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Fiction and Poetry

Page history last edited by Sionned 11 years, 5 months ago Saved with comment

E-ffrindiau, Lois Arnold


Written by a former "Dysgwr y Flwyddyn" so well suited to learners.  Based around an email correspondance between two learners so works rather well as the difficulty of the Welsh increases slowly through the story as the skill of the characters themselves does!  Plot is a shade "soapy" but quite engaging. - Leia


Cyfres Nofelau Nawr

These are short novels aimed specifically at learners so have relatively straightforward structures and vocab and grammar help in footnotes and an appendix.  Wide variety of story types.


Pwy sy'n cofio Siôn?, Mair Evans


Quite self centered young woman looking into the disappearance of a once famous singer. I found the story interesting but had to read this with dictionary. Although some words are given, there was still lots of words I didn't know. Uses also grammar (eg. short past tense) not introduced in SSiW. -Susanna (TygerC)


Bywyd Blodwen JonesBethan Gwanas


This was one of the first books I read in Welsh, and I faintly remember finding it entertaining enough to make up for the hard work...:-)  Its diary format means there's a good amount of 'natural' Welsh in there - following the ups and downs of a librarian learning Welsh.  -Aran

Also has two sequels "Blodwen Jones a'r Aderyn Prin" and "Tri chynnig i Blodwen Jones" - Leia

I read the entire trilogy a few years ago. I'm not a great reader of fiction, but the series is amusing and well-paced with a subtle cranking up of the level of Welsh as it develops. Most fiction for Welsh learners comes across, to me at least, as a bit contrived, but not this. - Rob


Deltanet, Andras Millward


Techy thriller.  Tight enough plot to keep you persevering with the Welsh even as you worry that a misunderstanding might cause you to miss something crucial! - Leia


Chwarae Mig, Annes Glynn


Art, sun, wine, and tipyn bach o sex when two couples vacation on the Costa Brava -- but almost no plot.  While the title, which apparently means "to play mind games," seems to promise a suspense or mystery novel, what you get is mostly a character study through the eyes of one of the two women.   Lots of Spanish atmosphere.  I found it nicely sophisticated for a book with relatively simple language (about on a par with the the third Blodwen Jones book), but other readers have really disliked the plotlessness.  Northern dialect.  - Tahl


Modrybedd Afradlon, Mihangel Morgan


Story about the renegade adventures of the elderly "Prodigal Aunts" of the title.  Funny, good characterizations, well-developed plot.  One of the rare novels for learners that doesn't feel, to me, like something written for learners, and a close contender (with the Blodwen Jones series) for my favorite Welsh novel so far.  Other people on the SSiW forums like it, too.  Welsh level similar to the third Blodwen book, but I think Modrybedd Afradlon uses a broader vocabulary, though I wouldn't swear to it.  I'm already looking forward to re-reading this.  Southern dialect.  - Tahl


Gwendolin Pari P.I., Meleri Wyn James


Very very very similar to Modrybedd Afradlon in the same series: Light-hearted novel, young person exasperated by carryings-on of irrepressible little-old-lady relative, travel within Wales, mysterious motivations lurking in background. Designed to give us maximum reading practice, because the main characters speak in southern forms with each other -- young woman always using chi to her grandmother, grandmother always using ti in response -- but all the other characters speak in northern forms. I enjoyed the book and would have recommended it highly if it hadn't ended so abruptly, with one major plot thread completely unresolved. Either they were expecting to do a sequel or the envelope with the last chapter got lost in the mail. Still fun, with that proviso. Welsh level average for this series, I think.  - Tahl


Cadwyn o Flodau, Sonia Edwards
http://www.gomer.co.uk/gomer/en/gomer.V ... ategory/38
One of two books in the Nofelau Nawr series that are apparently out of print and not available on Gwales.com (the other is Beth Nesa?). You can find used copies of both if you poke around. This book also still seems available from the publisher, Gomer, at the link above.  

Marital stress, guilt, and passion.  There is actual plot here (more than in Chwarae Mig), but most of the "action" takes place inside the characters' heads. Much shorter than the other books in the series (only 66 pages) -- more of a vignette than a full novel. Northern dialect. - Tahl


Coban Mair, Gwyneth Carey



More drama.  Serious fiction centered on a woman who's worried about her marriage and about the odd behavior of her university-age daughter.  I can't say it's not true to life, but I found the main character so unperceptive that being in her company annoyed me.  I was relieved when the book ended.  Of the Nofelau Nawr books I've read and commented on to this point, the Welsh in this one is the most grammatically advanced.  Northern dialect. - Tahl



Cyfres "Stori Sydyn"


These are the Welsh equivalent of the "Quick Reads" produced for World Book Day to try and encourage reluctant readers or adults with literacy issues.  As a happy side effect this makes them really rather good for learners because the language is simple and the sentences short!  A lot of them seem to be sports personality focused but there's some fiction as well.


Jackie Jones, Caryl Lewis

Very contemporary - feels a bit like an American dourtroom drama.


Os Mets, Bethan Gwanas

Cyfres Golau Gwyrdd

Another, short, series of short novels for learners, this time with vocabulary help set in the page margins, and with no grammatical appendix.  Welsh level about the same as for the Cyfres Nofelau Nawr books.


Budapest, Elin Meek


Three days in Budapest following the separate lives of Gwyn and Margit, who loved each other fifteen years ago but have since gone their separate ways. Straightforward, general fiction that doesn't fit any particular genre like suspense or romance or comedy.  My biggest gripe is with the obtrusively choppy writing style, strewn with sentence fragments.  (The opening paragraph, in full, gives the flavor:  "Gwin coch.  Cerddoriaeth.  Eisteddodd Gwyn Price yn ôl yn ei gadair.  Roedd e wedi cael diwrnod da.  Diwrnod da iawn, a dweud y gwir.")  It's a surprising style from the author of the Cwrs Mynediad textbooks.  Note that more than most (all?) of the Nofelau Nawr books, this one uses the Welsh-writing trick of omitting pronouns wherever possible, which would have confused me if I'd picked it up before reading several others.  Southern dialect.  - Tahl


Y Tŷ ar Lôn Glasgoed, Sonia Edwards
Need more vocabulary relevant
to heroin overdoses? This is the novel for you. I thought when I started that I wouldn't enjoy spending time with the characters, but I liked them fine. It's just that the story is grim. Same pluses and minuses as Budapest, the only other book in this series.  Like it, this book tends to omit pronouns where possible (sample sentence: Teimlais fod gen i bŵer newydd, rhyfeddol.), so I wouldn't have wanted to try it as one of my first few books. I wonder if the editors went this route out of concern that learners weren't getting enough experience seeing this common practice?  Northern dialect. - Tahl



Er Dy Fod, Menna Elfyn


Welsh language poetry for learners.  Mixture of humour, 'proper' verse and thoughts on the learning process itself.  Some challenging language, but lovely to read out loud and there's something for everyone.  I was particularly taken with the fun little skit on the "yes and no" dilemma - something any learner will recognise! 


Pedair Cainc Y Mabinogi i Ddysgwyr (The Four Branches of the Mabinogi for Learners), Alun Ifans


Short stories with vocabulary. Quite interesting reading. -Susanna (TygerC)

Dewis Dy Dynged

In the vein of the old "choose you own adventure books" so aimed at first language children more than learners, but still manageable and have a lot of reread value so good for getting used to the same patterns and vocab but with a different story 'path' to keep things interesting.


Doctor Who: Y Rhyfel Oeraf, Colin Brake, translated by Elin Meek.


Tackling a Doctor Who story this way has advantages as a learner because huge swathes of the plot are technobabble and make no sense in any language so you'r unlikely to have missed anything crucial to the plot if your Welsh fails you here and there!  (Learners may recognise the translators name as the "Cwrs Mynediad Lady..."


Doctor Who: Crafangu'r Macra, Trevor Baxendale, translated by Tudur Dylan Jones


My favourite of the two as a bit of a fan, mostly for the appearance of a very old monster and the Brigadier.  The Gwales entry has a nice read aloud extract. 


Stwff Guto S. Tomos, Lleucu Roberts


Part of "Cyfres yr Onnen" - a series of books aimed at first-language speakers between the ages of 9 and 13, which makes them harder than the Nofelau Nawr, but easier than books written for adults.  This one is written as a series of diary entries following the exploits of a 14-year-old boy over the course of six months, as he deals with the various members of his crazy family, the girl in his class he has a crush on, and even organises a protest against his school's decision to teach history through the medium of English.  Can be hilarious in places, and it seems our Guto has quite a way with words for a lad his age!  There's also a good bit of phonetically-spelled Southern dialect in there, which I found both interesting and educational. --Ifan



Llyfrau Canolradd


Tân ar y Comin gan T. Llew Jones


The story of Tim's adventures, when the gipsy boy is left alone on Glanrhyd common after his grandfather's death, with only the caravan, a pony and the foal born the night of his grandfather's death. First edition published in June 1975. Tir na n-Og Award winner.


Siop Gwalia gan Ivor Owen.


This is a reprint of a novel first published in 1973. It's a domestic story, gently humorous, about a man's effort to open the first supermarket in his small Welsh town. It was awarded first prize at the 1971 Bangor National Eisteddfod.  I enjoyed it. I can't readily describe Siop Gwalia as easier or harder than the books in the more-recent Nofelau Nawr series, though it took me a lot longer to read in my standard thirty-minutes-a-day slot, so I don't think I'd try it too early. Southern dialect.

On the "harder" side, it's much, much longer -- at least three times as long (120+ pages, in a close-packed, old-fashioned typeface). The vocab-for-learners is in a glossary at the back of the book, rather than in foot- or side-notes. There's extensive use of the "fe" prefix for statements, which isn't common in the modern books.   On the "easier" side, the vocabulary is somewhat less exotic and more repetitive than in the Nofelau Nawrs. I also think there's less short-form future, and maybe fewer idioms. The intro says the book doesn't use all kinds of sentence structures, but focuses on sentences with noun and adjective clauses -- so, e.g., lots of "I knew that he wanted to go because he told me before he went."

The same author wrote a number of other books (listed here), which are also available through gwales.com:  Dial Dau, Four Stories for Welsh Learners, Mis o Wyliau, Seimon Prys Ditectif, Ifor Bach, Lleidr Penffordd. - Tahl


Gwyn eu Byd gan Gwen Parrot.


A crime novel set in a rural Welsh village during the 1940s.
Nofel ddirgelwch wedi'i gosod mewn pentref gwledig. Mewn ffermdy yn sir Benfro, yng nghanol eira mawr 1947, daw athrawes ifanc o hyd i ddau gorff. Mae'r hyn a fu'n gyfrifol am eu marw'n gyfleus o amlwg i lawer o'r gymdeithas - ac yn gyfleus i eraill.


Children's Books


Julia Donaldson - a lot of her books ahve been translated to Welsh - the translations are rather lovely, not really literal but still with the same 'feel' and great rhyme and rhythm.  Some of them have the English in smaller print on the page.




Comments (4)

leiafee@... said

at 9:28 pm on Feb 10, 2011

Do people think we should have a seperate page for kids boks or keep it all here for now? Perhaps with jsut a section divider?

Cer said

at 10:48 pm on Feb 10, 2011

Maybe just a section divider for now. On kids' books, though, don't a lot of people use them to work on language-related skills instead of as children's books? Should they be segregated if that's the case?

Sionned said

at 1:48 am on Feb 11, 2011

But there is still value in knowing at a glance that this is *intended* to be a kids book. That could be just what someone was looking for.

WilapEynon said

at 11:22 am on Feb 18, 2011

I have added a section "Llyfrau Canolradd" A couple of oldies here from the 70's but Siop Gwalia has a very good glossary at the end which covers most idiomatic and unusual grammar situations in the book. I learnt a lot from this and it is still a good reference source. Perhaps Gwyn eu Byd is bordering on the advanced learners book list.

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