Sunday Coffee – Translations

IMG_4476When I recently read Love in Lowercase, I decided to take a look back over my books-in-translation numbers over the last few years. What I found was absolutely pitiful. I knew Love in Lowercase had been my first translation in awhile, but I didn’t expect that there’d only been one translation in 2015, and two in 2014. Before that was not much better – a handful in 2012 and 2013. Not until further back than that, when I was seeking out a diverse reading environment specifically, did my number of translations increase.

I actually used to read quite a lot of them, from a huge spread of languages. The most common were French and Russian, but I’d read books translated from Norwegian, ancient Greek, Hungarian, Korean, Swedish, Arabic, Dutch, old English, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese, and so many more. Then one day, I just stopped reading translations.

Honestly, I’m not sure if that’s because I’ve read far fewer classics since 2011, because many of my translations did indeed come from classics, or if the drop comes from a certain frustration with translations in general (I want to be able to read the original! So much is lost!), or if the diversity in language simply dropped away because I wasn’t actively seeking it out. Probably it’s a combination of all those factors, but I admit, I kinda miss reading things from all over the world, and I think I might be a little more proactive in this area moving forward…

Anyone have any great suggestions??

The books! The books!
This weekend is the giant used book sale fundraiser for our school district. An entire basketball court area is filled with tables full of books, thousands of them, priced hardbacks for $1 and paperbacks for 50 cents. It’s one of my favorite events of the year, and it’s the only time when I let myself go kinda hog-wild grabbing whatever catches my fancy. That includes books on my wishlist, books I’ve read but didn’t necessarily want to buy except that for 50 cents it’s worth it, books I’ve tried before and decided I want to try again, books I’ve never heard of, books I loved when I was a little kid, books that I’ve been told I should read…etc.

IMG_4510Jason and I spent Friday morning at the sale, coming home with 37 books for $22. Of those, 30 books ($17.50) were mine (above). I’m sure there are plenty of these that will eventually head back to Half Price Books. I’m okay with that. Totally worth it. And now, I have tons of books to read during the Readathon in two weeks, in addition to the tons of books I’m yanking from library shelves for the event. Now, I just need more book shelves…

About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
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10 Responses to Sunday Coffee – Translations

  1. You just can’t beat a good bookstore. I read a lot of translations almost all of which I find in bookstores. The rest I find via book blogs. Look for Europe Editions books. They feature lots of translations, mostly from Europe but not just there. They publish general fiction and crime fiction. Most of their stuff is good at least. I’m currently engrossed in Elena Ferrante’s books translated from the Italian.


  2. Karen K. says:

    If you’re looking for books from France I’d highly recommend the works of Irene Nemirovsky, who’s had a resurgence since “Suite Francaise” was discovered and posthumously published. I’ve also read a collection of her short stories which were wonderful, and a couple of her earlier novels. I also really liked “The House of the Spirits” by Isabel Allende. My book group also really enjoyed “Kon-Tiki” by Thor Heyerdahl, which is fascinating adventure story. If you’re looking for more classic fiction, I really liked “Bel-Ami” by Guy de Maupassant.

    And of course there are lots of Zola translations! I have an extra copy of “The Earth” in a new translation by Oxford World’s Classics if you want it.


    • Amanda says:

      I once tried to read Suite Francaise and got the impression that it’s the sort of book I’d enjoy more in about 5-10 years, so I put it aside and to the back of my mind. One day, though! Also, I’d absolutely love your extra copy of The Earth! 🙂


  3. Kailana says:

    That splurge was definitely worth it! Hope you find some good books in that haul!


  4. Kindred is on my readathon TBR stack! It looks like a good one!


  5. Michelle says:

    I think my children’s school district needs this sort of fundraiser, if only so I too could buy all of the books! I hope you enjoy them all!


    • Amanda says:

      It’s one of the biggest events of the year, and they earn tons – all the books are donations from families throughout the entire district, and anything the library has withdrawn or can’t sell, etc. The stadium belongs to the school district, too, and all the employees are volunteers. We went on Sunday afternoon, when they have a special – buy a bag for $15, fill it with as many books as you’d like. All five of us filled it with dozens of books. It was great. 😀


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