50 poets and authors? Really? Bee, don’t you think that’s a bit much to ask for?
Sure but there is the “Cinnamon Challenge”, the “Ice Bucket Challenge” and the ” Hot Pepper Challenge” why not challenge yourself to read?????
Here are some more of The Bee’s suggestions of who and what to read! And if you are looking for more authors have a look here:
21. Rose Auslaender: I once owned a poetry book full of German female poets all through history and that is where I was introduced to Rose Auslaender’s poetry. Then I was not aware that she knew Paul Celan who’s “Todesfuge” used an expression of her poetry: “Black Milk”. I also did not know that her second name is my first: Beatrice. But her no-frills use of poetic expression in her later life impressed me deeply. Even though Rose Auslaender lived in the United States for a long time and wrote poetry in English I could not find many translations of her poems. It is worth though to search for them.
22. Marie Luise Kaschnitz: Another female poet who made me understand what the Holocaust meant not only for its survivors but for Germany as a country and its people: That is a burden and responsibility that will follow us for a long time. She is more known than Rose Auslaender and was also a short story writer and essayist. She has done a lot for Germany in way of coming to terms what has happened in Nazi Times.
23. Pia Juul: Let’s leave the dark times of WWII and post-war Germany and come back to today and to Scandinavia. It’s probably obvious by now that I am a huge fan of Scandinavian writers and Pia Juul’s “The Murder of Halland” are one of the crime books I enjoyed a lot even though I really could not connect well to her main character Bess who has to reassess her life after her partner Halland was murdered. However, this book goes a lot further than a pure whodunnit and that is what kept me reading and makes her a writer who belongs to this list.
24. Hiromi Kawakami: “Strange Weather in Tokyo” is the only book I know of this author, however, it is as strange a love story as the title makes you believe. Slow and following the seasons Tsukiko and her former teacher become closer and closer and there are secrets to be discovered. There is no better way to journey into a foreign culture than through love
25. Muriel Barbery: I have not read many French authors and as I wrote yesterday I am not a huge fan of Emile Zola, however, Muriel Barbery’s “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” touched me deeply. It tells the story of a typical Parisian apartment block including concierge. You meet the inhabitants and find out about their happiness and struggles and it keeps you wondering if Renee the concierge will ever show how intelligent she really is. This is a great book told both from Renee’s view and Paloma’s a young upper-class girl who befriends the older woman.
26. Daoud Hari: This is a book and author I haven’t read yet but it is on the list of #supporttranslatedbooks: In “The Translator” Daoud Hari describes his work for international news organisations in the crisis region of Sudan and Chad. I think it is more important than ever to read books that describe what is really going in regions of the world where there is war because the news only tells us so much.
27. Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Of course, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of the more known authors in the world. However, his books sporting an intelligent and sometimes rather crazy version of “magical realism” are so entertaining, touching and often thought-provoking that you should not miss them.
28. Mamoud Dowlatabadi: Have I said before this is the strangest book I have ever read? There are a couple of those, to be honest, and Mamoud Dowlatabadi’s “The Colonel” certainly belongs to that category. If you are someone who likes to challenge your reading habit and discover a book that makes you crease your forehead in confusion then read “The Colonel”. It tells the story of the Iranian revolution in 1979 and one family who loses many of its members to it. Dowlatabadi tells the story from different point of views which was at times confusing to me. At the same time, it invokes excellently how confusing, frightening and disillusioning that revolution was.
29. Mahtem Shifferaw: Maybe the reason why many do not read translated fiction is that so many countries have experienced unbelievable trauma in wars and revolutions and their writing reflects that. Mahtem Shifferaw’s poetry certainly does that but in such beautiful words that you cannot escape its fascination. Please do not miss “Fuchsia”.
30. Elif Shafak: I was introduced to Elif Shafak in 2013 when I took part in “The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize” readers day. The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize” is now merged with the Man Booker International Prize. On that readers day Elif Shafak started out with telling us about her experience of being a judge for the Prize and she surprised me with how close her experience of living with a foreign language is to mine. She said she feels that the foreign language brings out other parts of her personality. It is also often difficult to express everything you want to say as there is a “gap” between your thoughts in your native language and expressing it in the foreign language. It needed until 2017 though until I read one of her books and I wish I would have done so earlier. “The Bastard of Istanbul” is a fascinating story of strong women who show just how divided Turkey is. It also tells the story of Turkey’s Armenian Genocide which made the book banned in Turkey.
To be continued…
I am curious:
which poets and writers do you think
I should have read
before I am 50?
(I only have two years and 23 days left so please be gentle 😉 )