The 25-title fiction longlist for the 2011 Best Translated Book Awards was announced this morning at Three Percent—a resource for international literature at the University of Rochester. According to award co-founder Chad W. Post, this year’s longlist is a “testament to the number of high-quality works in translation that are making their way to American readers, thanks to a number of talented translators and exciting publishing houses.”
The most reassuring aspect of this gathering though was the lack of fear. My conversations over the last few years with other booksellers have been colored by confusion and by a willful disregard for the realities of our market. That changed this week.
Amazon is no longer a bogeyman, but a Leviathan, and Len Vlahos is here and he’s gonna cut us out of that beast’s belly and lead us to the mountain.
I wonder publicly where these people get this embarrassment about their pleasures, but not-so-deep-down I know it’s sometimes booksellers’ faults. And sometimes the fault of teachers. And sometimes librarians. And sometimes parents. Sometimes, often even, the people who are most invested in putting books into hands impose a vicious judgment on the cringing reader and her preferences.
To Google Ads, I’m an open book; just look at the advertisements I’ve been subjected to in the last few hours.