Do you want to read outside your comfort zone in 2019? Take Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge—a list of 24 categories of books that you may not have read before. To keep you motivated, we’ll feature one of the categories each week in the e-newsletter along with suggestions from our collection and beyond. We’re going to feature the categories in order of how they appear on the list, but feel free to tackle the them in any order you like! For the full list from Book Riot, click here.
A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman
Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories by Mariana Enriquez
But alongside the black magic and disturbing disappearances, these stories are fueled by compassion for the frightened and the lost, ultimately bringing these characters—mothers and daughters, husbands and wives—into a surprisingly familiar reality. Written in hypnotic prose that gives grace to the grotesque, Things We Lost in the Fire is a powerful exploration of what happens when our darkest desires are left to roam unchecked, and signals the arrival of an astonishing and necessary voice in contemporary fiction.
The Odyssey by Homer, Translated by Emily R. Wilson
Emily Rose Caroline Wilson is a British classicist and Professor of Classics at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of three books and in 2017 became the first woman to publish a translation of Homer’s Odyssey into English.
The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty, and power; about marriage and family; about travelers, hospitality, and the yearning for home. Its characters are unforgettable, from the cunning goddess Athena, whose interventions guide and protect the hero, to the awkward teenage son, Telemachus, who struggles to achieve adulthood and find his father; from the cautious, clever, and miserable Penelope, who somehow keeps clamoring suitors at bay during her husband’s long absence, to the “complicated” hero himself, a man of many disguises, many tricks, and many moods, who emerges in this translation as a more fully rounded human being than ever before.
Four Plays by Henrik Ibsen, Translated by Eva Le Gallienne
Ghosts-The startling portrayal of a family destroyed by disease and infidelity; The Wild Duck-A poignant drama of lost illusions; An Enemy of the People-Ibsen’s vigorous attack on public opinion; A Doll’s House-The play that scandalized the Victorian world with its unsparing views of love and marriage, featuring one of the most controversial heroines-and one of the most famous exists-in the literature of the stage.
Out Stealing Horses: A Novel by Per Petterson, Translated by Anne Born
Set in the easternmost region of Norway, Out Stealing Horses begins with an ending. Sixty-seven-year-old Trond has settled into a rustic cabin in an isolated area to live the rest of his life with a quiet deliberation. A meeting with his only neighbor, however, forces him to reflect on that fateful summer.
The Essential Tales of Chekhov by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Translated by Constance Black Garnett
Of the two hundred stories that Anton Chekhov wrote, the twenty stories that appear in this extraordinary collection were personally chosen by Richard Ford–an accomplished storyteller in his own right. Included are the familiar masterpieces–“The Kiss,” “The Darling,” and “The Lady with the Dog”–as well as several brilliant lesser-known tales such as “A Blunder,” “Hush!,” and “Champagne.” These stories, ordered from 1886 to 1899, are drawn from Chekhov’s most fruitful years as a short-story writer. A truly balanced selection, they exhibit the qualities that make Chekhov one of the greatest fiction writers of all time: his gift for detail, dialogue, and humor; his emotional perception and compassion; and his understanding that life’s most important moments are often the most overlooked.
The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante, Translated by Ann Goldstein “A national bestseller for almost an entire year, The Days of Abandonment shocked and captivated its Italian public when first published. It is the gripping story of a woman’s descent into devastating emptiness after being abandoned by her husband with two young children to care for. When she finds herself literally trapped within the four walls of their high-rise apartment, she is forced to confront her ghosts, the potential loss of her own identity, and the possibility that life may never return to normal”
The Infatuations by Javier Marias, Translated by Margaret Jull Costa “Breakfasting daily at a Madrid café where she observes fellow patrons, María Dolz offers condolences to a widow whose husband has been shockingly murdered, an act that leads to a new relationship and disturbing insights into the crime”
The Elephant’s Journey by Jose Saramago, Translated by Margaret Jull Costa “A tale inspired by a true story follows the adventures of a neglected elephant who is given by King João III of Portugal to Archduke Maximilian as a wedding gift and who travels with the archduke through the war-torn storied cities of sixteenth-century Europe”