84 Books Project

My father died in January of 2020, in Budapest. My sister and I weren’t able to get there for his funeral, and weren’t able to hold a memorial here. He was, among other things, a literary translator. I have read far too few books in translation. So I’ve decided to circle the globe (figuratively) reading 84 books in translation, one for every year of his life. We’ll both start and end in Hungary, as he did.

I’m going to be reading one every week or two, and then starting a conversation on social media — primarily Twitter, but Facebook, Instagram, and Substack too, with the hashtag #AroundTheWorldIn84Books. If you want to join me, just read the book and then join me on social media that day, or later.

  • The first book, which I’m aiming to finish on October 2nd, is Magda Szabó’s THE DOOR. I haven’t it read yet, to absolutely everyone’s dismay.

#AroundTheWorldIn84Books List as of  January 3, 2023

(All links lead to the books’ Indiebound pages)

  1. Hungary : THE DOOR, Szabo (Twitter thread here)
  2. Croatia: YOU WITH HANDS MORE INNOCENT, Parun (Twitter thread here)
  3. Bosnia: MY HEART, Semezdin Mehmedinovic (Twitter thread here, and podcast with Aleksandar Hemon here)
  4. Austria: THE PIANO TEACHER, Elfriede Jenlinke (Twitter thread here)
  5. Albania: THE FILE ON H, Ismail Kadare (Substack post here)
  6. Greece: THE MURDERESS, Alexandros Papadiamantis (Substack post here)
  7. Turkey: MADONNA IN A FUR COAT, Sabahattin Ali (Substack post here)
  8. Syria: NO KNIVES IN THE KITCHENS OF THIS CITY, Khaled Khalifa (Substack post here)
  9. Palestine: MINOR DETAIL, Adania Shibli (Substack post here)
  10. Lebanon: THE STONE OF LAUGHTER, Hoda Barakat (next up… I hope to finish this one in early September, ’23)
  11. Yemen: THE HOSTAGE, Zayd Mutee’ Dammaj
  12. Egypt: THE OPEN DOOR, Latifa Al-Zayyat


I announced this on Twitter in the spring and I’ve got a lot of people ready to read along. I hope you’ll join. Follow the hashtag on Twitter, sign up for my newsletter, and come back to this page for the booklist.

As I noted on Twitter, my father would have said something remarkably condescending about this whole project.

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