Classic literature from every country, please

GiovanniDeFeo

Has Danced with Dragons
#21
For the spanish language I would add: The amazing adventures of Alfanhui, by Ferlosio.
One of the most magical books I ever read, in any language.
Also Forgotten King Gudù, by Ana Maria Matute.

They are both fantasy, and they kick ass.
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#22
For the spanish language I would add: The amazing adventures of Alfanhui, by Ferlosio.
One of the most magical books I ever read, in any language.
Also Forgotten King Gudù, by Ana Maria Matute.

They are both fantasy, and they kick ass.
Ferlosio is always a pleasure to read. However, Matute and I don’t get along. I have tried this book a couple of times. It bored me intensely and gave it up. And I’m a patient reader...
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#23
I have a lot to add, thank you.

I'm going to keep this going by filling in some I have read

Afghanistan I've read a bit.

Most notably is actually an American who immigrated from Afghanistan. Khalid Hosseini writes about his experiences in Afghanistan both past and present, fiction and non fiction. a good writer though it seems as good as Anthony Burgess, as though each consecutive book relieves fewer and fewer stars on reviews. His best is "Kite Runners".

I've only read one other contemporary piece from Afghanistan, "the bookseller of Kabul ". It's really good the author I think still lives there.

I have the dressmaker of Khalir khas (something) on my to read list.

One trying to read books from here are led to believe that being a writer was a banned profession from 1950 until recently (this could be the case) and although I have read about native authors in the decades prior to the Russian invasion, I can't seem to find copies, which leads me to believe they are destroyed. What does survive is a collection of very old poems " Masnawi maanawi malanwi " by Rumi . The parts I've read are good. And memoirs of the monghul conqueror "Barburnama " which I can't find in english, but haven't tried very hard.

Both of these books are considered national treasures in Afghanistan.

If anyone has better info on afghani literature, I welcome it. I am far from an expert.
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#25
I am a huge fan of Kafka (czech)
Funny! In my home country Austria, Kafka is actually seen as one of the quintessential AUSTRIAN writers...
He was an Austrian citizen for 34 years of his much-too-short life, and he is most known for the struggle of his protagonists against bureaucracy (which, as everyone can tell you, is Austrias contribution to world culture)

So he is what I thought to suggest to you at first!

Will need to consider what else to suggest to you....
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#26
Funny! In my home country Austria, Kafka is actually seen as one of the quintessential AUSTRIAN writers...
He was an Austrian citizen for 34 years of his much-too-short life, and he is most known for the struggle of his protagonists against bureaucracy (which, as everyone can tell you, is Austrias contribution to world culture)

So he is what I thought to suggest to you at first!

Will need to consider what else to suggest to you....
Yes, I have read much about him, I found it odd that there are five countries that claim him as their's, when he is clearly an Austrian ( or rather Austro-Hungarian as Prague was part of the empire) with strong czech ties ( birth, growing up and going to college all in Prague)

I didn't think about it too hard when I typed that, it might be that I was considering language, as he was writing in a German yiddish hybrid language typically found in the german speaking parts of Prague (with hints of czech influence) . Or maybe looking at residency instead of nationality (most of his life was spent in Prague).

Again a complicated origin that I didn't think about when I wrote that.
 
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ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#27
I have heard some of the books mentioned above, but I bet you haven't heard about mine. :p Very interesting thread btw.

So... Bulgarian literature. The problem is most of our classics are written in the late XIX and early XX century, and while some of the authors have been translated into many different European languages like French, German, Italian, Dutch, etc. the English translations are quite rare, or at least the ones I am finding on Amazon. For that reason I've came up with only three books of note that are available.

Also - our classical literature is very big on folklore tales and more modern short stories, but again - very hard for an English version to be found for those.

Now the books:

The first one is Under the Yoke from Ivan Vazov:
https://www.amazon.com/Under-Yoke-I...TF8&qid=1488499125&sr=8-1&keywords=Ivan+Vazov

This is our most revered book and pretty much everybody knows about it, and most of the bulgarians have read it, since it has been part of the mandatory school reads for a lot of time. It's about one of the most dire times for the bulgarian people - the days in which after 500 years under the Ottoman Empire, our people were finally ready to fight back and give their lives for our freedom, most of them, that is.

The next one is Bay Ganyo by Aleko Konstantinov
https://www.amazon.com/Bai-Ganyo-In...UTF8&qid=1488499425&sr=8-1&keywords=Bay+Ganyo
It's a smathering of stories that follows the adventures which Bay Ganyo lives throughout Europe and back home, when he comes back as a more wordly man. It's a satiric poke on the rural aspect of the newly emerging middle class in recently-freed Bulgaria in the end of XIX century, the people who got stuck somewhere between being farmers and gentlemen, the town folk that haven't yet dusted of the dirt from their cabbage fields, etc. It's very similar to the tone of Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett actually, but it's not fantasy and it has the added benefit of commenting in a non-chalant way on the dark side of the newly emerging merchant/business/politic classes in the bulgarian society after the so much sought freedom from Ottoman rule have been finally won. We still use the term "Bay Ganyo" in our everyday lives when we refer to people who are talking non-sense or think too much of themselves and end-up looking idiots for it.

The third one is Time of Parting by Anton Donchev
https://www.amazon.com/Time-Parting...&qid=1488499964&sr=8-1&keywords=Anton+Donchev
The book brings us back to 1688 - a time when Europe was quite predominated with the religious and cultural conflict betwee the Christianity and the Islam. The story takes us in a small bulgarian village where its people are about to get themselves from the pan to the fire itself. It's a tale of big and small cruelties, or choices and of consequences. It's a tale for the fate of the little folk in the context of the much bigger conflict that have already slallowed half a continent. It's a tale of real life, historically-correct atrocities, presented trough the power of fiction.

I don't really know if those books are biased or not, I haven't been living during their times. But a lot of the bulgarian classics are revolving around those time, because they were hard, and while the 500 years of Ottoman rule over the bulgarian people was relatively quiet, it was never peaceful for the both sides. And our authors love the counterpoint between the brave and unrelenting souls who have gone out of their way to stood up for themselves in those times, and the over-all strengh of the bulgarian nation and the resolve to keep as much of our roots as possible, and the meeker, more apathic side of our society, that immediately showed up after we got our freedom back and were left on our own, with no common enemy to despise and fight with.

To be completely honest here - I like our folklore and short stories better. They are more rural and earthly in tone and concept, but they are quite interesting and meaningful in a "Let us pass our wisdom to our kids via the spoken word" kind of way and even the more modern short stories tend to follow this trend of being honest, but kind of hopeful.

EDIT: Lol - funny fact I've just realized. The date of this post is 3rd of March, which happens to be our Libaration day( from Ottoman rule) - the biggest national holiday we have. Talk about strange and uncanny. :)
 
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Maxal

Drinks Elfbark tea with FitzChivalry
#28
The two most popular English Canadian authors probably are Margaret Atwood and LM Montgomery. Other names I have googled rang no bells. Atwood is a very good choice, she is quite popular, but not everyone knows she is Canadian. Montgomery is one of the if not the first Canadian female author: if anyone has a teenage daughter at home, those books are incredibly adorable even if old-fashioned.

We could also add Nelly Arcan and Yann Martel, though this last one wasn't born in Canada.

French Canadian literature is something else entirely, but most of it wouldn't be available in English. Patrick Sénécal has started to publish in English: he writes horror. Very popular though not my personal cup of tea. Anne Robillard writes young teenager oriented fantasy and is published in various languages: surprisingly fun books, but meant for a young audience. Ah and of course, Bryan Perro, widely popular, but again writes for youths. I think he is starting to write for adults now but I haven't read him. If anyone has a young teenager at home who likes fantasy, then he might offer a good alternative to the popular names of this day.

I am afraid I am not the most well-read individual: I haven't dig into classics all too much.

As for others I do know, Milan Kundera is a solid pick for Czech literature: everyone has to read the Unbearable Lightness of Being at least once in a lifetime. St-Exupery and Dumas are popular picks for French literature.
 
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Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#30
@Bierschneeman
This is your thread but could you recommend top 5 books by american authors that non-americans should read? Classic lit. only.

I've read Catcher in the Rye (Salinger) and The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway) when I was in high school and I was pretty meh over both.
I read Mark Twain when I was a kid and I adored him. When I was smaller, my mother read to me Jack London's The Call of the Wild and I loved it.
I also read Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes this year and really liked it. That man could write so beautifully. I haven't got to Fahrenheit 451 yet. I tried reading Catch-22 couple of years back and noped out of there after only few pages. That book is not my thing.

But unless I'm forgetting some books (and I'm sure I am lol) that's the extent of my 'proficiency' in american lit. So little help please? Thanks.
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#31
@Bierschneeman
This is your thread but could you recommend top 5 books by american authors that non-americans should read? Classic lit. only.

I've read Catcher in the Rye (Salinger) and The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway) when I was in high school and I was pretty meh over both.
I read Mark Twain when I was a kid and I adored him. When I was smaller, my mother read to me Jack London's The Call of the Wild and I loved it.
I also read Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes this year and really liked it. That man could write so beautifully. I haven't got to Fahrenheit 451 yet. I tried reading Catch-22 couple of years back and noped out of there after only few pages. That book is not my thing.

But unless I'm forgetting some books (and I'm sure I am lol) that's the extent of my 'proficiency' in american lit. So little help please? Thanks.
Sure thing, United is a country too, how dare I skip it.

Fitzgerald s "the great gatsby" is my vote for the great American novel. You see the fervor, the decayed decadence of one person's broken American dream. You see avarice.

Jack kerouac "on the road" is certainly in there. There isn't another book I have heard more people talk about throughout my life unless it was a big hype but now takes up space in landfills in spades.
(It took all my strength to put in this beatnik writer instead of "naked Lunch" by William s burroughs. But that's my favorite, kerouac book is more of a classic)

Jack london...either white fang or call of the Wild, both representing the American pioneer spirit.

To kill a mockingbird by harper Lee. If you don't live in the us, this book may give you the notion of what our racial issues are like, deep rooted feelings that still linger from the civil war. This book is more true when it was written then it is now, but you can still find people acting like the characters. If you want a more modern slice of this, try "Bonfire of the vanities" by Tom Wolfe. Written in 1988, I can still see these exact situations happening today.

Hunter s thompson "fear in loathing in Las vegas" I'll catch hell for this choice, there are better books out there, but the book to me is one of the best to represent a counterculture more evolved or more
Decayed from the Beatniks.

Further reading... I left so many out so here's a quick list.
Kate Chopin
Hemmingway
Grapes of wrath~steinbeck
William faulkner
Of mice and men~steinbeck
Huckleberry Finn~Mark Twain
Scarlet letter~ Hawthorne
Their eyes were watching God
Uncle Tom's cabin
Red badge if courage
Theodore Dreiser
Last of the Mohican


For poetry
Leaves of grass~Walt Whitman
Bell Jar~ Sylvia plath
Tender buttons~ Gertrude stein
Allen Ginsberg ( especially Howl)


Edit: there is a very strong notion in america about a boy and his dog being one of those strongest of bonds. there is always a great debate over which book showing this is the best.
Old Yeller
Shiloh
 
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Maxal

Drinks Elfbark tea with FitzChivalry
#32
I found this today.
It's neat, some titles are actually from nearby countries.
http://blog.ed.ted.com/2016/12/08/t...the-books-that-students-read-in-28-countries/
Ah The Wars... I read it. Quite frankly, I didn't see the appeal. I guess it is read in Canada because it broaches the Canadian contribution to WW1. I wouldn't say it is a pleasant read. It feels as one of those books you have to read just so you could discuss a given political/historical aspect afterwards. It isn't meant to be read for pleasure.
 
#33
I'm looking into fiction and non fiction classics from various countries
I'm American but I'm from English ancestry, so I go with both. My favorite English authors: Robert Louis Stevenson, H.R. Haggard, and H.G. Wells - all fairly progressive 19th century authors and wonderful writers. Stevenson established some of the most iconic traits about pirates and knights in our pop culture today. I would highly recommend The Black Arrow, Treasure Island, King Solomon's Mines, War of the Worlds, and The Island of Dr. Moreau - all fantastic works of literature. Right now I'm reading the American classic The Last of the Mohicans, and overall I'd say it's good. Some of the characters are racist toward the Native Americans (which is hard to read, but it is set in the 18th century so it would be unrealistic for that to be absent) and James Fenimore Cooper is wordy but has beautiful imagery.
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#34
Jack london...either white fang or call of the Wild, both representing the American pioneer spirit.
Jack London’s White Fang and The Call of the Wild, along J O Curwood Kazan and Baree form part of my literary upbringing. I keep wonderful memories of these books.

To kill a mockingbird by harper Lee. If you don't live in the us, this book may give you the notion of what our racial issues are like, deep rooted feelings that still linger from the civil war. This book is more true when it was written then it is now, but you can still find people acting like the characters.
To Kill a Mockingbird was a demanding but great story. I suspect for a non native speaker, having to accommodate the dialectal written form was initially off-putting. However, once I became used to it, I found it well worth it. I also like very much C McCullers, another one of Damas del Sur, as we call them, The Ballad of the Sad Café and The Heart of the Lonely Hunter are excellent works. Not precisely cheerful stories but nevertheless, of great literary value.
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#39
Actually Jack London wrote also very odd science fiction fantasy too...
Did anyone know that?
No, I didn’t. I looked it up and I found The Scarlet Plague. Did you mean this one? Any other recommendation worth considering?