HSK level for novels

Hi all, I am hoping to read Chinese novels as a goal for my Chinese learning. More specifically, I’d like to read 西游记 (journey to the west). Does anyone have a rough idea of the HSK level of vocabulary required for this? I’d imagine it’ll be at least 5

(HSK may not be the best angle from which to approach reading novels.)

Mandarin Companion has adapted some novels so they are readable by someone who knows roughly 1000? characters. I’ve enjoyed a few. I’m currently reading a Level 2 novel and it’s challenging but fine. I’d call my Chinese level “lower intermediate” and I know between 500 and 3000? characters depending on how generous I’m feeling towards my knowledge level. I might be around HSK 4 but I haven’t taken the test.

Sara K. at Hacking Chinese wrote some good articles about reading Chinese. She reached a very advanced level seemingly relatively easily, so I don’t think she is representative of a typical Chinese learner. But she has some good suggestions, which I plan to follow… some day.

As for Journey to the West… Some day maybe? But not soon. I hope you have some other goals for Chinese learning, or you may get discouraged. This discussion may give you some idea of what it will take:

It seems that it’ll be a while before I reach this goal. In the meantime there will be plenty of other readings to enjoy… Thank you for your insights

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yeah just to encourage you it feels pretty amazing when you successfully read just one of the Mandarin Companion books entirely in Chinese, slowly, but without stopping too often to look up words.

Nice explanation here of the advantages of “extensive reading”, that is, easier reading for pleasure:

And it’s not too late to join this month’s self-paced reading challenge :slight_smile: oops I’m falling behind in the leaderboard…:

Instead of waiting until you’re totally fluent with half a dictionary memorized, just do it! Start reading it, even if you don’t totally understand what you’re reading. Download a popup dictionary and whenever you come across an interesting word, add it to skritter. You will build up your vocabulary over time. You don’t have to wait years waiting to finish HSK 5 or 6 or whatever. Language learning is all about repetition, forgetting, and re-learning.