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Exploring books that have been translated from a different language can lead to a really special reading experience. The skill of a translator is of course key, they need to be able to truly feel the book in order to successfully and seamlessly translate it. A great translator has the ability to make you feel right at home, while also letting you experience the wonders of a different culture. These books all encourage you to discover the sense of a different place, so we invite you to step forward and broaden your horizons.
A short, 96-page novella of a ninety-year old columnist reflecting on his life and sexual powers as he prepares for a rather special night of paid-for sex. By the time he was fifty he had slept with 514 such women, after that he stopped listing them for the quantity dwindled and he could remember each without referring to paper. I had suspected this short work might have been a catalogue of sexual encounters which, in his exquisite prose, could not become repetitive as some sex memoirs do, but no, what Marquez has done is touch the nerve of old age. It is beautiful.Comparison: Paulo Coelho, Isabel Allende, Laura Esquivel.Similar this month: Haruki Murakami.
January 2010 Good Housekeeping selection. On My Bookshelf by Wendy Holden... Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is the best in its class – I am a novelist, but for my money the writers of the19th century set the bar for the whole genre. The reason I love it isn’t so much the tragic Anna with ghastly Vronsky, but because of Princess Kitty and Levin. He’s cracked and she’s a bit cosy, but their love affair is just so transportingly romantic. The description of when they meet at the frozen pond, where she is skating and he can’t even look at her because he feels it would be like looking at the sun, gets me every time. It’s because of these two lovers that I’ve never understood the fuss about Jane Austen’s Elizabeth and Mr Darcy. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
One of Carol Drinkwater's favourite books. May 2011 Guest Editor Carol Drinkwater on The House of the Spirits... Since discovering this book, I have bought every Allende, but for me this remains her finest. It recounts the horrors of living under Pinochet’s regime in Chile. At the heart is a family’s story. Allende paints a world that is magical, epic, heartrending, harrowing. A masterpiece. The Lovereading view... Spanning four generations, Isabel Allende's family saga is populated by an often eccentric cast of characters. Together, men and women, spirits, the forces of nature and of history, converge in a brlliantly realised novel.
Deep in the forests of Moran, far from civilization, live families of woodcutters and shepherds. A remote and beautiful world, it is a place where madness still reigns, murder occurs, and bloody punishments are delivered. What has happened to the body of the sensual and beautiful Catherine Corvol, wife of a rich landowner, killed not out of hatred but an excess of love? Around this central enigma, Germain has created a gothic enchantment, a dazzling rural fantasy rich in angels, obsession, and revenge where the reader is carried forward as much by the lyricism and strangeness of the language as by the macabre and fantastic turns of the plot.
Like Water For Chocolate tells the captivating story of the De la Garza family. As the youngest daughter, Tita is forbidden by Mexican tradition to marry. Instead, she pours all of her emotions into her delicious recipes, which she shares with readers along the way. When Tita falls in love with Pedro, he is seduced by the magical food she cooks. Unfortunately, he's married to her sister... Filled with recipes, magical realism and bittersweet humour, this charming story of one family's life in turn-of-the-century Mexico has captivated readers all over the world and was made into an award-winning film.
I first saw the musical, then read the book, and let me just put this out there, Les Miserables is long, and even with a relatively simple plot, not a particularly easy read. Having said that, I am glad that I read it, but am going to whisper this... I prefer the musical (and now I’m ducking). Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.