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3 Must-Read Books from the Top 3 World Languages in NYC

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According to the USA Census, and Statistical Atlas, “Half of all New Yorkers speak a language other than English at home.”  The three top languages spoken are: Spanish (50%), Chinese (12%), and Russian (5%).

Are you curious to find out which are the major works originally written in these three major languages? Here are nine classic stories originally written in Spanish, Chinese and Russian languages respectively. They are considered to be some, if not the best, literary works of all times. These stories, which have been translated into multiple languages, explore unique themes revealing human nature through the eyes of their protagonists.

Thank goodness! We don't have to speak all these languages to enjoy their exuberant plot and world of exotic wonders… Single page PDF version.

From the Spanish

1

One hundred years of solitude

García Márquez, Gabriel

The story narrates the development and decadence of the small town of Macondo, where a group of exiled families settle down. The author was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature.  Also available in other languages.

 

 

 


 

2

Pedro Páramo

Rulfo, Juan.

After the death of his mother, Juan Preciado, travels to her hometown, Comala, in search of his father, only to find a ghost town. This legendary author is known to have influenced the work of important  Latin American writers such as Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel García Márquez. Also available in other languages.

 

 


 

3

Don Quixote

Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de.

One of the funniest and most tragic books ever written chronicles the adventures of the noble knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, and their picaresque travels. This work has had a strong influence on various writers around the world, to mention a few, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Gustave Flaubert, Charles Dickens,  Herman Melville, and William Faulkner. Also available in other languages.

 

 

 

From the Chinese

4

The dream of the red chamber

Cao, Xueqin.

Written in the mid -18th century during the Qing Dynasty, the story vividly portrays the social life of the era and is believed to be the author’s memory of his own family, relatives and servants who served the emperors. Available in other languages.

 

 

 

 

5

The water margin

Shi, Nai'an
Also known as Outlaws of the marsh, this story set during the Song dynasty in the 13th century, chronicles the trials and tribulations of a group of men who become outlaw when they rebel against a tyrannical and unjust government.  Available in other languages.

 

 

 

 

 

10

Journey to the west

Wu, Cheng'en

Written during the Ming Dynasty, this mythological novel narrates the adventures of priest Sanzang and his three disciples, as they travel west and confront supernatural creatures in search of Buddhist Sutra in the Thunder Monastery of Western Heaven. Also available in other languages.

 

 

 

From the Russian

7

Crime and punishment

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor

Raskolnikov, an impoverished and brilliant student struggles with his conscience, after he commits murder and theft to prove his theory. Many great writers have been strongly influenced by Dostoyevsky's works, including Franz Kafka, Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Albert Camus, Orhan Pamuk and Sigmund Freud. Also available in other languages.

 


 

 

8

Anna Karenina

Tolstoy, Leo

Anna, an attractive married woman falls in love with an officer, Count Vronsky, and rebels against the hypocrisies of society. Tolstoy's literature is known to have influenced prominent figures, such as Mahatma Gandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Ernest Hemingway, and possibly his old time rival Fyodor Dostoyevsky.. Also available in other languages.


 

 

 

9

The Master and Margarita

Bulgakov, Mikhail

A satirical plot unravels in contemporary Moscow, and ancient Jerusalem, when the devil decides to pay a visit to their citizens and give them a lesson. Bulgakov's works have been an inspiration to other authors and musicians, including Salman Rushdie, and the Rolling Stones. Also available in other languages.

These and other related titles may be available in different formats. For more information, please consult the librarian at your local library.

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