Exciting English debuts, newly discovered masterpieces, and award winners—forget the weather, if we’re judging this summer by its new releases by women in translation, it’s a hot one. Check out these summer 2018 books by women in translation!
A Chilean literary thriller that tells the story of three lives enmeshed in the life and death of an enigmatic and private author, based on Brazilian writer and legend Clarice Lispector. Siri Hustvedt, author of The Blazing World, writes: “Guelfenbein’s elegantly structured, psychologically astute novel moves with the urgency of a detective novel, but its real mysteries turn on questions of authorship, reading, interpretation, and the strange power of fiction to enter the speechless realm of human erotic desire.” Published for the first time in English, this award-winning novel couldn’t have hit at a better time—it’s big and brilliant and you’ll want to sink into it on a beach somewhere.
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft
Winner of the 2018 Man Booker International Prize, Flights is one of the hottest novels of the summer. Masterfully told in striking short pieces, Flights “explores what it means to be a traveler, a wanderer, a body in motion not only through space but through time.” It’s meticulously and brilliantly translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft. If you need more convincing, Olga Tokarczuk’s writing is being compared to that of W.G. Sebald and Milan Kundera and she’s also on the longlist for the Alternate Nobel!
Pretty Things by Virginie Despentes, translated by Emma Ramadan
Virginie Despentes is an award-winning author, filmmaker, and critic. If the buzz around her recently published books—including Bye Bye Blondie, Apocalypse Baby, and others—is any indication, Despentes is hot and only going to get hotter with this new release. Pretty Things is a lurid, pulpy story of family, death, and gender. Joanna Walsh, author of Worlds from the Word’s End, calls it “An intoxicating pop-trash plot of stolen identity that reveals the brutal and hilarious rules of gender—the high octane philosophy beach read of the summer.”
From one of Japan’s most exciting contemporary writers, Convenience Store Woman is a dark, funny, and compelling novel with a heroine that defies convention and description. Keiko Furukura has worked at a convenience store for 18 years, comfortable in the patterns and norms of the store and its customers but aware of her family and society’s general disappointment in her. When a young man enters her life she has the chance to change everything—if she wants to. I love this quote about the book from Jade Chang, author of The Wangs Vs. the World, “Instructions: Open book. Consume contents. Feel charmed, disturbed, and weirdly in love. Do not discard.”
The Geography of Rebels Trilogy by Maria Gabriela Llansol, translated by Audrey Young
The Geography of Rebels Trilogy present three linked novellas by influential *cult status level* Portuguese writer Maria Gabriela Llansol. She’s all but unknown to English-speaking audiences, but with this English debut that’s all about to change. “With echoes of Clarice Lispector, Llansol’s novellas evoke her vision of writing as life, conjuring historical figures and weaving together history, poetry, and philosophy in a transcendent journey through one of Portugal’s greatest creative minds.”
Ma Bo’le’s Second Life by Xiao Hong, translated by Howard Goldblatt
Xiao Hong has been called “the best female Chinese novelist you haven’t heard of” and “one of the major Chinese literary figures of the century.” Edited and finished by the translator, Howard Golblatt, based on Xiao Hong’s notes, Ma Bo’le’s Second Life is an interesting, undiscovered gem of a novel set in China in the period building up to the second Sino-Japanese War. It’s a bleak but surprisingly funny “depiction of the despair of ordinary Chinese people confronted with the sudden onslaught of war and Westernization.”
This post was originally published on Book Riot.
Delicious books that will pair nicely with all of your holiday plans. And they make fantastic gifts for the foodie in your life!
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 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.
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.
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.
Visited the BSA (Boston Society of Architects) today to see the 5th annual gingerbread house design competition. For more information (and pictures of all of the entries) check out this great article from Boston Magazine. It was just the right amount of festive cheer to brighten up my work week!