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为移民服务的纽约图书馆

Among Readers in Polyglot New York, 50 Shades of Best Sellers
为移民服务的纽约图书馆

The Chinese immigrants in Flushing, Queens, devour books with titles like “Romantic Flower” and “The Heart With a Million Knots.” The Russian women in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, clamor for a diet guide advocating plenty of meat. In Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a bookseller cannot keep a tell-all by the wife of an adored Polish politician on the shelves.

皇后区法拉盛的中国移民对《浪漫之花》和《心有千千结》之类的图书如饥似渴。布鲁克林布莱顿海滩的俄罗斯女性非常追捧一本宣扬多食肉的节食指南。布鲁克林绿点的图书商,则很难让一位备受拥戴的波兰政治家夫人所写的真情告白在书架上多停留一会儿。

Serialized romance digests are popular in Jackson Heights, Queens, in languages spoken by the area’s Indians and Pakistanis. So, too, are books on Muslim topics. Khursheed Hassan, the owner of Mansoor Book Store, has arranged the two inventories so the religious books are high on upper shelves, and the romances in a row along the floor, to keep the two genres’ very different readerships from taking offense.

在皇后区杰克逊高地,用当地印度人和巴基斯坦人所说的语言出版的连载言情小说很受欢迎。穆斯林题材的书籍同样如此。曼苏尔书店(Mansoor Book Store) 的老板胡尔希德·哈桑(Khursheed Hassan)对这两类图书的摆放位置作了特殊安排,宗教类图书被放在书架高处,而言情小说则被安排在靠近地面的底层,这样就可以避免在两种截然不同的读者群中引起不快。

In the Babel that is New York City, where nearly 200 languages are spoken and read within the public school system and nearly 40 percent of the population was born abroad, literary tastes among immigrant cultures turn out to be as different as their cuisines.

纽约市仿佛是一座巴别塔。在这里,公立教学系统中使用的口头和书面语言有将近200种,几乎40%的城市人口都出生在国外,和烹饪方法一样,那些拥有不同移民文化的市民也有着不同的文学品味。
 

But what is popular in foreign languages is not always what is selling well back home in Bahrain or Bucharest. Sometimes they are books that are contraband under authoritarian regimes. Sometimes readers far from home seek out the classics as comforting reminders of their roots. Still others delve into their new culture with translations of school staples like “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” that were never on the curriculum back home.

然而,在外语文化中受欢迎的书,并不一定是那些巴林或布加勒斯特的本土畅销书。它们有时是一些被本国专制统治政权禁止的图书。有时候,远离故土的读者会找来一些经典读物,来抚慰自己的思乡之情;还有些人则通过阅读校园必读书目的译本来探索自己面前的新文化,比如《哈克贝利·费恩历险记》(Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)这种绝不会进入故土课程表的书。

“There are very different cultural tastes,” said Jason Baumann, the coordinator of world languages for the New York Public Library, which serves Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island.

纽约公共图书馆(New York Public Library)的世界语言协调员贾森·鲍曼(Jason Baumann)说,“人们的文化品味千差万别。”这个图书馆的服务范围包括曼哈顿、布朗克斯和斯塔滕岛。

Scanning the usual industry indicators like Publishers Weekly magazine will not reveal what will be popular for New Yorkers from say, Mali or Nepal. Mr. Baumann relies instead on the expertise of foreign-language booksellers based in the United States to figure out what is hot in a particular country.

仔细研究《出版者周刊》(Publishers Weekly)之类的行业参考出版物,并不能让你知道什么书会在来自马里或尼泊尔的纽约人中受到欢迎。而鲍曼则通常依靠美国境内外语图书销售商的专业意见来决定,某个国家的热销书究竟是什么。

As the city has exponentially diversified, so have the foreign-language stacks, which now include 60 languages spread across the New York Public Library’s 87 branches.

由于纽约城极其多样化,这里的外语图书也种类繁多。目前,纽约公共图书馆的87个分馆中,共有60种语言的图书。

In the Queens Borough Public Library system, the number of foreign-language books has doubled over the last decade and now includes Bengali, Croatian and multiple languages spoken in Afghanistan. The Brooklyn Public Library caters to cardholders in about 30 languages, according to its Web site, and has a special multilingual center at the main Grand Army Plaza branch.

过去十年间,皇后区公共图书馆(Queens Borough Public Library)系统中的外语图书数量翻了一番,现有图书语种已经包括孟加拉语、克罗地亚语和在阿富汗地区使用的多种语言。根据布鲁克林公共图书馆(Brooklyn Public Library)的网站信息,该图书馆用大约30种语言为读者提供服务,它的大军团广场(Grand Army Plaza)分馆还设有一个专门的多语种服务中心。

As the compositions of the city’s immigrant populations have changed, so, too, have the books that are carried. Mr. Baumann increasingly buys books in French as the city’s population of Francophone Africans has increased. Harlequin Romances are their top request. A Lower East Side branch, once in the heart of Little Germany, has a longstanding endowment to buy books in German, now little used.

随着城市移民人口的构成发生变化,这里的图书品种也发生了改变。因为当地聚集了越来越多讲法语的非洲人,鲍曼也逐渐增加了法语书籍的进货量。其中禾林言情小说(Harlequin Romance)最受欢迎。曾经位于小德国中心地带的一家下东区分馆,有一项专门用于购买德语图书的长期捐赠资金,现在这项资金很少使用。

At Saint Petersburg Trade House in Brighton Beach, where each supermarket along Brighton Beach Avenue carries caviars from Russia’s Bering Sea priced by grade like gasoline, classical Russian literature, like Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, in Russian are requested daily, said Violet Lazareva, 48, the store’s literary consultant. “All the parents teach their children that they should read Russian classics in Russian,” she said. “They’re better in Russian, really.”

48岁的瓦奥莱特·拉扎雷瓦(Violet Lazareva)是圣彼得堡交易所(Saint Petersburg Trade House)的文学咨询员,她说,每天都有人前来购买俄国的经典文学,比如陀思妥耶夫斯基(Dostoevsky)和托尔斯泰(Tolstoy)的作品。该交易所位于布莱顿海滩,布莱顿海滩大道上的每家超市里都有从俄国白令海运来的鱼子酱,它们也像汽油一样根据等级定价。“所有的父母都告诉自己的孩子,应该阅读俄语原版的俄国经典作品,”她说。“俄语原版的更好,真的。”

(Also wildly popular is a French diet book by Pierre Dukan translated into Russian, roughly titled, “I Don’t Know How to Lose Weight.”)

(一本法语节食书的俄语译本也受到了热烈追捧,该书的作者是皮埃尔·迪康(Pierre Dukan),书名大致是《我不知道该如何减肥》(I Don’t Know How to Lose Weight)。)

Many children of immigrants do not read their parents’ languages, said Andrzej Szymanik, the owner of Polish Bookstore and Publishing in Greenpoint. He stocked Polish translations of the “Twilight” series, but the books hardly budged. Even his own daughter gobbled up the vampire trilogy in English.

绿点波兰图书零售及出版公司(Polish Bookstore and Publishing)的老板安杰伊·希姆尼克(Andrzej Szymanik)说,很多移民的子女都读不懂自己父辈的语言。他进了一些波兰语版的《暮光之城》(Twilight)系列小说,但这些书根本就卖不出去。连他自己的女儿都是抱着这部吸血鬼三部曲的英文版在狼吞虎咽。

“Teenagers don’t come to the store,” he said. “They don’t read in Polish if they live here. They forget. That’s the fact of life.”

“孩子们不会来书店,”他说。“如果他们住在这里的话,就根本读不懂波兰语。他们忘了。这就是生活的真相。”

But Chinese-speaking teenage girls come out in force in the Flushing branch of the Queens library, as do their mothers and grandmothers and some men. Every weekend, legions of them cram into an aisle along the far wall of the top floor. They lean on shelves or sit cross-legged on the floor, thumbing through hundreds of slim volumes of highly addictive serial romance novels from Taiwan.

但是,皇后区图书馆的法拉盛分馆里,走出了一大群说着中文的少女,她们的母亲、祖母,以及一些男士也常常光顾此地。每个周末,她们都会成群结队地来到图书馆的顶层,挤在紧贴后墙的走廊里,或靠在书架上,或盘腿坐在地上,翻看那些极易成瘾的台湾言情系列小说,这些薄薄的小册子有好几百本。

Long a craze in China, and, many readers admit, somewhat schmaltzy, the romances are some of the hottest items in the city’s libraries. The scene is similar at the New York Public Library’s Chatham Square branch in Chinatown, where, Mr. Baumann said, “you’ll have people just tearing through the shelves searching for the most recent Taiwanese romance novel.”

长期以来,言情小说一直在中国很受欢迎,而且很多读者都承认,这些过分煽情的小说是纽约市各图书馆里最炙手可热的读物之一。纽约公共图书馆的查塔姆广场分馆位于唐人街,分馆里的情景也与此相似。提到这个分馆的时候,鲍曼说,“人们为了找到最新的台湾言情小说,把书架都快翻烂了。

The most popular serialized Chinese-language romance has been checked out about 300 times in the library system. The library’s most popular English-language fiction book, “The Help,” which has sold over five million copies, has been circulated only about 195 times in all 87 branches.

最热门的中文版言情连载小说在图书馆的系统上被检索了大概300次。该馆最受欢迎的英语小说,销售量达到500多万册的《相助》(The Help),在87个分馆中总共仅流通过195次。

Also popular are contentious or scandalous books, as New Yorkers seek to keep up with books that have relatives back home talking. At Mansoor it is the autobiography of Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani president; at the Polish bookstore in Greenpoint, it is an autobiography by the wife of Lech Walesa that exposes the cracks in their family life.

一些带有争议性或者丑闻性质的书籍也很受欢迎,因为纽约人都想跟紧那些可以与亲属们在茶余饭后谈论的图书。在曼苏尔书店,这类书的代表是前任巴基斯坦总统佩尔韦兹·穆沙拉夫(Pervez Musharraf)的自传,而在那家位于绿点的波兰书店,则是莱赫·瓦文萨(Lech Walesa)的夫人所作的自传,她在书中曝光了自己家庭生活的裂缝。

Many request books that are censored in their homelands. Mr. Baumann said that at a Chinatown bookstore that supplies many of the New York Public Library’s Chinese-language books, visiting tourists often asked for books that were considered subversive or anti-Communist and therefore not available at home.

很多人想要那些在自己的祖国遭禁的书。鲍曼说,唐人街的一家书店给纽约公共图书馆供应了许多中文书,到访的游客经常在店里寻找那些中国官方认定的颠覆性或反共书籍,那些书在中国境内是买不到的。

But as the readership of physical books is replaced by tablets and e-readers and the Internet’s myriad distractions, the foreign-language book industry has also been affected. Three years ago, Mr. Szymanik of the Greenpoint bookshop said, he turned to selling Polish foods over the Internet from his base at the store, because book sales slumped.

不过,由于平板电脑、电子书,以及互联网上无数让人分心的事物夺去了纸质书本的读者群,外语图书行业也受到了影响。 绿点书店的希姆尼克说,三年前,因为图书销售量下跌,他开始以自己的书店为基地,通过网络销售波兰食物。

The bookstore’s current best seller, he said, is kielbasa.

他说,自己的书店里卖得最好的东西,目前是波兰香肠。
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