Saturday, November 27, 2010
1) Read the translator's preface or introduction. Translation is a complex and difficult process and translators have different methods. Most translators will explain their theories and methods. Some strive for word-for-word exactitude, others seek to recreate the tone of the original; some set the work in its historical context, others update the work. Consider whether you agree with the translator. There is no correct way to translate a novel, it is a matter of taste and as the reader it is your taste that matters.
2) Consider the date of the translation. Like original authors, translators are products of their times. This is especially important with historical translations. Alexander Pope's translation of the Iliad, for instance, is a beautiful work of art but is very much an eighteenth-century retelling of Homer.
3) Carefully read a few passages, including some dialogue. If there are several translations you are considering, read the same passages in each. Do you like the writing? Does it sound right? Can you imagine reading it for several hundred pages? Again this is a matter of personal taste; unless you like the writing you are unlikely to finish the work, and that would be a shame.
And if you can't find a translation you like? Don't read the book. A bad translation of the best book will be a terrible read. Wait for a better translation. There are thousands of books worth reading in the meantime. Of course you could always learn the original language . . .
Finally, here are three translated works that I can enthusiastically recommend:
The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
translated by Diana Burgin and Katherine Tiernan O'Connor
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevasky
translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
translated by John Ciardi
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
You can see the full list here or pick up a physical copy in the store.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
One way to understand Declan Kiberd’s Ulysses and Us is as the story of an intelligent sophisticated reader, reading an intelligent and sophisticated book. Kiberd organizes his reading around daily actions that he believes are explored and celebrated in Ulysses; walking, eating, reading, ogling, teaching, etc, but his writing goes beyond a strict adherence to showing that episode X is devoted to mundane activity Y. He essentially allows us a look into his mind as he reads Ulysses; the mind of a Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature at the University College Dublin, of the author of Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation and Irish Classics, and of the editor of The Annotated Students’ Ulysses.
You don’t have to have read Ulysses to enjoy Ulysses and Us and though I always hope more people read Ulysses, Ulysses and Us is interesting even for those with no plans whatsoever to read Joyce’s masterpiece. Kiberd gives us a chance to borrow the brain of a critic and use it to read for a while.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
This season's title is Rut by Scott Phillips. Stop in right away as it's first come first serve and we only have a case to distribute.
From the very beginning The Walking Dead proves to be a cut above the typical zombie epic. The art is well executed in a realistic style ideally suited to the writing. The writing itself is dramatic, surprising, and tightly paced. Though the characters often wander at a loss the story never does, maintaining a forward momentum that pulls the reader along. Each issue offers new and horrific surprises that will leave readers waiting for the next volume with anticipation and dread. The characterization is almost painfully deep, especially considering the suddenness of some of the many, many deaths. Characters that the reader has watched survive and grow for volumes are suddenly killed with no warning. No one, it seems, is immune and death -- whether it is slow or sudden -- is always catastrophic and harder for the survivors than the dead.
The Walking Dead is a story of hard choices and harsh consequences. The violence comes in sudden shocking bursts and very often the living are worse than the dead. The zombies may be average shamblers but these comics are anything but average.
McGee is an authority on the science of cooking and is also the author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen and a column for the New York Times, "The Curious Cook".
The above mentioned chapters cover basic material such as kitchen tools; handling food safely; eggs; nuts and oil seeds; coffee and tea; and sauces, stocks and soups to name just a few of the 24 chapters. The material is presented crisply and thoroughly. There is always Bittman and Rombauer and The Silver Palate, but this volume just seems more accessible and informative. It makes a great gift for newlyweds setting up house; for the young grad starting out on his/her own; or for any cook whose working library lacks a volume with just enough chemistry to keep it really interesting.
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