[T]he inescapable truth is, sampling world culture is an essential and powerfully enriching experience. [...] [These books] just happen to be set in slightly unfamiliar locales.Indeed. The list is fairly varied, with books translated from Spanish, Russian, Hebrew and Dutch (two books are originally from Spanish). Obviously, it might have been nicer having a wider variety (and a longer list!), but given how few books get translated per year, I'm willing to forgive Crispin. The topics are also all over the board, with horror stories, war tales, nerdiness, feminism and family drama all covered. For readers sick of constantly seeing the same titles again and again in "Best of" lists, this one is most recommended.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Amid all the "Best of" lists, you'd be hard pressed to find books not originally written in English. Here's where NPR wins big with Jessa Crispin's "World of Novels" list, where 5 foreign fiction books are crowned best of the year. Crispin writes: