Get Lost in Literature in Translation

lit in translationIn the throes of Ferrante fever? Enjoyed The Door as much as The New York Times? Then you just might be addicted to literature in translation! Surprisingly, only 3% of all novels published in the U.S. are in translation. But we are here to bridge the gap. Our new subscription program, Literature in Translation, features work from stellar authors and translators. Throughout the year, bookseller Cari Kilbride will comb through a mix of translated classics and newly published books to choose a stand out novel to send. Her selections will range from the straightforward to the whimsical and experimental, but all will revel in the unique phrasings and rhythms that come from changing one language into another.

Learn a little more about this subscription, and the bookseller behind it, by checking out our Q&A with her below. Have questions about the program or want to know more? Email us at

Talking languages, talents, and subway reading habits with the bookseller behind our Literature in Translation subscription, part of Book Culture Selects.


Why did you decide to create the Literature in Translation subscription?
Despite the fact that there are so many countries producing innovative and wonderful writers, the US publishes a shamefully small percentage (three!) of books in translation. On top of that, a lot of the publishers that go out of their way to publish translated works are small and hard to find unless you're specifically looking for them. My goal with this track is to expose readers to foreign writers that they might not even know exist--and who will hopefully change the way you see the world and the artificial divides we put up between people.

Why do you work in an independent bookstore?
I love the way that an independent bookstore gives everyone a voice--staff, customers, kids, owners, you name it. Our tables are filled with the books that we want to sell, not ones that the publishers pay us to display. Customers are always giving us recommendations for displays they'd like to see, and the number of book recommendations that I get while giving them is phenomenal! Plus, we make sure to always make room on the shelves for books from smaller presses, which means there's more space for foreign and experimental writers.

If you could speak any language, which would it be?
Hungarian. A few years ago I read The Transylvanian Trilogy by Miklos Banffy, and fell in love with the country and culture he describes there. Probably not the most practical answer I could give, but I suppose one that shows the power of literature on my heart.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Glassblowing. I took a mini class once and loved it, but have yet to be able to work an actual course of it into my schedule (or budget).

Which Hogwarts House would you be in?
I am a Ravenclaw through and through. No one that's met me has ever doubted that.

If you could visit any country, which would it be?
Instead of one answer, here's an abbreviated version of my bucket list: Cuba, Japan, Hungary, Iceland, Earthsea...

How many times have you missed a subway stop while reading?
This is a shameful question that I refuse to dignify, because I would obviously never. (Or too many to count. Pick your version of the truth, I always say.)

What would you eat for your last meal?
I suppose any meal is fine, I would just prefer not to know it's my last meal. How can anything taste good with death hanging over your head?

Cats or Dogs?
Both. Always. Many of them.

What question should we have asked you?
In the classic flight versus invisibility debate, I am pretty hardcore flight.

Learn more about Cari's Literature in Translation subscription or explore our other book subscriptions options here. Have questions about the program or want to know more? Email us at