Please make sure that the book you want to read is available in the language of your choice before you vote for it. If you'd like to read something else, you can nominate it for next month - nominations will be accepted at any time. The poll is running for three days, and you may vote for one or two books.
Henryk Sienkiewicz: Quo Vadis
1894, Polish, 589 pages
Goodreads wrote:Rome during the reign of Nero was a glorious place for the emperor and his court; there were grand feasts, tournaments for poets, and exciting games and circuses filling the days and nights. The pageantry and pretentious displays of excess were sufficient to cloy the senses of participants as well as to offend the sensitive. Petronius, a generous and noble Roman, a man of the world much in favor at the court of Nero, is intrigued by a strange tale related by his nephew Marcus Vinitius of his encounter with a mysterious young woman called Ligia with whom Vinitius falls madly in love. Ligia, a captured King's daughter and a one-time hostage of Rome, is now a foster child of a noble Roman household. She is also a Christian. The setting of the narrative was prepared with utmost care. Henryk Sienkiewicz visited the Roman settings many times and was thoroughly educated in the historical background. As an attempt to create the spirit of antiquity, the novel met with unanimous acclaim, which earned the Nobel Prize in literature for the author in 1905. As a vision of ancient Rome and early Christianity it has not yet been surpassed, almost a century later.
Ernest Hemingway: The Old Man and the Sea
1952, English, 132 pages
Goodreads wrote:The last novel Ernest Hemingway saw published, The Old Man and the Sea has proved itself to be one of the enduring works of American fiction. It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic.
Arkady & Boris Strugatsky: Roadside Picnic
1978, Russian, 145 pages
Goodreads wrote:Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those young rebels who are compelled, in spite of extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious artifacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the place and the thriving black market in the alien products. But when he and his friend Kirill go into the Zone together to pick up a “full empty,” something goes wrong. And the news he gets from his girlfriend upon his return makes it inevitable that he’ll keep going back to the Zone, again and again, until he finds the answer to all his problems.
H.G. Wells : The Time Machine
1895, English, 118 pages
Goodreads wrote:“I’ve had a most amazing time....”
So begins the Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him his reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes...and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth. There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well. Published in 1895, this masterpiece of invention captivated readers on the threshold of a new century. Thanks to Wells’s expert storytelling and provocative insight, The Time Machine will continue to enthrall readers for generations to come.
Jón Kalman Stefánsson: Himnaríki og helvíti (Heaven and Hell)
215 pages, Icelandic, has 63 different versions on Goodreads in a wide range of languages, including the big European languages, Scandinavian, Russian, Arabic, among others.
Note that this is the first book of a trilogy, and that the first book and the trilogy both have the same name.
Amazon wrote:In a remote part of Iceland, a boy and his friend Barður join a boat to fish for cod. A winter storm surprises them out at sea and Barður, who has forgotten his waterproof as he was too absorbed in 'Paradise Lost', succumbs to the ferocious cold and dies. Appalled by the death and by the fishermen's callous ability to set about gutting the fatal catch, the boy leaves the village, intending to return the book to its owner. The extreme hardship and danger of the journey is of little consequence to him - he has already resolved to join his friend in death. But once in the town he immerses himself in the stories and lives of its inhabitants, and decides that he cannot be with his friend just yet.
Set at the turn of the twentieth century, Heaven and Hell is a perfectly formed, vivid and timeless story, lyrical in style, and as intense a reading experience as the forces of the Icelandic landscape themselves. An outstandingly moving novel.
Gustave Flaubert: Trois Contes (Three tales)
120 pages (three different short stories), French, 254 different editions on Goodreads
Goodreads wrote:Twenty years after Madame Bovary, Flaubert wrote Three Tales, each of which reveals a different aspect of his creative genius and fine craftsmanship.
In A Simple Heart, a story set in his native Normandy, in which every chapter, every place, every emotion corresponds to some person, some scene, some feeling in the author's past, he recounts the life of a pious and devoted servant girl. 'I want to move tender hearts to pity and tears,' he wrote, 'for I am tender-hearted myself.'
A stained-glass window in Rouen cathedral inspired him to write The legend of St Julian Hospitator with its insight into the violence and mysticism of the medieval mind. Herodias, the last of the three, is a masterly and powerful reconstruction of the events leading up to the martyrdom of St John the Baptist