The Discussion Post – International Reads

 

Since I began blogging in January I’ve taken part in a number of SundayYA chats over on Twitter. It has become a must do on a Sunday evening if I’m around and everyone who takes part is so lovely and welcoming! I’d definitely recommend checking one out, they’re every Sunday at 6PM UK time. You can see the most recent chat by checking out the SundayYA hashtag here

The reason I bring this up – other than because it’s fabulous – is that last week’s chat focused on international YA books for World Book Day. One of the questions that was asked during the chat was

Do we celebrate international YA enough?

The question got me thinking about this in the wider context of all books, I look at my bookcase and it is full of wonderful books but almost all of them are by a British or American author, yes we are lucky to have a huge number of very talented authors hailing from our shores, and I completely understand why our bookshops are filled with their incredible books but the chat left me wondering what am I missing out on?

When I’m talking about international works I’m not restricting this to translated novels, my shelves are sorely lacking in authors from other English-speaking countries as well, for example in my late teens I read some books by Marian Keyes, and I recently read and reviewed The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty but I must be missing out on more wonderful Irish and Australian authors – and I’m certainly not restricting it to just those two countries!

When it comes to international books they’re not always the most well publicised but there are a few I’m looking forward to getting my hands on this year. The first I read about in an online article talking about some of the most anticipated books of 2017

Based on a True Story

The international sensation that sold half a million copies in France: a chilling work of true-crime literature about a friendship gone terrifyingly toxic and the very nature of reality.

Winner of Le Prix Renaudot 2015
Winner of Le Prix Goncourt des Lycéens 2015

Overwhelmed by the huge success of her latest novel, exhausted and suffering from a crippling inability to write, Delphine meets L.

L. embodies everything Delphine has always secretly admired; she is a glittering image of feminine sophistication and spontaneity and she has an uncanny knack of always saying the right thing. Unusually intuitive, L. senses Delphine’s vulnerability and slowly but deliberately carves herself a niche in the writer’s life. However, as L. makes herself indispensable to Delphine, the intensity of this unexpected friendship manifests itself in increasingly sinister ways. As their lives become more and more entwined, L. threatens Delphine’s identity, both as a writer and as an individual.

This sophisticated psychological thriller skillfully blurs the line between fact and fiction, reality and artifice. Delphine de Vigan has crafted a terrifying, insidious, meta-fictional thriller; a haunting vision of seduction and betrayal; a book which in its hungering for truth implicates the reader, too—even as it holds us in its thrall.

The next two are a couple of the many recommended during the SundayYA chat.

Arcadia Awakens

To New Yorker Rosa Alcantara, the exotic world of Sicily, with its network of Mafia families and its reputation for murder and intrigue, is just that—exotic, and wholly unknown. But when tragedy strikes, she must travel there, to her family’s ancestral home, where her sister and aunt have built their lives and where centuries of family secrets await her. Once there, Rosa wastes no time falling head over heels for Alessandro Carnevare, the son of a Sicilian Mafia family, whose handsome looks and savage grace both intrigue and unsettle her. But their families are sworn enemies, and her aunt and sister believe Alessandro is only using Rosa to infiltrate the Alcantara clan. And when Rosa encounters a tiger one night—a tiger with very familiar eyes—she can no longer deny that neither the Carnevares nor the Alcantaras are what they seem.

Ancient myths brought to life in the Sicilian countryside, dangerous beasts roaming the hills, and a long history of familial bloodlust prove to Rosa that she can’t trust anyone—not even her own family. Torn between loyalty to her aunt and love for her family’s mortal enemy, Rosa must make the hardest decision of her life: stay in Sicily with her new love . . . or run as far and as fast as she can

and

Romeo@juliette

Juliette, a schoolgirl from Toulouse, corresponds with Mark, a young Englishman who plays the role of Romeo at his school’s theatre production. Little by little, the two young people fall in love.

I guess the question I’m asking in this post is what can we as the book blogging community do to help improve the situation? I think that as a community we are fantastic at sharing recommendations but in order to do that one of us has to discover it in the first place. I can see the logical reasons behind the lack of mainstream translated works, with publishers being a little wary of the expense of translating and printing something they’re not sure there is a market for, I don’t necessarily agree with that but I can understand the business decision behind it. However there are so many international books already published in English that don’t get the love they deserve in other countries.

Maybe I’m just looking in all the wrong places! If anyone has any recommendations for any international books YA or otherwise please feel free to share in the comments!

Have you got any international book recommendations? How do you think we as the book blogging community can celebrate international books more? How can we encourage publishers to take more chances with publishing international authors in the UK (or the USA) Let me know in the comments!

Sarah

5 Comments

  1. I want to read more international authors, I have a few from France that are cozy mysteries and I really want to get into some Irish and Australian authors. If they write in the genres I enjoy I would be up to trying them. 🙂

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  2. I think on a practical level it’s just difficult to read many international authors because they aren’t always published in the U.S. And when people do go to the bookstore, I think they generally select by cover and plot summary, rather than flipping through all the author bios to see who is mentioned as not living in the U.S. To find international books, you would have to go online and search for a recommendation list such as the one you are proposing book bloggers attempt to compile. However, I fear that the average reader is unlikely to ever search for such a list. So I would see this as a useful tool for book bloggers and a welcome one, but I’m not sure how we could make enough momentum to make it profitable for U.S. publishers to attempt to gain the rights of more international releases.

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  3. […] Saturday Discussion Post – International Reads […]

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  4. Yeah, I think the translation issue is the main problem—there are SO many great books written in English that I don’t think publishers see a great “need” for translating foreign works. It might be a shame, but the extra cost just hasn’t been justified in most cases. I think a book has to be a blockbuster before it’s considered for translating, especially inn the case of YA.

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  5. […] International Books – Do publishers in the UK show enough love to international books? What can we as the blogging community do to help? […]

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