We begin today’s podcast hearing from three of our listeners. Shannon, from Ohio, called our voice mail line to weigh in on some of Ann’s E-book comments from episode 60, and to share a favorite novel inspired by a classic. Nicky from Bicester, England wrote to tell us about a book group she started for people with fibromyalgia, a condition that can often make it hard to finish a book. And finally, Kerry told us about two things she’d like to hear more of on Books on the Nightstand: listener recommendations and listener stories (who you are, where you live, what you do, etc.). We’d love to be able to incorporate more of these things into the podcast or blog. Please send us your recommendations for books and tell us a little about yourself while you’re at it! You can use our voice mail line, contact us via e-mail or leave a message in the comments here.
Next up, we discuss books in translation. Through no plan of our own, we seem to have discussed several translated books over the last year, including The Unit, The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, The Glass Room and The Patience Stone. (Edited: Stuart Allen reminded me that in fact The Glass Room was not translated, but was instead written in English. I knew that, but for some reason think of it as a work in translation, perhaps because those have been my favorite reads of late. Mea culpa, and thank you Stuart.)
A recent article at The Chronicle of Higher Education discusses the difficulties translators have being properly recognized in academia. (Unfortunately, the article is now only available online to subscribers.) Michael mentions A Void by Georges Perec, written in French without using the letter “e” and then translated into English also without that integral letter. Ann fondly remembers Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual which recently came out in a new translation. Ann also mentions The Elegance of the Hedgehog, the hugely popular book originally written in French. Other online resources mentioned, both from the University of Rochester: Open Letter, a publishing program that specializes in works in translation; and Three Percent, a resource for international literature.
It’s a very special segment three. Both Michael and Ann have been waiting months to talk about these books. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloottells the previously unknown true story of a poor, African-American woman in the 1950’s whose cells have been the basis for many of the scientific breakthroughs of the past 50 years. (Check out this graphic for a visual representation of their impact.) Ann tries to make sense while conveying her love of Union Atlantic by Adam Haslett, a novel that may well be one of the literary highlights of 2010 — consider yourself forewarned.