Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Some estimates claim there are over 9,000 languages spoken in the world today and another 1,000 or more no longer used. Latin anyone?  Are all those written languages captured in books?  I get excited about my book sales, but in the scope of all the words ever written, my writings don't even qualify as a drop.  My books are less than a drop, perhaps as small as an atom in the body of combined works of all languages across the years since humans first created writing.
From FB

I've read books translated to English from their original language. It's not always smooth but even the strange phrasing adds its own brand of interest. Many of my author friends have their books available in other countries and other languages. I wonder how if the readers of theirs wonder at some of the phrasing in their books.

With the ease of buying ebooks and translating tools available, more people in more parts of the world will be able to purchase literary works formerly unattainable. I love it. 

But I also appreciate the feel and weight of a print book.  I love browsing through used bookstores where they have copies of books from a hundred years ago. I have my own small collection of aged pages that I've built over the years.  Most of them were given to me by family and friends.  They found them at estate sales or yard sales. On my next trip to downtown Harrisburg's Midtown Scholar Bookstore, I intend to add a volume of old prose to my meager shelf of antiques.  It will be fun deciding which one.

I will be buying a title written in English, though it might not be American English. The written word provides endless fascination for me and in nearly endless languages.

Do you own any books in a foreign language? Do you own any 'old' books?


  1. I have a cookbook from the 1940s in Spanish. It has several recipes I remember from my childhood so I had to have it.

    When I was younger, hubby and I used to haunt antique auctions. It helped me to accumulate books from the early 1900s and late 1800s. It's a thrill to get a glimpse of a society that no longer exists.

  2. There is nothing like an old book. I love my copy of the 1941 Emily Post. Love that poster too!

  3. I have a copy of the Velveteen Rabbit and a copy of Charlotte's Web in Spanish... a children's book about horses in French and a copy of Notre-Dame de Paris that a friend sent me from France... and I have many "old books" including a compilation of Shakespeare's works from the 1870s... I love old books!!!

  4. I have copies of the Harry Potter series in French and Russian. I have some other books in French and Russian too.

    I have one book (a copy of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales) from the 1800s that's written in Middle English. I bought it at a yard sale for a quarter.

  5. I love books!! I tried to read a book once in French ... but I didn't know the language very well ... so it was a bummer! :)

  6. I have my eye on an old copy of 'The Last of the Mohicans' at my local used book store. I can't wait to see it on my shelf. My daughter has a few books in French and reads it pretty well if not fast.

  7. I have a book, Mistakes in Teaching, dated 1887. It sits on the top shelf of one of my many bookcases...along with The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, 1903, The Yearling, 1938, and Alone Across the Top of the World, 1935...and with a couple childhood favs--Anne of Green Gables, Mother West Wind Stories, Lad of Sunnybank, and An Old Fashioned Girl. There is nothing as sweet as the smell and the feel of a beloved old book!

  8. That is very fascinating, You are an overly skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to looking for more of your wonderful post.

  9. Hi Susan, am now following.

    We don't own any books in a foreign language, but if I did, it would be French.

    We have several old books, and hubby inherited a huge library dictionary. I look for old cookbooks (small ones) or the classics.

  10. I love illustrations in old novels, something we never see anymore. And so I do have a small collection of those books, Rebecca, Jane Eyre, Alice In Wonderland among them. The artist's interpretation of the story in images is fascinating to look at.

  11. Hey, Sue. I have a few old children's books in my collection. Ones that belonged to my parents that I share with my urchins.

    Hope you get The Last of the Mohicans. The Midtown Scholar is a fantastic used book store.

    Love the graphic with this post, too!

  12. I think we have a few books in French and Italian; and I know we have several books about learning Latin, Italian, French, Greek, and Chinese.

    I had to laugh a bit at the image. English does have a lot of elements of other languages. :P

  13. Somewhere in my house I have a copy of a book called The Forbidden Land published in about 1898 I believe. Then I have a lot of books that are at least 50 years old.

    Since my wife's first language is Spanish she has a lot of books written in that language, but now she usually reads books in English.

    A Faraway View
    An A to Z Co-hosting blog
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  14. The oldest book I have is a copy of H.G. Wells' The History of the World (it's interesting to see how a sci-fi author thought to teach us about the here and now).

    I have a copy of Peter Rabbit that's written in Egyptian hieroglyphs, which is pretty awesome.

  15. I also really enjoy browsing through bookstores and am disappointed to see so many of them close recently.

  16. I do have some P G. Wodehouse books printed in 1950/51...a gift from my uncle and some books bought in the early 80' have French translation books from my college days and an ebook on Spanish speaking.

  17. Ha ha , like that about following down the dark alley....