While we don’t often talk about books that are written in another language and then translated, at the library we come across this on occasion when talking about French books for children. Many popular English books are translated into French and then released for French readers, but sometimes, the translation leaves something to be desired. So much so, in fact, we’ve had requests from Francophone parents who have asked us to only purchase books by French authors. The art of translation is a tricky one, even at the picture book or chapter book level, so you can imagine how difficult it must be for adult fiction to be translated well.
It gets even more mind-numbing when you think that there is a literary award given to books that have been translated from some other language into English. The Man Booker International Prize for 2016 was just awarded to Han Kang for her book THE VEGETARIAN, translated from Korean into English by 28-year-old Deborah Smith who only started learning Korean at the age of 21. Wow. The translation must not only be accurate, but also portray the beauty of the author’s prose and their original intention.
Kang has won a variety of literary awards in Korea for her novels and teaches creative writing at the Seoul Institute for the Arts, but this was her first book translated into English. It is a novel in three parts, telling the tale of a dutiful Korean wife who one day decides to become a vegetarian. Along the way, the act of giving up meat also leads her to give up other things in her life, and eventually, leads to her discard the whole premise of humanity, causing her life to spiral. You can read more about this author and the award right here.
What an amazing accomplishment!
The official Forest of Reading® winners have been announced! We sent off all of our votes along with other libraries and schools, and these were the winning books for 2016.
Silver Birch Express™:
Silver Birch Fiction™:
Silver Birch Non-Fiction™:
Congratulations to all of the fantastic Canadian authors and illustrators who won!
With the success of WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR, a memoir by the late Dr. Paul Kalanithi, the physician who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died before his memoir was published, comes OLD AGE: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE by Michael Kinsley. Kinsley is a journalist who learned at age 43 that he had Parkinson’s disease, and decided to write about it to explore how the Baby Boomer generation might approach aging. It is starting to get recognition on the best-sellers lists for its wit and candor, all with Kinsley’s trademark writing style.
While non-fiction titles tend to be a tougher sell to both readers, and reviewers, it seems the world is taking a bit of a turn, wanting to know more about these tough topics done in unconventional ways. If you love non-fiction, you might want to consult the New York Times best sellers lists for their great non-fiction suggestions, as more and more of these are making their debuts on the market, and on the lists.
Non-fiction is the new fiction!
If you’ve ever wandered into a library and asked for a book suggestion, you’ll know that the librarians often have a great selection of options. We might ask you a few questions, such as the last book you read that you loved, your favourite type of book, or even what kinds of books you don’t enjoy. Then, based on those few criteria, you might be given a myriad of choices from new books to proven winners. It’s a great way of finding something new to read from people whose opinions you value. After all, librarians see a lot of books in a day, and we read a lot of books.
Recently, a fabulous collaboration has been started between the Ontario Library Association, the British Columbia Library Association, and a few other networks, to come up with a fantastic Readers’ Advisory service. It’s called LOANSTARS. We’ll vote on new and favourite titles, and the collective vote will allow marketing of the favourite books to library staff and readers alike. It’s a great way for titles that might not be on the best-seller lists to make it to our attention, recommended by fellow librarians! What a great new way to select books!
If you’ve ever wondered how books get on your library shelves, this is just one of the fantastic ways librarians share favourites and get books out there to our readers. Isn’t this fun?
On the heels of yesterday’s post about paying attention, ON LOOKING : ELEVEN WALKS WITH EXPERT EYES by Alexandra Horowitz, was one of the recommended reads. Horowitz takes the reader through a variety of walks, pointing out nature, history, and other unlikely-to-be-seen things the average walker might miss.
As Horowitz points out, you are missing things right now, while you’re reading this post:
You are missing most of what is happening around you right now. You are missing what is happening in the distance and right in front of you. In reading these words, you are ignoring an unthinkably large amount of information that continues to bombard all of your senses. The hum of the fluorescent lights; the ambient noise in the room; the feeling of the chair against your legs or back; your tongue touching the roof of your mouth; the tension you are holding in your shoulders or jaw; the constant hum of traffic or a distant lawnmower; the blurred view of your own shoulders and torso in your peripheral vision; a chirp of a bug or whine of a kitchen appliance.
Until I read that paragraph, I hadn’t even been thinking about what was going on around me. Sometimes, it is a blessing to be able to block out all of the ambient noise and interruptions, but how long does it take to train ourselves to do that automatically, all the time? I bet we’re missing out on many delightful things.
We don’t own a copy of ON LOOKING at our library, but we’d love to bring it in for you. Let us know if you’d like an interlibrary loan. Start seeing what you’re missing…
Fans of Andy Weir’s THE MARTIAN were excited to hear from the author that he was planning an epic sci-fi book entitled, ZHEK, to be released sometime in 2016 or 2017. But he’s turned the tables on us, and is instead working on something different…with a female lead!
Weir has pushed ZHEK to the backburner for now to focus on a story that will take place on the Moon. It will still be very science-oriented, something which a lot of people loved in his first book, THE MARTIAN. But this time, his lead character will be a woman living on the moon in a city and world that, among other things, has practically no sexism. Instead of working on a book that dealt with time travel, aliens, and supposed scientific breakthroughs, Weir has chosen to keep this new book scientifically accurate, with real-world plausibilities.
We can expect to see this one a little later in 2017 or possibly 2018, as Weir has been busy with all of THE MARTIAN’s publicity. And hopefully, it will be worth the wait. It almost feels like things are happening in real time along with his character Mark Watney’s stay on Mars. But that’s the publishing world, folks.
The New York Times sent many libraries off on a hunt recently after the debut of Beyonce’s HBO special and announcement that she would release a new album called “Lemonade Stand”. During her special, she read poetry by Somali-British writer and activist Warsan Shire, and now her poetry anthology entitled Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth is being sought out by Beyonce fans.
While it’s not available on Amazon, many libraries are receiving requests for the book (no, we don’t have it at our library, I’m afraid), so be patient if you’ve put a hold on the book. You can heard the author reading some of the poetry right here:
The world is a small place, and book boosts can come from anywhere, can’t they?