8 April 08 | Chad W. Post

The Reading the World website for 2008 is now online, complete with info about all 25 titles (from 15 different presses), info about participating bookstores, how to sign up, how to get on the mailing list, etc.

In case you’re not already familiar with this, RTW is an innovative collaboration between publishers and independent booksellers to promote literature in translation throughout the month of June. Last year over 230 bookstores across the States displayed works from these select presses, along with brochures and posters featuring artwork from the Czech artist Peter Sis.

We’re planning on reviewing most (if not all) of the titles in the program before June, and as of the moment, we’ve reviewed five:

Knowledge of Hell by Antonio Lobo Antunes
Nazi Literature in the Americas Roberto Bolano
Yalo by Elias Khoury
Serve the People! by Yan Lianke
The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa

Speaking of reviews and related RTW promotions, if anyone out there would like to help promote RTW (maybe interviewing authors/translators for your blog, reviewing some of these titles, arranging RTW events, getting more press for the participating bookstores), please e-mail me at chad.post at rochester dot edu, or post something in the comments. This program was conceived of as a grassroots sort of project that readers, reviewers, translators, booksellers, can all engage in and spread the word about in various ways. (For example, in years past the blogging community has done an amazing job helping to generate interest in the program.)

Anyway, I hope everyone finds a book or two from the list to enjoy, and I also hope all your local independent stores are participating . . .

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Rambling Jack
Rambling Jack by Micheál Ó Conghaile
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“50 pages?”
“Including illustrations.”
“And this—what. . .

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The Things We Don't Do
The Things We Don't Do by Andrés Neuman
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Many authors are compared to Roberto Bolaño. However, very few authors have the privilege of having a Roberto Bolaño quote on the cover of their work; and at that, one which states, “Good readers will find something that can be. . .

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Private Life
Private Life by Josep Maria de Sagarra
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:

When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .

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Dinner by César Aira
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .

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We're Not Here to Disappear
We're Not Here to Disappear by Olivia Rosenthal
Reviewed by Megan C. Ferguson

Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .

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The Queen's Caprice
The Queen's Caprice by Jean Echenoz
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .

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French Concession
French Concession by Xiao Bai
Reviewed by Emily Goedde

Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .

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Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .

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The Cold Song
The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann
Reviewed by David Richardson

Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .

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This Life
This Life by Karel Schoeman
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .

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