Read Diverse: Asymptote Book Club

Confession time: I don’t read much fiction in translation. Sure thing, I love Nordic Noir, and since I can only read Spanish, English and a bit of Italian and French I am obviously a consumer of works in translation. But I often wonder about the many works that I don’t have access to because they are not deemed good enough for translation. In this case, ‘good enough’ may mean a lot of different things: The story is different to what we usually read, the writer is now known, the story won’t sell, etc. And women play a key role in these prejudices: Women-led project and stories are more often than not considered unprofitable, and generic fiction written by white men in English is – broadly speaking – the preferred product.

If you are like, you may wonder how you can change this. As I’ve said many times before, we can only do small changes, one book at a time. And this is why I am so happy to tell you about the Asymptote Book Club. For a start, a beloved friend and colleague has been part of the team that created it: MarinaSofia. Many of you may know her because of her fantastic poems and her often hilarious and dark posts about her crime reading and her personal life from her blog Finding Time to Write. MarinaSofia has lived across Europe her whole life, and she wrote a heartbreaking piece on how the recent television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale would not be so much sci-fi as a ghost from the past for people who, like herself, grew up in Rumania at the end of the 20th century (link here). MarinaSofia has travelled, she knows places, she speaks several languages, and she is passionate about diversity and breaking away with borders, and so are all the other members of the team she is working with. This is how Asymptote Book Club was born.

The idea is very simple: Each month you will receive a work curated by Aymptote’s team which includes people from the six continents and whose aim is to encourage diversity and world literature. They work with publishers such as Open Letter, & Other Stories, and Archipelago, and, in addition to receiving a print copy of the title (which will be a surprise each month), subscribers are invited to participate in online and in-person discussion groups, and to enjoy a variety of features on our Blog where we will highlight the translator, author or publisher featured each month.

There are two subscription options, and I’m afraid that for now they are limited to the US and the UK due to international copyright issues:
  • A recurring three-month subscription at USD16.67/£12.67 per month
  • One-year subscription at just USD15/£11.67 per month!

For more information, you can visit the Asymptote’s Book Club website here.

That is one of your Christmas gifts sorted! I can only think of a better gift than a book and that is books monthly delivered to my house and a community to read them with!

Now, I can only wish MarinaSofia and the whole Asymptote Book Club team the best of luck in this new and fantastic adventure. The world needs more people who work for diversity and books.

4 thoughts on “Read Diverse: Asymptote Book Club

  1. Thank you for your kind mention – I would hasten to set the record straight and say that I am not the founder of the Book Club, but have been involved in setting it up. Many, many other far more brilliant editors, translators, publishers and others have worked far longer than me on this project and I was just lucky enough to come in towards the end. (Or the beginning, now that it is launched.) But it is a wonderful initiative that I am very passionate about and I hope that we will be able to expand it Europe-wide and even further before long!

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