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选择一本适合自己的英文读物

  To cultivate one’s taste in English prose, the most effective way is to read English books extensively. Yet one may be at a loss to choose the appropriate

  books, especially as a beginner. I would like to share some of my experience.

  在培养阅读英文的兴趣方面,最有效的途径就是广泛的阅读英文作品。但是尤其对于初学者而言,在面对应该选择什么样的读物时很容易不知所措。在此呢,我希望可以分享一些自己的经验来给大家一些指引。

  My first English novel was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, recommended by many English teachers and professors as an ideal book for English learners. But my experience was somewhat disastrous. Stumbling along the lines, I had great difficulty in understanding the novel, let alone enjoying it. It’s not the vocabulary that troubled me, but rather the way Austen constructs sentences, and her way of thinking, which seemed too remote to me at that time. My fading enthusiasm was much recovered after reading Hemingway’s novel Farewell to Arms. No long and complicated sentences. And I particularly liked his concise and straightforward style. So my first suggestion is, as a beginner, you’d better choose contemporary novels instead of classical ones. You can easily engage yourself in reading, get fun out of it, and gradually build up confidence. I do not mean to exclude classical novels for ever. Actually, the second reading of Pride and Prejudice greatly pleased me (probably the result of my improved English comprehension). It is only that classical novels are less accessible to beginners due to their language styles and social background. I’d like to recommend three contemporary novelists to you-Ursula Le Guin, Ernest Hemingway, and Doris Lessing.

  我所读的第一本英文小说是简·奥斯丁的《傲慢与偏见》,这本书被许多英语老师和教授推荐给英语学习者。但是我个人的经验却比较悲催。在阅读的过程中我连理解文章都非常困难,更谈不上欣赏文章了。倒不是里面有很多生词,更多的时候是简·奥斯丁的句法结构,还有她的思维模式,总让我觉得和我不在一个维度。而我的热情是在读了海明威的《永别了,武器》才重新回到我身边的。这本书里没有什么复杂的句子。我非常喜欢这种简约明快的文字风格。所以我对于初步涉足英文阅读的人的第一个建议就是,先读一些当代的文章而不是经典的文章。你可以更为轻松的获得阅读快感,并且找到阅读乐趣,最终慢慢的建立起自信。我并不是说就完全不用去读古典小说了。事实上,当我第二次拿起《傲慢与偏见》来读的时候,阅读体验非常不错(当然也不排除是由于我的英文水平提高了的缘故)。主要的原因是因为古典文章对于新手来说由于它的年代和语言方式更为难以理解。我在此推荐3个当代的小说家给大家:厄休拉·勒奎恩,欧内斯特·海明威还有多丽丝·莱辛。

  However, reading novels is not the only way to improve your English. In fact, if you restrict yourself to novels you will miss a lot of treasures. English essays can at once inform you, entertain you, and refine your taste in English. The best example is Bertrand Russell’s work. Its language is plain, yet you cannot help feeling the elegance and the peculiar sense of humor. His simple language enables his philosophy within the reach of ordinary people. The same is true of George Orwell’s work. Here comes my second suggestion-essays are indispensable.

  但是呢,阅读英文小说并不是唯一一个提升英文水平的办法。事实上,如果你只读小说,就会错失一大块宝藏。英语散文同样可以在第一时间给你知识和娱乐,同时还提高你的英文阅读品味。最好的例证就是伯特兰·罗素的作品了。虽然说他的语言本身比较平实,但是你依然能够从他的语言当中体会到那份优雅和特别的幽默。他语言的简单明了使得他的哲学可以被大多数普通人所理解。具有相同特点的还有乔治·奥威尔。所以我的第二个建议就是——散文同样是必不可少的。

  My last advice is never follow others’ recommendations and opinions blindly, however famous or influential the person might be. Some days ago, I listened to the audiobook of Somerset Maugham’s autobiography The Summing Up. In a chapter he regards Edward Gibbon and Samuel Johnson’s style as pompous. Though I admire Maugham’s prose, I cannot agree with his view. Probably one can label Johnson’s work as pretentious, but definitely not Gibbon’s. In fact, his lucid style makes his works highly readable, and you can hardly believe they were written over 200 years ago. Therefore, we should be open to various ideas, but always think and determine for ourselves. As a saying goes, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. With that in mind, we are bound to find out our favorite writers through reading and develop our fine taste in English.

  我的最后一个建议就是永远都不要盲目地跟随那些所谓名人或者有社会影响力的人的建议和推荐。我记得以前,我听毛姆自传《总结》的音频书籍。在某一章,他认为爱德华·吉布森和萨缪尔·约翰逊的风格是非常浮华的。虽然我非常欣赏毛姆,但是我并不同意他的观点。可能人们可以把约翰逊的文章说成是浮华,但是吉布森的文章则绝对不能这么说。事实上,吉布森的文字非常容易理解,以至于你都难以相信那是200年以前的作品。因此,我认为我们应该保持开放的心态,但是保持对自我的忠实。就像一句老话所说的,一个人的佳肴可能是另一个人的毒药。有这句话在心中,我们就可以尽情的去寻找那些我们最喜欢的作者,并提高自己的英语阅读品味。

来源:沪江英语
责任编辑:Cherry

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