Monday, January 28, 2013

The Best Books for Children?

My mother sent me this article, which lists the top ten books parents think children should read. It’s a really interesting list, but I can’t say I agree with it.

The list is:

1. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

2. The Harry Potter Series, JK Rowling

3. The Lord of The Rings, JRR Tolkien

4. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

5. Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

6. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, CS Lewis

7. Animal Farm, George Orwell

8. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens

9. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

10. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

So, no picture books for children? Two works by Dickens? Two by Tolkien? Jane Austen? No translated titles?

What age are we talking about? What’s the reasoning behind these choices? And what do people think children’s literature is for? Is it to teach children morals/lessons? Is it to entertain them?

In short, I’m not convinced by this list, though I certainly wouldn’t dissuade kids from reading these books. What would you recommend for young readers and why?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sebald Lecture

Those of you in the UK might be interested in attending the Sebald Lecture on translation at 7 pm on 4 February at Kings Place in London.

This annual lecture is run by the British Centre for Literary Translation, which is based at my university, the University of East Anglia.

Here is the information about the talk:

“Boris Akunin is one of the most widely read authors in Russia, and has been compared to Gogol, Tolstoy and Arthur Conan Doyle. His best-selling detective novels are translated into English by Andrew Bromfield. But in his previous life, Boris Akunin was Grigory Chkhartishvili, a translator of Japanese literature into Russian.

In his lecture, Boris Akunin will talk about his love for translating, how translating both helped and hindered his work as a writer, and why he misses it now.

The evening will also include readings and presentations of the annual Translation Prizes administered by the Society of Authors.”

Saturday, January 05, 2013


I’m taking a few days off from blogging before the new semester starts, so I can concentrate on my teaching. Enjoy what remains of your holiday season!