Chinese Language Learning – Looking for modern Chinese books that would be appropriate for a 2nd-4th year Chinese (Mandarin) learner, which are also translated in English.

I posted this question before, but I think I was unclear with my purpose. My goal isn’t reading the text, it’s giving me a unique path for my casual self-study. The answer I’m looking for is as simple as recommending Chinese books that a 2nd-4th year learner could read, which are also enjoyable by native speakers (Not interested in children’s books — well I am, but not with this question, unless they are Harry Potter/His Dark Materials tier.) It’s also not important that they are “modern” unless the difference in language usage between then and now is significant.

Where I’m actually at: Nowhere near that. About 100 characters, some 2-dozen noun-phrases/sentence structures.

But I’m having a heck of a great time carving my own path into the language, as I’m just doing it as a hobby, not part of university or with any specific goal in mind. So while I understand that I should be looking at children’s books and educational materials (and I am), that is not what I’m asking for here.

What I want: A book/books that will be basically unintelligible to me right now when I get it in the in the mail. And its English translation, that I can also look at to compare, and give me some guidance on what to next learn. I want a book/books that would be pleasant for a native speaker, but also approachable for someone in their 2nd-4th year learning (Mandarin) Chinese.

As I continue my studies over the months and years, I will find it easier to read this book. And that will be very fun for me, as well as a historical marker of how I’ve advanced.

What I don’t want: Children’s books, or educational materials (well, actually I do want this, but separately, it’s not the goal of my post here. Suggestions are welcome, but it’s not what I’m explicitly asking for here.)

It isn’t particularly important that the author line up with other authors I like, but here are some authors I’ve liked who have a “simple, humorous” style that would be great for what I’m after: Richard Brautigan, Italo Calvino, Philip K Dick, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Ray Bradbury

Thanks and since this is an odd request, I’m happy to clarify if you have any questions!



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  1. judy_denghua May 25, 2022
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