~ Today’s Mandarin Lesson ~
character: 十 | pinyin: shí | definition: ten | pronunciation: shee
character: 书 | pinyin: shū | definition: book | pronunciation: shoe
As many of you know, I’m big on the whole reading thing and do not go far without a book close by. My preference is for tangible books with turnable pages – preferably old leather-bound ones – but I appreciate all mediums.
I own a Kindle and an iPad so I can travel light and still scratch the itch, and have recently gotten very into the audio book game. Audio books are spectacular as it enables me to multi-task and I can listen at 1.80x speed, though I will distinguish between “reading” and “listening”. There is simply not enough time to devour all the books, but being able to listen at a faster speed allows me to get my hands on more than I normally would be able to. Some books are also far better when listened to as actual stories, i.e. anything by Stephen King.
I am a huge proponent of the library. If they didn’t exist, I would own FAR too many books with nowhere for them to live and no one wants to see a homeless book. Plus, free is lovely and allows those who wouldn’t normally be able to afford books to expand their horizons. I happen to be cheating the system by using my RI and MI library cards to listen to audio books sans paying — I vehemently refuse to spend money on audio books. I will soon be adding CO to that list. Heheh.
That being said, I love me a good bookstore. There aren’t enough of them around these days, and I’ve come to relish the time spent in them; especially ones that have a cafe on site. Books + beverages = bliss. Whenever I am traveling I make a point to sniff around and see if any good bookstores exist nearby. Cue the point of this post.
As it turns out, Beijing is home to a seriously massive bookstore, “Wangfujing”. After class one day I hopped on the subway and made my way towards the inner rings to check it out. Guys, this thing is HUGE. It’s naturally all in Mandarin, which made for a very interesting experience. Apparently it’s also a good spot for English books, but I mean… I’m in China. Why would I want English books?
After spending a couple of hours bopping around and perusing the isles, I came home with a nice haul. A friend of mine collects Harry Potter books from around the world, so I picked one up for her, in addition to buying some “easy” books in Mandarin for Kyle and I to translate.
At least, I thought they would be easy. I bought the Little Mermaid, Mulan, Frozen, and some book with a crazy looking cat on the cover. As it turns out, we are nowhere near the level to read these books. So far, we have been able to translate 1.5 paragraphs of the Little Mermaid, which has taken at least two hours. We want to go back before we leave to see if there are any Dr. Seuss-esque books for us. At least we’ve got some material to “read” when back in the states.
That’s all from me at the moment. Stay weird, friends. xx