World Book Day: What's The Story in Europe?
Translation by:Joel Lewin
Unesco had the rather nice idea of celebrating books and authors’ rights on 23 April, the anniversary of the deaths of Cervantès and Shakespeare. Conservatively titled World Book and Copyright Day, it’s a day dedicated to promoting reading and the editorial industry around the world. Published in 2013 and 2014, good or bad, they’re here for you, the books which embody the zeitgeist
France : Thomas Piketty, Capital in the XXi Century.
970 pages about capital. Not the most pleasurable thing you'll ever read, but that apparently doesn't matter. After becoming a bestseller in France, the book by French economist Thomas Piketty has topped the charts in America too. It's been endorsed by Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman who described it as "the most important book of the decade".
Poland : Justyna Bargielska, Małe lisy
I'm afraid I might not be able to say anything about this book. The only thing I know is that it starts like this: "And you, ladies, have you already had a fling with a gangster from the forest? Well girls, I have." Justyna Bargielska, born in 1977, is a Polish author and poet. Małe lisy (The Little Foxes) is a collection of fragments of thoughts about everyday life, which don't always correspond exactly with life as it is, or even with life at all. What is beyond doubt is that it's one of the most stunning literary achievements of 2013.
Spain : Ricardo Vilanova, Lybia.Closeup
In Spain, the book that everyone's talking about isn't even out yet. It's called Libya.Closeup and it's a collection of photographs taken by Spanish photographer Ricardo Vilanova during the Arab Spring. He was kidknapped for 6 months in Syria. Right now, with the help of certain newspapers and associations like Reporters without borders, he's asking for support from future readers using the crowdfunding platform Verkami.
Italy: Beppe Severgnini, La vita in viaggio
Italy is a country which has lost its direction. Journalist and writer Beppe Severgnini recounts for, us with his simple, ironic style, the journey of a country incapable of fixing itself, paradoxically trapped between introversion and openness to Europe. La vita in viaggio (Life on the move) doesn't always indicate a destination. It's advice from an experienced traveller who captures the intimacy of his country with his camera.
Beppe Severgnini, La vita in viaggio (2 April 2014)
Germany : Theresa Bäuerlein and Friederike Knüpling, Tussikratie
Everybody's talking about it in Germany and it's another book about feminism. Have you had enough? Well that's what this new book, provocatively titled Tussikratie (which you could translate as « Cuntocracie ») is saying as well, and it's had excellent reviews. Its young authors, Theresa Bäuerlein and Friederike Knüpling tear into the mainstream sexist monopoly which says women are always right and men are always wrong.
Theresa Bäuerlein and Friederike Knüpling, Tussikratie (14 April 2014)
Royaume-Uni : Alex Ferguson, My Autobiography
Sir Alex Ferguson can’t write, but in 2013 he was Britain’s best selling author, with 647, 153 copies of his autobiography sold so far. Is this because Britain is so in love with football, or because the Brits are falling out of love with real literature?
Translated from Journée mondiale du livre : qui cartonne en Europe ?