Thursday, January 9, 2014

So... New Reading Challenge

I've been having a look at the reading challenges being put up at Worlds Without Ends for this year. I'm thinking of joining the In Translation one.
Read one book per month that did not originally appear in English. This should be a "first read," but I have decided that if I read it 30 or more years ago, it is eligible to be read again. Since there is not too much translated material in the WWEnd database, you can read multiple books by a single author. (The "Book Lists" tend to have more translated titles on them than do the Awards lists.)
It sounds like an interesting challenge, one that would expose me to some books I wouldn't ordinarily pick up. Only problem is I currently only own one book that I want to read and meets the criteria. All the others I can think of, I've already read. Sad when you think about it. It's also an expression of science fiction's tendency to limit itself to the English speaking part of the world. From what I can tell Fantasy isn't doing that much better.

Still, there must be plenty of books out there that would be worth reading. Do any of you have any suggestions?

Before you start listing books I have a few comments. I own a copy of Solaris and I've read it but I don't want to do a review. It is translation of a French translation of the Polish original that can't possibly do the original justice. I'm open to reading Jules Verne if I can find a translation that had edited the 'anti-English sentiment' edited out. I've already reviewed two obvious candidates on the blog, namely The Planet of the Apes and Roadside Picnic, so no point in mentioning those.

So fire away and let's see if we can come up with a good list!


  1. I checked my LibraryThing collection and here's what I could find :
    Translated from French :
    - Antoine Rouaud's Path of anger. It's been recently published in France. - René Barjavel's The ice people
    - Pierre Boulle's Desperate games
    - Robert Merle's The virility factor
    They might be a bit difficult to find, though!

    From Spanish :
    - Angélica Gorodischer's Kalpa imperial (translated by U. K. LeGuin)

    From German,
    - Andreas Eschbach's The Carpet Makers
    - Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game
    - Ernst Jünger's Heliopolis

    And Kazuo Ishiguro's Never let me go

    And now, I go and check WWE for my sake.

    1. Thank you! I'm going to look into these this weekend.

  2. You might consider Pierre Pevel's series, The Cardinal's Blades. Think Three Musketeers with dragons and you'll be right on the mark. I read the first 2 and they're really fun. Got to get back and finish it off!

    1. I tried to get into Pevel once, had a copy of a Dutch translation of The Cardinal's Blades (can't count beyond ten in French, let alone read it). I couldn't get into it though. I think I sold the book but I will have a look just to be sure.

  3. This might be an obvious suggestion, but have you read any of Michael Ende's works. Never-Ending Story is a fantasy work if I ever saw one and it's been translated from German into both Dutch and English. And John Ajvide Lindqvist's horror books are really good and originally were published in Swedish.

    1. I've read The Never-Ending Story in Dutch translation as a child. I think back them I liked the first part better than the second. *pondes* Maybe I could read Een brief voor de koning too. I understand there (finally) is an English translation of that one.