This summer The Seattle Public Library, in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures, is excited to offer a summer reading program for adults called Summer Book Bingo! In order to help you along on your quest to complete your bingo sheet, we have pulled together some book suggestions based on each category. Follow this series throughout the summer!
Editor’s note: Seattleites Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton will read from their translation of the work of Hwang Sunwon at the Montlake Branch on Tuesday, May 25, at 6:30 p.m. We asked Bruce how he and his wife came to work translating the masters of Korean literature. We also asked him what books (not in Korean) he is reading:
How did we get involved in translating Korean literature? The answer is, fate. I was born on October 9, which in Korea is celebrated as Hangŭl Day (the day in 1446 when the great King Sejong promulgated the admirably precise Korean alphabet, known as Hangŭl, “Korean letters”). Hwang Sunwŏn (author of the stories in Lost Souls: Stories) also had a lot to do with it. He was the first Korean author that Ju-Chan and I met, he was the first author we chose to translate and he was the author who recommended to us the three writers—Kim Chiwŏn, Kang Sŏkkyŏng and O Chŏnghŭi. Their works constitute our very first book published in the U.S., Words of Farewell: Stories by Korean Women Writers, issued here in Seattle by Seal Press in 1989 and still in print!
Currently Reading: Exit Music by Ian Rankin. Every single character comes alive in this great mystery series set in Edinburgh and featuring the irascible and inimitable John Rebus. The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly. Connelly, like Rankin, gets better and better. No other mystery writer digs deeper into the heart of darkness.
I’m not sure why – I’ve never been much of a Francophile – but I’ve been reading a lot of French authors lately. In English, of course – my high school French is pretty rusty. Fortunately, all the titles below are in translation, so you can enjoy them even if you don’t speak a word of French. Though I bet you’ll be surprised by how many words of French you already speak, n’est-ce pas? To prove my point, here’s a little glossary:
“Joie de vivre”: Voilà!: its Zazie, that petite foul-mouthed embodiment of élan vital, her portmanteau in hand as she arrives in Paris to stay with her flaneur uncle Gabriel. Tired of their piquant persiflage, the parrot Laverdure says “Talk, Talk, that’s all that you can do!” Au contraire! Raymond Queneau’s playful pastiche Zazie in the Metro is a madcap tour the city of light through the eyes of an eleven-year-old agent provocateur. And for another delightful Parisian soufflé, try Daniel Pennac’s mysteries featuring the offbeat Malaussène family (try The Fairy Gunmother). Pennac may be already known to you as the creator of the Readers’ Bill of Rights, first featured in his delightfully irreverent Better Than Life.