Bookish Thoughts: Books in Translation

I recently came across Smartling, a company that has a really cool cloud-based translation software program, and started thinking about books in translation and the importance of certain aspects of language while translating. This is a fascinating subject for me as I have always been interested in culture and how certain things are easily interpreted (or not) between Translationcultures and languages. I started thinking about my favorite books and the parts of them that I would hate to be misinterpreted if they were translated into another language. There are even times when I’m reading a book in English that’s from the UK and there are certain aspects that don’t easily translate (words used in the UK that don’t make sense here or cultural norms – school, living, etc. – that are different. For me, I usually know what they mean, but I always imagine someone who’s never been to the UK and if they’d get it. Like how “pants” are what they call “underwear” in the UK). It’s hard to imagine a book about a girl in high school in America obsessed with her looks or any number of selfish things translating into a language in a country where girls aren’t allowed to flaunt their looks.

On the other hand, there are some books that would easily translate into multiple languages (maybe. I’m not a translator. Haha). Comics like Batman and Robin or Iron Man are probably able to be understood in several languages because who doesn’t want to believe in superheroes? Again, not a translator, but I think fantasy books are probably the easiest to translate because they are mostly (if not completely) based in other worlds and most of the elements are made up. I feel like contemporary, real-life books would be the hardest to translate because there are so many things that are culturally important or relevant that wouldn’t make sense in other countries or languages. How do you explain Groundhog Day or Presidential Turkey Pardons or Tailgating to people who have never heard of Thanksgiving or have never seen an American Football game?

Maybe this won’t make sense with what I’ve said so far, but personally, I think this is why books in translation are so important. I LOVE to travel and learn about the world and the people who live in it. Reading books in translation allows me to better understand the world. No, I’m not able to read it in its original language, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get something out of it or learn something new about other countries and people. I tend to read a lot of crime novels in translation (for example, Jo Nesbø) but I’ve also read incredible books by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Niccolò Ammaniti, Albert Camus, and so many more. I mean, who hasn’t read The Little Prince? Whose life wasn’t touched by that one?

Imagine how small our world would become without books in translation. Reading books originally written in another language and set in another country allows me to learn more about the amazing, fascinating, strange, beautiful world we live in.

What do you think about books in translation? Have you read any? Did they make sense or were there confusing moments?

After writing this, I actually really wish I spoke/read another language well enough to see if all of my favorite parts of my favorite books translated well. Hmmmm.

By the way, make sure you go check out Smartling’s software – they translate websites, apps, and documents for businesses in a quickly and efficiently using REAL people and not the one-size-fits-all translation of some other sites. Check out their website to learn more!

Thursday Thoughts – Why don’t I like historical fiction?

Thursday Thoughts on Caught Read Handed

Let’s talk about historical fiction, okay? I don’t like it. BUT let me explain.

I can read fantasies from ALL the time periods – hundreds of years ago, the last couple of decades, contemporaries, and in the future. Fantasies set during a renaissance-type era (like in The Young Elites) or some made up land of beasts and monsters and all that (most recently, Beastkeeper). Fantasies set during our own era (Wolves of Mercy Falls, anyone) or at a school of magic (Harry Potter, obviously).

But I can’t stand historical fiction. If it’s set during World War II or a romance taking place during the turn of the century, take it awaaayyy! Sometimes I can’t even read a book set a couple of decades ago. I was scrolling through Goodreads the other day and saw an interesting cover. I clicked on it to read the summary and saw something along the lines of “Set during the blah blah blah in 1973…” and I immediately clicked off. That’s not even that long ago! I don’t really know why I do this. Maybe because I was reading a contemporary at the time, so it put me off?

I’m looking at my shelves right now and other than some fantasies, I honestly can’t find a book that has all human characters and is set more than ten years ago. I think it may in part have to do with the fact that I’m always thinking of the present or what I have to do next. Do I not like historical fiction because I don’t like thinking of the past? I want to keep moving forward? I wasn’t a big history class fan in high school. I LOVE going to see history (a trip to Washington D.C., Philadelphia, museums, etc.) but reading about it? No thanks.

Mostly I’m writing this because as I skipped reading that book’s summary on Goodreads, I sat here for a second wondering why? Why isn’t historical fiction something I like?

Do any of you avoid historical fiction? Do you know why? Or if you love historical fiction, tell me why! Maybe you’ll convince me to try one.

Liebster Blog Award: Take 2

Recently, I was nominated for a SECOND Liebster Award by the wonderful Rachel over at Confessions of a Book Geek. Thank you so much, Rachel! If you would like to read the answers from my first post as well as find out the rules for the award, you can check it out here. I’ve cut a few of the questions from Rachel’s post as I answered some of them the first time or in other posts.

1. What is your preferred reading format? E-book, paperback, hardback?

I’m going to be pretty specific: I prefer floppy paperbacks. You know the ones that when you open them to the middle, they just flop open and stay that way? Yeah, they’re the best.

2. If you could only recommend one book for another to read, what would it be and why?

Goodness, this is hard. I’ve probably recommended this book at least a hundred times on this blog, so I’m just going to go with that one (though really it would depend on what type of books the person likes, etc.): The Humans by Matt Haig (you’re not surprised, are you? Ha). I pretty much try to mention this book at least once a week. Haha.

3. One of the recent themes of Top Ten Tuesday was: if you like this TV show/film, you should read this book. Provide a book recommendation based on your favorite film or TV show.

Well, first, I’m going to link to my TTT post from that week. Now for this question: As I’m so freaking excited for the premiere of Teen Wolf on Monday, I’d recommend Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater if you like Teen Wolf. 🙂

4. What is your opinion on commenting on blog posts?

I’m the type of person that if I relate to something or enjoyed reading something, I want to tell you. So I enjoy commenting on people’s blog posts if I like the post. Sometimes I’ll just like the post if I’m kind of in a rush or don’t know what exactly to say but still like the post.

5. What is your most anticipated read of 2014?

I’m going to give you two. First, Ian Rankin wrote a stage play called Dark Road that I saw in Scotland right before I moved home. It is being published in book form next month, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Second, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (duh). This shows you how wide ranging my book tastes are.

Dark Road

6. We all know about blogger hype, which book have you read which did not live up to the hype?

Dorothy Must Die.

7. Name one author whose books you will always read.

Ian Rankin. Hands down. I’ve read every single book he’s ever published, and I would read his grocery lists.

8. There are certain bloggers whose opinions I value, when they give a good review I will go out of my way to read that book. Name a blogger whose opinions you value and explain why?

Booknerderie, Girl in the Pages, and Drifting Pages (though she hasn’t posted many reviews; I know her irl and we discuss books on Skype all the time). There are several more, but these are the ones that came to mind right away.

9. What is your favorite part of blogging? The book tours, the reviews, the memes, the community…?

The community, hands down. I love being able to discuss books and reading with so many people. I’ve also made a couple of really cool friends, like the seriously awesome Annette at Booknerderie. We talk pretty much every day, including watching and discussing So You Think You Can Dance at the same time. That’s what I was hoping for when I started my blog: finding new books and new people to love.

10. What’s your favorite of your own blog posts?

Hmmm. Either my Love Letter to Books or The Problem with Books. I like discussion posts. I need to do more.

11. What’s your favorite word and why?

Pandemonium. It’s just a great word.


12. How long do you spend reading blogs each week?

A lot of time. I don’t know. I’ll just guess around 30 minutes to an hour a day.

13. When is your favorite time to blog?

The morning.

14. Why do you think people blog?

I don’t know why other people do, but I can tell you why I blog: Books and reading are my main passion in life. One of my favorite things is telling people about the books I’ve read and loved. I also LOVE when my friends come to me for book recommendations because they trust my judgment. What better way to do that as often as possible than on a blog? I get to tell people about the books I love and find new books to love through other people.

15. How long does it take you to compose an average blog post?

It depends. If it’s a TTT or meme like that, it usually takes between 15-30 minutes. A review usually takes a little longer, mostly because I write it, leave it alone for a while, then come back and reread it to make sure it makes sense and isn’t just me rambling (it’s usually just me rambling anyway).

16. What do you think makes a good blog?

Passion. If I can tell how much you loved something (or didn’t), it’s going to make me want to check it out. If I can feel your passion through your words, chances are I like your blog.

I also enjoy having discussions in the comments, so bloggers that take the time to respond to my comment and have conversations about the books/posts instead of just posting it are my favorites. I try to respond to every comment. 🙂

17. How do you find new blogs to follow?

I find a lot of new blogs to follow through Top Ten Tuesday. Also, if a blog I already follow and like links to another blog, I usually click through to check them out and follow if I like what they post.

18. Would you ever stop following a blog? Why?

If a blog I follow consistently posts reviews for books that I am just not interested in, I might unfollow; I might not though if I like their reviews or the way they write because I might end up trying a book I wouldn’t have originally. I would definitely unfollow if a blogger was rude to their followers for some reason or if they posted something that was offensive to me.

19. When do you find it most difficult to blog?

It’s not difficult for me to blog at any specific time or anything, but it is difficult for me to blog when I didn’t like a book. I have difficulty giving a book a low rating even if I didn’t like it. I know that’s stupid, but I am generally a pretty nice person (at least I try to be), and it feels like I’m insulting an author, especially since they put their heart and soul into writing that book. I’m getting better at this. I will never actually give a book a higher rating if my opinion doesn’t match it; I just feel bad doing it. Haha.


Blogs I’m tagging! Feel free to answer what questions you want. I know there’s a lot.


The End of the Chapter

A Bibliophile’s Style

Howling at the Muse

The problem with books

In which I lament the problems of being a HUGE book nerd

Picture from @BookNerdProblems

Picture from @BookNerdProblems

I don’t know about you, but for the most part (pretty much every part) of being a book nerd is a wholly fulfilling, inspiring, and lifelong obsession that I never, and will never, have a problem with. But every once in a while something happens that just makes you go, “Why do I do this again?!” I enjoy lists (and even numbers), so I figured I’d detail ten of the problems I occasionally deal with in my bookish life. Do you relate to any of these?

In no particular order (I think organizing it into a list is probably order enough). Please know that this is an, at times, exaggerated, sarcastic, and generally not-always-serious post.

  1. You want to lend the books you love to all of your friends, but you can’t because you know they’d ruin them: one of your friends is a spine breaker, another is too messy and will spill something on it, yet another will probably lose it and/or never give it back. How do you share your love of a book with someone who will DESTROY it like that asteroid who killed all the dinosaurs?
  2. Your new book boyfriend has completely ruined all other boys for you: you know that swoon worthy boy who serenades you with his words, stares deep into your soul, and changes you forever? Yeah, he’s not real.
  3. You are completely unable to walk into a bookstore (or any freaking store with books!) without buying one: Did you walk into Target with a specific thing to buy, like a pair of jeans or some deodorant? Sorry, but you’ll be leaving with four new books and neither of the things you actually need.
  4. You get crazy looks from people when you cry and/or laugh in the middle of a public place and there’s no one around you: Remember when you were on the train home and you broke down into intense sobs while reading The Fault In Our Stars and thought you did a good job covering it up by pretending you had allergies? Yeah, no one bought that. Sorry.
  5. You’re in constant danger: you are constantly shelling out more cash in order to fit your never ending piles of books rather than risk the potential avalanche that would totally kill you.
  6. You’re a liar: “Sorry, I can’t go. I already have plans.” Yeah, that was a lie. You just have a good book that you’d rather spend all night buried in instead of feeling uncomfortable and wishing you could leave all night. The guilt of lying to your friends haunts you, but honestly, you’re probably happier.
  7. You’ve got BPS: Book Pain Syndrome. Dude, it’s a legitimate thing. You are constantly trying to find the perfect position in which to read. Your back is spasming, you’ve got aches and pains all over the place, and one of your legs is asleep.
  8. You’re broke: Work, you know that thing that means you can keep buying books? Yeah, it gets in the way of actually reading the books. It’s a necessary evil though.
  9. You yell at movies: Seeing trailers for book to movie adaptations literally makes your heart race. Sometimes because they look amazing and sometimes they don’t. But no matter what, you know they’ve changed it. You know it. They removed your favorite scene or added dialogue that just doesn’t make sense. It’s different, and you’ll be disappointed.
  10. Your TBR: it will never end. You will constantly add more books to it and you know you’ll never get to all of them. This is the most soul crushing realization in the entire world. You will never have enough time to read it all.

These are some intense problems, but you know what? None of them will ever outweigh the pure joy, inspiration, and solace you can find by diving into a book and losing yourself. It doesn’t matter that people stare at you or you’d rather spend time with your book boyfriend than going to a party. You not only make friends in the books, but you make friends with other bookish people because they understand you on a fundamental level that can bind you for life. Never stop reading.

What are some of the bookish problems you have?