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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The Skin
The Skin by Curzio Malaparte
Reviewed by Peter Biello

“I preferred the war to the plague,” writes Curzio Malaparte in his 1949 novel, The Skin. He speaks of World War II and the destruction it has wrought on Italy, the city of Naples in particular. But the plague he. . .

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Love Sonnets & Elegies
Love Sonnets & Elegies by Louise Labé
Reviewed by Brandy Harrison

With the steady rise of feminist scholarship and criticism in recent decades, it is little wonder that the work of Louise Labé should be attracting, as Richard Sieburth tells us in the Afterword to his translation, a “wide and thriving”. . .

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Conversations
Conversations by César Aira
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

In Conversations, we find ourselves again in the protagonist’s conscious and subconscious, which is mostly likely that of Mr. César Aira and consistent with prototypical Aira style. This style never fails because each time Aira is able to develop a. . .

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Nothing Ever Happens
Nothing Ever Happens by José Ovejero
Reviewed by Juan Carlos Postigo

You are not ashamed of what you do, but of what they see you do. Without realizing it, life can be an accumulation of secrets that permeates every last minute of our routine . . .

The narrative history of. . .

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The Pendragon Legend
The Pendragon Legend by Antal Szerb
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Literature in translation often comes with a certain pedigree. In this little corner of the world, with so few books making it into this comforting nook, it is often those of the highest quality that cross through, and attention is. . .

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Mr. Gwyn
Mr. Gwyn by Alessandro Baricco
Reviewed by Paul Doyle

Alessandro Baricco’s Mr. Gwyn is a set of two loosely interlinked novellas that play with narrative and the construction of character. Ably translated by Ann Goldstein, Mr. Gwyn plays some subtle metafictional games as Baricco delves into what it means. . .

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Bombay Stories
Bombay Stories by Saadat Hasan Manto
Reviewed by Will Eells

I must admit upfront that I went into reading Saadat Hasan Manto’s Bombay Stories almost entirely blind. I have not read Salman Rushdie. I have read, perhaps, two short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. I might shamefully add that I really. . .

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The Gray Notebook
The Gray Notebook by Joseph Pla
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Throughout his work The Gray Notebook, Josep Pla mentions many different authors, some of whom have inspired him to pick up a pen. One of them is Marcel Proust. Even though Pla normally prefers nonfiction, he lauds the French novelist. . .

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I am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan
I am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan by Various
Reviewed by Grant Barber

On that September 11th I had a conversation with a professor friend who was teaching a creative writing class that evening. He questioned, “What can I possibly teach when all of this has happened?” While the dismay and grief were. . .

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The Guest Cat
The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide
Reviewed by Robyn Kaufman

In a story of two emotionally distant people, Japanese author Takashi Hiraide expertly evokes powerful feelings of love, loss, and friendship in his novel The Guest Cat. The life of the unnamed narrator and his wife, both writers, is calm. . .

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