A shout-out to Czech literature

Whenever I live in a country, I enjoy learning more about its culture by doing a deep dive into its literature.

This was also the case when I lived in Prague, Czech Republic many years ago. The Czechs have a lot of great literature, and I was happy to explore all of it: Vaclav Havel, Bohumil Hrabal, Ivan Klima, Milan Kundera, Pavel Kohout, Karel Capek, Josef Skvorecky, and more…

I’m not going to get into the Czech or German Franz Kafka trap – an ethnic German who lived in Bohemia and wrote in German, but certainly with Czech sensibilities. I place him in both categories, but I’ll let the literature scholars duke that one out.

I still love to viist the bookstores when I’m back in Prague, but, unlike those long-ago days, my Czech is no longer good enough to read these novels in the original language.

Prague bookstore / Kimberly Sullivan

Regardless, I still enjoy reading Czech authors – even in translation. On my recent trip to Prague, I picked up an anthology of Czech women writers whose short stories are translated into English, and look forward to reading them.

What about you, readers? Is reading literature of the place an important aspect of life or travel abroad for you? Do you think it helps you appreciate the culture more? Speed along your language learning? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

And happy reading – wherever you are!

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