Ask most people living in North America what their favorite book is. Most of the time it is a book written by an American author. Second place goes to the British, of course.
While we would never bash some of our faves (Poe, anyone?), there’s a reason we are made to read books in high school from countries that are dissimilar from our own.
Even in translation, there are differences in the way stories are told, written, and performed; the kind of metaphors that are used, the subject matter, how relationships function – these are all aspect of literature that changes with different cultures and traditions.
Author Ann Morgan gave a TED Talk recently in which she spoke about reading a book for every country on earth in the span of one year.
While travelling Morgan also sent out a plea on her Blog asking natives of each country for book recommendations. One highlight she notes is the staggering “breath of perspective” she gleamed from her charted literary journal. She was not just getting novels by the most famous writers from those countries, but pieces of literature that opened up the way she thought about the world.
When we remain open-minded about the world and listen to the stories of others, we share those experiences. Not so dissimilar from social media is you ask us. If we read the way we use social media-interacting easily with people on the other side of the world-just consider the possibilities of what we would know.
What are some of your favorite book by non-English speaking authors? Leave us a comment below!