It’s been a rough couple of weeks for reading. Sometimes life is like that. Things going on. Stressful things, and I am just so beat I can’t concentrate on a book. Still, gonna plan to knock out the short novel I’m currently reading this weekend and start another.

A while back I downloaded the audiobook of The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin. I listened to the first 30 minutes of this acclaimed novel and found it to be just unlistenable. Now, this is weird because a lot of people whose opinions I respect really love this novel and the series. I am aware of what it is about. Yes, I’ve watched a lot of videos on Quinn’s Ideas about it. Yet still I found it pretty horrible.

Over the last few nights I’ve given it another try.  I’m doing better with it.

I don’t know if I have ever read a novel translated from Mandarin before. I feel like there might be some translation issues I’m running into. Let’s face it, literary translation is a very hard discipline. I am friends with one of the foremost translators of Mexican literature into English, and we’ve talked about it, and it is as much an art as writing the novel in the first place.

The other possibility is that the novel, even in its original language, reads like a technical manual.

At any rate, I’m listening because while it “listens” kind of soulless, the ideas are huge and interesting and I like them.

Another thing: because the last “big series” I read was Hyperion and the Fall of Hyperion, the bar may be set pretty high. They were some of the best SF I’ve ever read, and wonderfully written.

2 thoughts on “Reading

  1. Eric Sanders

    Good topic. Finding a book that works can be a pain at times. I’ve started so many books get 4 chapters in and go “This just is not my cup of Early Gray Tea.”

    Once my new bi-focal specs are ordered gonna start a re-visit to The Stand. Currently have 8 pairs of reader specs and found that a 1.25 seems to work. Best of luck with your reading my friend.

  2. Steve

    It’s the translation. I’ve never read any Chinese works (that I can think of) and so I started Three-Body Problem, reading version. I can’t really listen to books but that is another conversation. When I started, the cadence and other nuances of writing seemed “off”. It took a few reads to get past that. The translator’s notes are useful too. If you can, push past the initial “cumbersomeness”; the overall story is worth it.
    If you can’t make it through, Netflix will be airing it as a series.


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