The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Jan 9, 2015

2014 Bookwise 1

I didn't really go to Reading in 2014, except to transit - if I recall correctly - at the station en route elsewhere. Otherwise I could have titled this post '2014 in Reading'.

But - happy new year! Here's hoping for new reading adventures and as much literary excitement as you can handle.

2014, it turns out, was another thumping year of reading translated fiction for me (by design, as you may recall). My original intention was to concentrate on fiction from various Indian languages. I was unable to find any until almost the end of the year, and I was forced to find other literatures to consume instead.

For instance, Arabic. Now, I know, I know, I was meant to discuss the Arabic fiction in translation that I read. I was variously lazy and dilatory, and then the year was over. 

In December, though, I landed a minor treasure-trove of fiction from the Sahitya Akademi, India's pre-eminent literary society. I spent a few days immersed in short stories and novels from various parts of the country. Some of the represented languages were Bodo, Nepali, Gujarati and Malayalam. The remainder I hope to consume in 2015.


I read 140 books in 2014. After the excesses of the previous year, this is a sharp drop-off, but to be honest, I didn't expect to cross a hundred at all. In fact, thinking about the books, not many stand out in my mind. I'll eventually mention the few that do - and this is not because others weren't important or interesting, but that my memory is a sieve and it gets worse every year.


Of the 140, 97 were translations. Since I intended to concentrate on translations, this is not surprising. There were 39 languages represented. Check 'em out:

The labels are a bit fuzzy, so here's the list (Indian languages in red):

Arabic     Bengali    Bodo       Catalan    Chinese    Croatian   Czech      Danish     Dutch      French     Galician   German     Greek     Gujarati   Hebrew     Hindi      Italian    Japanese   Kannada    Kashmiri   Korean    Magyar    Malayalam  Marathi    Nepali     Persian   Polish     Portuguese Romanian   Russian    Sesotho    Spanish    Swedish    Telugu     Turkish    Ukrainian  Vietnamese


Pretty cool, huh? Sesotho, even. And here is a chart of the countries involved:

Here's a clearer list:

Iran     Germany     France     Japan     Greece     Italy     Argentina     Romania     El Salvador Morocco     Finland     Sweden     France     Syria     Lesotho     China     Albania     Egypt     Lebanon     Libya     Iraq     India     Spain     Korea     Brazil     Russia     Turkey     Poland     Uzbekistan     Croatia     Holland     Denmark     Mexico     Sudan     Hungary     Ukraine     Tunisia     Czech     Israel     Vietnam


At this point, of course, you have no reason to believe me when I say that in another post I'll write about the books that made a (memorable) impression on me in 2014. 


sakura said...

Impressive list and even more impressed that you managed to find translations from so many languages. I think it's a triumph if you can read over a 100 books in one year - I don't think I managed even half last year. But looking forward to another lazy reading year all the same. And your reviews!

Fëanor said...

Ah, my reviews - I'm getting lazier by the minute and those reviews might never actually materialise... But good of you to keep coming back nevertheless :-)

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