In today’s Well, I Didn’t Know That! post, I feature an article which introduced me to a book I have added to my TBR that I haven’t seen elsewhere, and frankly, would have had no idea it even existed!
As a blogger and part of an online community, I see a lot of books floating around in that circle. As we all read similar things, I often find that the same books come up time and again. That’s not a bad thing, because it’s books I am interested in for the most part. However, I wanted to branch out a little and decided to take a look at the bookish pages of some of the biggest news providers to see what they were sharing!
Naturally, some very different books came up.
For this post, the article in particular I feature is The Guardian’s list of five best science-fiction and fantasy books of 2022. If you are interested in other genres of book, they have articles sharing their top five for each of the big genres.
Immediately, this article had my attention because they listed one of my favourite reads of 2022 – Babel by R.F. Kuang. Clearly, the curator of this article has taste! Even though we have this particular book in common, the rest of the listings in this article are the books that I am not familiar with from my blogging circles.
Most of the books featured in this article are very science-fiction heavy as opposed to leaning towards fantasy; in that respect, Babel is the exception! I enjoyed reading each of the little reviews and synopses of what these books are about. For a listicle style post, it strikes the balance of detail whilst maintaining readability very well.
What caught my eye?
It is the first book on this list that caught my eye. It was winner of the 2022 Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction Book of the Year and is the first full-length book to be written in its minority language for over 50 years.
The book is written in Orcadian Scots, a dialect spoken in the Orkney Islands. Combine that with its science-fiction setting, and that it is written in verse, and you get a very unusual combination!
I have a good grasp of English, but other than that, I am not great with languages. At a push, I might be able to read a children’s book in German. Certainly, no more than that.
Having read a sample of Deep Wheel Orcadia, I like that it is written in a dialect of English that I’m not too familiar with. There are words that you can identify quite easily based on the spelling, or sometimes they are best interpreted phonetically. I am sure some of it will come with context as well. However, there is enough variation from English to make you think about what you’re reading. If you’re not overly interested in the language element, this book does have a parallel translation to English. You can’t get stuck reading this book because it does the hard work for you.
Whilst I have read books such as A Clockwork Orange in the past (and hats off to any other readers out there who also managed to get through this one!), Deep Wheel Orcadia is a completely different type of book. I wouldn’t have discovered it in the blogosphere I’m part of.
It just goes to show why it pays to reach out and discover something new from time to time!