Home Feed
Home
Search
Search
Add Review, Blurb, Quote
Add
Activity
Activity
Profile
Profile
Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translatorsí Revolution
Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translatorsí Revolution | R.F. Kuang
A new dark academic fantasy by the New York Times bestselling author of The Poppy War
Amazon Indiebound Barnes and Noble WorldCat Goodreads LibraryThing
Pick icon
100%
blurb
wideeyedreader
post image

Two recently finished books! I finally finished Babel, after a year, and the other is a buddy read with @AmyK1 for mother-daughter murder mystery book club! Really enjoyed both, though I don‘t remember a lot of Babel‚Ķ. ūüėĄ

BooksNBowls A year?!?! ūüė≥ūüėÖ 5d
wideeyedreader @BooksNBowls I took a VERY long break because I got kind of bogged down in the middle of the book 5d
BooksNBowls @wideeyedreader okay I was wondering bc I want to read it ūüė≠ 4d
wideeyedreader @BooksNBowls ahhh that makes sense. I think I‘m an anomaly lol, most people don‘t take that long! 4d
15 likes4 comments
review
Creadnorthey
post image
Pickpick

There is a lot going for this story; a foundation in the effects of colonialism, the abuses of privilege, and micro aggressions give the story its driving force and make it worth the read. Unfortunately, there is a nagging feeling that Kuang had a historical novel researched, a handful of YA characters hanging about, which she decided to drive around using a literary vehicle powered by magical silver. Question: why not let reality take the wheel?

Texreader Great review!! 1mo
15 likes1 stack add1 comment
blurb
dabbe
post image

#readyourkindle
#readyourbook
@CBee

3 kindles and 1 book. Hopefully I'll get 'em done! ūü§©

IndoorDame Babel was awesome! I‘m hoping to sneak Florida in this month too ūüėĀ 3mo
CBee You can do it ūüĎŹūüŹĽūüĎŹūüŹĽ 3mo
AlaMich Babel would be a good one one Kindle. It‘s quite large! 3mo
See All 6 Comments
dabbe @IndoorDame Just started, and I'm already hooked! ūüėÉ 3mo
dabbe @AlaMich I know! The 3 Kindles are small, and Babel is huge! Can I pick the right medium or what? ūüėā 3mo
dabbe @CBee ūü©∑ūüíú‚̧ԳŹ 3mo
52 likes6 comments
review
K.Wielechowski
post image
Pickpick

I think the size intimidated me, it took months to finish.
An incredibly unique magic system based on silver and matched pairs of words in different languages is a word nerd dream.
Set in an alternate Victorian England, Robin Swift is brought to Oxford from China to study at Babel, the linguist department in charge of keeping the country running. When he is recruited by the Hermes society, he learns of their plans to bring down the empire.

GondorGirl This was such a stunning book! 5mo
14 likes1 comment
review
rabbitprincess
Pickpick

As a former translator, I NEEDED to read this book. Translators at the centre of a revolution? Yes please. Despite the book's size, I couldn't put it down. I am also pro-footnotes so liked the discursive footnotes throughout the story, although the asterisk in the main text was sometimes too small for me to find. And I thought the ending was perfect. Highly recommended if the premise interests you.

blurb
rabbitprincess
post image

Another book and shirt pairing. I visited Oxford in 2017 and would love to go back (hopefully the cafe R. F. Kuang mentions in her author‘s note is still there). Really enjoying this book! (Well, ‚Äúenjoy‚ÄĚ might not be the right word; it‘s very powerful and tackles hard truths well.)

kwmg40 One of my favourites from the past year! 7mo
29 likes1 comment
review
Mdion1993
post image
Pickpick

A group of four friends with different backgrounds join Babel (Oxford‘s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation), but are soon torn apart by war.

Academia ‚ú® Appropriation ‚ú®Moral Qaundry

review
marleed
post image
Pickpick

I think the magical elements in this book worked well because it allowed me to read the Oxford setting without a need to separate fact from fiction. I feel like I was introduced to a parable I‘d never before heard, and I‘m left with all sorts of feels.

#14books14weeks2023 Book 11
@TheHeartlandBookFairy

Aug #DoubleSpin Category: over 500 pages @TheAromaofBooks

Cathythoughts Nice review ūüĎćūüŹĽ I‘m looking forward to this one. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! I've gone back and forth about reading this one, but it's tentatively on my TBR haha 9mo
78 likes2 stack adds2 comments
review
annamatopoetry
post image
Pickpick

I really liked Babel! The characters and world building are fantastic, my only complaint is that the pacing was a little slow in the middle. Also, without any spoilers, I'm very relieved the end ended where it did; I've consumed enough media lately where foreshadowing isn't taken seriously, but Kuang is very deft at it.

annamatopoetry Just had a discussion with a friend about whether the foreshadowed was too much and considering the fact that most things I consume seem to fail to see it through, my vote is no. It was just right. 11mo
9 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
cdreincarnate
post image
Pickpick

This book is so good! I‘m going to have to sit with it for a while to decide how I feel about it, but I can‘t deny that the author makes some excellent points, and the book is so well written! I love all the wordsmithing and etymological lessons in this book! And I love the concept of using magic in place of the Industrial Revolution.

10 likes1 stack add
blurb
wideeyedreader
post image

And here‘s my May #bookspin list! I really need to finish the tagged (I‘ve been putting it off‚Ķ) and the others are ones I‘m excited to read!

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! I can't decide if I want to read Babel or not. ūüėā 12mo
wideeyedreader @TheAromaofBooks it‘s a lot lol 12mo
23 likes1 stack add2 comments
quote
NikkiCureton
post image

‚ÄúThere was no straddling the line; he knew that now. No stepping back and forth between two worlds, no seeing and not seeing, no holding a hand over one eye or the other like a child playing a game. You were either a part of this institution, one of the bricks that held it up, or you weren‘t.‚ÄĚ
‚≠źÔłŹ‚≠źÔłŹ‚≠źÔłŹ‚≠źÔłŹ‚≠źÔłŹ

13 likes3 stack adds
review
StaceGhost
post image
Pickpick

Wow what a fantastic book! Victorian era, revolution, decolonization, and a magic system built on linguistics‚ÄĒ this was all my favorite things mashed up into a powerful, heartbreaking but hopeful story ‚̧ԳŹ

ūüďł from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/11-untranslatable-words-f_b_3817711

41 likes1 stack add
review
Chelsea.Poole
post image
Pickpick

I see what all the hype is about with Babel, though it‘s definitely not something I‘d have picked up to read if it weren‘t for #ToB2023. I listened to to audiobook which was well done, though longer than I usually like to listen to, at 22 hours. At points I wished it would get on with it already, but it‘s very atmospheric and I was invested throughout. Serious Harry Potter vibes and I‘d even say Secret History too. Also, #bookspin for February.

Cinfhen It was definitely on the longer side but it moved along pretty quickly. Glad you enjoyed it too!! 1y
squirrelbrain Glad you enjoyed it! I agree - I wouldn‘t have chosen to read it had it not been for ToB but I‘m glad I did. 1y
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1y
See All 18 Comments
jlhammar Nice review! This one is currently in progress for me. Not something I'd usually be drawn to, but enjoying it so far. I don't think it's going to be a love for me, but based on what I've read so far, probably still a pick. 1y
kwmg40 I didn't think of Secret History when I'd read this, but now that you mention it, yes, I can see that. Now I want to go reread Secret History! 1y
DimeryRene I also enjoyed the audio! I really liked how it read the footnotes. 1y
sarahbarnes I am in the middle of it now and liking it, too! 1y
Chelsea.Poole @Cinfhen I agree it moved quickly! 1y
Ruthiella I have heard the author say that The Secret History vibe was intentional. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m001hnml 1y
Chelsea.Poole @squirrelbrain that‘s why I love participating with you all with tob‚Ķalways books on the list I‘d never read otherwise. 1y
Chelsea.Poole @jlhammar same for me. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it‘s not love for me either. 1y
Chelsea.Poole @kwmg40 glad I‘m not alone in secret history vibes! @Ruthiella thanks for the link! 1y
Chelsea.Poole @sarahbarnes it‘s so long, but kept my attention the whole time. 1y
Chelsea.Poole @DimeryRene yes! Loved those little footnotes on the audio! 1y
Megabooks I think this is definitely the surprise hit of this year‘s tob! Great review! 1y
Readerann I think the first comment I read about this was from someone who gave it a DNF, so I wasn‘t sure about starting it. As with so many others, I was pleasantly surprised! I haven‘t read The Secret History yet, but must move it up the TBR. 1y
Cinfhen Good use of prompt ūü§ď 1y
98 likes3 stack adds18 comments
blurb
ShelfSpaceIsLimited
post image

Dark academia gives me serious vibes.
#darkacademia #gothic #booklove

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Welcome to Litsy!! ‚̧ԳŹ‚̧ԳŹ 1y
11 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
jspoelker
post image
Pickpick

Very well written and an epic story about language and power. A Must read

review
Readerann
post image
Pickpick

I liked this a lot, despite never having a full grasp on the powers of a match-pair. ūüė¨ Also a tad long.
#ToB2023 #ToB23

review
Ruthiella
post image
Pickpick

Another soft pick. I had a hard time looking at this fantasy novel as an alternative history since it seemed to me that 90% of it was just plain history and it happened without any magic required. And as others have noted, it‘s very heavy handed in its message. The concept of translation/silver magic was neat, however. The end, while not surprising, was still quite emotionally wringing and Kuang really made me care about the characters. #ToB2023

merelybookish I have a few I might skip. This is one of them. ūüėź 1y
Ruthiella @merelybookish I think I will eventually read the entire shortlist, but maybe not by March? ūü§Ē 1y
Hooked_on_books I feel like I‘m the only one who truly didn‘t like this! 1y
See All 14 Comments
Ruthiella @Hooked_on_books Eh, it was close to a so-so. I did feel like the author didn‘t trust the reader to understand colonialism = bad, which definitely bogged it down for me. That and the unnecessary addition of magic to history. (edited) 1y
BarbaraBB Exactly, why the magic? I‘ve been wondering that too 1y
squirrelbrain Great review! I think the magic was just a device to show off the author‘s linguistic skills. I did think that the language aspects were really clever but it did feel a bit ‚Äėtacked on‘. Perhaps should have gone one way or the other; a magical fantasy novel or no magic at all? @BarbaraBB @Ruthiella 1y
Ruthiella @BarbaraBB The magic does provide the dramatic conclusion, which historically couldn‘t have happened since the British empire‘s power wasn‘t based on a tower in Oxford. 1y
Ruthiella @squirrelbrain For sure, the research into translation was fascinating. I do think I‘d have enjoyed it more, however, if it had been a less recognizable fantasy world. 1y
Cinfhen I just enjoyed the time, setting and marvel of linguistics plus there‘s a bit of a biblical background that I enjoyed too. I thought this book was very well researched and written and for someone who really does not enjoy YA or fantasy I was all around intrigued and invested. I would try the audio @merelybookish it might surprise you!! 1y
Ruthiella @Cinfhen @merelybookish I did an audio/ebook combination since I got lucky that both came in at the same time for me at the library. And the audio was well done, particularly with the different languages. 1y
sarahbarnes I just picked this up from the library and am interested to try it. Reviews have been so mixed! 1y
Ruthiella @sarahbarnes Mixed reviews often make me even more curious about a book and what side I‘ll come down on. 1y
kwmg40 I agree with your comment about mixed reviews. I'm one of the ones who loved this book and our own Litsy debates about it have made me even more eager to see how it will fare in the tournament. 1y
Ruthiella @kwmg40 Yes, super curious to read the commentary this year since reviews have been mixed for many shortlisted books! 1y
76 likes14 comments
review
Tea_and_Starstuff
post image
Pickpick

This book was lovely and painful and heartbreaking and hopeful. A hard read but a good one. Well developed world, fascinating ideas around the magic system development and how it would interact with history. But the fundamental story isn't a magic story. It's a story about Empire and what it takes to break one. Many, many content warnings for the book, but it ends hopefully, in my opinion.

GondorGirl This was such a stunning book. Months later and I still find myself thinking about the ending... 1y
Tea_and_Starstuff @GondorGirl - firmly agreed! I feel like this is one I'm going to be chewing on for awhile. Feeling very book-hangovery at the moment 1y
BarbaraJean You finished that so quickly!! I‘m in search of a chunk of time to finish those last 80 pages‚Ķ 1y
See All 7 Comments
Tea_and_Starstuff @BarbaraJean - Audiobook + Housecleaning! A good way to channel the Book Stress of that last third or so. Let me know when you finish, I'd love to discuss with you. 1y
BarbaraJean I will let you know for sure! Hoping I can finish it tonight. We also still need to have our talk about Golden Enclaves ūüėĀ 1y
BarbaraJean So‚Ķ I‘m still trying to decide whether I find the book hopeful, in the end. Which is interesting, because there are lots of books I find hopeful that most other people find depressing. ūüėÜ We should grab brunch and discuss‚Ķ or I can talk book group into reading this one and then you can join us. Or both! 1y
Tea_and_Starstuff @BarbaraJean I would love to brunch and talk books with you, that sounds absolutely lovely :D 1y
12 likes1 stack add7 comments
quote
ImperfectCJ
post image

"That's the great contradiction of colonialism...it's built to destroy that which it praises most."

With a random picture of our recent high surf (usually there's a beach there, but for the past couple of weeks, it's been all ocean and cliffs).

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Beautiful ūüĆä 1y
SamAnne Oh I want to read this! 1y
69 likes2 comments
review
Lexeegee
Pickpick

I loved this book! I am a big fan of the Poppy Wars Trilogy, but this book topped that. It did get a little wordy at times, but it was so detailed it was worth it! Five stars

blurb
Readerann
post image

Weird and fascinating and I‘m loving it so far!
#ToB2023 #ToB23

BarbaraBB I am reading this one too now and am pleasantly surprised so far! 1y
Readerann @BarbaraBB Me too! I was afraid it might be a slog. 1y
BkClubCare I‘ve still got HOURS to go on this and am losing enthusiasm (audiobook) 1y
See All 7 Comments
Readerann @BkClubCare I‘m thinking this is better in print. Some sections I race through, but others I like to ponder a bit. 1y
BkClubCare @Readerann - and yet, the footnotes!! I assume there are footnotes? These are done REALLY well in the audio and I super-appreciate the pronunciations ūüėä 1y
BkClubCare I bet the print + audio might be the best way to get through this ūü§£ 1y
Readerann @BkClubCare I‘m actually reading it on Kindle (the only library format available). Luckily, I can just touch the footnote to read it. 1y
20 likes7 comments
review
Rissreads
post image
Pickpick

This book was ‚ÄėWOW‘! Bloody brilliant! I learnt a lot! Anyone who loves language and fantasy will love this book. This next passage is so profound and one of my favourites.
‚ÄúI think translation can be much harder than original composition in many ways. The poet is free to say whatever he likes, you see - he can choose from any number of linguistic tricks in the language he‘s composing in. Word choice, word order, sound ‚¨áÔłŹ

Rissreads - they all matter, and without any one of them the whole thing falls apart. So the translator needs to be translator, literary critic, and poet all at once - he must read the original well enough to understand all the machinery at play, to convey its meaning with as much accuracy as possible, then rearrange the translated meaning ‚¨áÔłŹ (edited) 1y
Rissreads Into an aesthetically pleasing structure in the target language that, by his judgment, matches the original. The poet runs untrammelled across the meadow. The translator dances in shackles.‚ÄĚ ‚ô•ÔłŹ Isn‘t that just beautifully explained?!?!?!? ‚ô•ÔłŹ I should also add that this book is also brilliant in the way that it explains colonisation. It paints such a clear picture of how and why it happens. It also speaks of gender, race and class bias. (edited) 1y
CarolynM That‘s a wonderful quote! Stackedūüôā 1y
Rissreads @CarolynM I‘m glad someone else appreciated it! 1y
BarbaraBB Wonderful quote and review indeed. I hope I will enjoy the book as much as you did! 1y
36 likes3 stack adds5 comments
blurb
HeatherBlue
post image

Good morning ūüĆě ūüíõ

wanderinglynn Ooh, I just added Babel to my TBR after seeing a book Tok on it. I hope you enjoy! 1y
36 likes2 stack adds1 comment
blurb
HeatherBlue
post image

This Fairy Loot edition is so beautiful, I‘m almost afraid to read it ūüėā

BookmarkTavern ūü§©ūü§©ūü§© 1y
Soubhiville Wow! ūüė≤ 1y
RaeLovesToRead Yaaaarrrgh so amazing!!!! ūü•įūü•į 1y
See All 6 Comments
TheDaysGoBy Pretty! 1y
TheSpineView Gorgeous! 1y
Rissreads I‘ve just started this! 1y
45 likes6 comments
blurb
BookBosomed1
post image

December‘s #botm choices. I earned a badge, so more reading-themed socks for me! I‘m thinking of ending BOTM after December. Does anyone have any recommendations for other book-themed subscription boxes? #botm

brittanyreads Aardvark Book Club! @AardvarkBookClub 1y
BookBosomed1 @BrittanyReads I‘ve been looking at that one! 1y
brittanyreads They have hit a few bumps in their first two months in business, especially with shipping, but they have been great with communicating issues and are fixing them. I've been happy with their book choices so far and I'm excited to see what they have in December! 1y
ICantImReading I have really liked #AuthenticBooks! I only get boxes every now and then since it‘s a bit more expensive, but it‘s easy to skip. They do a wonderful job curating self care items from small businesses that go along with the book to really immerse yourself in the atmosphere. It‘s a fun treat! 1y
ICantImReading Oh and the books are usually signed and come with an exclusive author‘s note! They also send a customized Spotify playlist to listen to while you read ‚ėļÔłŹ 1y
30 likes1 stack add5 comments
blurb
Beachesnbooks
post image

My #botm picks for December! Seeing them posted so early was a great surprise.

AmyG Babel. NICE. Thanks for the heads up. I chose that one and am excited to read it. (edited) 1y
JamieArc Whoa! No idea they were up! 1y
ErikasMindfulShelf The Light Pirate was really good. I picked Babel. 1y
Beachesnbooks @AmyG I was shocked Babel was a pick! 1y
28 likes4 comments
review
rachelsbrittain
post image
Pickpick

What a wonderful dark academia novel for fall! A boy from Canton is taken to England to study languages and become a student at Babel in Oxford where his fluency in multiple languages will help with their primary area study: silverworking, which utilizes etomolygy and translation to create something akin to magic. The story delves deep into empire and colonialism and the ways languages/ translation are influenced by them.

45 likes2 stack adds
review
julesG
post image
Pickpick

Huge thank you, @TrishB for getting me a signed copy.

After putting this down and picking it up again over and over, I've eventually finished.

It was good. I liked it. The subtitle was enough of a pre-warning but somehow the violence still put me off a bit. Not to mention the constant reminders that colonialism is bad.

Low pick - 3.5/5 stars

Last book for #OutstandingOctober @Andrew65

TrishB Glad you finally got to the end! My violence-ometer definitely doesn‘t work‚Ķ‚Ķ 1y
julesG @TrishB I think it was just the accumulation of different things. I had watched Derry Girls with E2, talked about terrorism with both E1+E2, add what goes on in the world at the moment,... It kind of got to me more than it would 'usually' do. 1y
squirrelbrain Great review! 1y
73 likes1 stack add4 comments
review
BookishlyPleasant
This post contains spoilers
show me
post image
Pickpick

As a biracial woman, I really identified with the Babblers, particularly Robin and grappling with the realization that you will never truly belong to either side... Kuang highlights the history of colonization and the utter detriment of native civilizations all while appropriating languages and culture. All in all, a beautiful story that moved me to tears in the end.

blurb
StellarDoc
post image
9 likes1 stack add
blurb
StellarDoc
post image

Back to your regularly scheduled programming of book and cat.

blurb
StellarDoc
post image
6 likes1 stack add
blurb
StellarDoc
post image
blurb
britgetslit
post image

#Scarathlon2022 Day 1.

Hopefully I will get this book read at some point this month!

#TeamSlaughter
@Clwojick

Clwojick SO STUNNING! ūüĖ§ 2y
britgetslit Thanks!! I borrowed the library book for reading because I don't want to ruin it! 2y
13 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
AlaMich
post image

The narrator for this is fabulous!! I would like him to read all the books, please.

The book itself is pretty good, too!

#audiobooks #newbooks

LeahBergen Happy Birthday!! ūüďö‚̧ԳŹūüďö‚̧ԳŹ 2y
AlaMich @LeahBergen Thank you! 2y
39 likes1 stack add2 comments