Translated Literature: A plea to bolster your reading palate

Hello my fellow bloggers and blog-lovers. Today I am writing this entry from a sleepy town in Montenegro, Bijela, to be specific. Not much happens in this provincial, coastal town, which means I’ve been doing more reading than touristing here.

Particularly, enter today’s topic, translated literature.

Over the past year, I’ve developed quite an affinity for translated literature. Authors around the world pour their life’s experiences into their book. To read a translated work is to peer through a window into another world. Reading and learning something about another culture, how cool is that?

Expanding your knowledge about other countries enriches your personal reading experience. It opens your mind to other ways of doing things, different life philosophies, and new concepts. You become more of a well-read individual, while also increasing your empathy and understanding of the world on a greater scale.

You can find brilliant, microscopic character studies coming from characters in Russia written by authors like Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.

You can read books that explore solitude as a human condition from France, such as The Stranger by Camus.

You can find captivating, horrific anecdotes coming out of Japan such as Earthlings by Sayaka Muraka.

If you grew up speaking anything other than English, this probably isn’t a new concept for you. Much of your books might be translated already. But you can still try to branch out to other languages you don’t normally read translated work from.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

George R.R. Martin

If you’re adequately enticed, I’ll be posting a second installment in a few days for some of my recommendations of translated literature.

Happy reading! If you have any recommendations for translated literature leave them below 🙂

For E.L. Jayne’s poetry blog, click here

7 thoughts on “Translated Literature: A plea to bolster your reading palate

  1. I love this post, Elle! Reminds me that I haven’t done this in too long. I remember reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Salman Rushdie and discovering the magical thinking on other cultures. It’s such a great way to travel virtually. Great suggestion!

  2. Great point about translated literature. If we only read works from our own nationalistic worldview, we miss the myriad other ways people can see our human existence and condition. I’m glad you mentioned Camus and The Stranger. He’s one of my favorites.

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