Blog Tag

Tag? In cyberspace? Does anyone use the term cyberspace anymore? Anyway…

I have been tagged by loves german books to complete the following task:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

So here it goes. The closest book, The Cat: Or How I Lost Eternity by Jutta Richter, is only 63 pages long. Reach farther and find The Book of Words by Jenny Erpenbeck (translated by Susan Bernofsky), also not long enough. The rest of the books within arm’s length are in German, except for the Chicago Manual of Style, so I have to stand up and find the next closest book, Facing the Bridge by Yoko Tawada, translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani.

Sentences 6 through 8, page 123: “Roman Catholics had occupied the island some five hundred years ago the doctor said and for some reason this date alone stuck out clearly in my mind while I had forgotten the many others such as the years of volcanic eruptions which seemed like a terrible loss now. The doctor often talked in statistics. So often in fact that I couldn’t remember any of them.”

Yoko Tawada is a Japanese writer who moved to Germany in her twenties and has lived there for nearly 20 years. She writes in Japanese and German. Of writing in different languages, Tawada says, “Whether to write in German or Japanese depends on which language lets me play or experiment more freely with images and motifs at the time.”

Facing the Bridges was published by New Directions Publishing, which releases tons of wonderful books in translation and which discovered Roberto Bolano for English-language readers. Coincidentally, Yoko Tawada is participating in a seminar today (April 18) at UC Berkley with Zafer Senocak called “Where Europe Continues…Translingual Writers and the Cosmopolitan Imagination”. I could ramble on, but I won’t. Here is a sample of Tawada’s writing translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky.

So now I have to tag more people to do this. First I will tag Facing South because she will probably do it. Second, I pick Richard Nash because he read my blog once and because I want to know what he’s reading now (he publishes such cool books!). Third, I pick my long-time blog buddy, ramblings of a princess (happy birthday!).


Author: Hannah Johnson

When I first came to New York City, I almost ran over Liza Minelli with my suitcase. Then I got a job in book publishing.

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