Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lost in Translation Reading Challenge

Even though I didn't read very many books in translation this year, I always at least hope to read more of them, so of course I couldn't resist a Lost in Translation Reading Challenge. It's extremely simple, it runs through 2009 and the only requirement is to read six books in translation over the course of the year.

I'm going to let my mood decide which books to read during the year but here are some of the books in translation, currently residing in my TBR piles. Unfortunately I can only read fluently in one language so these are all English translations.

Mr. Muo’s Traveling Couch – Dai Sijie (translated from French)
Suite française - Irène Némirovsky (translated from French)
Fateless – Imre Kertész (translated from Hungarian)
Embers – Sándor Márai (translated from Hungarian)
Hunger – Knut Hamsun (translated from Norwegian)
Smilla’s Sense of Snow – Peter Høeg (translated from Danish)
The Visit of the Royal Physician – Per Olov Enquist (translated from Danish)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson (translated from Swedish)
My Name is Red – Orham Pamuk (translated from Turkish)
Blindness – José Saramago (translated from Portuguese)
I’m Not Scared – Niccolò Ammaniti (translated from Italian)
Inkheart – Cornelia Funke (translated from German)
Independent People – Halldór Laxness (translated from Icelandic)
The Sound of Waves – Yukio Mishima (translated from Japanese)
Rashomon and other stories – Ryunosuke Akutagawa (translated from Japanese)
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman - Haruki Murakami (translated from Japanese)
...among others including several Japanese books.

I love discovering new books or authors in translation, and the worlds that they open up to me. So I'm really looking forward to hearing about the books the other participants read during the year and adding to my wishlist! Suggestions always welcome, of course. What good books in translation have you read?


  1. Tanabata!!! I received your surprise package in the mail today, and it's knocked my socks off. (I wrote a post about it on Dolce Bellezza.)

    So, in coming over to thank you I see this lovely Lost In Translation challenge which I've also joined. I'm going to read mostly Murakami, but I'll link arms with you in My Name is Red by Pamuk. Smilla's Sense of Snow is one of my favorites, by the way.

    Anway, I'm just so very touched by your thoughtfulness and care. Those presents couldn't be nicer (people who know me, and around me every day, don't choose so well). A big thank you, Bellezza

  2. I just finished "The Model" by Lars Saabye Christensen (Norwegian) -- really liked it!

  3. Bellezza - You're very welcome! And I'm glad it got there so quickly. I thought of you when I saw them so I'm pleased that you like them. :)
    I've been putting My Name is Red on challenge lists for about a year now and one of these times I'll actually get around to reading it!

    Teresa - I still haven't read anything by Christensen. Don't tell Cathrine! ;)
    I have The Half Brother but the size of it intimidates me a little. Maybe 2009 will be the year.

  4. I recently read your post about reading Suite Française in English translation. I wanted to let you know about an exciting new exhibition about Irène Némirovsky's life, work, and legacy that opened on September 24, 2008 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage —A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City. Woman of Letters: Irène Némirovsky and Suite Française, which will run through the middle of March, will include powerful rare artifacts — the actual handwritten manuscript for Suite Française, the valise in which it was found, and many personal papers and family photos. The majority of these documents and artifacts have never been outside of France. For fans of her work, this exhibition is an opportunity to really “get to know” Irene. And for those who can’t visit, there will be a special website that will live on the Museum’s site

    The Museum will host several public programs over the course of the exhibition’s run that will put Némirovsky’s work and life into historical and literary context. Book clubs and groups are invited to the Museum for tours and discussions in the exhibition’s adjacent Salon (by appointment). It is the Museum’s hope that the exhibit will engage visitors and promote dialogue about this extraordinary writer and the complex time in which she lived and died.

    To book a group tour, please contact Tracy Bradshaw at 646.437.4304 or Please visit our website at for up-to-date information about upcoming public programs or to join our e-bulletin list.

    Thanks for sharing this info with your readers. If you need any more, please do not hesitate to contact me at

  5. Oh my goodness I had not heard about this challenge and you know what that means - I want to do it! haha....

    I've read Embers and Suite Francaise - I highly recommend both.

    Good luck with the challenge and have lots of fun with it!

  6. Hannah - Thanks for the information about the exhibition.

    Iliana - LOL. Thanks. I think you should join too! :P
    I've been meaning to read Suite Francaise for ages now so hopefully I'll finally get to it next year. I haven't heard much about Embers so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it.

  7. Hi again Nat ;) I am still scrolling here and there to catch up with all you guys have been doing while I was having laptop withdrawl (actually it was missing my friends and through the holidays at that)I hope you and Ana and Wendy can wait until March for your books, I really sacrificed to buy this laptop...
    Anyway, I really want to know what you think of SMILLA'S SENSE OF SNOW I read it years ago and liked it. There is a sexual note in the book that had me totally puzzled...:P I thought I was I think you will know when you hit the page...let me know if your reaction was the same as

  8. Hi Sylvie. :)
    I'm reading Smilla's Sense of Snow (under the UK title of Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow) right now and you've made me very curious about this scene you mention. Hmmm... I'll be watching out for it!


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