Two of my reading goals for this year are to read more classic novels and to read more diversely. And, because I’m brilliant (okay, not really), I realized I could kill two birds with one stone and read classics from different countries or cultures. Which just sounds kind of fun, and some of these were already on my reading lists for this year. So today I thought I’d share some of the translated classics (classics originally written in a language other than English) that are at the top of my TBR.
I’ve linked all the books below to Goodreads, in case you want to check them out.
I Am a Cat by Natsume Sōseki. This is a Japanese classic about an unloved kitten who spends his time observing human culture. Which just sounds right up my alley (this won’t be the first Japanese book I’ve read with a main character who is a cat). Honestly, the thought of curling up and reading from the point of view of a little cat just sounds so relaxing. I can’t wait.
The Golem by Gustav Meyrink. Originally written in German, The Golem is set in the Czech Republic, where Meyrink spent the latter years of his life. I hadn’t heard of this book until I started researching books to read for my Prague trip next month – check out my Prague Reading List – but I’m pretty excited about it. I actually did read a little bit of it already (highly recommend reading samples of different translations to see which one works best for you if you’re picking up a translated classic), and I kind of love it.
The Odyssey by Homer. Somehow I made it through advanced degrees in history and English (and quite a few classes that dealt with mythology) without reading The Odyssey in full. It’s time. I added it to my reading list for the year to force myself into it.
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. I love weird books – there is a giant cat working with the devil in this one, so I think it qualifies – and I like Russian literature. So I’m not sure why I haven’t been able to get into this one the few times I’ve tried it (maybe the translation?), but I feel like I’m going to love it once I do.
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Another book I’m kind of shocked to have gotten through school without reading. But it’s one of those books I feel like I have to read because it’s referenced everywhere. And I kind of want to know what’s going on. Also, I did really enjoy the classics in Medieval literature, which explore a lot of similar themes, so hopefully I enjoy this one as well.
Those are the top five translated classics on my TBR (at least for now). I think there’s a pretty good mix in there: I have books written in Japanese, German, Greek, Russian, and Spanish. And even though I probably won’t get to all of them this year, I might still try.
Have you read any of these books? Are there any translated classics you love? Let me know in the comments!