I have this idea that I can improve my language skills by reading in the language. This is not a crazy idea. But, I use it to justify a possibly crazy and weird habit. I love buying books that I have already read that are translated into a language that I am studying. I recently used my desire to be a better Spanish speaker as my excuse for walking past the Juan Rulfo, Octavio Paz, and Gabriel Trujillo (only one of those three whose work I’ve actually read in Spanish…and one I’ve not read at all) in a Mexican bookstore (Mexican bookstore as in a bookstore in Mexico and not as in a bookstore that specializes in Mexican books or a bookstore owned/operated by Mexican people or a bookstore that caters to the interests of Mexican people. Although, the other interpretations are also probably true) heading straight to the YA and sci-fi/fantasy sections to see what’s there that I’ve already taken a bite out of.
I have a favorite little bookshop in San Cristobal de las Casas. It was one of the first things I found the first time I was here doing research for my dissertation, so I was happy to find it again. This time they had a lot to choose from. There were translations of books I really want to read (Graceling) and I thought about breaking my rule and trying something new. But, there was also Harry Potter and C.S, Lewis and Tolkien. The one I finally settled on was none of the above. I picked up a translated copy of my favorite Neil Gaiman book (maybe my second favorite? I did really enjoy the Ocean and the end of the Lane.) Coraline.
The story is just as I remember it. And, either my Spanish had improved or this book is at a lower reading level than I remember. I recommend picking it up. It is a story about magic, family and growing up all in Gaiman’s quirky style.