Summer Reading Challenge #3: Reading Translated Books

By Ashley Rands, Marketing

Third challenge for the summer is reading a book that was not originally written in English. Reading translated books is like traveling the world without leaving your home. It opens doors to new perspectives, enriches your understanding of different cultures, and introduces you to unique storytelling traditions. We have some recommendations for you to make the most out of your summer reading challenge with reading translated books.

Recommendations for Translated Books

One Hundred Years of Solitude

by Gabriel García Márquez 

Translated from Spanish it tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendiá family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad and alive with unforgettable men and women. It is brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul. This novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.

Norwegian Wood

by Haruki Murakami 

Originally written in Japanese, Norwegian Wood is a poignant exploration of love and loss set in 1960s Tokyo. Toru, a serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. As Naoko retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.

The Shadow of the Wind

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón 

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals from its war wounds, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julian Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love. Translated from Spanish.

The Three-Body Problem

by Liu Cixin

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution. A secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming. They plan to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. Now a Netflix TV series.


by Natsuo Kirino

A Japanese horror book about two Tokyo prostitutes Yuriko and Kazue. They have been brutally murdered. Their deaths leave a wake of unanswered questions about who they were, who their murderer is, and how their lives came to this end. As their stories unfurl in an ingeniously layered narrative, coolly mediated by Yuriko’s older sister, we are taken back to their time in a prestigious girls’ high school—where a strict social hierarchy decided their fates — and follow them through the years as they struggle against rigid societal conventions.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

by Olga Tokarczuk

In a remote Polish village, Janina devotes the dark winter days to studying astrology, translating the poetry of William Blake, and taking care of the summer homes of wealthy Warsaw residents. Her reputation as a crank and a recluse is amplified by her not-so-secret preference for the company of animals over humans. Then a neighbor, Big Foot, turns up dead. Soon other bodies are discovered, in increasingly strange circumstances. As suspicions mount, Janina inserts herself into the investigation, certain that she knows whodunit. If only anyone would pay her mind.

A summer reading challenge focused on translated books is not just a personal goal. It is a journey through the rich tapestry of global literature. It’s a chance to broaden your horizons, discover new favorite authors, and gain a deeper appreciation for the diversity of human expression. So, grab a book, settle into your favorite reading spot, and let the adventure begin. Happy reading!

Reading a translated book
Reading a translated book