Woven In Books

WOVEN IN BOOKS||Why you should be reading translated novels

Hello everyone! Welcome to Woven In Books! Today on the blog we have the very amazing and one of my faves Shruti @ This is Lit talking about translated novels and why you should read them plus she is also sharing some of her faves! I love this post and I hope you do too!

Woven In Books series aims to hype diverse books, authors and creators! Read the rest of the posts in the series HERE: Woven in Books

The reason we all love reading is that it takes us to worlds we never knew, situations we’ve never experienced, and lives we could never imagine for ourselves. Translated books do this too, but in addition to a fictional world, they also give you access to entire cultures, literary genres, and storytelling styles you wouldn’t otherwise have had access to. 

Translated novels always hold a special place in my heart, especially the ones originally written in an Indian regional language. I know how to read 3 languages, of which I’m an expert reader only in English (thank you, colonization!). Coming from a country that has 122 major languages, I know for a fact that I may never get to read and enjoy most of our books in their original languages. But I don’t want to let that language barrier stop me from reading the works of amazing writers such as Amrita Pritam, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Sujatha, and more.

And it’s not just India. Every country has produced so much art and literature. Do we really want to let something as simple as language stop us from reading and enjoying them all? 

In the last year or so, I’ve slowly been adding more translated novels to my TBR. Some are on my immediate TBR and I will be reading them soon. But here are my top 3 favorites anyone who’s had the displeasure of interacting with me has heard me rave about. 😀

Malice by Keigo Higashino

Malice (Detective Kaga, #1)

Detective Kaga is called in to investigate when acclaimed novelist Hidaka is found brutally murdered at home. Hidaka’s best friend and prime suspect Nonoguchi is also Kaga’s ex-colleague from the past. Malice is the perfect mystery and figuring out the ‘why’ will break your head, I swear. This is the one book I always recommend to anyone looking for crime fiction recs. 

One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan

One Part Woman

Originally written in Tamizh, One Part Woman was heavily challenged by caste-based groups in Tamil Nadu. It’s the story of Kali and Ponna and how they’re hounded by relatives and friends for being unable to conceive a child. My biggest goal is to read this book in Tamizh one day.

Ponniyin Selvan by Kalki

Fresh Floods (Ponniyin Selvan #1)

Comprising 5 novels, Ponniyin Selvan is a historical fiction series set in Sangam India. It’s the story of the Chozha clan and the fight for the throne occupied by an ailing king. It’s filled with lies, deception, and twists and it’s the perfect series for any fan of historical fiction around royalty.

Choosing your next translated novel

Sometimes, I do worry that a work of art may be lost in translation. That’s why I usually apply a lot more care in choosing my next translated read than I do for other books. 

Reading a translated novel means you’re also reading two authors. There’s the original story and the way the translator wrote it to make it palatable for the target audience. Reading the reviews first can help you decide if the translation is good and accurate. 

In all, translated novels — especially the ones written in an Indian regional language — have all my heart. I have 9 unread books on my immediate TBR and I can’t wait for the recommendations list above to become longer!

Shruti is a marketer who loves reading and pterodactyl-screeching about books. She loves books with a big heart and bigger main characters. When she’s not reading books or writing about herself in the third person, she binge-watches TV shows and makes self-deprecating jokes.


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Do you read translated novels?

Do you want to start reading them? Which ones do you have in mind? Tell me about it!!

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22 thoughts on “WOVEN IN BOOKS||Why you should be reading translated novels

  1. I completely agree with Shruti. Reading translated works is a must to understand other cultures better. I love Perumal Murugan’s work!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In France, most of the books we read are translated novels — mostly from UK/US but also a large part comes from Asia! I can’t imagine a world where translated novels do no exist — it would deprive us of such great works!
    I’m getting personal here but my father loves to read Asian and/or Scandinavian books (translated in French), and after reading one, he loves talking about all the amazing things related to those cultures (food, customs, …) he learned from it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing this! I feel so glad to know that you read translated novels and that your father enjoys it too. And I absolutely agree that it would deprive us of really great books! 😊💞💛

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m honestly not sure how many or if any of my books are translated from another language into English. I’ll absolutely look for more books written in another language from now on. The only books I know for sure are the ones translated from English to Swedish, but I really dislike reading them because I never get the same feeling as when I read them in English. But from another language into English I’ll for sure try out more. Great post!

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  4. I absolutely agree with Shruti’s points on reading translated novels. I’m currently reading one but unfortunately it’s not as good as I had hoped it’d be. I’m not sure if it’s the translation or something else but the writing just felt kind of stiff to me. So like Shruti said in the post, I’m worried that it might be the lost in translation case. Anyway I’ve been seeing Malice a lot these days. My fellow bookstagram friends really enjoyed the book and always recommend it in their posts and seeing the title again in this one really is a sign that I should no longer ignore 😆


  5. This is an amazing post. I know three languages but am only an expert in English (colonisation strikes again). I don’t remember reading a translated book before so I’ll definitely add some of these to my list


  6. Omg Higashino and Perumal Murugan♥️😭 as usual, Shruti spills only facts and awesome recs. I’ll get around to reading Ponniyin Selvan one of these days 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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