation is pretty tense between people of different religions.

It seems to have worked, however, just as it has worked in America before, but I can't quite explain how it could have worked in France, because we are, generally, so stupidly anti-American! For once, constructive criticism could have been useful, and we just didn't notice! I can't believe my eyes. I just hope that our new candidate will not keep up with the religious references, and I also hope that we won't have riots or a big crisis following his elections or the decisions he takes. After all, he's been elected democratically!

Anyway, reader, I have to split, it's time for me to go to class... Motivation motivation... I hate mondays...

vendredi 4 mai 2007

It's raining again!

Hey! It's raining again!! There we go! I'm actually happy to see a few drops, it's reassuring, and I've seen enough sun the past few days not to be depressed by a little greyness and water...

I wanted to start this post by wishing all my French Friends good luck!!! Their exams have started this week!! It's a lot of stress, and a lot of work, so I thought, I'd send them good blogging waves! You're the best!! You'll do it!! Go! Go! Go!! :)

Well, I have to tell you too, reader, I've been bad. I turned on my computer and thought, "there girl, you need some inspiration, something to blog about today". So I thought, let's go listen to a nice "Here on Earth" podcast. But first, let's watch an episode of House. First mistake. One ought to go and do the right thing at once. Especially me. Anyway. I went to the incredible TV-Links website, and I side-tracked. Baaaaaad Claire.

I clicked on American Idol.

I know I shouldn't have, it's just that I've been seeing the links for the past few weeks, and I was interested in knowing what it would look like, in America. We have our own version in France, called "A la Recherche de la Nouvelle Star", and I actually like the jury and stuff, it's fun to watch, especially at the beginning, so I thought I might as well make a little comparison between the American and the French version.

I'm not a big fan, mind you, I watch pieces of it once in a while. I'm not dead set aginst those real TV shows either. I mean, I like it better when they actually do something, instead of just sitting in a house and insulting each other, like in Big Brother, and the people who come out of it are just like all other singers. So I think it's not making the world a worse place. Surely not a better one, either, but well...

I was shocked at what I saw!! I mean, the jury is awfully rude to people, absolutely not even trying to be polite, I thought it was terrible. Funny, too, of course, but really terrible! In France we say no, I mean, we do, and sometimes there's a bit of bashing going on, but not like that!!

Then again, the candidates... Anything at all, from tap dancing to juggling, dressing up, singin a rock version of Abba (and that was far from being the worst)... I don't really know how they stand it. More to the point, I don't know how they manage to keep a straight face. I would either start crying, have violent outbursts, or have a fit of laughter. Maybe all three together. I'd laugh till I cry, and punch people. If you're looking for real entertainment, American Idol people, take me into the jury! It's like watching the Monty Python's singing version of the Funny Walk sketch, except that they are not being funny on purpose...

Are you going to believe me if I pretend it was all a very clever cultural attempt to study the differences between America and my home country? No? I understand. But still, I think I'm going to try and tell you about the few differences I did notice:

-In America (Minneapolis was the city I watched) people get to talk and defend themselves, they can argue their case, whereas in France, they sing, they are thrown out, and that's that.

-People are less rude in France, generally, both the jury and the candidates

-People are less strange in France, generally, both the jury and the candidates

Altogether, I found the American version much more cruel, and much more entertaining. I'm bad...

Well, I think that's all for today. Hope you're going to do fun things this week end reader! I'm going to work a little, sleep a lot, and wait till sunday evening, when I'll have the results of the French election. Not much suspense really, though... It's depressing... A bientôt!

mercredi 2 mai 2007

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more

Hello! Today is a beautiful day, and I decided it was a good one to talk about laziness and how to turn this fault into an advantage.

I have a lot of trouble learning German, somehow, as the few of you who have heard me struggle with my words might have noticed, and I can't seem to motivate myself enough to start doing nice, clever exercises out of a grammar book, somehow. I know I should, but I can't.

So I decided I would try reading books in good German, and when I was in high school, I decided I would start with Effi Briest. Bad, bad idea. I don't know if any of you ever tried reading Effi Briest. It's a book about a woman trapped in a loveless mariage, who falls in love with another man. Supposedly. I never reached further than page 3. I would have stopped earlier, actually, but page three was the end of the first sentence. We have that joke in French, and we say that if you buy the complete works of Goethe in the original version, all the verbs will be in the last volume... :)

Anyway. Effi Briest did not work, so I guessed Goethe would be a waste of my money too, as for now, and I felt I was not interested in reading Harry Potter all over again in German, somehow. But I had to find something good, that would be gripping enough for me not to want to let it down again, and yet, with a limited vocabulary. So I thought and thought, and decided to buy one of those crappy love stories, cheap chick-litt, as they call it in England. That worked so well reader!!

Well, yes, I know, my German still sucks, but I promise you, reading is such an efficient way to absorb proper structures and vocabs without even knowing it! Especially these kind of books, because they are not exactly written for German scholars, and you don't need to pick up your Duden every three words. As long as you know how to say "love", "sad", and "happy". And "rich", and "beautiful".

And after this slow and shameful beginning, I had to actually read some proper books for the university, worthy of the name, and it had become so much easier! I guess it also has to do with the fact that I was not afraid of the size of the book anymore. I mean, I had read books in English before, but those huge tomes in German, how could I possibly?? Reading bad literature helped me overcome this, and now I am a happy German-book-reader. I had decided I would try my luck with a Swedish one, but I did not manage to open it yet. It is still too frightening... An my Swedish is getting rustier and rustier, so I fear it is not going to happen any time soon...

Anyway, reader, I have to run, I promise you, my next post is goint to be about something clever and researched, not some random idea that crosses my head. I am afraid that's all for today... You still there reader? Thanks for hanging on!