Last week on Twitter I posed a question. I asked:
I got a good response, but predictably, it was divided! Some wanted Nordic, some wanted Italian, some wanted either, or even both!
This year, I’ve been reading and enjoying more in translation than ever before. Next year, I’d like to read even more. I tend to default to French, Japanese and Scandi writers. I also love Italian literature but don’t read as much translated from Italian, so I’d sort of hoped that Italian would come out on top. I thought about how I’d like to stretch my Scandi reading to become more Nordic, including Iceland and Finland. Then I had an idea related to Nordic lit – dangerous!
The result is that I’m going to go do BOTH! Going forward, I’ll only run a Nordic reading project the once, I may repeat the Italian one in subsequent years. Read on for some more details.
NORDIC FINDS – Jan 3 – Feb 6, 2022
I’m calling the Nordic project – Nordic FINDS – for Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden, the five Nordic countries. The ideal timing for Nordic reading is during the darker months of the year, the polar night of the higher latitudes.
For me, reading Nordic literature really began in the 1990s, when a few modern novels began to appear in translation in English and became bestsellers. I’m going to pick one such influential novel for each of the countries from that time onwards.
So we’ll begin on the first Monday in January, taking one week to focus on each country, and each week I’ll pick one particularly influential novel for anyone who wants to join in reading it.
- Jan 3-9 – DENMARK – Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (1991, 1994 in Eng.)
- Jan 10-16 – NORWAY – Miss Smila’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg (1992, 1993 in Eng)
- Jan 17-23 – SWEDEN ?
- Jan 24-30 – FINLAND ?
- Jan 31- Feb 6 – ICELAND?
As you’ll see, I’ve not picked books yet for Sweden, Finland or Iceland (although I’m very tempted to include my favourite vampire novel Let the Right One In for Sweden). I’m looking forward to your suggestions and am going to examine my shelves for more inspiration!
Please do leave your suggestions for the gaps – authors or novels – in the comments.
Watch this space for more on the focus titles for each country later in the autumn.
‘QUINDICINA ITALIANA’ – Italian Fortnight
Trying to think of a name for a shorter Italian reading project, I came up with ‘Italian Fortnight’, which I feels just right! As for timing, I feel it needs sunshine, hence I’d like to suggest July 25 to August 7 – which overlaps with the end of Spanish/Portuguese Month (if Stu hosts again), and the beginning of #WITMonth – which gives plenty of scope for Ferrante fans – but let’s find some more female Italian authors in translation too.
Once again, do let me know what you think and are the dates suitable? Do you have any suggestions for a readalong title for the fortnight.