We spend plenty of time here on The Millions telling all of you what we’ve been reading, but we are also quite interested in hearing about what you’ve been reading. By looking at our Amazon stats, we can see what books Millions readers have been buying, and we decided it would be fun to use those stats to find out what books have been most popular with our readers in recent months. Below you’ll find our Millions Top Ten list for May.
The Shell Game: Writers Play with Borrowed Forms
The William H. Gass Reader
Educated: A Memoir
The New Me
The Practicing Stoic: A Philosophical User’s Manual
Patience gets undeserved hype because persistence is the real virtue. Persistence is active; it depends on a desire to change one’s status. Persistence relies on volition. Meanwhile anything can be patient if it sits around long enough. I am thinking of this today, nine months after The Practicing Stoic: A Philosophical User’s Manual first appeared in our Top Ten posts… among the “near misses.” Since then, Ward Farnsworth’s book, which Ed Simon called an “idiosyncratic, strange, yet convincing and useful volume,” has made seven more appearances… among the “near misses.” It was only this month, roughly 250 days since we first caught its glimpse, that the book has made it to the actual Top Ten list… in tenth position. Persistence, friends. It’s patience plus positivity.
Two true newcomers joined our Top Ten this month as well: Halle Butler’s The New Me, which came out in March, and Sally Rooney’s Normal People, which followed in April. In our Great Book Preview, Anne K. Yoder called Butler’s second novel “a skewering of the 21st-century American dream of self-betterment.” Then, in a review for our site, Freya Sanders called Rooney’s latest “an unconventional bildungsroman that explores not the power of self-determination but the idea of the self as something generated between people.”
These three books found space on this month’s list because our Hall of Fame scooped up three more: Ling Ma’s Severance, Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation and Kate Atkinson’s Transcription. For Ma and Atkinson, this is their first trip to our Hall, but Moshfegh has been there once before in 2017—her ticket stamped on the strength of Homesick for Another World.
Next month we inch closer to our Great Second-Half Book Preview, so buckle up.
Celebrating its 12th year of honoring literature in translation, the Best Translated Book Awards named its 2019 longlists for both fiction and poetry.
Announced here—with a write-up tomorrow from BTBA founder Chad Post at Three Percent—the lists include a diverse range of authors, languages, countries, and publishers. It features familiar presses—Ugly Duckling Presse, Coffee House, New Directions—along with presses appearing for the first time, such as Song Cave and Fitzcarraldo.
Nineteen different translators are making their first appearance, while last year’s winning team of author Rodrigo Fresán and translator Will Vanderhyden returns. The lists feature authors writing in 16 different languages, from 24 different countries. The books were published by 26 different presses, the majority either independent or university presses.
Thanks to grant funds from the Amazon Literary Partnership, the winning authors and translators will each receive $5,000. The finalists for both the fiction and poetry awards will be announced on Wednesday, May 15.
Best Translated Book Award 2019: Fiction Longlist
Congo Inc.: Bismarck’s Testament by In Koli Jean Bofane, translated from the French by Marjolijn de Jager (Democratic Republic of Congo, Indiana University Press)
The Hospital by Ahmed Bouanani, translated from the French by Lara Vergnaud (Morocco, New Directions)
A Dead Rose by Aurora Cáceres, translated from the Spanish by Laura Kanost (Peru, Stockcero)
Love in the New Millennium by Xue Can, translated from the Chinese by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen (China, Yale University Press)
Slave Old Man by Patrick Chamoiseau, translated from the French by Linda Coverdale (Martinique, New Press)
Wedding Worries by Stig Dagerman, translated from the Swedish by Paul Norlen and Lo Dagerman (Sweden, David Godine)
Pretty Things by Virginie Despentes, translated from the French by Emma Ramadan, (France, Feminist Press)
Disoriental by Negar Djavadi, translated from the French by Tina Kover (Iran, Europa Editions)
Dézafi by Frankétienne, translated from the French by Asselin Charles (published by Haiti, University of Virginia Press)
Bottom of the Sky by Rodrigo Fresán, translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden (Argentina, Open Letter)
Bride and Groom by Alisa Ganieva, translated from the Russian by Carol Apollonio (Russia, Deep Vellum)
People in the Room by Norah Lange, translated from the Spanish by Charlotte Whittle (Argentina, And Other Stories)
Comemadre by Roque Larraquy, translated from the Spanish by Heather Cleary (Argentina, Coffee House)
Moon Brow by Shahriar Mandanipour, translated from the Persian by Khalili Sara (Iran, Restless Books)
Bricks and Mortar by Clemens Meyer, translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire (Germany, Fitzcarraldo Editions)
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori (Japan, Grove)
After the Winter by Guadalupe Nettel, translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey (Mexico, Coffee House)
Transparent City by Ondjaki, translated from the Portuguese by Stephen Henighan (Angola, Biblioasis)
Lion Cross Point by Masatsugo Ono, translated from the Japanese by Angus Turvill (Japan, Two Lines Press)
The Governesses by Anne Serre, translated from the French by Mark Hutchinson (France, New Directions)
Öræfï by Ófeigur Sigurðsson, translated from the Icelandic by Lytton Smith (Iceland, Deep Vellum)
Codex 1962 by Sjón, translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb (Iceland, FSG)
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft (Poland, Riverhead)
Fox by Dubravka Ugresic, translated from the Croatian by Ellen Elias-Bursac and David Williams (Croatia, Open Letter)
Seventeen by Hideo Yokoyama, translated from the Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai (Japan, FSG)
This year’s fiction jury is made up of: Pierce Alquist (BookRiot), Caitlin L. Baker (Island Books), Kasia Bartoszyńska (Monmouth College), Tara Cheesman (freelance book critic), George Carroll (litintranslation.com), Adam Hetherington (reader), Keaton Patterson (Brazos Bookstore), Sofia Samatar (writer), Ely Watson (A Room of One’s Own).
Best Translated Book Award 2019: Poetry Longlist
The Future Has an Appointment with the Dawn by Tenella Boni, translated from the French by Todd Fredson (Cote D’Ivoire, University of Nebraska)
Dying in a Mother Tongue by Roja Chamankar, translated from the Persian by Blake Atwood (Iran, University of Texas)
Moss & Silver by Jure Detela, translated from the Slovenian by Raymond Miller and Tatjana Jamnik (Slovenia, Ugly Duckling)
Of Death. Minimal Odes by Hilda Hilst, translated from the Portuguese by Laura Cesarco Eglin (Brazil, co-im-press)
Autobiography of Death by Kim Hyesoon, translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi (Korea, New Directions)
Negative Space by Luljeta Lleshanaku, translated from the Albanian by Ani Gjika (Albania, New Directions)
Scardanelli by Frederike Mayrocker, translated from the German by Jonathan Larson (Austria, Song Cave)
the easiness and the loneliness by Asta Olivia Nordenhof, translated from the Danish by Susanna Nied (Denmark, Open Letter)
Nioque of the Early-Spring by Francis Ponge, translated from the French by Jonathan Larson (France, Song Cave)
Architecture of a Dispersed Life by Pable de Rokha, translated from the Spanish by Urayoán Noel (Chile, Shearsman Books)
The poetry jury includes: Jarrod Annis (Greenlight Bookstore), Katrine Øgaard Jensen (EuropeNow), Tess Lewis (writer and translator), Aditi Machado (poet and translator), and Laura Marris (writer and translator).
The prize honors the best translated fiction from around the world and splits the £50,00 prize evenly between authors and translators. This year, the longlist features authors from 12 countries and books translated from nine languages; it is dominated by women and independent publishers.
Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth
At Dusk by Hwang Sok-yong, translated by Sora Kim-Russell
Jokes For The Gunmen by Mazen Maarouf, translated by Jonathan Wright
Four Soldiers by Hubert Mingarelli, translated Sam Taylor
The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann, translated by Jen Calleja
The Faculty Of Dreams by Sara Stridsberg, translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner
The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zeran, translated by Sophie Hughes
The Man Booker shortlist will be announced on April 9, and the winner will be named on May 21.