5 Great Books to Read in Translation

5 Great Books to Read in Translation

Ready to expand your reading  horizons? For a different perspective, read a book originally published in a language other than English. Translators are definitely unsung heroes in the publishing world. Getting the tone and feel  just right when translating an author’s words is an artform. These authors and translators hit the mark.

Suggested Books in Translation


The Leopard by Jo Nesbo (Norway). After two young women are found dead, both drowned in their own blood, Inspector Harry Hole is compelled to return to Norway to see his dying father and to investigate the brutal crime, which may be the work of a serial killer. One of the original Scandinavian noir authors.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (Germany). Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino (Italy). Ten different and thoroughly dissimilar novels intertwine as the beginning of each book, interrupted at a critical moment of suspense, leads into yet another novel reflecting yet another literary mode. This book is a delightful word puzzle, shifting and changing as the story progresses.

Club Dumas by Arturo Reverez-Perete (Spain). Lucas Corso’s search for the original copy of a book of the occult takes him from Madrid to Paris and into a secret society of antiquarians. You wouldn’t think secret societies of book collectors could be so thrilling and you’d be wrong.

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (Japan). An unlikely alliance forms between Kafka Tamura, a fifteen-year-old runaway, and the aging Nakata, a man who has never recovered from a wartime affliction, as they embark on a surreal odyssey through a strange, fantastical world. Beautiful language.


Reading a book in translation gives a different experience. Give it a try!

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