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ReadUps > August ReadUps: Translated Books

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message 1: by Heather (new)

Heather | 146 comments Mod
The ReadUps topic for August is Translated Books! We'll discuss books translated into English from another language.

You can browse the Library catalog for Library books translated into English from another language here. For more ideas, check out the longlists for the Best Translated Book Awards 2020 here.

What are some of your favorite books that were translated from another language into English?


message 2: by Chris (last edited Aug 06, 2020 07:41AM) (new)

Chris Drew | 7 comments The Master and Margarita is one of my favorite novels all time. It has a strange history and was finished in russian in 1940, published in magazines in russian in the 60's then translated and published in English from a smuggled manuscript in 67. I think more recent editions are based on the authors original manuscripts.

Hoping to reread it before the end of the summer (or the year at least) if I can take a long enough break from finding other neat random books at the library.


message 3: by Chris (new)

Chris Drew | 7 comments Also gotta shout out the play Translations. Read it in an Irish lit class and it is one of the most memorable college reading experiences.

I really wish there was a film version or at least recordings of the play available. But it explores the process of translation, what is lost and gained, the power relations at play, and the relationship words have to people and places. It is about colonial British soldiers and surveyors renaming places in rural Ireland with English.


message 4: by Janice (new)

Janice | 56 comments In 2017 I read The History of Bees by Maja Lunde, translated from Norwegian. It was one of my favorites of that year. It is a mix of3 stories, one historical fiction, one contemporary, and one futuristic. All three center around the role of bees in the character's lives. All three also have themes around parenting. I really liked it. The author has another book just recently published in the U.S. (I think) also translated called The End of the Ocean. I hope to get to it soon.
I read quite a bit of Scandinavian crime fiction, and one of my favorite authors is Karin Fossum, who is also Norwegian, and writes the Konrad Sejer series. The first book in that series is Eva's Eye. I have enjoyed all of this series that I have read.


message 5: by Gwynne (new)

Gwynne Mccauley | 6 comments I recently read Signs Preceding the End of the World about a woman traveling from Mexico to the United States by way of the "underworld" to find her brother that has been missing. It was great to read something so relevant to what is going on in the world although it is not directly tied to "now" per se It is short, moving, and strange. I appreciated the afterward by the translator as she discussed the reasoning and meaning behind certain words or phrases.


message 6: by Heather (new)

Heather | 146 comments Mod
So many good titles to add to my list! I am especially interested in Translations (never read any Irish lit before) and The History of Bees because that just sounds fascinating. Bees are such interesting creatures; I like the idea of building some fiction around them.

One of the most interesting translated books I've read is Blindness by José Saramago, translated from Portuguese. It's about a pandemic of "white blindness" that sweeps through an unnamed city. The first victims are quarantined in an empty mental hospital, where they are basically abandoned and chaos erupts. One woman who can see is there because she wanted to stay with her husband, who is blinded, and as conditions get worse, she decides to help him escape, along with a few others. This book was fascinating to me in the way it shows how quickly society as we know it can break down. When reading this kind of dystopia, it makes me think about how human beings have the capacity to be extremely brutal but also very compassionate, "good," and resilient.


message 7: by Janice (new)

Janice | 56 comments Heather wrote: "So many good titles to add to my list! I am especially interested in Translations (never read any Irish lit before) and The History of Bees because that just sounds fa..."
"Blindness" sounds really interesting. He's an author I have planned to read for a long time but have never gotten to. I'm glad to be pointed back that direction.


message 8: by Christina O. (new)

Christina O. | 15 comments I'm going to go old fashioned on this one: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. It's a really fun adventure story, and the villainous Milady de Winter is such a great antagonist. I've also found that the benefit of reading translated classics is that they're usually a little bit easier to read since the translator isn't typically from the same century. So although it was written in the 19th century, the translator's style won't be as dense as most writers from that era.


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