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What People of Central Europe Read

Although our tight holiday schedule couldn’t fit a time where we could do a proper tour of bookstores in the countries we have visited last holiday, whenever I had the chance, I managed to snap some travel pictures that are related to bookish stuff.

The following two are the ones I took from Budapest, Hungary featured several English translated bestsellers at a bookstore’s window display.

There is a big poster on “I Am Nujood: Age 10 and Divorced”. Other books on display are Susan Durant’s Sacred Heart, Paul Coelho’s Brida and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray and Love. It was encouraging to see so many non-fiction books on display. In one main street of Hungary, there are 5 bookstores on the same row, which gave me an impression that Hungarians are well read and translated many of English book titles. The street that I walked on has 5 bookstores adjacent to one another and it is encouraging to think that these bookstores thrive  because people are actually reading in this city.

Perhaps the bookshelf at the service apartment reception desk that we stayed in Budapest has a collection of books that I want to read. Rebecca Shaw, Bernard Cornwell, Marian Keyes, Khaled Hosseini’s A thousand splendid suns, Lisa Gardner’s Saying Goodbye, Eragon, to name a few and some other titles that may have left behind by the patrons of the apartment.

Bookshelf in the reception desk of service apartment

Although I didn’t have the chance to visit a book store in Vienna, but it is safe to say that German language book publishing is prolific and mature.

In Brastilava, Slovakia however, I spent a little more time looking at books at the supermarket and bookstore. One would expect the bestsellers title to be on the shelf of a supermarket store but I could recognise only very few titles, except the Twilight saga. Stephenie Meyer is a big hit in this part of the world (including Hungary) and I have great amusement of doing a little translation based on the book covers. Sumrak would be Twilight, Nov – New Moon, Zatnen – Eclipse, Usvit – Breaking Dawn, now… I need someone who speaks Slovakian language to confirm that. 😉

That’s Stephenie Meyer and Kate Mosse’s Winter Ghost in Slovakian language.

Most of the books on sale were romantic novels and local Slovaks authors’ books. There are a good range of children’s books in local Slovakian language and one or two children’s cartoon characters that looked familiar to me, such as Thomas the Engine.

The result for bigger bookstore called Pant Rhei was more encouraging, I saw more of English language books translated to the Slovakian language, for example Paul Coelho’s Valkyrie, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love and Committed: A Sceptic Makes Peace with Marriage.

I even saw translated Chinese classic “The Dreams of Red Chamber” 紅樓夢 on display, but the Spring copy is missing. 😉

The Red Copies are "The Dream of Red Chamber"

Europe is so diverse and people speak different languages. It is encouraging to think many of the English titles are translated to the local languages. To be fair, I should seek out translated work of European writers. The beauty and sophistication of culture that I saw from these cities surely comes from a group of people that I could learn something from.

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About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.

Discussion

15 thoughts on “What People of Central Europe Read

  1. thanks for sharing these very interesting pics-bookstores tell a lot about a country

    Posted by Mel u | November 21, 2010, 10:08 am
  2. Let me add my thanks to you for sharing these photos!

    Posted by Gavin | November 22, 2010, 2:28 am
  3. “It is encouraging to think many of the English titles are translated to the local languages.”

    I’m not sure I’d agree – seeing ‘Twilight’ and ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ dominate window displays in European bookshops is actually very depressing. I’d much rather native books made up the bulk of promoted titles; otherwise, where is your next favourite unknown author going to come from?

    Posted by Tony | November 22, 2010, 7:17 am
    • Tony, ahh.. I was speaking in my point of view. In one sense you are right, because I was quite put off about Twilight saga appearing in windows display of Budapest and Slovakia (but I do love Eat, Pray and Love though. :)) But I am sure they are reading a lot more books in their native languages, and never short of calibred new authors, provided it’s not one of those who wrote the sort of Mills and Boons books! 😉

      Posted by JoV | November 22, 2010, 8:52 am
  4. An interesting post. I like that there are so many pics to see not only titles but covers as well.

    Posted by CuriousBookFan | November 22, 2010, 2:09 pm
  5. This post was so cool! The thing that cracked me up the most was seeing that they also seem to translate the authors names, which is something I did not expect at all! It’s really such a trip to see so many well-known titles in different languages. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted by Steph | November 22, 2010, 3:01 pm
    • Steph, why thanks for the kind words! Always my pleasure to share.
      hey yes! I find it interesting too to find Meyer becomes Meyernova. Kate Mosse becomes Kate Mossova, Gilbert is Gilbertova, perhaps my nick JoV will be translated as Jovska in Slovakian! 😉

      Posted by JoV | November 22, 2010, 10:17 pm
  6. Haha I just realized the author’s names got “translated” as well after reading Steph’s comment above! Stephenie Meyerova and Elizabeth Gilbertova. That’s hilarious! I wonder if all the female names there are ended by ‘va’ or ‘a’?

    I’ve been meaning to share pictures I took on my trip to Indonesia of the translated books too. Haven’t got around it though. Sigh.

    Posted by mee | November 23, 2010, 2:20 am

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Mockingjay
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City


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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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