Top 2017 summer reads for translators

July 5, 2017
Top 2017 summer reads for translators

Whether you choose to spend your free time this summer on the beach, by the pool or enjoying all the comforts of home with a staycation, be sure to keep up with the latest literary offerings. This summer has already seen a wealth of novels published that will appeal particularly to the professional translation community. Here are a handful of our particular favourites. Happy reading! 

A Horse Walks into a Bar, David Grossman

The winner of the 2017 Man Booker International Prize, A Horse Walks into a Bar is an outstanding literary achievement from Israeli author David Grossman, translated into English by Jessica Cohen. 

The tale is narrated by Avishai Lazar, a retired district court judge. Offensive comedian Dovaleh Greenstein invites Lazar to attend his stand-up show. The pair knew each other as children, but haven’t been in contact for more than 40 years. During the performance, Greenstein begins to unravel, sharing his haunting past in a gripping and challenging series of emotional revelations. 

The Translation of Love, Lynne Kutsukake

No summer reading list would be complete without a book that centred on love. However, The Translation of Love is far from a mushy romance novel. It tells of the strength of love between three sisters, as two young girls search for their missing sibling in Tokyo. The underbelly of the city, from its brothels to its heaving night markets, is brought wonderfully to life by debut novelist Lynne Kutsukake in this deeply moving page-turner. 

The Mountain, Luca D’Andrea

Likened to the works of Stephen King and Joël Dicker, The Mountain is a powerful novel that will keep you gripped from the outset. It follows the journey of Jeremiah Salinger and his daughter Clara to the Dolomites mountain range in Italy. Jeremiah is battling with depression and nightmares after causing a fatal accident, but a chance conversation that he overhears gives him the chance to solve a decades-old mystery and save his sanity all in one go. 

Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything, David Bellos

A fascinating read for anyone who loves languages, Is That a Fish in Your Ear was originally published in 2011, when it was flagged by The New York Times as one of the most notable books of the year. It remains as captivating now as it did then. The book looks through the lens of translation to provide a rich, cultural history of human endeavour. It celebrates translation in all its forms, taking in literary fiction, politics, war, consumerism and more along the way. 

Dear Amy, Helen Callaghan

A creepy psychological thriller is always a great option for a summer reading list, and Dear Amy showcases the genre at its very best. An agony aunt is drawn into the mystery surrounding the disappearance of two little girls, 20 years apart, when she begins receiving letters purporting to be from one of the girls. The mystery deepens as agony aunt Margot becomes embroiled in solving the dangerous puzzle. A gripping novel where nothing is quiet as it seems – it will keep you guessing until the very end. 

Exile, James Swallow

If an action read is what you’re after, Exile is one of the most highly recommended novels this year. Serbian gang members, vengeful Somali warlords and a disgraced Russian general provide plenty for British Agent Marc Dane to tackle in this fast-paced thriller, which draws the reader in from the very first page. Exile is the second time we’ve encountered Marc Dane, so if you want to follow him from the very start of his adventures, why not check out James Swallow’s Nomad novel first, then follow it up with Exile?

Final thoughts

What else is on your essential reading list this summer? Which novels will help you to unwind and de-stress during your well-deserved time off from delivering translation services? Let us know your recommendations in the comments section. 

By Ofer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is the founder and CEO of Tomedes, a language technology and translation company that supports business growth through a range of innovative localization strategies. He has been helping companies reach their global goals since 2007.



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