Top Translated Books to Read During National Library Week

Top Translated Books to Read During National Library Week

This week we are thrilled to celebrate National Library Week. But with so many options, what should you pick up from your local library?

As avid readers, we often find ourselves drawn to stories that transport us to different cultures and worlds. And what better way to explore diverse perspectives and experiences than through translated literature? Translated books offer a gateway to the rich tapestry of global literature, allowing us to discover new voices, traditions, and ways of storytelling.

Here are some of the best translated books that are sure to captivate your imagination and broaden your literary horizons.

1. Convenience Store Woman


By Sayaka Murata (translated from Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori)

This novel by Japanese author Sayaka Murata follows the life of Keiko Furukura, a woman who has worked in the same convenience store for 18 years. The book explores themes of societal expectations, conformity, and individuality. Takemori’s translation captures the deadpan humor and sharp social commentary of Murata’s prose, making it a must-read for fans of contemporary Japanese literature.

2. The Three-Body Problem


By Liu Cixin (translated from Chinese by Ken Liu)

Liu Cixin’s science fiction novel is set in China during the Cultural Revolution and explores humanity’s first contact with an alien civilization. The book won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2015 and has been praised for its originality and scope. Ken Liu’s translation is masterful, making it accessible to English readers while retaining the nuances of the original Chinese.

“A responsible translation is one that goes beyond the mechanicity of language, one that is turned towards the unknown.”

– Silvia Kadiu, “Reflexive Translation Studies”

“A responsible translation is one that goes beyond the mechanicity of language, one that is turned towards the unknown.”

– Silvia Kadiu, “Reflexive Translation Studies”

3. The Shadow of the Wind


By Carlos Ruiz Zafon (translated from Spanish by Lucia Graves)

This international bestseller transports readers to post-war Barcelona, where a young boy named Daniel discovers a mysterious book by an obscure author in a hidden library known as the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. As Daniel grows up, he becomes entangled in a dark conspiracy surrounding the book and its author. Lucia Graves’ translation captures the atmospheric beauty and suspenseful plot of Zafon’s gothic tale, making it a hauntingly enchanting read.

4. The Door


By Magda Szabo (translated from Hungarian by Len Rix)

Hungarian author Magda Szabo explores the relationship between two women, Emerence and her employer, a writer referred to only as “Magda.” The book is set in Hungary in the mid-20th century and explores themes of class, gender, and power. Rix’s translation captures the depth and complexity of Szabo’s characters and their relationship, making it a must-read for fans of European literature.

5. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead


By Olga Tokarczuk (translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones)

This novel by Polish author Olga Tokarczuk is a darkly comedic murder mystery that explores themes of animal rights, ecology, and existentialism. The book is set in rural Poland and follows the life of Janina Duszejko, an eccentric and outspoken woman who becomes embroiled in a series of murders. Lloyd-Jones’s translation captures the witty and thought-provoking nature of Tokarczuk’s prose, making it a must-read for fans of contemporary European literature.

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Translated books provide a unique opportunity to explore different cultures and literary styles. The books discussed in this blog post are just a few examples of the many must-reads that have been translated into English. Whether you are interested in magical realism, science fiction, or historical fiction, there is a translated book out there for you.

And always remember: libraries are a gift. So this week, go and have a look on the shelves to see what you can find. National Library Week is only celebrated this week, but the books are there for you year-round!

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