International Translation Day!

Hello friends, and a very happy International Translation Day to you!


On this day (but really every day), we pause and celebrate what it means to be able to read a book or other text in translation or watch a film/show with subtitles or listen to a speaker with the assistance of an interpreter; how narrow our perspectives and understanding of the world would be without the gift of translators to somehow both expand and condense our world at once. I fear that translators don’t get nearly the amount of credit they deserve; yet their dedicated magicking brings brilliance originating from languages spoken near and far right there, into our homes, our book stacks, our ears, our brains. It is a gift. It is a gift!!


I believe translated texts and films are the closest thing we have to transportation portals, hurling us across time and space to discover linguistic, social, and cultural patterns from around the globe. The more I think about the wonder of this, the more awe I feel towards the act of translation itself.


So, thank you to all of the translators out there! Your work and passion and dedication to your craft, and the breadth of global human thought and innovation that you have made available to us, has made a great deal of difference in our lives and our world!
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Where to Find Published Books of Translations (a few of my favorite presses) :

Oh, to live another year with books

It’s always a bit staggering — to find oneself and the world arriving yet again at a December 31st. Here we are, on the precipice of hope, and yet, how easy it is to feel the loss of the year past — how we want to hold so much in ourselves at once.

It has become a tradition of mine to celebrate December 31st with a remembrance and appreciation for some books I encountered during the year, books that brought company, wisdom, linguistic splendor, and perspective — for in times of uncertainty, books are a stalwart, omnipresent friend. Throughout electric days, blue days, and the always-prowling fog, look — a book is here, waiting to sing to you as you hold each other close.

It would be impossible to include them all, but here is a sampling of a few books I would like to highlight: texts that were exquisitely staining and impactful to me in one way or another —  and have inevitably shattered and rearranged my glass body, my glass path … books that after reading, I will never be quite the same.

2021 was a year in which I also became reacquainted with the audiobook — a wonderful format to slow down, marvel at the sound of language on a tongue, and invite voices and oral storytelling into our private ear rooms. The book via the voice vessel becomes a secret companion on so many walks. Another reminder that a life with books is a life of abundance.  A star next to a book title means that I listened to and enjoyed the audiobook version, and you might enjoy it, too! (Hint: Did you know you can borrow audiobooks from your library system through the Libby app?)

So, on this pensive day of old and new, I give a fizzy thanks to those who write books, make books, bind books, share books, give books, read books, and love books! Happy New Year, and Happy Reading.

(in no particular order:)

I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Kalani Pickhart

Pew by Catherine Lacey

Ace: What Asexuality Reveals about Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen

Another Country by James Baldwin *

Cleanness by Garth Greenwell *

Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency by Olivia Laing

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon *

Poet Warrior by Joy Harjo

The Pastor by Hanne Ørstavik, translated by Martin Aitken

The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar

Figuring by Maria Popova *

Sleep, Death’s Brother by Jesse Ball

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang

The Twilight Zone by Nona Fernández, translated by Natasha Wimmer

A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

Two Big Differences by Ian Ross Singleton

Keen by Erin Stalcup

How I Became a Nun by César Aira, translated by Chris Andrews

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer *

Water I Won’t Touch by Kayleb Rae Candrilli

Woolgathering by Patti Smith

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich *

Reading Pile, October 2017

My goodness, I am in a foggy, mystical happy place here in Vermont. I’m feeling the positive energy from my cohort, my professors, and the full-blown autumn air!  Generative exercises in class are allowing me to free my grip on being “perfect.” Instead, I’m suddenly a literary scientist, content on adding a dash of this, a beaker of that, and putting it all into a cauldron to see what transforms, what changes state, and what explodes entirely.

I’m also super excited to begin my new volunteer position at the library (because there’s no such thing as being around too many books!) More on that later.

And now for a brief message: If I could go broke buying only one kind of item in the world, it would be books. I am quite frugal when it comes to clothes, food, even entertainment. But bring me to the bookstore and I lose all sense of frugality. I’ve always felt a certain kinship to this quote by Erasmus:

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”

That is all. Absolutely no shame. In fact, I love to buy books sometimes because I think about in the future, when maybe I have my own little human rummaging through my house, and I imagine he or she searching through my shelves and pulling a book off the wall and we would sit down together and begin to read it, and I would say, “Ahh! I remember reading this book when…” Perhaps this is silly, but I find a deep comfort in this slice of my future life.

And now, to the reading pile of October!

I’ve already started Ben Loory’s Tales of Falling and Flying and am very much enjoying it so far! It’s a read you can ingest voraciously, so I’m trying to slow down and savor it.

I picked up John Hodgman’s The Areas of My Expertise because I was intrigued by its wordy cover (which is kind of like a book in itself). It’s pretty hysterical and will be great for afternoon slumps in case I run out of coffee.

I brought The Catcher in the Rye with me to school, mostly because it’s comforting to know it’s in the room with me. But the last time I read it was in AP English class in senior year of high school. I am a very different writer and reader than I was back then, and I’m curious to know what I think of it now. I’ve always had an affinity for Holden and I think his voice might be the perfect muse for one of my new writing projects.

In other news: it’s Birthday Week! So let the wild rumpus begin! Hieperdepiep Hoera! (which is the Dutch and in my opinion, far-superior, way of saying Hip Hip Hooray). This little boy needs a little practice on saying it, but he’s so darn adorable.