GoodReads Monday

This weekly meme was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. It is now being hosted by Budget Tales Book Blog. To participate, choose a random book from your GoodReads TBR and show it off. Which sounds easy enough until you have to decide how to choose that book! I think I will use a different way each week, like picking a color or number of pages. I will let you know each week how I chose the book and then something interesting about it, like how it ended up on the list or why I want to read it. Got it? Okay let’s get started.

I am continuing my theme of books with a school or library setting. This week’s choice is a brand new book that came out just this week, but I have been seeing lots of good things about it already. It is a really long book, so I have put a hold for the audiobook at the library. I hope to be listening to it in a few weeks.

Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang

Publication Date: August 23, 2022

Summary from Goodreads:

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation — also known as Babel.

Babel is the world’s center of translation and, more importantly, of silver-working: the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation through enchanted silver bars, to magical effect. Silver-working has made the British Empire unparalleled in power, and Babel’s research in foreign languages serves the Empire’s quest to colonize everything it encounters.

Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, is a fairytale for Robin; a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge serves power, and for Robin, a Chinese boy raised in Britain, serving Babel inevitably means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to sabotaging the silver-working that supports imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide: Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? What is he willing to sacrifice to bring Babel down?

Babel — a thematic response to The Secret History and a tonal response to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell — grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of translation as a tool of empire.

I optimistically had this book on my August TBR, but I knew I probably wouldn’t get to it this month. It was just wishful thinking on my part that the week before school started would be stress free and I would have all the time to read a 500+ page book! Plus I was far enough down on the holds list that I knew I wouldn’t have a chance at it. But a girl can dream…..

Have you read Babel? What did you think? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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