"Lost Without Translation"

That was the title of a really interesting commentary piece that I read in last Wednesday's International Herald Tribune. Here are the main points:

"Judging by bestseller lists, Americans like to read mysteries, books recommended by Oprah Winfrey and books about success and weight loss. Unfortunately, this leaves out a whole world of books: those published in other languages in other countries....Another challenge is getting foreign books noticed in a world of IM-ing, Web-surfing, television-watching Americans....All the world is a book group--or it could be if more Americans knew what people across the oceans are reading."

This really struck a cord with me because, lately, I have been spending an incredibly amount of my precious euros on exactly that: BOOKS! Bookstores, called "Libraries" here (don't be fooled by the name.....an actual library is called a "Biblioteque"), are one of my favorite places to kill time. I love perusing the titles, as each one is designed to jump out at you with their worldly, philosophical titles.

Whereas books in the U.S. are slowly being replaced with TV, television, and magazines, small "mom and pop" bookstores here are thriving! Each one has its own personality and sometimes, they specialize in a certain genre of books....some bookstores are only literature books, or only philosophy books, or only comic books!

So, before I know it, my hands are filled with books about immigration in France, the latest comic novel, and a history book (on France in the early 20th century...for my history class) and I am forced to make serious decisions. Books here are EXPENSIVE. They range usually from 10-20 euros (roughly 12-25 dollars!) And I'm a student....I'm on a budget.....

I go to the cash register and buy my history book (it's for class, afterall!) and slowly make my way out....glancing at every book before I leave. I wish I had the time to read them all! And I wish that more of these books made it to the U.S. for there certainly is an abundance of American books translated into English....



Monica said...

I know your blog is about your semester abroad, but I asked how long you're staying because I thought that maybe after your classes are over you would still want to stay there for a little while.

Maybe you'll be homesick by then right?!

Anonymous said...

Bonjour ma petite bookworm! Khoobi azizam? great to hear your voice last night and to know that all is well with you!!!

Will begin to assemble all the things you requested today...and will bake your cookies for you on Thursday so that they are FRESHLY baked when you recieve them next Friday from the hands of your beloved and most loving daddy!!

BIG, BIG HUG and lots of kisses,
Mom xoxoxox