Hacking Chinese Reading Challenge, November 10th to 30th

Now that the vocabulary challenge is over (we’re working on the recap video, which should be out early next week), it’s time to shift focus to another essential area of learning Chinese: reading. This month’s challenge starts on November 10th and runs to the end of the month. This article contains more information about the challenge, as well as suggestions for how to improve reading ability:

Chinese reading challenge, November 2020

And while I think you can study too much in Skritter, you really can’t do too much reading, so let’s see if we can beat last month’s challenge, where we studied a collecting 1,000+ hours. :slight_smile: 一起加油!


Looking forward to this!


Already signed up!

So, what are you all going to read? I haven’t really decided yet, but it might be a mix of linguistics papers I’ve been putting off reading and Bilbo.

Slowly making my way through 頭文字D (48 books in the 漫畫 series) and reading lots of stuff on Du Chinese. Both of these are giving me lots of extensive reading practice, which feels great!

1 Like

Im planning to read some Mandarin Companion books I have ordered, followed by either Du Chinese or Chairman’s Bao.


Which books did you order? We do have many of the MC deck lists on Skritter so be sure to search for them.

There are a few missing though, so fingers are crossed! We’re still waiting on Jared and John to get us some updated data.

I ordered Journey to the Centre of the Earth–I cannot see this one when i search for “Mandarin Companion”–do you know if it is there?


Awesome book!

Looks like that is one of the missing ones.

The deck lists have all been provided by MC in the past, and we’re hoping to get our hands on the rest, but it is unlikely that’ll be done before the end of the challenge.

Similar to last month’s challenge, I’ll be tracking and posting about my progress on the HC Challenge page, and also over on my #studygram account on IG here.

Decided to change my focus just a bit for the month. Du Chinese, TCB, and 頭文字D will be my dead time reading materials, but I’m also going to try and finally read some books on my shelf that are collecting dust.

履歷表 (The Private Me)」by Taiwanese author 幾米 and 「漫畫•巴萊 (Comics• Bale)」a graphic novel adaptation of 「賽德克·巴萊 (Warrior’s of the Rainbow)」by 邱若龍.

Damn, I’ve just finished all of the mandarin companion books.

Have a few of the Chinese Breeze level 2 books lined up, but they’re a bit too easy and a tad boring.

Also have a few of the BLCU “Graded Readers for Chinese Language Learners” level 1 series, but that is a tad bit too hard (though I love that it throws you in the deep end with absolutely no english, even the words they provide definitions for are in mandarin… but their deep end is a bit too deep for me).

And the “The Journey to the West” graded reader, but the formatting of the book is annoying enough that it has stopped me from reading it so far.

Also those word swing interactive text games have been on my todo list for years now.

1 Like

Give them a try! Some of them have quite a lot of replay value. Some people have played Into the Haze… a lot. As in, one user beat my record, and I wrote the game and know exactly how everything works. Naturally, I didn’t try to achieve a perfect score, but exploring and learning everything that goes on in the game takes many, many replays. :slight_smile:


How’s it going for everybody? I’ve finished 北京折叠, and I’m about halfway through The Hobbit. Not reading very fast and looking stuff up for once. The translation is actually quite good!

1 Like

It’s going well. I kinda forgot how much I love reading in Chinese… and this challenge has really helped restore my faith in my reading abilities. Starting something is often the hardest part of the battle!

Here’s where I’m at after 24.92 hours logged (as of Nov. 24th in the AM)

《履歷表 (The Private Me)》
《頭文字D》 (第八卷)
《頭文字D》 (第九卷)
《頭文字D》 (第十卷)
《頭文字D》 (第十一卷)
《頭文字D》 (第十二卷)
《頭文字D》 (第十三卷)
a bunch of random Du Chinese and TCB articles

In Progress:
Spending around an hour every morning before work reading this one. Absolutely loving the book so far. Have ~150 pages to go and should finish before the end of the challenge!

《頭文字D》 (第十四卷)
These books take about 2 hours to read cover to cover. I read them at night when my daughter watches some 小豬佩奇 (Peppa Pig Chinese version) which sometimes distracts me. 豬爸爸 (Daddy Pig) cracks me up, and I like to point out critical vocabulary when it comes up in the dialogues–she’s slowly learning Mandarin from her dad!

1 Like

All 11 graded readers I ordered back in early October are still lost in the mail, so I had to read my backup reading material.

  1. Finished Jeff Pepper’s “Journey to the west” books 1, 2 and 3. Initially I was skeptical of the way the book was formatted (see earlier post), but considering how many complicated proper nouns there are, having pinyin on the facing page to check how to actually read them turned out to be useful.

  2. Finally go to the word swing text games, currently have finished 5 out of 8, and halfway through the 6th.
    “Burning Building” and “Escape” so far are my favourites - not too long so as to get tedious, and yet interesting enough to get through in one sitting.
    “Wandering Cat” is a close second, like the story, kinda disappointed that there are no real “wrong” moves, so just clicking on everything is a valid strategy.
    “Zoo” was super tedious, so much clicking to get through the game. Nothing really difficult, but so. much. clicking.
    “Girl Saves Universe” got really exhausting towards the end, a lot of reading that got a bit too repetitive towards the end (in the desert).
    “Into the Haze” is interesting, but gets a bit annoying, because it seems there’s no “winning” strategy, it’s all a bit of a gamble, and what worked on the previous attempt doesn’t work on the next one.
    Slightly dreading the last two games, because they seem to be as long as “Girl Saves Universe”.

1 Like

Just a tip from the coach here: Some things really are random, but there’s definitely strategy involved. It’s very hard to finish the game without getting to know the setting first, and it’s definitely impossible to beat the high scores without careful planning and learning a lot about where everything is. Drawing a map is probably necessary, at least for parts of the game. It’s not meant to be easy. :slight_smile:

On my latest attempt I seem to have found the brother’s hiding place in a different corner of the city than I thought he was in the previous times I played. Hm.

Yes, some thing are random, but they are not random random, so to speak. There’s a pattern to the randomness and most things (such as all of the navigable locations) don’t move around. Anyway, they idea is that exploring rewards the player because you gradually figure out of things work. One player even beat my score, which I still don’t know how they did. :slight_smile:

1 Like

So far it seems that the most important thing is find how to have enough air to survive, because that’s the thing that keeps killing me, not the random encounters.

1 Like

Yes, indeed. And the best way to preserve air is to know where you’re going (and where to find or barter for more, of course). Good luck! Let us know how it goes. :slight_smile: