Sunday Reviews

I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw this: The New York Times Book Review devoted its weekend issue to fiction (!) in translation (!!). You can read reviews of Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives, Maryse Condé’s The Story of the Cannibal Woman, Aharon Appelfeld’s All Whom I Have Loved, and several other novels in translation.

I was particularly interested in Jascha Hoffman’s data (warning: pdf format) on fiction published around the world. It reveals that, of the 1.5 million books published around the world last year, 30% were originally written in English, even though only 6% of the world’s population speaks English as a first language. This hegemony is accompanied by quite a bit of insularity, with only 2.62% of books published in the United States having originally appeared in another language, compared with 25% for Spain and 23% for Iran.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Times unveiled its new book section. Some material has been moved online from the print version (e.g. the calendar) and some content will be web-only, such as Sarah Weinman’s crime fiction column, which will be followed by Ed Park on science fiction, Richard Rayner on paperbacks, and Sonja Bolle on children’s books.