Read (Chinese) books that interest you

This is along the lines of our previous post about textbooks being overrated – when you get bored with the standard books for learning Chinese, or books that are made specifically for foreign learners, then what can you do?

To keep up your motivation you need to find some interesting reading material – buy some books on subjects that you are already interested in. Move out of the Chinese ‘learning’ section in the book shop and go and see what native speakers are reading (if you’re not in China or Taiwan that’s easier said than done, if so then look for some websites instead ;).) Buy books on business, computing, sports, design – whatever it is that you like. The young adults section often has good books too, with the benefit being that they still have Pinyin or Zhuyin next to the characters.

Even if you think that a specific subject is too difficult at your current level, buy it anyway and you can browse through at your leisure. What you’ll likely find is that in 6 months or a year, you’ll pick it up and find that you understand a lot more than when you bought it, this will be a great boost to motivation.
The main point is to not lock yourself down to a specific series of books or go straight to the Chinese-for-foriegners section in the book shop. Give yourself a challenge and buy a few books written for native speakers!

What types of Chinese language magazines or books have you bought, do you find them useful for studying? Or if you’d rather stick to the textbooks then let us know why: