Thursday 8 May 2008

Literature in translation

I read a lot of translated-into-English literature and generally come across new authors by happy accident. Sometimes, unfortunately, those accidents include browsing the handy "translated into English" tables at large chain bookstores. I try not to buy my books at such places, because I love my little independent bookstores and want them to thrive, but sometimes the books I want just can't be found at small stores (le sigh).

(And, sometimes, inexplicably, gigantic faceless chain stores have really good translated selections. I still can't get over the fact that the Chapters at Queen and John has the best collection of translated Japanese lit I've ever seen anywhere, including of Yukio Mishima's work which is, even more inexplicably, generally completely absent from the indie stores I give the majority of my loyalty to.)

Now, because you and I don't already spend nearly enough time surfing that series of tubes known as the interwebs, there's another option for finding translated fiction:
This site is someone's guilt-inspired project designed to make up for the fact that only 3% of the books published in England are not originally written in English. I think that's a good response to guilt and look forward to more guilt-based book projects in the future, on various topics.

This site lists new translations, has a handy (although currently very limited) function in which you can get recommendations for new (to you) reads, and seems to facilitate some kind of well-paying award for new books translated into English.
What I found really exciting about this site was how few of the authors I'd actually heard world just got a little wider, at least potentially (recalling my infinitely long line of books already lined up).

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