Archive for March, 2024

Thursday, March 21st, 2024

TinyCat’s March Library of the Month: Toowong Bridge Club

TinyCat’s Library of the Month is all about fun and games! Or, rather, the particular card game of Bridge (formally known as Contract Bridge). The Toowong Bridge Club based out of Brisbane, Australia has been using TinyCat since 2021 to make sure their members can always access the library to advance their skills. 

I had the pleasure of interviewing Toowong Bridge Club Librarian Jill Duffield for the feature, and here’s what she had to say:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”? 

The Mission of the Toowong Bridge Club, by implementing TinyCat, was to make the library more accessible to the 800+ members so they could improve their game of Bridge.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community, and feel free to share how you got started with TinyCat.

Before we moved to automating the TBC Library there were over 800 books on the game of Contract Bridge that had been collected over the years since the Toowong Bridge Club opened in 1965. Members were able to browse the physical shelves of the Library for 30 minutes before each game started. They were assisted by volunteers on different days who recorded books that were borrowed on a borrowers’ sheet. When the books were returned, these books were crossed off this sheet. Members did have access to a simple printed subject catalogue at this time.

Toowong Bridge Club members at play.

In 2020 I was asked by the TBC Committee to investigate an affordable way to automate the Library. After looking at over eight free or very inexpensive systems, I recommended the Club use TinyCat. I then spent almost a year cataloguing each Bridge book. I tried to provide a recognisable tag for every chapter of every book. Some books have up to 20 tags attached to them. I was conscious that I needed to keep these tags consistent as I worked and we now have over 100 tags that can be attached to books. Members appreciate that they can search via the tags as well as via title or author.

When I had completed adding the books to TinyCat, I sent the link to the catalogue to all members. Initially it was intended that the books would be signed out using the barcode reader but it was decided with the number of different volunteers assisting with the library, it was easier to continue using the “Borrowers’ Record Sheet” and this appears to work well for us. Members now look at the website at home and come to the club to ask to borrow particular books after noting their call numbers. We are very pleased with the look of the TinyCat website and the access it gives members to our collection. 

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

The newest books by Barbara Seagram appear to be the most popular so I have purchased them in multiple copies. I also run the “Book Stall” stand in the Toowong Bridge Club, where members donate their fiction books which we “sell” for $1 per book. The money raised is used to buy new books for the Bridge Club Library.

What’s your favorite thing about LibraryThing and TinyCat, is there anything you’d love to see implemented or developed?

My favourite thing about TinyCat is the fact that it is so easy to add books to the catalogue. I love that you can search for a new book and just add it to TinyCat without having to do a full catalogue. I then edit the record by adding the call number, tags, barcode and photo if necessary. I found the ease of arranging the look of the TinyCat web page, that is seen by the elderly borrowers, was great too. I left out a lot of information that I knew they would not need so the page remains clear.

Yes, I highly recommend LibraryThing for small libraries. I have been using my personal account since about 2011 to keep track of my novel reading too. Thank you Kristi and your  team!

I’m so glad TinyCat has worked so well for your Bridge Club and its members!

Want to learn more about the Toowong Bridge Club? 

Visit their website at, and check out their full TinyCat collection here.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Monday, March 18th, 2024

Translator Interview: Karen Emmerich

Karen Emmerich

LibraryThing is pleased to sit down this month with award-winning translator and scholar Karen Emmerich, an associate professor of comparative literature at Princeton University whose focus is on modern Greek literature and on the theory and practice of translation. Her 2017 study, Literary Translation and the Making of Originals, examines translation as a process which goes beyond the transmission of an original work from one language to another, one which transforms and expands the work into its new language. Her own translations include Good Will Come From the Sea by Christos Ikonomou (2018), Before Lyricism by Eleni Vakalo (2016), The Scapegoat by Sofia Nikolaidou (2015), and Why I Killed My Best Friend by Amánda Michalopoulou (2014), among many others, and she has been the recipient of translation grants and awards from the NEA, PEN, and the Modern Greek Studies Association. In 2019 she won the National Translation Award for What’s Left of the Night by Ersi Sotiropoulos. Emmerich’s new translation of Alki Zei’s 1963 novel, The Wildcat Behind Glass, which follows the story of a family in 1930s Greece that is torn apart by the rise of fascism, and which is considered one of the classics of modern Greek children’s literature, is due out this coming May from Restless Books.

Before we get to issues of translation, talk to us as a reader. What was your reaction when you first read The Wildcat Behind Glass? What makes Alki Zei’s story so powerful that her book has become a classic?

I first read the novel many years ago, as part of my research for a different translation: Amanda Michalopoulou’s Why I Killed My Best Friend, which tells the coming-of-age story of two young girls in Greece in the 1970s and 1980s who are growing into their friendship and also into lives of leftist political engagement. Alki Zei’s The Wildcat Behind Glass, written in the 1960s and set in 1936, is a key point of reference for the two girls in their political awakening. So from the start I understood Zei’s book not only as part of a tradition of politically engaged literature for children, but also as a widely-read “classic” with the power to shape children’s experiences of their current realities. I immediately fell in love with The Wildcat Behind Glass, and I’ve been wanting to translate it ever since.

Zei’s novel has so many things to recommend it: crisp, engaging writing; a story that pulls you in and keeps you moving in unexpected directions; compelling characters; and social and political commentary that feels incredibly important in our current moment, which is witnessing such a distressing erosion of democratic structures. For me, a book for young readers dealing with the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s felt like an important project to undertake.

Can you describe your translation process? Imagine you’re speaking to someone who has never translated a sentence in their life before. Where do you start, and how do you proceed?

I always read a book through a few times first. Then I sit with it for a while and try to think about what kinds of other texts I want my translation to be in dialogue with, and what kinds of readers I hope will find their way to it. What kinds of conversations do I want the book contribute to? What different readerships will it touch? How can I best serve those readers and conversations with my translation? I find that it helps if I imagine really specific readers—actual people I know in the world.

When I have a sense of these general goals, I sit down with the book propped on a bookstand beside me and just dig in. I try to translate all the way through a text as quickly as I can, not worrying too much about the specific choices of particular words or phrases—I’m mostly trying to get a feel for the language I’m going to be using in the translation, the register, the tone, the pacing, the rhythm. Then I revise. All of my translations go through many, many, many drafts. For much of the time, I put away the Greek and focus on the English, trying to make it the best version of itself that I can. Then I pull the Greek back out and make sure I’m keeping my text aligned with what I think the Greek is doing, both in local choices and in overall approach.

Toward the end of the process, I always bring in other readers to let me know how the translation lands with them. With this translation, I was very lucky to get to share the book with a few of my (undergraduate and graduate) students, as well as with my daughter (5 at the time), my nephews (7 and 9), and a friend’s daughter (12), all of whom gave me fantastic feedback about some of my translation choices—feedback I then incorporated during further rounds of edits. It was very exciting to be able to do that, since they were some of the readers I was imagining when I first set out to translate the book.

Most of the books you have previously translated are works of literature for adults. Are there differences between working on a children’s book and working on one for adults, issues that need to be considered when translating for a juvenile audience?

First of all, I would say that I hope this book is widely read by readers of all ages; I don’t think of it as a book that is strictly for juvenile audiences. But yes, I did face many issues when trying to take those younger readers into consideration—and the feedback I got from my young family members, students, and friends was so helpful. For instance, in most of my translations, I use dashes rather than quotation marks to indicate dialogue, as is standard in Greek. It’s a technique that’s not unheard of in U.S. fiction for adults, but my younger readers for The Wildcat Behind Glass found it confusing, so I introduced quotation marks instead. Similarly, I chose to translate honorifics into more standard English terms of address, where I might not have for an older audience. Because it’s a historical novel, written in the 1960s and taking place in the 1930s, I also felt like I was balancing a desire for the book to be comprehensible to a wide range of readers with a desire for it to have some flavor of the past in its language. I wanted the translation to be an exciting read, but also not to feel entirely contemporary, to have a sense of historicity. I hope I got the balance right!

In your study, Literary Translation and the Making of Originals, you look at the translation process as one of transformation, one in which the translator adds something to the work. What do you feel you added to Alki Zei’s work? How will the Anglophone reader’s experience of your translation differ from the Greek reader’s experience of the “original?”

I think what I added to Alki Zei’s work is, quite simply, a new English version that can be read by people for whom English is a more comfortable language to read in than Greek, or than any of the many other languages in which Zei’s novel has been translated. I don’t think there is any single way that Anglophone readers will experience the book, or that Greek readers experience the book, either. That said, the Anglophone reader is probably less likely to come at the book with a sense of it being a “classic,” and with less of a sense of the specific place and historical context in which it is set. I suspect that many younger readers of the book in the Anglophone context might know Greece best from the Percy Jackson books. I hope The Wildcat Behind Glass will open up new conversations among these readers about a place and a history I care deeply about. I also hope it will make them want to get their hands on more of Zei’s books, more literature coming out of Greece, and more translated literature in general.

The Wildcat Behind Glass has been translated into English before. In fact, Edward Fenton’s 1968 translation was awarded the American Library Association’s Mildred L. Batchelder Award, which recognizes the best children’s books translated into English. Was it at all intimidating to approach a work that had already been translated to some acclaim? Did you read Fenton’s translation before beginning your own?

Yes, I did read Fenton’s translation. It was out of print at the time, and even before I considered retranslating the novel, I thought maybe I could simply find a publisher who would want to reprint Fenton’s text. But when I read the translation, I realized I really just wanted to make my own. Fenton’s translation is great—but I also felt like I could create a new translation that would land differently, more vibrantly, with a current generation of readers. I had already made what felt like an importantly different choice in how to translate some key words quoted from the text in Michalopoulou’s Why I Killed My Best Friend—made-up words the two sisters share as a kind of secret vocabulary—and so I knew my tack would be quite different. I also think it’s great to have more than one translation of a work of literature out there in the world: that way readers can compare translations and see more easily what stance each of the translators is taking, the
choices they’re making.

What do you find the most rewarding about your work as a translator? The most challenging?

I love almost everything about the process. I love reading with the close attention to the structures and details of a text that translation requires. I love the research aspect of the job, too, the rabbit holes you can fall down trying to understand certain moments in a text. I love solving language puzzles, and figuring out how to make English do things it might not have done before. I also really love being part of a community of translators working between many different language pairs; it’s an incredibly generous, caring, and mutually supporting community. There are, of course, many challenges, as well, both textual and extra-textual. For instance: trying to advocate for equitable labor conditions for translators, for adequate recognition of translation as both creative and intellectual labor, for increased diversity both in the field of translation and in the realm of translated literature, and for the place and value of cultural products from elsewhere and/or first written in other languages. Because all that is part of the job, too.

Tell us about your library. What’s on your own shelves?

I live in a small NYC apartment, so I’ve gotten about as economical as I can with my books. It’s one reason why I feel very grateful to have access to a great university library, as well as to the amazing Brooklyn public library system: I can read so much more literature than I could ever possibly hope to keep in my home! But I do still have lots of Greek literature, translated literature from other languages (I subscribe to a few presses that specialize in literature in translation, like Archipelago Books, so I get their entire catalogues each year), literary criticism and theory, and books about translation. My daughter is 6 so we also have a pretty huge collection of her books—including tons of great new books in translation, from presses like Elsewhere Editions and Enchanted Lion.

What have you been reading lately, and what would you recommend to other readers? Are there specific translators and translations you recommend?

Frankly, most of my recent reading is probably not of much interest to a wide audience! I’m writing an academic book about citizenship and forms of literary belonging in the modern Greek context, so I’ve been reading a lot of scholarly material on legal and political systems of inclusion and exclusion, which I find fascinating but are perhaps a bit off the beaten path for most. As for translators and translations, there are too many beloved texts and translators for me to mention all of them here, so I’ll just stick to a few recent reads. From the Archipelago subscription, two of my recent favorites are Chi-Young Kim’s translation of Cheon Myeong-Kwan’s The Whale and Maureen Freely’s translation of Sevgi Soysal’s Dawn—very different books, neither an easy read, but two incredibly careful and inspiring translations. I also love Sophie Hughes’s recent translations of Fernanda Melchor’s work, published by New Directions. And in the context of the genocide happening in Gaza, I also must recommend Elisabeth Jaquette’s stunning translation of Adania Shibli’s Minor Detail.

Labels: interview, translation

Friday, March 1st, 2024

March 2024 Early Reviewers Batch Is Live!

Win free books from the March 2024 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 155 books this month, and a grand total of 2,828 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, March 25th at 6PM EDT.

Eligibility: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta and more. Make sure to check the message on each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Her Part to PlayThe Aziola's Cry: A Novel of the ShelleysBlood TornThe Dishonest Miss TakeThe Goat and the Stoat and the BoatExtreme Survival: How People, Plants, and Animals Live in the World's Toughest PlacesThis Is NOT a Dinosaur!The Quickest Bedtime Story Ever!Nein, Nein, Nein!: One Man's Tale of Depression, Psychic Torment, and a Bus Tour of the HolocaustI Disappeared ThemThe Billabong TrailSecondary TargetFor a LifetimeA Run at LoveThe Sisters of CorinthWith Each TomorrowThe Mother Artist: Portraits of Ambition, Limitation, and CreativityWe Refuse to Be Silent: Women's Voices on Justice for Black MenThe Work Is the Work: Letters to a Future ActivistThe Wildcat Behind GlassThe ImposterIn Excess of DarkKosaThe Demon of Devil's CavernThe Color of SoundCrossing Divides: My Journey to Standing RockFinding Myron: An Adopted Son's Search for His Birth FatherThe Death Project: An Anthology for the LivingHomefront: StoriesFire on a Circle: PoemsFrom the Farm, to Our TableWalk of Ages: A Generational Journey from Mt. Whitney to Death ValleyCircle of Sawdust: A Circus Memoir of Mud, Myth, Mirth, Mayhem and MagicTenderloinFutureFuturoBirdhouse JesusPaws for Thought: Life Through a Dog's EyesHere for the Wrong ReasonsPreacher Stalls the Second ComingBug in a VacuumThe Further Adventures of Miss PetitfourThe Good Little Mermaid's Guide to BedtimeThe Lightning CircleSparkles, No SparklesThe GulfWater, WaterThe Desk from HobokenHoly SmokeLearning to SwimHow to Align the StarsThe Swan HarpHumanizing Classroom Management: Restorative Practices and Universal Design for LearningSamsung Galaxy S24: A Comprehensive Guide to PhotographyPre-Pulitzer PoetryASP. NET Core 8 and Angular: Full-Stack Web Development with ASP. NET Core 8 and AngularAs the Sparrow FliesThe Marble QueenBusiness Communication Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowMarketing Management Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowGRE Analytical Writing: Solutions to the Real Essay Topics - Book 1 (Ninth Edition)The Destiny Book: Rediscovering the Mother of SpiritualityThe Law of Birthdays: A Story about ChoiceTreacheryEmpowerment: A Journey of DiscoveryPoems for Princesses with Peas Under Their MattressesThrough the Veneer of TimeThe East WindMental Exercises for Dogs: Unlocking Behavior SolutionsA LadyFinders Keepers, CowboyDevi's GameCameron and the Shadow-Wraiths: A Battle of Anxiety vs. TrustWhite WhaleCome And Get MeFamous Composers: Lives, Stories, and Legacy (Volume 1)Princess OhletherbeShelby Becomes a Horse GirlThe Last Free DogPrincess Rouran and the Book of the LivingSwimming with Lord Byron: A BiographyPrayer in Time of WarDeath by TheftThe Spirit WellOwn Your Color: How to Unleash Your Limitless Potential with One Secret Tool: M.E.N.T.O.RCo-Parenting With a NarcissistApocalypse Still: StoriesThe Fast: The History, Science, Philosophy, and Promise of Doing WithoutOff SeasonDivorcing a Narcissist Forever: Recover from the Emotional and Narcissistic Abuse of a Toxic Relationship or Destructive Marriage, and Start Co-Parenting the Right WayThe Anti-Semite Next DoorThe ReturnKip's Funny Little FeetStumbling StonesThe ClimbMIND GAMEMe PowerTough Trail HomeCommune of the Golden SunWorlds ApartFinding Designated Ground ZeroArmageddonCloset of DreamsAn Element of MagicShattered Windows: Flash FictionThis Haggadah Is the Way: A Star Wars Unofficial Passover ParodyDaxNight ShadowsWandering from China to America: A Life Straddling Different WorldsThe Assays of AtaRuminations: stories, essays & poemsLet Them TrembleBy the Orchid and the OwlThe Great Escape of Goddess Innana: A Law of Attraction Troubleshooting GuideThe Smooth Fulfillment of the SoulA Seat at the C-Suite Table: Insights from the Leadership Journeys of African American ExecutivesSmoke and LightThe Tale of the Little Hedgehog and the Great FloodThe Last Survivor: Lessons From the Past and the Dying Dream of FreedomAstrology in the Era of Uncertainty: An Astropoetic Exploration of Psyche and CosmosHearts in ClawThese Things HappenFathers and SonsErisThe Get Ready Blueprint: A 52-Week Guide to Changing the Way You Think about MoneyMarriage and HangingBest Little Marriage Handbook: A Powerhouse Of Great Discussions - The Love Behaviors & 8 Safe Communication Skills That Make Great MarriagesSoundbite with SherlockRoot Karbunkulus and the Miist of KalliopeThe Sunny Day Squad: The Quest for the CaringstoneMothersound: The Sauútiverse AnthologyDrawn from LifeLost DistillationRaising Wrenns: A MemoirBlood DebtSwinging Away: A CelebrationThe Story of MadrikaWe Are HuntedThe Emotional Backpack: How to Release Unhealthy FeelingsThe Infinet DirectivesPress Heart to JoinAlone | All In One: A Solitary JourneyA Black and Solemn SilenceDrawn to MurderSavior on the ZenithHow Did Christianity Begin?: Hallucinations? Fabrications? Myths? Resurrection?: A Look at the Evidence.Horse Girl: A Journey HomePlease DO NOT GO to BangkokThe Man with the Butterfly MindTokyo Outdoors: 45 Walks, Hikes and Cycling Routes to Explore the City Like a LocalEntropyThe Ring EternalThe Debate Team - Freshman YearA.I. & YouBlack Phoenix

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Akashic Books Alcove Press Bethany House
BHC Press Blue Cedar Press Broadleaf Books
Bushwhack Books Cardinal Rule Press Dark Horse Books
DarkLit Press Egret Lake Books eSpec Books
Gnome Road Publishing Harbor Lane Books, LLC. History Through Fiction
Identity Publications IngramSpark LaPuerta Books and Media
Lerner Publishing Group Nosy Crow US Packt Publishing
Perch & Pen Books Personville Press PublishNation
Restless Books Revell Rootstock Publishing
Tapioca Stories Tundra Books Twisted Road Publications
Type Eighteen Books University of Nevada Press Vibrant Publishers

Labels: early reviewers, LTER