Audio book E book Strategy

Hi everyone,

I’m trying to come up with a good audio/reading synergistic strategy. I like listening to the 2 minute articles of Chairmen’s Bao and watching CCTV news with full transcripts.

However, I was considering language learning with netflix (Language Reactor) and Migaku for full fledged movies. I’ve found though for me personally, the image can be a little distracting. And instead, I wanted buy audio books and the corresponding ebook. Especially so I can copy and paste some key sentences into google translate. And I believe I’ll be able to control scaling this a little bit easier than watching full fledged movies.

Thus far, I bought the Mandarin Companion Ebook and the corresponding audiobook. That process was very simple because I very easily found an ebook and found the audible version of the book. Even though I bought the “Great Expectations” level 2 book - it is a little too easy for my level.

I have around 2,100 of the top 3k Chinese charachters. I’m around HSK 5 level (HSK 4 I have near 100% understanding).

I wanted to find the best way to find perhaps a Chinese fantasy/fiction Ebook and then find the corresponding Chinese fantasy/fiction Audiobook. But I’m having trouble navigating some of the chinese websites and a lot of the chinese library listed in Audible - if I copy and paste the book into Amazon, I only see the audiobook version --not the "ebook or even ‘normal book’ version.

Ideally I want to find the Roald Dahl (which is a little easier that Harry Potter) equivalent Chinese author and then be able to find both the audiobook and ebook. And then slowly scale from here.

Is there a website or websites that any of you go to in order to do something like this?

Also anyone find any good Baihua versions of Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Journey to the West? I would imagine there are middle school versions of these classics as well as high school versions, and college versions. If there was possibly a good romance of the three kingdoms highschool baihua version in audio book form and an ebook form, this might be exactly what I’m looking for.



@SkritterOlle got any suggestions?

Journey to the West at a progressively increasing reading level. (Plus some other stories at lower levels)

All the audios are available there too for free download

== === ===

Also, this series of books looks like a “Harry Potter”-lite, but I don’t know if it has audio available.

1 Like

I don’t have any concrete suggestions apart from The Three-Body Problem, which has several audio editions floating around (including on YouTube last time I checked). I’ve listened to all of them, but I only read the first one on paper in 2011 or so. I assume it’s possible to buy/find an e-book somewhere. You’re probably familiar with this already since everybody seems to recommend the book series, but it’s also considerably harder than anything that’s written for language learners.

One thing to consider regarding your other questions is if you really want to focus on translated novel. If you do, you really need to check with a native speaker who you trust to verify that the Chinese is reasonably good. There are many translated novels where the language is very unnatural and sometimes reads like English with Chinese words. This is still useful for some aspects of reading and listening practice, but still worth thinking about.

I’ve written about some of these topics here, including audio books:

And why long-form content is necessary (such as books rather than short articles):

Maybe some of this is helpful!

1 Like

Thanks Apmixis - appears very good. I think I will certainly be getting those on Kindle/audio book. I like the fantasy books such as these though because I listen to a lot of dry news I think they are a little more memorable and enjoyable, especially for repeated listening’s.

And Audible really only has the Mandarin Companion as Chinese graded readers. So these audio books are great.

Still looking forward to the day I can pick up a ‘three body problem’ -hopefully sooner than I think.


1 Like

Hi SkritterOlle,

You have good podcast recommendations. One I’m relying heavily on right now is Voice of America - they have a few daily programs that meet my needs - however I do this while I’m exercising and I’m not really looking at any transcripts.

I think its interesting that you’ve said before you don’t necessarily learn Chinese through movies however, here you clarify that you typically do a lot of audio books, at least for learning english. The problem of the writing of chinese being significantly different than spoken chinese though, is an interesting one.

The solution of which makes me think, maybe watching some Chinese movies/tv shows might be beneficial because they will be talking colloquial Chinese - although I feel like my vocab being a 7k is a little too little for me to comfortably watch the Chinese. Maybe after 12k words/2,500 to 3,000 charachters so I would be more engaged. None of the plots of any Chinese film thus far has really engaged me and turns out feeling more like a chore. Add that on top of them being very difficult to understand.

Obviously an alternative solution for this is both to specifically practice speaking (maybe space repetition a batch of sentences hitting different grammar points in excel) so you have the grammar drilled into your subconscious AND speaking with a native - something like through iTalki is the way to get around the limitations of written chinese and therefore, audiobooks.

I’ve viewed bits and pieces of SkritterJake’s youtube sessions. I think it’s a pretty essential resource to cover although it’s not necessarily checking the box of “mass language exposure” since the sessions are relatively short. But maybe if you combine italki sessions with specifically drilling Chinese grammar points in excel batches/updating/adding sentences for tutor input of your sessions, it may cover that - although it is a lot of active participation practice. (or maybe although audiobooks/books are a little formal, when it comes to ‘exposure’, it doesn’t matter as much since its close enough to colloquial language? at least they are baihua - I know before 1960s when pretty much nothing was baihua they were especially hard to read - for example the Chinese Mark Twain equivalent is probably extremely hard to read. I wonder if you can filter for Chinese books that just use baihua [ i’m assuming all modern day books are using baihua, but not sure])

In the meantime have you found any engaging podcasts, that perhaps use a little more colloquial Chinese (not counting chinesepod) that might both have a “story element (sci fi/fantasy/detective)” AND have transcripts?

1 Like

I don’t know of any such podcasts, but I haven’t really looked very carefully either! I think the problem of spoken/written Chinese is only a problem if you only leran by reading or listening to audio books, which is not advisable anyway.

There was a time (when I had studied for a couple of years) when people said that I often used overly formal or written language when speaking Chinese, but that came mostly from my trying to use words I had encountered when reading, without having adequate exposure to them. This problem went away by itself the more I spoke with people, though.

I imagine this could be a problem if you don’t have anyone to talk to at all, and then TV, movies, radio or podcasts would be great. If that’s your goal, I would go for anything that doesn’t have a script, so may talk shows on TV, interviews on the radio or, maybe, movies with dialogue that’s intended to sound natural (even if it is of course scripted).

1 Like

Thank you for your earlier linked articles! I like the way you mentioned to get more exposure to longer form media. I found a good source that is not podcast per say. But you can LISTEN/Relisten for the full amount of time.

And then READ maybe as much as you can of the transcript for maybe 15 minutes - for a reading and listening practice.

I like these videos because they have full transcripts and they’re in relative colloquial Chinese. One things to look out for here though is you want to find any category of video that is between 5 minutes and 15 minutes ish because the longer minute don’t have full transcripts.

Under [新聞視頻] - click on ‘show more’ to see all of the categories.

I also find the information from this particular Chinese news to be a little more engaging than the CCTV broadcast.

Start with 微视频 or microvideo.

If you do get around to looking at this website (no worries otherwise). Do you by any chance know other news sites with as extensive transcripts?

Fun Fact- the creators of the website -New Tang Dynasty tried hard in the late 90s to form a live protest in China using the internet (protesting some specific freedom)- and the scale of this incident was so big, that it really prompted China to crack down on controlling the internet in earnest - from members of a “buddhistish” sect called Falun Gong - read that from -

1 Like

Thanks everyone for all of these suggestions.

Following this thread