As I mentioned in my review post about ظهور الصغير جن, I had some trouble finishing it, for reasons you can find in that post. However, I think one of the reasons I couldn't give up on it is because it was the first full-length fiction book I had attempted to read in Arabic and if I didn't finish this I didn't want to know what my self-doubt would have to say!
I left this book for a while after buying it because I was scared. The thought that kept tickling the back of my mind was fear that I would start it and find it so difficult to understand that I wouldn't be able to finish it AND I'd be put off attempting any other Arabic fiction book for the foreseeable future. What a dramatic corner of my brain that is!
As it turned out, once I sidestepped that doubt monster and opened the book I found myself at ease within a few pages, alhamdu Lillah! That's not to say that there wasn't the odd word I didn't understand, but I was able to use the old guess-from-context trick to get by and very quickly found myself reading the book almost as though it was in English.
Now, I'm not saying that every book we attempt to read in a second language, or one we are still learning, will be this easy. I'm certain it won't (and the fear of my next Arabic book is looming in that corner of my mind already). But it showed me that unless I try I won't know what I can achieve. And the more I do it, the more I will be able to read more challenging books next time!
I also learned that manga or graphic novels are definitely a good first step for reading in a language we are not entirely comfortable with.
Do you struggle with reading in some languages more than others? Are you learning a language and hesitating to dive into using it with fiction? Tell me in the comments which language and what you're scared of. Maybe we can work through it together!
Reader. Occasional writer. Muslim.
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