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.
- Then on 10/9 we’re going to Croatia, with YOU WITH HANDS MORE INNOCENT, the selected poems of Vesna Parun, translated by Dasha C. Nisula.
- For 10/16, I let Aleksandar Hemon pick my Bosnian book, which is the novel MY HEART, by Semezdin Mehmedinovic. (Also, see the podcast Sasha and I just did about this HERE.)
#AroundTheWorldIn84Books List as of January 3, 2023
(All links lead to the books’ Indiebound pages)
- Hungary : THE DOOR, Szabo
- Croatia: YOU WITH HANDS MORE INNOCENT, Parun
- Bosnia: MY HEART, Semezdin Mehmedinovic
- Austria: THE PIANO TEACHER, Elfriede Jenlinke
- Albania: THE FILE ON H, Ismail Kadare
- Greece: THE MURDERESS, Papadiamantis
- Turkey: MADONNA IN A FUR COAT, Sabahattin Ali
- Syria: NO KNIVES IN THE KITCHENS OF THIS CITY, Khaled Khalifa
- Lebanon: THE STONE OF LAUGHTER, Hoda Barakat
- Palestine: MINOR DETAIL, Adania Shibli
- Yemen: THE HOSTAGE, Zayd Mutee’ Dammaj
- Egypt: THE OPEN DOOR, Latifa Al-Zayyat
As I noted on Twitter, my father would have said something remarkably condescending about this whole project.
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