Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Collecting What You Enjoy Reading, Contemporary and/or Classic Novels in First English Translation

I have an interest in novels translated into English since many times a novel originating in Italian, for example, may provide more insight into current Italian culture than any other source will. I buy a significant number of novels in translation and could actually claim to have a serious and growing collection of novels in first English translation.  This is an accidental collection arising from my fundamental reading habits and not a collection I seriously try to expand, as a collection.  But since I do enjoy reading foreign novels in English translation it is a collection that grows and sometimes I try to strategize the collecting of such titles. 

One approach is to pay attention to what novels in English translation are being nominated for annual awards and prioritize buying and reading those books.  Such a strategy often results in reading wonderful novels that over time may become in demand collectible editions!  Yesterday, while browsing the book section of  The Christian Science Monitor, I came upon an article featuring the 10 novels announced as finalists for the 2011 Best Translated Book Awards sponsored by Three percent- a resource for international literature at the University of Rochester.  I spent some serious time browsing through the Three percent web site and suggest that anyone interested in keeping abreast of the latest news concerning books in translation begin following that site.

I am interested in reading 5 of the 10 finalists and it is easy to order a first edition, first printing.  These are all being published in paperback format so care will be needed when reading and eventually storing them in my library.

The Literary Conference, by César Aira, translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver (New Directions)

The Golden Age, by Michal Ajvaz, translated from the Czech by Andrew Oakland (Dalkey Archive)

The Jokers, by Albert Cossery, translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis (New York Review Books)

On Elegence While Sleeping, by Emilio Lascano Tegui, translated from the Spanish by Idra Novey (Dalkey Archive)
Georg Leatham:  Physician and Murderer, by Ernst Weiss, translated from the German by Joel Rotenberg (Archipelago)

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