Open Letter becomes my foreign travel agent

Just because I this week listed a number of new books in which I was interested and said I was going to add “classics” to my book diet doesn’t mean I shouldn’t make sure I have a reliable supply of other books. Thus, to ensure a steady source for my foreign literature appetite, I also placed my subscription for the translations coming from Open Letter Books.

For those who may not recall my previous mention of it here, Open Letter Books is based at the University of Rochester and plans to publish 12 books a year of translated literature. I was considering asking for review copies but the old adage of putting your money where your mouth is kept coming to mind. The only way to see literary translations grow or perhaps even maintain pace in the U.S. marketplace is by supporting it. As a result, I opted for the one year subscription, which will get me the first 12 books over the next 12 months.

The books include novels and collections of an author’s essays or short stories and writers from, among other places, Croatia, Brazil, Iceland and Lithuania. Some of the writers have not had their short stories or novels published in English before. I figure with all three kids in college next year, foreign lit is probably my only route for foreign travel for a while.

I divide all literary works into two categories: Those I like and those I don’t like. No other criterion exists for me.

Anton Chekhov

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