Annals of Translation

Dava Sobel, author of Longitude, recently reviewed Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder for The B&N Review,  noting that it swept her into "riding happily with its heroes through a blaze of adventures and ideas." She sent us this enlightening note recently about the passage of a reviewer's work into other languages:


I don't know whether I ever told you about my wonderful Chinese translator, Xiao Mingbo, who translated two of my books for a Chinese publisher--even though he is employed full time as a professor of information technology.

We stay in touch, and I recently saw him in Shanghai in connection with the total eclipse of July 22. He asked me about on-line book reviews, so of course I referred him to B&N. He took it upon himself to translate my review of The Age of Wonder for a Chinese on-line forum of translators. I thought you'd enjoy hearing what he told me:

I translated your book review of "The Age of Wonder", and it was welcomed by readers in the free translators forum. It was even selected as the editors' choice to appear on the main webpage. I was much delighted to have figured out a good translation for the sentence "His lamp not only caged the flame, it transformed it into a canary."


We're delighted too, and hope to learn what exactly happens to that metaphor when it is translated into Mandarin!



July 28: Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin eloped on this day in 1814.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).