My new Polish book
I finished Anielka by Bolesław Prus, and I am rejoicing in that accomplishment. It is the first complete book I have read in Polish, although I have read parts of others (particularly a translation of Anne of Green Gables).
I have already written about the transformation or mental shift that occurred in June, which gave me the "power" (for lack of a better word) to actually read in Polish in a similar manner to the way I read in English (albeit still much slower). I don't remember learning to read the first time around, that is to say, in English. I knew how to read before I went to kindergarten, but I don't remember learning, and so I don't remember a time when I could not read. That heady realization that print makes sense and that I could decipher it is simply not in my memory.
Until now. After our dinner out the other evening, we visited a multi-story bookstore downtown, because I wanted to get a new Polish book to read. I do not want to read books in translation, but rather books written in Polish by Polish authors, so I went directly to that section of the store. I opened book after book and read random paragraphs. And I could. I understood them. Since this has not always been the case, I had an uncanny sense of power--that I could read!--and that there were whole vistas on the horizon that I hadn't seen before. It's difficult to describe, but it occurred to me that a child must feel something like that when the words on the page cease to be phonetic letters to puzzle out and suddenly become words and sentences and stories.
Previously, I would read over a sentence five or six times before it was understandable. It took a long time for me to work through a paragraph, let alone a page. Making myself read a book consistently over the course of weeks finally pushed my brain through a door, and I feel like a little kid who can't wait to demonstrate a new-found skill.
So, I needed a new book, and this is the one I have chosen--W pustyni i w puszczy by Henryk Sienkiewicz. He is a well-known Polish author, best known in English, I think, for Quo Vadis. This book is (again) a book for children; however, it is also a fine example of literature. His longer books are SO long that they seem too daunting right now. As it is, this book is twice as long as Anielka. I believe this book has been translated into English, but I am disappointed in the title. If I were going to translate the title, I would make it In Wilderness and Wasteland instead of In Desert and Wilderness, to preserve the alliteration in the title. But they didn't ask me.
Ja umiem czytać po polsku i dlatego że, dziś się cieszy. (I know how to read in Polish, and that's why I'm happy today.)