Recommending Books Based On Weird Duolingo Sentences || Fantasy Edition

Trevlig lΓΆrdag, alla!

It’s me! And unless I manage to colossally fuck things up within the next 24 hours, I am currently one day away from hitting a two-year streak on Duolingo!! Which obviously means you’re getting another Duolingo post to celebrate. I’ve got to make use of my two-year-streak-week while I can!

(Am I jinxing things by posting this one day early? Quite possibly. But, like, I have a blogging schedule to stick to! I needed something for today that was at least partially drafted because I’m already running on barely any sleep. You know, because Amazon Prime decided to release Daisy Jones & The Six: Season 1, Carnival Row: Season 2, and Star Trek – Picard: Season 3 all within the same month and the only free time I’ve had for binge-watching is when any sane person would probably be in bed I’ve had a ton of stuff to prepare for school πŸ˜‡)

Anyway, my Duolingo-obsession is probably a surprise to no one at this point. Since I’ve already written two posts recommending books based on weird sentences I’ve encountered in the language learning app – which you can find here and here – you might even think I’d be running out of material. But that actually couldn’t be further from the truth!

After two years in the daily company of a certain evil green owl, my strange-sentence-screenshot collection now vastly outnumbers anything else in my phone’s gallery. Seriously, between Duo and my thoroughly creepy selfie-taking skills, I’d probably be in considerable danger of being placed in a mental institution should anyone ever gain access…

Still, some of Duo’s sentences are simply too good not to share! So today, you’re getting ten in combination with my favorite genre – prepare yourselves to learn a bit of Swedish and Russian as we delve into the realm of fantasy!

My Precious!

Let’s start with a classic, shall we? After all, fantasy wouldn’t be where it is without Tolkien, and neither would I as a fantasy reader! I have such fond memories of my parents reading The Hobbit to my siblings and me when we were kids – my dad had this special troll voice that creeped us out like nobody’s business πŸ˜… – and although parts of it can be decidedly long-winded, The Lord of the Rings is still one of my all-time favorite trilogies. Middle-earth is just such a cool world!

And then, of course, there’s Gollum… Although Duolingo’s illustration doesn’t look quite capture how I pictured him, nobody can tell me that the speaker is anyone other than him. Not even Sauron is as obsessed with that ring as our dear SmΓ©agol!

Anyway: If you, by some miracle, haven’t already read this one, I’d definitely say it’s worth checking out!

Plunge to the Death

That’s some solid advice there, Duo. I probably would’ve considered jumping through closed windows if you hadn’t informed me otherwise, so I guess I should count myself lucky to be privy to such wisdom!  πŸ˜ƒ

Anyway, I don’t recall ever reading a fantasy novel where characters jump through CLOSED windows, but I do love recommending Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue, A YA novel about a young monarch dealing with the aftermath of her father’s tyrannical rule. And a character jumps through an open window there! That’s basically the same thing!

(Although jumping actually turns out to be quite a good idea because the character in question is secured by a rope and doing so to try to clear up a kidnapping attempt on his queen… But, really, who cares about such minor details? There are still plenty of other traumatizing drama to make up for the rather tame window scene!)

Questionable Cleanliness

If you’re scared of showers and want to stay smelly, I’ve got the perfect recommendation for you: Tatatuck’s Journey to Crystal Mountain by Jakob Streit! This German children’s classic is about a dwarf who undertakes a perilous journey to collect a gemstone from a far-away mountain – a journey made even more dangerous because he has a special crystal hammer that goblins/gnomes/gremlins (Can someone please give me an English equivalent of the German word “Kobold”?? 😩) along the way are eager to steal.

Anyway, despite being terrified of the goblins-or-whatever-the-heck-the-translator-decided-to-call-them, my siblings and I listened to an audio-cassette of this pretty much every single night growing up, so I feel like I have plenty of authority to recommend this story. After all, I must have heard it well over a thousand times! πŸ˜‚ And since one of the goblins absolutely detests cleanliness – a fact that Tatatuck is eventually able to exploit to defeat him – it’s the perfect fit for this sentence, too!

Idiotic, but Loveable

Did you really think I was going to write a fantasy recommendations post without squeezing The Realm of the Elderlings into it somehow? Of course I wasn’t!

And Fitz, the royal bastard we follow over the course of several of the individual series that The Realm of the Elderlings encompasses, certainly fits the description of someone who might say this. I mean, I love Fitz to pieces, but you’ve got to admit, he was utterly obnoxious and obtuse as a teenager. And while he may be a bit less obnoxious as an adult, his ability to make stupid decisions and not pay attention to the people around him is still astonishing…

So Fool’s Errand it is for this one! 😁

Difficult Pregnancies

Sometimes, just when you think you’ve pretty much seen everything Duolingo could possibly have to offer, it hits you with something like this 😳 Who the fuck would go up to random pregnant women and touch their bellies???

However, as much as I would recommend not doing this in real life, I would recommend not doing it even more if you lived in a fae realm and knew the pregnant women in question had a super overprotective mate whose feminist ideals faded pretty quickly when it came to telling his wife that her pregnancy might kill her. Instead of giving her the freedom to choose her fate, the High Lord in question threatens to murder everyone who might inform his precious lady about this rather sensitive information, so just imagine what he would do to you if you tried to touch that baby belly? It’s a big no-no.

As is this book, honestly. But then again, A Court of Silver Flames was so ludicrous and smutty that it was kind of highly entertaining, too?  πŸ€·πŸ½

Bad but Enjoyable

Speaking of ludicrously entertaining books, let’s continue on with The Selection! Objectively speaking, this series is pretty terrible. The main character is whiny and flip-flops around like nobody’s business. The love triangle is incredibly annoying. The plot is so full of holes that you’d better quit counting while you’re ahead. The “politics” are laughably non-existent, which is probably bad considering that this is a series about a prince trying to change his country for the better and find his future queen…

And yet, there’s just something about this trilogy – I’m not counting the last two books because those were too eye-roll-inducing even for me – that makes it so wonderfully readable! It’s comforting, you don’t need a whole lot of brain power to read it, and somehow, these books are just so fluffy and fun! Would recommend! πŸ‘Έ

Strong Pet Owners

You cannot convince me that Duolingo isn’t talking about Pippi Longstocking here! This sentence is such a blatant allusion to our feisty red-haired heroine that there’s no way anyone who has read this book won’t make the connection!

However, if you’ve never read Pippi Longstocking: My sincerest condolences. You must’ve had such a sad childhood without Pippi in it! 😰 Who wouldn’t want a friend like Pippi, who has her own villa, a horse and monkey, and a suitcase full of gold? A friend who sticks up for you no matter what? If you haven’t read this yet, hurry up and make up for it!

Un-FORTUNE-ate Marriages

Ah, the childhood nostalgia is real with this one 🀩 I was absolutely obsessed with A Series of Unfortunate Events back in elementary school! A slightly wacko thirteen-book series about three orphaned siblings on the run from an unscrupulous relative trying to steal their family fortune, it features marriage is just one of the villain’s many evil schemes…

These books are wonderfully dark and unlike anything else I’ve ever read, so of course, I’d highly recommend them even as an adult!


Even if it doesn’t really need a recommendation, we’ve got to sneak my favorite series into this somehow, right? We can’t have a fantasy post without any mention of Harry Potter! πŸ₯°

Besides, do you happen to know of any other fantasy books that feature earless brothers? If so, tell me, because this one is all I’ve got!

** 😭 proceeds to sob over the brothers in question and what was possibly THE cruelest death in the entire series 😭 **

The Return of the Cheese Slicers

I know, I know. I may have been wrong about the cheese slicers. Ever since I complained about them in my last Duolingo post, all you Scandinavians out there were quick to inform me that they were, in fact, kitchen essentials and that I was doing everything wrong by using a knife to cut my cheese πŸ˜…

But guys – these cheese slicers have been pursuing me!! And the sentences are just getting more and more extreme! I mean, sure, I guess I get that your cheese slicers are kind of important to you, but would you really not want to live without them? Would you really be unable to cut a cheese unless you had one? That seems a bit drastic…

However, if you’re into the extreme, have a tendency to be overly dramatic, and love being around food, maybe you’d enjoy Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar. Although I absolutely detested this Nutcracker retelling, I’m sure that’s just because I didn’t understand the book. Just like I don’t see the necessity of owning a cheese slicer, I don’t see why an I’m-so-independent-and-unlike-other-girls-that-I’m-not-going-to-listen-to-anyone-and-make-lots-of-incredibly-dumb-decisions protagonist and a candy metaphor in every second sentence are appealing. But if that’s your jam, go for it!

And that already brings us to the end of this post! Do let me know whether you’ve read any of these books, whether you agree with my pairings, and which of these sentences was your favorite! Also, have you encountered any other strange utterances of Duo’s on your own language learning journeys? I would love to know! πŸ€—

P.S.: On a totally unrelated note, I plan to distribute questions for my 600 follower Q&A collaboration tomorrow. So if you still want to ask anything or would like to join in on the fun and participate in the collab, today is your last chance to reach out!

32 thoughts on “Recommending Books Based On Weird Duolingo Sentences || Fantasy Edition

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you! πŸ₯° And trust me – those weird sentences are probably just around the corner. Judging by the sheer amount I’ve encountered, there’s no way you’re going to be able to avoid them forever! 🀣

      Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          Wow, over 1000 days is really impressive! You must have some kind of weird-sentence repellent version of Duolingo then, though – I’ve never heard of anyone using the app not encountering them 🀣 And Nefeli did mention questionable Italian examples in her comment down below, so apparently, they are out there somewhere…

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Meena Green says:

    Happy two years on Duolingo!! I love these posts, the sentences are always wonderful πŸ˜‚ The my brother only has one ear and first one kind of makes me wonder if Duolingo knows what you’re doing and is helping by giving you more book related options πŸ€”

    Also, so super dramatic of Duolingo to teach I don’t want to live without a cheese slicer πŸ˜‚ we’re not that bad! (I hope) πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Meena! πŸ’™ And you’re right – some of these sentences do sound like Duolingo might be onto me! Although I’m not sure that makes things any less creepy… How does it know?!?? 😨

      I’m very relieved to hear you could live without a cheese slicer, though. I was starting to get worried there! πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Line @First Line Reader says:

    πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ This is just the best kind of post!

    The one about the closed window just has me thinking of action movies where I feel like there’s always someone who jumps through and smashes a closed window. I’m sure Tom Cruise has done this several times but I also cannot think of books where it happens so I think taking the opportunity to mention Bitterblue is a fantastic choice 😁

    I’ve never heard of a “kobold” so of course I had to figure out if a Danish translation would help me now that English apparently can’t. It gave me two options: a small mountain troll or a “nisse” (a word that also doesn’t have a perfect English equivalent). “Nisse” is primarily associated with Christmas but it was also the Danish name for the goblins in Harry Potter. Translating “nisse” back to German told me they could be called both “Kobold” and “Wichtel” so now I don’t know if they’re related after all πŸ€” Sorry, I couldn’t help but try and solve this mystery πŸ™ˆ

    Lol Swedish Duolingo talking about a girl with a horse and a monkey! πŸ˜‚ That one was very obvious. I haven’t actually read it but I feel like the adaptation was constantly on TV when I was a child so I’ve seen my fair share of it πŸ˜„

    And the cheese slicers πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I cannot speak for the cheese-loving people but I do feel like they sometimes treat cheese as a religion so maybe living without a cheese slicer is actually that serious. Then again, if they love it so much, it shouldn’t a problem to risk their fingers by using a knife πŸ€”

    Also, can you tell me if I need to watch season two of Carnival Row? I watched the first episode and was supremely bored so I kind of gave up on it because then there was a new season of Outlander and now Shadow and Bone πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I wholeheartedly agree! πŸ˜‚ (Like, I’m still very much anticipating that German “witch and bear” sentence eventually making an appearance… πŸ‘€)

      And lol, those action movies were actually the first thing that came to my mind when I read that sentence, too 🀣 The image of people hot-headedly smashing through windows was so ingrained in my head that I was sure I must’ve read about it somewhere as well, but no matter how hard I thought about it, I ended up blanking… Not that I mind in the slightest that I had to to use Bitterblue, though! πŸ˜‡

      Well, the Christmas-related goblins are always “Wichtel” and not “Kobolde” in German, so I’m afraid despite being related, our languages still aren’t making it easy for us πŸ˜‚ However, they did also use “Kobolde” for the German translation for the Harry Potter goblins, and according to this highly informative wikipedia entry I just found while totally not procrastinating on lesson preparation (, “nisse” and “Kobold” are actually related concepts. And the word “goblin” as well as the color “cobalt” can actually both be traced back to this creature πŸ€” I have no idea if that clears things up for you, but I definitely think it’s interesting! πŸ€“

      I loved the Pippi Longstocking TV show as a kid! I have no idea if it was the same one they aired in Denmark, but my siblings and I were obsessed with that as well as the book πŸ₯° So I’d say it’s an acceptable replacement!

      Also, your cheese logic sounds very plausible to me πŸ€” I guess I’ll just have to see what all the fuss is about when I eventually go to Sweden…

      As for Carnival Row: The first episode didn’t do it for me, either, but by the second one, I was hooked again! I may not have loved this season quite as much as the first one – I felt like many characters were killed off before we got to see their full potential πŸ˜… – but I loved how realistic and messy and political it all was and think it’s worth watching for Philo alone. I love Philo even more now! 😭 I have no idea if it can compete with Outlander and Shadow and Bone, though… I’m waiting to watch Outlander with my sister, so that opinion’ll have to wait, but you can ask me about Shadow and Bone tomorrow because I’m off to watch the first episode as a work reward the minute I’ve finished responding to my comments 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line @First Line Reader says:

        Oh, there was so much gold on that wiki page! “a kobold can materialize in the form of a candle” and “little tricksy elves of phallic nature” I’m sorry, what? πŸ˜‚ Well, a “nisse” can’t be a candle but other than that they do sound like they have a lot in common and must share some sort of origin. I’m pretty sure the whole Christmas relation is a more modern addition to “nisser” (by modern I mean maybe 200 years ago) because they are also household spirits who plays tricks on humans and they are very small human-like beings.

        Hmm, maybe I’ll get back to Carnival Row and at least watch one more episode πŸ€” I’m already done with Shadow and Bone and maybe it wouldn’t be that hard for Carnival Row to be better 😬 But please get back to me when you’ve watched it because I have thoughts!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          Well, to be fair, I’d never heard of the candle thing before the Wikipedia article either, so I wouldn’t put too much store in that 🀣 And it also says the “phallic nature” is a Greek mythology thing, so I feel like we can safely ignore that, too… Still, everything you’re saying about about “nisser” sounds exactly like our “Wichtel” and not so much the “Kobolde”. I mean, “Kobolde” are similar, but I’d say they’re more mischievous and potentially evil than “Wichtel” are? It’s super hard to explain if you don’t have the full context of the folklore surrounding them, but I guess if I had to choose an analogy, they’re sort of like the chyerti in Winternight?

          Okay, you’re making me apprehensive now πŸ˜… I’ve watched the first two episodes, and so far, my brain doesn’t have a lot to say except, “Oh look, Kaz used to be Elliot from 1899” πŸ™ˆ I mean, I like that we’ve got Wylan and Nikolai now, but mostly, the plot seems like such a jumble that we aren’t getting to spend a lot of time with each individual character and I’m kind of bored… But I guess we’ll see how it all pans out! I mean, I do theoretically like the idea of maybe finally getting the Six of Crows storyline πŸ€”

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Nefeli @BiblioNebula says:

    Wow, a two-year streak is very impressive! 🀩 The longest streak I’ve managed to keep is 150 days, I really admire the dedication. Congratulations!

    When you said “the only free time I’ve had for binge-watching is when any sane person would probably be in bed” , big mood. My sleeping schedule is a mess, thanks streaming platforms πŸ˜’

    Anyway, this is such a fun post to read and so creative! I think you’ve done a great job matching duolingo phrases with books. I mean, this green little bird and its friends can say many downright insane things at times, it needs skill to match them to actual situations.

    The first one definitely screamed Smeagol and the other one about Pippi is also spot on! I think sometimes they throw these kinds of references in on purpose. I once got: “My plants like to eat meat, is that bad?” and no one can convince me it wasn’t a Little Shop of Horrors reference.

    “Jumping out through a closed window is not a good idea”- me watching action movies.
    “I am not as young anymore, but just as stupid” is an impeccable character defining phrase- I’d read so many books with that kind of protagonist.
    “The book is not good but I like it anyway”- my whole reading life.

    The ones about the cheese slicers had me googling cheese slicers and oh my god I feel like a new window to the world has just opened for me. I didn’t know these were a thing?? We just rely on our strong resilient knives down here. I am so very intrigued.

    My most favourite duolingo phrase I’ve gotten on the app has to be “Lei beve l’olio” aka “She drinks the oil” aka the most Mediterraneanℒ️ thing the Italian course could come up with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      150 days is pretty impressive, too, though! πŸ₯³ Besides, I feel like those first few months are the hardest anyway – once you’ve gotten into the habit, maintaining the streak actually isn’t that difficult anymore πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ (And it’s not like I didn’t use a handful of streak freezes along the way and cheat a tiny bit myself… πŸ™ƒ)

      And gosh, let’s just not mention the sleep schedule! πŸ˜…πŸ˜‚ (In other words: Please do not look too closely at the time stamp on this comment πŸ™ˆ) Still, I’ve gotta admit, I’m kind of glad I’m not alone on this!

      But anyway, to get back on topic – I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! πŸ€— These are always a ton of fun to write, and I love hearing about everyone else’s strange Duolingo experiences, too. Like, if you ever want to exploit those meat-eating plants or oil-drinking Italians for content purposes, I definitely wouldn’t be opposed πŸ‘€

      Finally, however: IT’S SUCH A RELIEF THAT YOU’D NEVER HEARD OF CHEESE SLICERS, EITHER! 🀣 When I wrote the first Duolingo post they appeared in last year, I also had to google them, and then I still thought they were just some fancy kitchen gadget that no ordinary person actually used. But then my comment section exploded with Scandinavians telling me how essential they were! πŸ€―πŸ˜‚ My mind was blown!! I definitely need to test one of these things myself one day, to see what all of the fuss is about…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. FangirlFlax says:

    I *adore* these posts. Duolingo has the weirdest phrases–might as well put them to other use! ‘Holey’ as a subtitle for the last one is genius, and The Selection and A Court of Silver Flames sections really made me laugh. Can’t wait to see the next one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Exactly! Those sentences contain too much (slightly questionable) literary genius to simply be restricted to a language learning app! 😁

      Also, I’m thrilled someone understood the “holey” reference! I totally put that there to give us Potterheads something to bond over πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‚

      Anyway, I’m really glad you still enjoy reading these – I’m definitely not tired of writing them yet, so I’m sure there’ll be a Part Four eventually!

      Liked by 1 person

      • FangirlFlax says:

        Haha definitely! I learn Welsh on Duolingo and they come out with such strange sentences–they’re really attached to parsnips for some inexplicable reason, haha.

        I got “holey” instantly, and it really made me laugh πŸ™‚

        Excited to read part four!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sophie @ Me & Ink says:

    I love this post and happy two-year-streak on Duolingo (here’s hoping you didn’t curse that last day)! πŸ¦‰ It was fun seeing some of those *special* sentences, especially when matched with fantasy books.
    That image alongside a very Gollum sentence made me laugh πŸ˜‚ ahh… Gollum is such a strange character, but lord of the rings wouldn’t be as good without him. I remember when I was in secondary school and my friend got a puppy and called her Precious. I could hear nothing but Gollum!
    I am hoping to read my first Robin Hobb book (assassin’s apprentice) this year! I can’t wait to see the characters!
    Okay, cheese slicers… I probably wouldn’t have bothered about them until I got one, a hand-me-down from my grandad. It was great, a quicker way to get even and thinner slices of cheese. I was impressed, definitely a “dear diary” moment! πŸ˜‰
    p.s. I can’t wait to answer those questions on your email! πŸ’™

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you, Sophie! πŸ₯° Yes, I did indeed manage not to curse that final day, so I can now proudly say that I’ve completed at least one of my 2023 goals 🀣 And the *special* sentences definitely make the Duolingo experience so much more entertaining!

      Lol, I definitely feel you on your reaction to your friend’s puppy – I wouldn’t have been able to think anything else, either! πŸ˜‚ Your friend would probably have gotten annoyed with me saying “Precious” in a creepy Gollum accent very quickly…

      And AHHHHHHH, I’M SO EXCITED TO FINALLY GET YOUR THOUGHTS ON ROBIN HOBB SOON!!! πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€— I can’t wait for you to get to know Fitz and will definitely be stalking your blog for any updates now πŸ˜πŸ™ƒ

      After all the positive cheese slicer feedback, I really feel like I desperately need to try one… I don’t eat a whole lot of cheese, though – I mainly use it for cooking casseroles and stuff – so I am a bit skeptical as to how life-changing it could possibly be πŸ€” But I’ll try to keep an open mind!

      And I’m glad you got the questions! I can’t wait to read your answers! πŸ’™

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie @ Me & Ink says:

        Yay, congratulations πŸ˜‚πŸ₯³

        Thank YOU, I’m glad you agree. I said My Precious in the accent once and she was not a fan πŸ˜‚ (or maybe I am just bad at voices)

        I can’t wait to see Fitz too 😍 anytime between now and 2025 🀣 I am aiming for this year though!

        Haha so much talk πŸ˜‚ I mostly use is for toasties or my dog so by no means a necessity!


        Liked by 1 person

  6. The Nerdy Nook says:

    Hahaha, I absolutely loved this post. Congrats on 2yrs with Duolingo. I feel like I live under a rock because I’ve never even heard of it! But now I’m going to scope it out and *hopefully* add it to my daily routine as well.

    You were spot on with The Selection. πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you! 😊 I’m so glad you enjoyed this and can definitely recommend falling down the Duolingo rabbit hole! I mean, if you’re looking for an in-depth language learning resource, the app definitely isn’t the greatest thing out there… But it’s such a fun way to get at least a bit of language input every single day!


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