Catching the old how to adding depth to my blog and a new site from english pen


I love translation as every one knows ,but part of the problem with me and the blog is constant thinking I think most days about how to do this that and the other .Mainly just way to improve how and what I blog ,one of the main thing I feel is lacking is depth in the content I have reviewed a lot of books in translation but the coverage tends to be in the last five years .I constantly feel there is gaps ,no Albert  Camus ,One Jorge Luis borges story ,One Umberto Eco novel ,a couple of Grass ,not enough African fiction in Translation  and so on and so on the list is virtually endless as is the job of this blog .It’s great reading the Current but for this to work as a real resource I need to add depth to the books under review ,so I need to start adding a few reread books  in my reading pile  and plundering my piles of second-hand buys  in an attempt to build a canon of world lit fill in my gaps in reading ,form a network of how literature has evolved world-wide how book a in say Argentina has had a visible effect on book b from Iraq say ,in building this knowledge and connections here it will make a better resource ,that said I struggle to avoid new reads ,a point I was discussing with Dan from Utterbiblio the other day but as this year I seemed to be reading a book or two more a month ,I will try to fit these older books in .My question is how do you avoid the shiny and New and do you endlessly by books and then have them on shelves for months and months ?

In other news English pen has launched a new website on books in Translation called world bookshelf in partnership with Foyles here ,A number of the English pen associated books mentioned on the site can be found here under review .Like The ravens to name one ,it also has a blog attach to it with post by translators ,the first post is about the rise in translation ,the small rise we as readers need to help climb to an acceptable level of books published in translation ,for me 4.5% isn’t enough we need to get folks reading the wonderful books on this site and out there and let publishers know they can translate more .

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. naomifrisby
    May 04, 2014 @ 15:43:34

    Your plans sound great, Stu. I’m terrible for reading the shiny new but am right in the middle of an older novel (1989) that I wasn’t planning to review but the more I think about it, the more I think I’d be foolish not to. I look forward to discovering more older translated works on your blog.


  2. kaggsysbookishramblings
    May 04, 2014 @ 15:46:31

    I’m absolutely no help at all Stu – I have literally hundreds of unread books, and I still keep getting more! Mainly second hand, I know, but still needing to be read like the ones I already have. Often I send off for a book and by the time it arrives I’m onto something else. If you find a solution for this, let me know!!


  3. Claire 'Word by Word'
    May 04, 2014 @ 16:00:33

    Continuing to have conversations with different people is a good way to discover new translations, I came across this PEN site yesterday as well and as well was looking at some of the profiles of political prisoners who had been sent books by friends to support them, which was interesting, that idea of, what do people send to people who are suffering in prison for their beliefs, to keep their spirits up. Inevitably some of the books hadn’t been translated into English, but there it seems as though we are touching something universal.

    Having just read Nada by Carmen Laforet, which took some time to be translated into English, I then discovered one reader who reads e-books tell me it wasn’t available on kindle, though fortunately she can read Spanish. Is that another hurdle, to get translated books into e-books?

    I’m looking forward too, to the August #WITMonth focused on #WomenInTranslation and hope that renewed interest motivates publishers to try a little harder to make more available to readers.

    Just finished The Expedition to the Baobab Tree by Wilma Stockenström translated from Afrikaan’s by J.M.Coetzee, if you’re looking to boost your African translations.


    • winstonsdad
      May 04, 2014 @ 16:02:41

      Now the expedition to the Baobab tree sounds great one to try thanks ,English pen do a great job in supporting writers around the world and promoting translation


  4. jacquiwine
    May 04, 2014 @ 16:38:20

    I really like the sound of your plans, Stu, especially your idea of looking at the connections and points of influence between books.

    It’s so hard not to get distracted by the new stuff, especially if people are chatting on twitter about the latest releases. Once I’ve finished revisited our IFFP list I’m going to start working through the piles at home, many of which are not recent releases. That’s the plan anyway.


  5. Lisa Hill
    May 05, 2014 @ 07:25:43

    I find it difficult too, Stu, you are definitely not alone.
    I make all kinds of plans – read a book from the classics pile, read a Nobel winner, read a debut author, read the latest from a well established author – and then off I go down to the library and come back with 10 books and all the plans go out of the window!


  6. sharkell
    May 05, 2014 @ 08:44:14

    I try to alternate one book from my shelves then one newer book (which I generally get from the library). This works really well for me and I have been doing it for a couple of years now. Unfortunately, I keep buying books from second hand shops so it hasn’t had the desired effect of reducing my tbr pile.


  7. 1streading
    May 05, 2014 @ 13:17:46

    I think one of the downsides to writing a blog is that you are always tempted to review the latest books. Occasionally I’ve tried to include older books by theming them, e.g. when I did the Year of Reading Dangerously. It’s most difficult when you fill in a gap by reading Tolstoy or Flaubert and think: what am I going to say about that that hasn’t been said a hundred times already!!


  8. heatherdpear
    May 10, 2014 @ 22:47:09

    I don’t think you can ever cover all aspects of translations. There is just too much, though linking with others provides a great resource for readers.
    I also struggle with new versus what’s already on my shelf. If only I could stay away from my library’s website and stop requesting from their shelves and read my own.


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May 2014


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