Books for Cultural Diversity: November’s Picks


Language and culture go hand-in-hand, and there is no better (or more cost-effective) way to experience a new culture, language, or world than by reading a book. Whether you like books by internationally-translated authors, books set in other countries, or books about language and culture, we’ll be bringing you a monthly roundup of reading recommendations.

This month we have a wonderful mix of books that have been published over the past few months for your reading pleasure—from award-winning fiction to cooking around the world to fun travel memoirs.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang (translated by Deborah Smith)
Winner of the Man Booker International Prize this year, The Vegetarian by Han Kang was originally published in South Korea in 2007 as three novellas. This translation brings all three stories into one book. It is set in modern day South Korea and revolves around Yeong-hye, a young woman, who decides to stop eating meat after a series of bloody images haunt her dreams.
When in French
When in French by Lauren Collins
When in French is a memoir by Lauren Collins, a New Yorker staff writer, about how she learned French after meeting and falling in love with Oliver, a Frenchman. Collins explores their cultural differences, the ups and downs of learning a new language, and the people she encounters along the way.
Taste of Persia
Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid
Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid is not just a cookbook. In it, she also shares stories and photographs from her travels across Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan.
Agnes by Peter Stamm (translated by Michael Hofmann)
Originally Agnes was published in 1998 in German by Swiss writer Peter Stamm. Now, for the first time, it will be available in English in the U.S. The nameless narrator of the story meets Agnes in Chicago at the Chicago Public Library. What follows is the story of their relationship.
Snow Leopard
The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
Peter Matthiessen’s classic book, The Snow Leopard is being republished as a part of the Penguin Orange Collection (a limited run series of American classics). In the early 1970s, Matthiessen traveled to Nepal with field biologist George Schaller. The Snow Leopard is about his journey there—both physical and spiritual.
Far Afield
Far Afield by Shane Mitchell
Journalist Shane Mitchell and photographer James Fisher capture images, stories, and recipes of people and food from around the world in Far Afield. From taro farmers in Hawaii to Icelandic shepherds, Mitchell and Fisher meet people who have continued to use old traditional farming, fishing, and herding methods and share them beautifully in this book.