Only 3 percent of books published in the United States come from another language. In some countries, that number is closer to 50 or 60 percent, but we here (and in the United Kingdom, too) are given very few options if we want to read literature from other places in the world. The world is more connected than ever before, but we’re still primarily reading stuff from the same handful of countries.
Reading stories in translation is an important part of being a global citizen. To read books only by those who have lengthy experiences with English and Western culture is to limit our own view of the world. Books are a gateway to other perspectives, and it can increase our empathy with parts of the world we may never get to visit. There’s a whole world of stories out there, and it’s worth appreciating the ones that do manage to get translated into English for us to read.
In that spirit, we introduce to you Babbel Book Club! Each month, we’ll choose a book of any genre originally published in another language and spend time talking about the book, the language and the culture it’s a part of. We hope anyone who loves reading, learning languages or exploring other cultures will join us. It’ll be fun, we promise.
How Do I Become A Part Of The Book Club?
The first thing you can do is join our Facebook group, where we’ll be posting throughout the month. You can be as involved as you want to be, whether you want to read the book and take part in discussions, or just sit back and read about literature from around the world.
What Kind Of Books Will We Be Reading?
While we don’t want to pin down a specific genre, we’ll be reading books that have been published in the past few years and that relate to the larger culture of their country of origin. Don’t worry, nothing will be so recent that you have to go run out and buy an expensive new hardcover edition. We’re keeping our book options pretty open to allow for a range of possibilities. And if you have any suggestions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Does The Book Club Offer?
While the exact content will change from month to month, we’ll be providing resources to help you further engage with the book and with fellow readers. This includes discussion questions, book reviews, suggested related books and more.
What Does This Have To Do With Language Learning?
Great question! Babbel is all about learning languages, and we also advocate for learning about cultures and people all around the world. For those who want to take a crack at reading in other languages, we’ll do our best to provide some options for you to do so. In their native language, the books we choose each month probably won’t be appropriate for beginner learners, but we’ll give you some resources on where to get started.