Memoirs of a Polar Bear

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A Year in Reading: 2017

Over the last 13 years, the Year in Reading has collected the book recommendations and musings of some of the most brilliant readers and writers working today.  Looking at the series over time it becomes an instrument of measurement, not only for tracking the way the site itself has grown and evolved, but for recording the big books of the moment, or the books of yesteryear that readers never tire of discovering anew. It can also capture--in a glancing, kaleidoscopic way--the general mood of the professional reading public.  The 2016 Year in Reading was in some respects pretty grim, as contributors tried to reconcile reading, at its heart an intensely private, personal passion, with the requirements of being human in a world where bad things persist in happening. This year I'd like to focus on the good things. The Year in Reading is my favorite thing we do at this site, and I'm so grateful for the writers who gave generously of their time to participate. I'm grateful for the dedicated readers who navigate here every morning and give the site a reason to live, and for the supporters who are helping us secure the future. This is our 14th year, and 14 years is an eon in Internet Time.  The Millions won't survive the heat death of the universe, but it has already stuck around longer than at least some bad things will. A lot of our 2017 Year in Reading contributors were anxious and tired and read less than they would have liked. The good news is that they still did a lot of excellent, engaged reading. The good news is that there are more exquisite and important things to read than you'll ever read in your lifetime. The good news is that books are still the vehicles for inquiry, revelation, devastation, and joy that they have always been. The names of our 2017 contributors will be unveiled throughout the month as entries are published (starting with our traditional opener from Languagehat’s Stephen Dodson later this morning). Bookmark this post, load up the main pagesubscribe to our RSS feed, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to make sure you don’t miss an entry — we’ll run three or four per day. And if you look forward to the Year in Reading every year, please consider supporting the site and ensuring this December tradition continues for years to come. -Lydia Kiesling Do you love Year in Reading and the amazing books and arts content that The Millions produces year round? We are asking readers for support to ensure that The Millions can stay vibrant for years to come. Please click here to learn about several simple ways you can support The Millions now. Stephen Dodson, co-author of Uglier Than a Monkey’s Armpit, proprietor of Languagehat. Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage. Eugene Lim, author of Dear Cyborgs. Edan Lepucki, contributing editor and author of Woman No. 17. Sonya Chung, contributing editor and author of The Loved Ones. Emily St. John Mandel, staff writer and author of Station Eleven. Nick Ripatrazone, contributing editor and author of Ember Days. Garth Risk Hallberg, contributing editor and author of City on Fire. Janet Potter, staff writer. Louise Erdrich, author of LaRose. Ahmed Saadawi, author of Frankenstein in Baghdad. Jesmyn Ward, author of Sing, Unburied, Sing. Jeff VanderMeer, author of Borne. Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan. Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You. Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties. Kevin Young, author of Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News. Yoko Tawada, author of Memoirs of a Polar Bear. Danzy Senna, author of New People. Jenny Zhang is a poet and writer. Matthew Klam, author of Who Is Rich. Paul Yoon, author of The Mountain. Julie Buntin, author of Marlena. Brandon Taylor, associate editor of Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading and a staff writer at Literary Hub. Hannah Gersen, staff writer and author of Home Field. Matt Seidel, staff writer. Zoë Ruiz, staff writer. Clare Cameron, staff writer and author of The Last Neanderthal. Il’ja Rákoš, staff writer. Ismail Muhammad, staff writer. Thomas Beckwith, staff writer. Michael Pollan, author of Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop, Won't Stop. Robin Sloan, author of Sourdough. Juan Villoro, author of The Reef. Chiwan Choi, author of The Yellow House. Scaachi Koul, author of One Day We'll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter. Gabe Habash, author of Stephen Florida. Ayobami Adebayo, author of Stay with Me. Kaveh Akbar, author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf. Kima Jones, founder of Jack Jones Literary Arts. Vanessa Hua, author of A River of Stars. Hamilton Leithauser, songwriter and musician. R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries. Rakesh Satyal, author of No One Can Pronounce My Name. Kristen Radtke, author of Imagine Wanting Only This. Nick Moran, staff writer. Lydia Kiesling, site editor and author of The Golden State. Anne Yoder, staff writer. Michael Bourne, staff writer. Don't miss: A Year in Reading 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 [millions_ad]

Announcing the 2017 BTBA Longlists for Fiction and Poetry

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Listed below are the 35 titles on this year’s Best Translated Book Award longlists for fiction and poetry -- the 10th time that these lists have been released. And the sixth year in which, thanks to an Amazon Literary Partnership, the winning authors and translators will each receive $5,000 cash prizes. Founded in 2008 by Three Percent at the University or Rochester, the award has grown exponentially over the past 10 years. The focus on finding the best books in translation from the past year has been constant, but the pool of eligible titles has expanded from 360 in 2008 to more than 600 for this year’s award. For these longlists, the 14 judges -- nine for fiction, five for poetry -- considered works written by authors from 87 countries in 54 different languages, and published in English by 179 distinct presses. This increase in the number of books coming out is incredibly impressive, but so is the fact that so many more translators are getting their works published in comparison to a few years back. Reflecting that, of the 40 translators included on these longlists, 29 (73 percent) are receiving this honor for the first time ever. In short, it’s an exciting time for international literature, and the breadth and diversity of these longlists reflect that. From established authors like Javier Marías to new voices like Basma Abdel Aziz, from works of speculative fiction like Wicked Weeds to family sagas from Senegal like Doomi Golo, there’s something on here for every type of reader. To help you find the books that you most want to read, Three Percent will be running short “Why This Book Should Win the BTBA” posts for all 35 titles over the next few weeks as we build up to the announcement of the finalists on Tuesday, April 18. (Also right here at The Millions.) For more information on the award, it’s history, the judges, etc., please visit the official Best Translated Book Award site and the official BTBA Facebook page, and follow the award on Twitter. Best Translated Book Award 2017: Fiction Longlist The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz, translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette (Egypt, Melville House) (read Abdel Aziz's Year in Reading) The Young Bride by Alessandro Baricco, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Italy, Europa Editions) Wicked Weeds by Pedro Cabiya, translated from the Spanish by Jessica Powell (Dominican Republic, Mandel Vilar Press) Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson (Brazil, Open Letter Books) On the Edge by Rafael Chirbes, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa (Spain, New Directions) Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi, translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman (Mauritius, Deep Vellum) Zama by Antonio di Benedetto, translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen (Argentina, New York Review Books) A Spare Life by Lidija Dimkovska, translated from the Macedonian by Christina Kramer (Macedonia, Two Lines Press) Doomi Golo by Boubacar Boris Diop, translated from the Wolof by Vera Wülfing-Leckie and El Hadji Moustapha Diop (Senegal, Michigan State University Press) Night Prayers by Santiago Gamboa, translated from the Spanish by Howard Curtis (Colombia, Europa Editions) Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap, translated from the German by Tess Lewis (Germany, Archipelago Books) (read our review) War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans, translated from the Dutch by David McKay (Belgium, Pantheon) Umami by Laia Jufresa, translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes (Mexico, Oneworld) Last Wolf and Herman by László Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes and John Batki (Hungary, New Directions) Oblivion by Sergi Lebedev, translated from the Russian by Antonina W. Bouis (Russia, New Vessel Press) Thus Bad Begins by Javier Marías, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa (Spain, Knopf) In the Café of Lost Youth by Patrick Modiano, translated from the French by Chris Clarke (France, New York Review Books) Ladivine by Marie NDiaye, translated from the French by Jordan Stump (France, Knopf) Among Strange Victims by Daniel Saldaña Paris, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney (Mexico, Coffee House Press) Moonstone by Sjón, translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb (Iceland, FSG) Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky (Japan, New Directions) Vampire in Love by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa (Spain, New Directions) My Marriage by Jakob Wassermann, translated from the German by Michael Hofmann (Germany, New York Review Books) Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto, translated from the Japanese by Asa Yoneda (Japan, Counterpoint Press) Super Extra Grande by Yoss, translated from the Spanish by David Frye (Cuba, Restless Books) Best Translated Book Award 2017: Poetry Longlist Berlin-Hamlet by Szilárd Borbély, translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet (Hungary, New York Review Books) Of Things by Michael Donhauser, translated from the German by Nick Hoff and Andrew Joron (Austria, Burning Deck Press) Instructions Within by Ashraf Fayadh, translated from the Arabic by Mona Kareem, Mona Zaki, and Jonathan Wright (Palestine, The Operating System) Cheer Up, Femme Fatale by Yideum Kim, translated from the Korean by Ji Yoon Lee, Don Mee Choi, and Johannes Göransson (South Korea, Action Books) In Praise of Defeat by Abdellatif Laâbi, translated from the French by Donald Nicholson-Smith (Morocco, Archipelago Books) Extracting the Stone of Madness by Alejandra Pizarnik, translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert (Argentina, New Directions) (read our review) Thief of Talant by Pierre Reverdy, translated from the French by Ian Seed (France, Wakefield Press) tasks by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, translated from the Spanish by Katherine M. Hedeen (Cuba, co-im-press) Building the Barricade by Anna Świrszczyńska, translated from the Polish by Piotr Florczyk (Poland, Tavern Books) Antígona González by Sara Uribe, translated from the Spanish by John Pluecker (Mexico, Les Figues Press)      

Best in Translation

"If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking." NPR reminds us of this great quote from Haruki Murakami before rounding up its five favorite books in translation for 2016, including Yoko Tawada's Memoirs of a Polar Bear (originally published in German) and The Clouds by Juan José Saer. And from our archives: translator Alison Anderson on “Ferrante Fever” and what a great translation adds to the original work.
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