August Reading Challenge Report Card

The Word Nerds’ August reading challenge was a book that was not originally written in English.

Here’s our report card of how we did.

Bethany: I picked Paulo Coehlo’s “The Alchemist” because I had a copy of it and it was short. Let me say, 167 pages of sheer torture. I’ve read some really great translated books (Arturo Perez-Reverte’s work, for example), but Alchemist was not it. I gave it a one-star because it really was that terrible. The moral philosophy presented is a joke, a hodge-podge of platitudes drawn from all the major religions. If you take all the seemingly quotable lines, you’d get a moral compass for your life that’s about as realistic as the sayings from fortune cookies. And, the writing to go with it was mediocre at best. I really wanted to stop reading, but since I DNF’ed July, I thought I’d stick with it. I really don’t quite know how it ended, I was skimming at that point. He found love or somesuch nonsense that completed his heart. Skip it. Just skip it.

Stacie: I really wanted this as a reading challenge because I struggle with reading anything that wasn’t originally in English. I picked up “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” for two reasons: 1) it’s a movie now so the storyline must have been good to catch people’s attention; 2) a trusted reading friend said her husband really liked them (and I’ve liked others he has recommended.)

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I read the first 25 pages or so. There was a mystery. Then, the ending of a court trial. And some other stuff. And I stopped reading. I just couldn’t do it, for all of the reasons I felt like this should be a reading challenge. It’s really hard for story flow to translate well into another language.

Chalk me up as DNF.


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