I want to read a Czech book. But which one? (1. část)

I want to read a Czech book. But which one? (1. část)

Reading Czech books is a great activity for training Czech, widening vocabulary and better understanding. But what to read? Do you feel lost in book shops, e-shops and libraries? Here is a help: overview of books suitable for students of Czech.

Before you start

What is important?

1. Look at the level of the book (A1–C2) and choose yours. If you are not sure or the book is too difficult, take another one – one lever lower. When reading is too easy, choose a book form upper level.

2. Don´t translate every word. First, read the whole paragraph or the whole page and estimate context. You don´t need to understand everything. The important thing is to understand: who, what  he/she is doing, where, when and why. Search in dictionary just the words which are repeated in the text, are important for the plot and you don´t understand them (about 5–10 in each page). The less words you search, the better.

3. Don´t  give it up! Reading will be difficult at the begginning. You will probably feel that you don´t understand anything. Don´t let this feeling discourage you! Go on, read 20–30 pages at least. You will see it will be better then. And if not, choose a book from lower level.

4. Why can´t  you find books for A1 level? A1 students haven´t known enough Czech words yet and the grammar in the texts would be too difficult for them as well. It is better to read short adapted texts offered by your teacher or contained in your study book. They prepare you for longer A2 level stories. You can also try my A1 handouts.

What to read?

Adapted books

Today we start with adapted texts – books which exist in original form but another author simplified them  for students of Czech. It is a perfect way how to start reading in Czech. You can also find a vocabulary (English, German and Russian) and CD in these books. A great combination for practising of reading and listening.

A2 level

Pražské legendy (Prague legends)

Adaptation author: Lída Holá

There are a lot of Prague legends – about different places and people. These stories are magical, haunted and humorous, spread among people for ages. They concern places you have known (Staroměstské náměstí, Karlův most, Malá Strana etc.) or you can find a famous legend about Golem here. There are ten short stories in the book, CD, Czech-English-German-Russian vocabulary and a few exercises related to the texts.

Level: A2

For whom: For readers who like history and Prague and want to get to know them more.

Bonus: Ideal tips for walks. You read a legend and then you go to see the place you have read about. In famous localities you can discover what you haven´t  known and seen. You find new Prague places and you can show them your friends. This book is my favourit among all others.

I want to start reading! Where can I buy the book? – For example here.

 

Pohádky (Fairy tales)

Adaptation author: Lída Holá

Do you like fairy tales or do you have little children? Then this is a book for you. You find 12 fairy tales there. You will be familiar with some of them: Červená Karkulka (The Little Red Riding Hood), Sněhurka (The Snow White), Popelka (The Cinderella), the others will be new to you: Tři prasátka, O perníkové chaloupce… There is also a CD, Czech-English-German-Russian vocabulary and a few exercises related to the texts.

Level: A2

For whom: For readers who want to start reading easy texts and like fairy tales. You can compare classical texts (e.g. The Snow White) with original in your language.

Bonus: Do you have little children? If they speak Czech you can read fairy tales to them. If not you can learn Czech together. They will like these stories.

I want to start reading! Where can I buy the book? – For example here.

 

B1 level

První láska a jiné povídky (The first love and other stories)

Author: Petr Šabach

Adaptation authors: Silvie Převrátilová, Petra Bulejčíková

Petr Šabach is a very popular Czech author. He mostly writes shorter stories from a communist period when he was brought up. His texts are humorous (or tragicomical), he writes about his life or his family or friends lives. Relationships are the main topic of the book. There are ten short stories, CD, Czech-English-German-Russian vocabulary and a few exercises related to the texts.

Level: B1

For whom: For readers who would like to find out what the life in former Czechoslovakia from sixties to nineties was like, who like humour and like reading about situations from everyday life.

Bonus: Several films were shooted according to the Šabach´s books. You could see Pelíšky, Šakalí léta, Pupendo or U mě dobrý. In films you can find stories you will read about in the book. So you can combine reading and listening (video).

I want to start reading! Where can I buy the book? – For example here.

 

Alenka v říši divů (Alice´s Adventure in Wonderland)

Author: Lewis Carroll

Do you know the legendary story about little Alice, Alice´s Adventure in Wonderland? Read it also  in Czech! You meet Alenka, a white rabbit, a cat and many other animals-characters. Go for a walk to the imaginative world, enjoy great adventure with them and your fantasy starts working. There is also a CD, Czech-Czech vocabulary and a few exercises related to the texts.

Level: B1

For whom: For readers who like fantastic and absurd stories and fairy tales.

Bonus: You probably know the original text in your language. You can compare the Czech translation and the original and it also helps you to understand better.

I want to start reading! Where can I buy the book? – For example here.

 

Staré pověsti české a moravské (Old Czech and Moravian legends)

Adaptation author: Lída Holá

Every Czech knows legends from Czech history. Discover them too. In the book you can find 10 most famous legends about foundation of Bohemia and Moravia and about people from Czech history. You will read how Forefather Čech climbed to the top of Říp mountain and decided to stay in Bohemia, how princess Libuše had magical abilities and many other stories. There is also a CD, Czech-English-German-Russian vocabulary and a few exercises related to the texts.

Level: B1

For whom: For readers who like history and myths and want to know Czech history.

Bonus: There si a map in the book therefore you can make trips in the Czech Republic and discover all the places you will read about.

I want to start reading! Where can I buy the book? – For example here.

 

Povídky malostranské (Malá Strana stories)

Author: Jan Neruda

Adaptation author: Lída Holá

Jan Neruda lived in the 19th century in Prague in a street called Nerudova today. He wrote a book of stories about people living in Malá Strana, about their characters, lives, curious situations happened to them. Neruda was a great writer and he knew how to make a psychological portrait of each person. There are six short stories in the book, CD, Czech-English-German-Russian vocabulary and a few exercises related to the texts.

Level: B1

For whom: For readers who like history, want to know more about Czech history, like Prague and want to get to know it better.

Bonus: You can walk to Nerudova street and find out houses you have read about. It helps you to imagine all the characters from the book better. The book also contains a part concerning house signs – symbols above doors. You can see many of these signs in Nerudova street up to now.

I want to start reading! Where can I buy the book? – For example here.

 

Úroveň B2

Košík plný milenců (A basket full of lovers)

Author: Halina Pawlowská

Adaptation authors: Silvie Převrátilová, Petra Bulejčíková

Halina Pawlowská is a popular Czech writer. She writes short stories and articles for newspaper. They are about herself, her family and friends. Her texts are ironic and comic, she often makes fun of herself. You will laugh at what happened to her and how she comments it. Relationship is the main topic of all the stories. There are ten stories in the book, CD, Czech-English-German-Russian vocabulary and a few exercises related to the texts.

Level: B2

For whom: For readers who love humour and (self)irony, want to get to know how the life in Czechia was and is like and what women think at and what their life is like.

Bonus: A few films were shooted according to Halina Pawlowská books. You might see Vrať se do hrobu or Díky za každé dobré ráno. In the second film you can find stories you will read about. Therefore you can combine reading and video (listening).

I want to start reading! Where can I buy the book? – For example here.

 

Obraz Doriana Graye (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

Author: Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde´s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray is very famous. Now you can read it in Czech. Young and handsome man Dorian wants to stay young and handsome forever, ageing scares him much. What is he going to do against it? He says a wish which comes true. His life will never be the same… Horror a bit, fantasy a bit, dramatic psychological story for sure. There is also a CD, Czech-Czech vocabulary and exercises related to the texts.

Level: B2

For whom: For readers who love strong stories, e.g. psychological novels.

Bonus: If you have read the original text in your language, you can compare both books, it helps you to understand better. You can watch a film from 2009 too.

I want to start reading! Where can I buy the book? – For example here.

 

Golem 

Author: Gustav Meyrink

Gustav Meyrink was a German writer living in Prague at the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th century. He loved Prague Old Town and its Jewish part. He was inspired by old legends and according one of them he wrote his most famous novel, Golem. You get to the Jewish ghetto, to the prison, will be a witness of a murder as well as big love. You won´t be sure if it is real or you are dreaming. The solution comes at the end of the story. A CD is also included.

Level: B2

For whom: For readers who like fantasy, absurd stories and mystery. It is a bit demanding reading.

Bonus: Legend of Golem is one of the most famous Prague legends. When you look at the internet you can find many link related to the topic – videos, listening… But most of all, you can walk to Staré Město. There hasn´t been ghetto for ages but it still has its specific atmosphere.

I want to start reading! Where can I buy the book? – For example here.

 

Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války (The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War)

Author: Jaroslav Hašek

A satirical novel about Josef Švejk who doesn´t want to enter the army at the beginning of the World War I but he must. He decides to carry out all commands for 100 % and more. Everybody starts to think he is a fool but Švejk is a very clever man which helps him to survive the war. The author shows how stupid and useless a war can be . The original book has four parts. You will read the first one. CD and exercises related to the texts are included.

Level: B2

For whom: For readers who like satirical kind of humour and farce.

Bonus: The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War is one of the most popular Czech books. Each Czech knows the story. It has been translated to 58 languages and it is the most translated Czech book ever. You can also watch several films about Švejk, read the story as a comics and you can find a lot of Czech places with Švejk in the title.

I want to start reading! Where can I buy the book? – For example here.

 

Have you find your book? Start reading today! And please write me how you are successfull.

16. 5. 2017

About the Author

Jitka Pourová administrator