I’ve been waiting to write this blog post all week, so excited am I about all the literary tidbits I’ve collected for your enjoyment. And so without further ado, let’s get down to it:
First, I was super excited when I found this World Cup reading list from international literary magazine, Words Without Borders. It also helped that their headline—Around the World in 32 (or so) Books—played into my current read, Around the World in 80 Days. I mean, who doesn’t appreciate a well-placed Jules Verne reference?
The title aside, the collection of books they’ve come up with is simply amazing, and you don’t have to be a soccer fan either. Words Without Borders looked at the countries who vied for the World Cup a few weeks ago, and created list of must-read books from those countries. The countries are (of course) broken down into their respective tourney groups. Here’s a taste from Group A (starring the literature from host country South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, and France):
South Africa: There’s really a wealth of excellent new writing being published from South Africa—most recently, Marlene van Niekerk’s novel, Agaat (Tin House Books), which Toni Morrison championed at this year’s PEN World Voices festival in New York. But here I have to go with Ivan Vladislavic’s wonderfully off-beat love letter to his native city, Portrait with Keys: The City of Johannesburg Unlocked (W.W. Norton)
Mexico: A little bit creepy, a little bit bizarre: Mario Bellatin’s AIDS allegory, Beauty Salon (City Lights).
Uruguay: Who else but Galeano? His most recent, Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone (Nation Books), is just that—stories from the dawn of time to the end of the twentieth century, in Galeano’s inimitable radical, rascally voice.
France: I can’t resist a novel with a soccer subplot, so I have to go with French-Senegelese author Fatou Diome’s story of African immigrants—and footballers—in France, The Belly of the Atlantic (Serpent’s Tail).
I don’t know about you, but I plan on copying down all these titles into my master TBR list. I may not get to them for awhile, but I’m always on the lookout for suggestions of good international literature (I’m stuck in the English-speaking world).
I also stumbled upon this link through my Twitter feed last week, and it continues to make me laugh: Bookstore Bingo from Shelf Awareness. During my days as a bookseller, I received more than my fair share of, well, crap (as you might remember from my Annals of Customer Service). Reading this collection of tweets from fellow booksellers made me feel much better about my sanity. Some of my favorites:
VillageBksBham: “Who wrote Jane Austen?”
LFrannie33: “I’m here for a Bible, not the KJV or anything. I’m looking for the original. You know the one that God wrote.”
3rdplacepress: “Do you have Atlas Rugged?”. “Uh. No, don’t you mean Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand?”. “No. I need Atlas Rugged.”
joebfoster: Someone once told me that the US government classified ANGELS & DEMONS as fiction to help the Vatican with the cover-up
mmerschel: “Do you have Shakespeare in English?”
Bookdwarf: I’m looking for a book but I only know the title, not the author. It’s called Dante’s Inferno.
I definitely had someone ask me who wrote Dante’s Inferno. I wish I was making this up, but really, people are that stupid.
And finally, how cute are these book tables from Design*Sponge??