Three Women in Translation to Add to Your #TBR Pile

Looking to add more women in translation titles to your TBR piles? Here are three international authors who might not be on your radar but definitely should be!

Bae Suah

Bae Suah is one of the hottest, most experimental voices coming out of South Korea right now. She’s published numerous novels and short story collections and has won several prestigious awards. Suah is heavily influenced by her work as a translator, having translated several books from German, including works by W.G. Sebald, Franz Kafka, and Jenny Erpenbeck. Nowhere to be Found, one of her first books to appear in English, was longlisted for a PEN Translation Prize and the Best Translated Book Award.

Her most recent work, North Station, translated by Deborah Smith, is a collection of stories that embodies all that Suah is known for in her writing—subverting time and narrative, intellectually stimulating questions of art and life, and epically gorgeous writing.

Josefine Klougart

Josefine Klougart is considered one of Denmark’s most important contemporary writers and she’s often compared to Virginia Woolf and Joan Didion. Two of her three novels have been nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize—arguably one of the most prestigious prizes in Scandinavia. She is currently the editor of Den Blå Port, a literary journal in Denmark.

It’s an impossible task choosing between her two novels currently available in English, so I’m just not going to do it! One of Us Is Sleeping and Of Darkness, both translated by Martin Aitken, are beautiful, haunting novels about loss, blending literary styles and genres.

Valeria Luiselli

Valeria Luiselli is a highly-acclaimed Mexican novelist and essayist. Of the authors on this list, she’s probably the author you’re most familiar with—her writing is incredible and she’s received so much well-deserved buzz! She’s received numerous awards, her work has appeared in publications like The New York TimesMcSweeney’s and The New Yorker, and she’s been a recipient of the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” award.

The Story of My Teeth, translated by Christina MacSweeney, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Best Translated Book Award and won the Los Angeles Times Prize for Best Fiction. It’s an eccentric and challenging novel about storytelling, lies, and the creation of value and meaning in modern art. Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions is another incredible work by Luiselli that I can’t recommend enough!

This post was originally published on Book Riot.

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Delicious reads for the holidays!

Delicious books that will pair nicely with all of your holiday plans. And they make fantastic gifts for the foodie in your life!

The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley

This is arguably one of the most important cookbooks to come out this year! Sean Sherman is a Oglala Lakota chef and the founder of The Sioux Chef, a company that not only creates and caters Native American cuisine but also educates the Minneapolis/St. Paul region on indigenous food. Sherman focuses on seasonal and indigenous ingredients (no European staples like flour and sugar) and the recipes reflect this—they look vibrant and mouthwatering. It’s not just a cookbook, though, and the personal stories and history in the book make it a real treasure.

 

Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine by Sarah Lohman

Eight Flavors is a delightful and utterly fascinating culinary history of America. Historical gastronomist Sarah Lohman examines American history, culture, and what she calls the “changing culinary landscape” through eight flavors that she argues are influential to American cooking. The eight flavors are: black pepper, vanilla, chili powder, curry powder, soy sauce, garlic, MSG, and Sriracha. In each chapter she explores a flavor and the history of how it made its way to the American table.

 

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty

I love a good food memoir and The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty is a powerful and compelling memoir of Southern cuisine and food culture. Twitty traces his personal ancestry through food and cooking in this great mixture of stories, recipes, historical documents, genetic tests, and details from his own travels—it’s a combination of everything, but it comes together beautifully. And between the illustrations, the color photographs, and the recipes, it’s a striking book.

Ten Restaurants That Changed America by Paul Freedman

More than just a collection of profiles, Ten Restaurants That Changed America is a social and cultural history of “dining out in America.” Freedman discusses ten historically significant American restaurants and the history and events that shaped them (and that they in turn influenced.) The restaurants include: Delmonico’s, Antoine’s, Schrafft’s, Howard Johnson’s, Mamma Leone’s, The Mandarin, Sylvia’s, Le Pavillon, The Four Seasons, and Chez Panisse. It’s also a gorgeously designed book with photographs and menus scattered throughout.

Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live For Taste by Bianca Bosker

I’m finishing this list like I’ll be be finishing off my Thanksgiving meal—with a glass of wine. Bianca Bosker’s Cork Dork is the perfect light, fun (but surprisingly informative) read for your holiday weekend. Bosker is no wine expert, but a tech journalist who decides to learn all she can about wine and try her hand at the Court of Master Sommeliers exam. Full of wine history, science, tastings, and more, Cork Dork is an immersive and obsessive, but ultimately delicious read.

This post was originally published on Book Riot.

Renegades Launch with Marissa Meyer!

The lovely and talented Marissa Meyer launched her new book Renegades earlier this week at an event through Brookline Booksmith (and held at the Brookline Public Library). I bought my ticket as soon as I heard about the event! I love Marissa’s other books, The Lunar Chronicles series and my personal favorite Heartless, which is a Queen of Hearts/Alice in Wonderland retelling. The event was packed and there was so much energy in the room. Her books are beloved by all ages and it was wonderful watching all of the young fans in the room (primarily young girls) just absolutely love these books and reading. And between the cupcake decorating and the photo booth it was just such a fun event. And I got three of my books signed!

Ten Memoirs by Women in the Culinary World

The long-awaited memoir from culinary icon and food activist Alice Waters, Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook, hit stands in September. To celebrate, I’ve collected ten memoirs written by remarkable women in the culinary world, from chefs and restaurateurs to food writers, cookbook authors, and more!

Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook by Alice Waters—In this hotly anticipated memoir, Alice Waters reveals the beginnings of the legendary Chez Panisse.

Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India by Madhur Jaffrey—Madhur Jaffrey is without a doubt one of the most well-respected experts on Indian food and cooking. This delightful memoir of her childhood is a “testament to the power of food to evoke memory.”

Out of Line: A Life of Playing with Fire by Barbara Lynch—Barbara Lynch recounts her rise from her tough South Boston “Southie” childhood to her culinary empire today.  

My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir by Jessica B. Harris—Jessica B. Harris is the author of numerous critically acclaimed cookbooks documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora. In My Soul Looks Back she looks back at “the vibrant New York City of her youth, where her social circle included Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and other members of the Black intelligentsia.” Although it’s not strictly a food memoir, it’s a definite must-read.

Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop—An extraordinary memoir of eating and cooking in China by celebrated British food writer Fuchsia Dunlop. (Note: With its scenes of Sichuanese food markets and elite Chinese culinary schools, and Dunlop’s honest look at the greed, corruption, and environmental impact of the industry, this memoir might be my favorite on the list.) 

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing by Anya Von Bremzen—Food writer Anya Von Bremzen eats and cooks her way through seven decades (and three generations) of the Soviet experience, “brilliantly illuminat[ing] the history and culture of a vanished empire.”

Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton—One of the most popular and bestselling chef memoirs, Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones & Butter is a raw and intimate account of Hamilton’s life and the unconventional journey that led to the opening of her restaurant Prune.

Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoirby Padma Lakshmi—“A vivid memoir of food and family, survival and triumph, Love, Loss, and What We Ate traces the arc of Padma Lakshmi’s unlikely path from an immigrant childhood to a complicated life in front of the camera.”

Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table by Ruth Reichl—In my notes I’ve written “Pick one Ruth Reichl memoir (How??!!). I picked Tender at the Bone, Ruth Reichl’s coming-of-age story about her family and her passion for food, but I’d recommend all of her beautiful memoirs.

I Hear She’s a Real Bitch by Jen Agg—Toronto-based restaurateur Jen Agg is a force to be reckoned with and her memoir is an equally compelling story of food, business, and the need for change in the restaurant industry. It’s “more than just a story about starting a restaurant: it is a rallying cry for a feminist revolution in the culinary world.”

Check out the full post on Book Riot.

Three Books in Translation for Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale

Love The Handmaid’s Tale? Check out these great works of international literature, complete with political unrest, elements of dystopian and speculative fiction, and unusual narrative structures.

The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz

Translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette. The Queue is set in an unnamed Middle Eastern city under authoritarian rule. The centralized authority the Gate has risen to power after the “Disgraceful Events,” a failed popular uprising. Citizens are required to obtain permission from the Gate for the most basic of their daily affairs but the Gate never opens and the queue grows longer, until it becomes a permanent and never-ending facet of the city. It’s a powerful and startling novel. Basma Abdel Aziz is also an important activist and figure in Egypt right now (nicknamed “The Rebel”) and this is her first novel.

The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo

Translated from the Finnish by Lola Rogers. Probably the closest in subject matter to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Core of the Sun is a wildly inventive, smart, and wickedly funny dystopian novel set in an alternate Republic of Finland. This alternate state has bred a subspecies of women, known as eloi, for sex and procreation. The eloi are receptive and submissive, beloved for their blonde hair and perfect bodies. Smart and independent women are sterilized. Our protagonist Vanna passes as an eloi with her blonde locks and good looks but is fiercely intelligent. She is desperately looking for her missing sister while also keeping at bay her growing addiction to a powerful, illegal stimulant—the chili pepper. If that’s not enough to tempt you, there’s also a crazy religious cult, chili pepper induced hallucinations, and one of the most jaw dropping opening scenes I’ve ever read.

Human Acts: A Novel by Han Kang

Translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith. In the midst of a student uprising a young boy is killed. His story and the events following the uprising are told in a series of narratives—each chapter from a different perspective: his best friend, his heartbroken mother, a factory worker, an editor facing down government censorship. Together these narratives form a fictionalized account of the South Korean Gwangju Uprising in 1980. Horrific and brutal, Human Acts is not for the faint of heart but it is so beautifully written. If Han Kang and Deborah Smith sound familiar, they’re also the author/translator team of the Man Booker International Prize winner The Vegetarian.

 

Check out the full article on Book Riot.

#WITMonth Stats

Earlier in the month I posted about the dismal percentage of published works in translation that are written by women and I promised more specifics for all of you data junkies. According to Chad Post, Publisher at Open Letter Books and keeper of the largest translation database in publishing, here are the numbers:

First off, the big one: For the data I’ve collected between 2008-20181only 28.7% of the translations in the database were written by women. That’s 1,394 titles out of a grand total of 4,849. That’s not great . . .

Here’s a list of the ten countries that have produced the most total titles written by women:

France 155
Germany 145
Sweden 84
Italy 64
Spain 64
Japan 62
Argentina 49
Russia 43
South Korea 39
Canada [Quebec] 38

Obviously, certain languages are at a disadvantage when you look at their authors by country of origin, so here’s the top ten by language.

French 236
Spanish 186
German 185
Swedish 88
Italian 67
Japanese 60
Russian 46
Arabic 44
Korean 39
Norwegian 37

And, here are the top ten publishers.

AmazonCrossing 194
Dalkey Archive 58
Europa Editions 47
Seagull Books 37
Other Press 28
New Directions 26
Open Letter 24
Atria 19
Feminist Press 17
Penguin 17

Check out the full post on Three Percent.