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Old 12-01-2018, 08:19 AM   #1
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Nominations for January 2019 • Lost in Translation: Other Tongues


Help us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read in January 2019. The theme is Lost in Translation: Other Tongues

Everyone is welcome to join the nomination process even if they'd rather lurk during the voting and discussion; if that is still a little too much commitment, please feel free to suggest titles without making a formal nomination. Also, don't sweat the links. It's helpful to check availability and prices before nominating in order to eliminate anything that's out of the question, but ultimately our global members with different gadgets and preferences will have to check for themselves.

The nominations will run through 7 AM EST, December 7, 2018. Each nomination requires a second and a third to make it to the poll, which will remain open for four days. The discussion of the selection will start on January 15, 2019. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the December selection, The Scarlet Pimpernel, on December 15.

Any questions? See below, or just ask!

FAQs for the Nomination, Selection and Discussion process

General Guidelines for the New Leaf Book Club

Official choices with three nominations:

Embassytown by China Miéville [stuartjmz, Dazrin, CRussel]
Amazon US $7.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak.

Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. She cannot speak the Ariekei tongue, but she is an indelible part of it, having long ago been made a figure of speech, a living simile in their language.

When distant political machinations deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties—to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak yet speaks through her.
345 pp.

Every Man Dies Alone (alternate title: Alone in Berlin) by Hans Fallada, translated by Michael Hofmann [Catlady, issybird, Bookpossum]
Amazon U.S., $12.99 | Amazon CA $9.88 | Amazon UK £4.99 | Amazon AU $14.99 | Kobo U.S., $12.99 | Kobo CA $13.59 | Kobo UK £4.99 | Kobo AU $14.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
Based on a true story, this never-before-translated masterpiece was overlooked for years after its author—a bestselling writer before World War II who found himself in a Nazi insane asylum at war’s end—died just before it was published.

In a richly detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis, it tells the sweeping saga of one working-class couple who decides to take a stand when their only son is killed at the front. With nothing but their grief and each other against the awesome power of the Third Reich, Otto and Anna Quangel launch a simple, clandestine resistance campaign that soon has an enraged Gestapo on their trail, and a world of terrified neighbors and cynical snitches ready to turn them in.

In the end, Every Man Dies Alone is more than an edge-of-your-seat thriller, more than a moving romance, even more than literature of the highest order—it’s a deeply stirring story of two people standing up for what’s right, and for each other.

This edition includes an afterword detailing the gripping history of the book and its author, including excerpts from the Gestapo file on the real-life couple that inspired it.
546 pp.

The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa [Bookpossum, gmw, issybird]
Kobo prices: $US9.99, $C13.99, $A14,99, $NZ20.34, £3.99.
Spoiler:
Quote:
In the spring of 1860, Fabrizio, the charismatic Prince of Salina, still rules over thousands of acres and hundreds of people, including his own numerous family, in mingled splendour and squalor. Then comes Garibaldi's landing in Sicily and the Prince must decide whether to resist the forces of change or come to terms with them.
This is a book translated from Italian into English, but of course it is also about the loss of a way of life and coming to terms with change.
327 pp.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin [gmw, Bookpossum, CRussel]
Amazon US $9.99 | Amazon UK £5.99 | Amazon CA $10.99 | Amazon AU $11.99 | Kobo US $9.99 | Kobo UK £5.99 | Kobo CA $10.99 | Kobo AU $11.99
Spoiler:
Goodreads:
Quote:
A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can choose -and change - their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters.

Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.
304 pp.

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto [astrangerhere, Dazrin, Bookworm_Girl]
Amazon US $12.86
Spoiler:
Quote:
In Kitchen, a young Japanese woman named Mikage Sakurai struggles to overcome the death of her grandmother. She gradually grows close to one of her grandmother's friends, Yuichi, from a flower shop and ends up staying with him and his transgender mother, Eriko.
The book works as translation on two levels - the language, and the misunderstood Erika who was struggling with being transgender in 1980s Japan.
152 pp.

The Man Who Watched the Trains Go By by Georges Simenon, (Siân Reynolds, tr.) [issybird, gmw, Bookworm_Girl]
Kobo UK £2.99 | Kobo AU $10.99 | Kobo CA $11.99 | Kobo US $9.99 | Audible US
Spoiler:
Quote:
A brilliant new translation of one of Simenon's best loved masterpieces.

'A certain furtive, almost shameful emotion ... disturbed him whenever he saw a train go by, a night train especially, its blinds drawn down on the mystery of its passengers'

Kees Popinga is a respectable Dutch citizen and family man. Then he discovers that his boss has bankrupted the shipping firm he works for - and something snaps. Kees used to watch the trains go by to exciting destinations. Now, on some dark impulse, he boards one at random, and begins a new life of recklessness and violence. This chilling portrayal of a man who breaks from society and goes on the run asks who we are, and what we are capable of.

'Classic Simenon ... extraordinary in its evocative power' Independent
251 pp.

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Old 12-01-2018, 08:20 AM   #2
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Choices with one or two nominations:

*Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh [CRussel]
AmazonUS: $2.99 | AmazonCA: $9.99 | Audible | AudibleUK | Overdrive
Spoiler:
Quote:
Originally Posted by amazon
The groundbreaking novel that launched Cherryh's eponymous space opera series of first contact and its consequences...

It had been nearly five centuries since the starship Phoenix, lost in space and desperately searching for the nearest G5 star, had encountered the planet of the atevi. On this alien world, law was kept by the use of registered assassination, alliances were defined by individual loyalties not geographical borders, and war became inevitable once humans and one faction of atevi established a working relationship. It was a war that humans had no chance of winning on this planet so many light-years from home.

Now, nearly two hundred years after that conflict, humanity has traded its advanced technology for peace and an island refuge that no atevi will ever visit. Then the sole human the treaty allows into atevi society is marked for an assassin's bullet. The work of an isolated lunatic? The interests of a particular faction? Or the consequence of one human's fondness for a species which has fourteen words for betrayal and not a single word for love?
431 pp.

**The Time In Between (alternate title: The Seamstress) by Maria Duenas, translated by Daniel Hahn [Catlady, Bookworm_Girl]
Amazon U.S.
$13.99 | Amazon CA $7.99 | Amazon UK £3.99 | Amazon AU AU $12.99 |
Kobo U.S.
$13.99 | Kobo CA $12.99 | Kobo UK £3.99 | Kobo AU $12.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
The inspiring international bestseller of a seemingly ordinary woman who uses her talent and courage to transform herself first into a prestigious couturier and then into an undercover agent for the Allies during World War II.

Between Youth and Adulthood…

At age twelve, Sira Quiroga sweeps the atelier floors where her single mother works as a seamstress. At fourteen, she quietly begins her own apprenticeship. By her early twenties she has learned the ropes of the business and is engaged to a modest government clerk. But everything changes when two charismatic men burst unexpectedly into her neatly mapped-out life: an attractive salesman and the father she never knew.

Between War and Peace…

With the Spanish Civil War brewing in Madrid, Sira leaves her mother and her fiancé, impetuously following her handsome lover to Morocco. However, she soon finds herself abandoned, penniless, and heartbroken in an exotic land. Among the odd collection of European expatriates trapped there by the worsening political situation back on the Continent, Sira reinvents herself by turning to the one skill that can save her: her gift for creating beautiful clothes.

Between Love and Duty…

As England, Germany, and the other great powers launch into the dire conflict of World War II, Sira is persuaded to return to Madrid, where she takes on a new identity to embark upon the most dangerous undertaking of her career. As the preeminent couturier for an eager clientele of Nazi officers’ wives, Sira becomes embroiled in the half-lit world of espionage and political conspiracy rife with love, intrigue, and betrayal.

An outstanding success around the world, The Time in Between has sold more than two million copies and inspired the Spanish television series based on the book, dubbed by the media as the “Spanish Downton Abbey.” In the US it was a critical and commercial hit, and a New York Times bestseller in paperback. It is one of those rare, richly textured novels that enthrall down to the last page. María Dueñas reminds us how it feels to be swept away by a masterful storyteller.
626 pp.

**The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age by Stanislaw Lem [Ralph Sir Edward, Dazrin]
Amazon US $1.99
314 pp.

*Celebrating the Best in Urdu Poetry, edited by Khushwant Singh, tr. by Kamna Prasad [stuartjmz]
Amazon US $14.00
Spoiler:
This nomination is close to my heart, because I was ecstatic when I discovered that it even existed. Hindi and Urdu are/were a digraphia, but despite their closeness, Urdu was long revered as the more poetic of the two. For me, Urdu's nastaliq is insanely gorgeous, the most beautiful script I know of, but I can't read a single letter. So discovering an anthology of Urdu poetry in devanagari (which I can read), with both Roman transliteration and English translation, was a joy.

Last edited by issybird; 12-07-2018 at 07:32 AM. Reason: Through post #65.
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Old 12-01-2018, 10:50 AM   #3
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I nominate The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Amazon US - USD$9.99 | Amazon UK - £5.99 | Amazon CA - CDN$10.99 | Amazon AU - AUD$11.99 | Kobo US - USD$9.99 | Kobo UK - £5.99 | Kobo CA - CAD$10.99 | Kobo AU AUD$11.99

Description from Goodreads:
Quote:
A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can choose -and change - their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters.

Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.
I see it was nominated, but not selected, 2 years ago on the literary club, and it seems likely that many here will have already read this, but for me it was far too many years ago and I would like to revisit it. It seems an ideal match to this theme.

For the age of it the book is still quite expensive, but I expect you should be able to get it fairly easily at libraries.
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Old 12-01-2018, 02:02 PM   #4
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I can't find the thread with the discussion of the theme, but I thought this month's theme was books translated from another language?
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Old 12-01-2018, 02:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
I can't find the thread with the discussion of the theme, but I thought this month's theme was books translated from another language?
We try to take it lightly and have fun with it, so any theme is whatever a nominator can make it mean. People are able to interpret a given theme as broadly as they'd like, despite what the originator might have had in mind. You can ask gmw for his rationale!
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Old 12-01-2018, 03:22 PM   #6
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The idea of a character being lost in translation rather than us as readers getting a translation is a good one I think. The Foreigner series is another good one like that but I'm always up for Le Guin.

I spent a couple hours yesterday looking only to realize the book I wanted is an Amazon exclusive as an ebook. Back to the drawing board.
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Old 12-01-2018, 03:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by issybird View Post
We try to take it lightly and have fun with it, so any theme is whatever a nominator can make it mean. People are able to interpret a given theme as broadly as they'd like, despite what the originator might have had in mind. You can ask gmw for his rationale!
Yeah, but I'm questioning the theme's meaning in terms of what I might want to nominate--and I've been looking at books translated from another language.
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Old 12-01-2018, 03:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
Yeah, but I'm questioning the theme's meaning in terms of what I might want to nominate--and I've been looking at books translated from another language.
So have I and I suspect most of us have. But theme-bending breaks no rules.

Are we ready for another 19th century French novel yet?
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Old 12-01-2018, 04:05 PM   #9
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OK, I'm going to break my usual rule of only nominating one book. First, a Norwegian mystery, The Rat by Jo Nesbø, the first of the Harry Hole mysteries. These are rather dark, with a less than exemplary protagonist, but excellent police procedural mysteries, mostly set outside of Norway. They fit the category in it's most obvious sense, being translated into English.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amazon
Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Crime Squad is dispatched to Sydney to observe a murder case. Harry is free to offer assistance, but he has firm instructions to stay out of trouble. The victim is a twenty-three year old Norwegian woman who is a minor celebrity back home. Never one to sit on the sidelines, Harry befriends one of the lead detectives, and one of the witnesses, as he is drawn deeper into the case. Together, they discover that this is only the latest in a string of unsolved murders, and the pattern points toward a psychopath working his way across the country. As they circle closer and closer to the killer, Harry begins to fear that no one is safe, least of all those investigating the case.
Page count: 386 pages for the Kindle edition.

AmazonUS: $9.99
AmazonCA: $9.99 CAD
AmazonUK: £3.99 GBP
AmazonAU: $12.99 AUD
AudibleUS
Overdrive

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Old 12-01-2018, 04:34 PM   #10
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Foreigner

For my second nomination, I'll follow through on Dazrin's lead and nominate Foreigner, the first book in CJ Cherryh's eponymous series. This series, and this book, provide an effective and well developed object lesson in the risks of translation, and of the whole concept of language and linguistics being biologically determinant.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amazon
The groundbreaking novel that launched Cherryh's eponymous space opera series of first contact and its consequences...

It had been nearly five centuries since the starship Phoenix, lost in space and desperately searching for the nearest G5 star, had encountered the planet of the atevi. On this alien world, law was kept by the use of registered assassination, alliances were defined by individual loyalties not geographical borders, and war became inevitable once humans and one faction of atevi established a working relationship. It was a war that humans had no chance of winning on this planet so many light-years from home.

Now, nearly two hundred years after that conflict, humanity has traded its advanced technology for peace and an island refuge that no atevi will ever visit. Then the sole human the treaty allows into atevi society is marked for an assassin's bullet. The work of an isolated lunatic? The interests of a particular faction? Or the consequence of one human's fondness for a species which has fourteen words for betrayal and not a single word for love?
Page Count: 431 pages.


AmazonUS: $2.99
AmazonCA: $9.99 CAD

Audible
AudibleUK

Overdrive

It appears there might be current issues with accessing this in eBook format outside of North America. If this book is selected, I'll work with folks who have any geo-fencing issues, so please don't let that influence your vote! Or you can try the excellent Audible version, which is available.
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Old 12-01-2018, 04:38 PM   #11
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I'm nominating Every Man Dies Alone (alternate title: Alone in Berlin) by Hans Fallada, translated by Michael Hofmann (1947, transl. 2009; 546 pp.).

Quote:
Based on a true story, this never-before-translated masterpiece was overlooked for years after its author—a bestselling writer before World War II who found himself in a Nazi insane asylum at war’s end—died just before it was published.

In a richly detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis, it tells the sweeping saga of one working-class couple who decides to take a stand when their only son is killed at the front. With nothing but their grief and each other against the awesome power of the Third Reich, Otto and Anna Quangel launch a simple, clandestine resistance campaign that soon has an enraged Gestapo on their trail, and a world of terrified neighbors and cynical snitches ready to turn them in.

In the end, Every Man Dies Alone is more than an edge-of-your-seat thriller, more than a moving romance, even more than literature of the highest order—it’s a deeply stirring story of two people standing up for what’s right, and for each other.

This edition includes an afterword detailing the gripping history of the book and its author, including excerpts from the Gestapo file on the real-life couple that inspired it.
Amazon U.S., $12.99
Amazon Canada, CA $9.88
Amazon UK, £4.99
Amazon Australia, AU $14.99

Kobo U.S., $12.99
Kobo Canada, CA $13.59
Kobo UK, £4.99
Kobo Australia, AU $14.99

Overdrive has the e-book and audiobook, RB Digital and Scribd have the audiobook.

Last edited by Catlady; 12-02-2018 at 04:34 PM. Reason: Links added.
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Old 12-01-2018, 04:44 PM   #12
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I guess a rodent's a rodent.
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Old 12-01-2018, 05:31 PM   #13
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I'll second Every Man Dies Alone which has been on my TBR for a while.
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Old 12-01-2018, 05:57 PM   #14
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The Left Hand of Darkness is a great book and I second it.

I really like your take on the theme, gmw!
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Old 12-01-2018, 07:37 PM   #15
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Since gmw has inspired many to go with books about translation, even if not actually translated themselves, I'm going to follow suit and recommend/rave about Embassytown - translation is literally what this book is all (or mostly) about

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