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Old 08-02-2012, 01:24 AM   #1
Kumabjorn
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What do you read in "other" languages

Ever since I learned English well enough I have been a diligent reader of (primarily) American literature. I would guesstimate (see, an Americanism) that about 60% of what I read can be deemed entertainment and that about half of what I read in total is something by an American writer.

As I get older though, I find that American literature, using a broad defintion here, doesn't hold the same appeal as it used to. The fight between "good" and "evil" is depicted too much in black and white for my taste, the motives and reasons for why a person turns evil are almost non-existent (are some Americans evil by birth? I doubt it), the heroes tend towards the super-human. I find a George Smiley inherently much more fascinating than a Mitch Rapp or Scott Harvath. Hence, I find myself "discovering" British literature of lately. Nuances seem more detailed, characters are more fully portraied.

For that reason I have also begun to read more entertainment literature in Swedish, Danish, German and Japanese, and found that the same seems to hold true for books in those languages. Please misunderstand me correctly, I don't have anything against American literature, and perhaps I haven't been capable of finding American authors who are more "grey" than "black & white". I just don't find protagonists like Henning Mankel's Kurt Wallander (Kenneth Brannagh is superb in the BBC series, although it seems Wallander's alcoholism is a no-no for BBC) in works by American authors. After a while the American flawless hero just becomes one-dimensional.

This shift has made me interested to know what and why the rest of you read literature in other languages. The quote marks in the title refers to English in its different forms. I realize that although this is an international forum, it is still dominated by mono-lingual American participants, but within the realm of English there are many versions and there are specific cultural differences, in my own case I still have to read Canadian, South African and Australian authors, the simple reason being my own ignorance.

So whether you're mono or multi-lingual, other than the need to keep your knowledge of a foreign language alive, what are your reasons for reading literature in "other" languages?

Last edited by Kumabjorn; 08-02-2012 at 01:26 AM.
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