A Month of Favorites Day 2: Favorites By a Theme


Today we are listing our five favorites of a theme, and since one of my favorite genres is translated literature I’ll take this time to give you my top five (or six) from several different countries.

French literature

French literature:
~Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
~Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan
~Therese Raquin by Emile Zola
~Le Petit Prince by Antoine St. Exupery
~Eugenie Grandet by Honore de Balzac
~Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

Russian literature

Russian literature:
~Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
~The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevesky
~Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
~The Master and Margarita by Mikail Bulgakov
~Ivan and Misha by Michael Alenyikov
~The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevesky

italian literature

Italian literature:
~Swimming to Elba by Siliva Avallone
~The Potter’s Field by Andrea Camilleri
~Ten by Andrej Longo
~The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante
~The Parrots by Filippo Bologna

Spanish literature

Spanish literature:
~The Infatuations by Javier Marias
~Barcelona Shadows by Marc Pastor
~The Nautical Chart by Arturo Perez-Reverte
~The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato
~The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
~The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

Japanese fiction

Japanese literature:
~Kafka on The Shore by Haruki Murakami
~The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
~Naoko by Keigo Higashino
~Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami
~The Housekeeper and The Professor by Yoko Ogawa
~The Buddha in The Attic by Julie Otsuka
~Strangers by Taichi Yamada
~Inspector Iminishi Investigates by Seicho Matsumoto
~A Personal Matter by Kenzaburo Oe
~A Woman in The Dunes by Kobo Abe
~Silence by Shusaku Endo

Well, clearly I can’t narrow it down to just five and given the chance I could go on and on with favorite Japanese titles. But, I’ll stop with these and hope that I’ve tantalized you enough with this mere taste.

I’m looking forward to hearing what your top five favorites are. Or, six as the case may be.

Find more top five favorites of a genre at Estella’s Revenge.

21 thoughts on “A Month of Favorites Day 2: Favorites By a Theme”

    1. Ivan and Misha deeply touched me. And, it’s good to read from contemporary authors when I’m more familiar with the classic ones.

      You have known me so long that I’m not surprised that you’re not surprised about my Japanese list which is so long. It’s one of my favorite things about blogging: discussing books with people over all the years.


  1. You will not be surprised if I write that I love the theme chosen.

    I’m not a big fan of French literature and classic one is the worst because I had to studied it in high school while I was reading for my pleasure English classics 😉
    So I haven’t read all the books that weren’t compulsory (in your list: Bonjour Tristesse, Thérèse Raquin and Proust). Le Petit Prince has never been a school read: I suppose it explains partly why I love it.

    I’ve got problems with Russian literature because novels are often chunksters which I hardly like (Pasternak and Boulgakov have been waiting on my shelves since a decade but I’ve seen Dr Zhivago on TV; it counts, right? 😉 I like short novels of Dostoïevski; I’ve read several times The Queen of Spades by Pushkin and I tend to like Gogol but that’s about all.

    I haven’t read yet Silvia Avallone. Her last novel translated in French seems interesting. I’ve read only one Camillieri (not a mystery) but I read not enough Italian literature in general. I had liked Quiet Chaos by Sandro Veronesi a few years ago and the first book of Milena Agus but it seems it hasn’t been translated into English (Mal di pietre in Italian). I do love The Tartar Steppe by Buzzati and his short stories.

    The Sound of Things Falling has been one of my favorite novel in the recent years and I’m waiting for his last translated novel (I’ve got a reservation at the library). I’ve got in my TBR pile A Heart So White by Marias; I’ve never read this writer. When I was younger, I read a lot of Perez-Reverte and of course, I’ve read and loved The Shadow of the Wind. Have you ever read Javier Cercas?

    In Japanese literature I must say that I only like Murakami and Ogawa (The Housekeeper and the Professor is my favorite novel by her). In general, it’s too strange for me. I’ve also loved a book by Yasushi Inoue but it seems it hasn’t been translated into English (it’s about a great tea master, Rikyu).

    Sorry for this very long comment but your post is really interesting and I will note some authors/titles.


    1. Never be sorry for a long comment; I loved what you had to say! You’ve given me so great author suggestions, and mentioned a few that I’ve been longing to read. You’re so right that Japanese literature is strange, I guess that’s a part of it that appeals to me. It occurs to me as I read through my lists, that I (unconsciously, I suppose) put my favorite at the top of each one. Although it is hard to pick just one when I love so many.


      1. Thank you! I can love strangeness but I’m afraid Japanese literature is too different from who I am. And yet, as a tea drinker, I’ve read quite a few books on the Japanese tea ceremony (chanoyu) which have lead me to read books which often seem peculiar but that belong to a whole, a philosophy.


    1. Thanks for telling me about The Slynx which I’ve not heard of. As for Madame Bovary, I tend to clump so many with her: Anna Karenina and the woman from The Awakening. Those silly, love-torn women, who grabbed my heart when they shared of their foolish love and consequent despair. Another theme, perhaps?


  2. Bellezza,
    I love the theme of this post and also how you set up the book pictures! Of these categories, I’ve probably read the most French and Japanese literature. Your list gives me some ideas for the literature of other lands.


    1. French, Russian and Japanese have been by far the most translated literature I’ve read. Fortunately, Richard of Caravana de Recuerdos and Caroline of Beauty is a Sleeping Cat are helping me pick up the Spanish and German titles of which I so lack. I hope some of the titles in the post are ones you come to pick up yourself.


  3. That is an awesome theme! I don’t read enough translated works, and always says that I ought to. But one of my favourite translated (and all-time favourite) books is The Song of Everlasting Sorrow by Wang Anyi.


    1. I know! No Germans in this post. But, I am slowly remedying that as I just completed German Literature Month hosted by Caroline and Lizzy. I loved the Thomas Mann books I read for that challenge (Buddenbrooks and The Black Swan). And, I’ve added many more, particularly one by Deitrich Bonhoeffer for devotion time in 2015. I’m looking forward to reading more Ferrante myself; every one loves her trilogy which includes My Brilliant Friend and others I can’t think of right now.


    1. Particularly Endo’s work, I think. He makes me consider my own Christianity more deeply than any other writer, with the possible exception of Bonfhoeffer, I know.


  4. I’ve only read the Tolstoy and Murakami from this list, but I’ve been meaning to read more translated fiction. Thanks for the recommendations!


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