Off topic: Any suggestions on books representing your culture, speech, philosophies, etc.?
Thread poster: Marlou Franken

Marlou Franken  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:55
Member (2006)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Aug 27, 2007

Dear all,

As colleagues living everywere, I would like to ask you for suggestions on book titles representing your culture, your particular speach, expressions, philosophies, natural environment, and such.

Right now I am looking for a novel situated in Southern US, that would, besides just being a novel, teach me a little about the speach, culture and natural environment.
I am always interested in books dat really "get into" a local culture and natural environment.

Do you have suggestions perhaps, that would represent your area really well? ( It would have to be an English book in my case, because I cannot read Russian for instance:))
I Would appreciate it a lot, because browsing the bookshelves in the bookstore, it is hard to find something.

Besides, it is something to share with one another. I'll start thinking about a title that might represent my country and local culture.

[Edited at 2007-08-28 10:42]


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Andres & Leticia Enjuto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 01:55
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Our J. L. Borges in Argentina Aug 28, 2007

Marlou Franken wrote:

Dear all,

As colleagues living everywere, I would like to ask you for suggestions on book titles representing your culture, your particular speach, expressions, filosofies, natural environment, and such.

Right now I am looking for a novel situated in Southern US, that would, besides just being a novel, teach me a little about the speach, culture and natural environment.
I am always interested in books dat really "get into" a local culture and natural environment.

Do you have suggestions perhaps, that would represent your area really well? ( It would have to be an English book in my case, because I cannot read Russian for instance:))
I Would appreciate it a lot, because browsing the bookshelves in the bookstore, it is hard to find something.

Besides, it is something to share with one another. I'll start thinking about a title that might represent my country and local culture.

[Edited at 2007-08-27 21:44]




Try this link and meet Borges, a bilingual author from Argentina.

http://www.libyrinth.com/borges/

Then let me know what you think.

Happy reading!

Letty


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Liliana Roman-Hamilton  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:55
English to Italian
California Aug 28, 2007

Hi Marlou,

I am living in central California and I find that John Steinbeck has grasped the soul of the Golden State, in particular the area around Salinas.

Here are a few titles that IMO portray wonderfully this state and its people, but consider that most of Steinbeck's work represent the soul of California, so you can read other titles, as well. Remember though, most of his novels and stories are set in the California of the Great Depression, so nothing linked to the present times.

- The Pearl (simply wonderful. Short, intense, poetic. A great way to get introduced to Steinbeck's works. One of my favourites!)
- Cannery Row (set in Monterey, CA, and surroundings)
- The Grapes of Wrath (His masterpiece. Steinbeck won the Pulizer prize with this novel. Poignant).
- Tortilla Flat (set in Monterey, CA, and surroundings)
- Of Mice and Men (story about the laborers in California)


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xxxPRen  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:55
French to English
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Pat Conroy Aug 28, 2007

Marlou Franken wrote:


Right now I am looking for a novel situated in Southern US, that would, besides just being a novel, teach me a little about the speach, culture and natural environment.
culture.

[Edited at 2007-08-27 21:44]


Read anything by Pat Conroy for a peek into South Carolina (I highly recommend "Beach Music"


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xxxjacana54  Identity Verified
Uruguay
English to Spanish
+ ...
New Mexico, the desert / Truman Capote stories set in the South Aug 28, 2007

Dear Marlou,

Try "Death Comes for the Archbishop" by Willa Cather, which is about the South West (New Mexico).

This novel made me fall in love with a desert I have never seen, and very interested in the Indian culture of the area. While reading it I kept jumping to the computer to look up maps and pictures of the places mentioned in it. The book was written in 1927 but the action takes place in 1850 - 1890 approximately.

As for "the South", Truman Capote wrote some wonderful stories which as far as I can remember take place in Alabama and New Orleans, and I think they reflect the heat, the humidity, the vegetation, and the culture of that area which is probably more the kind of thing you're looking for.

Also, one of my favorite films is "To Kill a Mockingbird" which is set in a small town in Alabama, I would recommend that too . I lived in Alabama for a while, and drove through the town where the film was made, and it is certainly a very special part of the world.

have fun !
Lucía



[Edited at 2007-08-28 02:43]

[Edited at 2007-08-28 02:45]


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 00:55
SITE FOUNDER
"A Turn in the South" by VS Naipaul? Aug 28, 2007

Marlou Franken wrote:
Right now I am looking for a novel situated in Southern US, that would, besides just being a novel, teach me a little about the speach, culture and natural environment.

For the Southern US, maybe try "A Turn in the South" by VS Naipaul. http://www.amazon.com/Turn-South-V-S-Naipaul/dp/0679724885


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Catherine Brix
Local time: 06:55
Swedish to English
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Not the depression but still a while back... Aug 28, 2007

"The way the crow flies" by Ann-Marie MacDonald opens with a bull's eye description of a "military brat's" life. Ms. MacDonald is Canadian and the story is set on a Canadian air force base in the early '60s, but it could have been any one of the zillion air force bases I hit growing up in the '60s and '70s. An added plus is the story itself and her moving writing. Highly recommend this one.

And then there's Donna Tartt's "The little friend" which is set in Mississippi. (Yepp, there's a base down there too...). Everything from the old sisters living together and young kids biking off to explore, to the snakes and mosquitoes just caused tons of smells, sounds and memories to come alive.

Enjoy!


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Liliana Roman-Hamilton  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:55
English to Italian
hints Aug 28, 2007

Marlou,

I have just given you some titles in another thread (please refer to http://www.proz.com/topic/82204?start=60&float= ).
Very enjoyable are Bill Bryson's books. He's mainly a travel writer and one of his best known books is called The Lost Continent which describes his return and journey through the US after having lived for 20 years in England. He takes his mom's old car and he begins a long coast to coast journey through the US. It doesn't specifically reflect the Southern life, but it gives a humorous glimpse of the modern American culture. Worth a read, especially if you just want to relax with a light reading.



[Edited at 2007-08-28 07:31]


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xxxjacana54  Identity Verified
Uruguay
English to Spanish
+ ...
another travel book Aug 28, 2007

In line with the book Lilian suggests (and which I will try to get for myself), there is also "Blue Highways" by William Least Heat-Moon. It's a journey along the "backroads" of the United States.

In the South, he for instance visits Selma (where Martin Luther King led that famous march to Montgomery, with a crowd following him over the bridge and out of town).

His descriptions of encounters with different people along the way are truly delightful.


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Lindsay Sabadosa  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:55
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
For Massachusetts/New England and a bit beyond Aug 28, 2007

By Anita Diamant (author of The Red Tent which is also a great read although perhaps not what you're looking for), "Good Habour" - a real beach on Cape Anne, MA. I've heard some say that Alice Hoffman is another good one if you want to get a sense of Massachusetts so I'll mention her although I highly disagree. To me, you need look no further than Emily Dickinson or Robert Frost to understand the spirit of the place (the Dickinson homestead, in Amherst, is just a stone's throw from my new home in Florence). And of course, there are all the old classics from the Flowering of New England. To me, the most representative (although not technically literature) is Henry David Thoreau but maybe just because he's a family hero. Or of course Nathaniel Hawthorne if you really want to figure out where all the Blue Laws came from. After all, what would New England be without its history?
Also, not that it's the same as NE (because it certainly isn't), but, for me, Joyce Carol Oats does a fabulous job of depicting upstate NY. She is meticulous as a writer and really delves into the details. I'd highly recommend "The Falls" or "We Were the Mulvaneys."

Also, some random recommendations for the South (very generally speaking):
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for Savannah
Anything by Zola Hurston Neale, Toni Morrison

Finally, I have to make a plug for Khaled Hosseini (as if he needs one). I may have never been to Afghanistan nor will I be going anytime soon (let's hope someday!) but his books are magical. Another great Afghanistan-related book was the Kabul Beauty School. It has a real adventure travel feel to it although it is much more (and it is a very, very fast read).


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