Around 11 Years of Translated Books Ranked by Popularity

I’ve taken Goodreads entries for a list of translations compiled originally at Three Percent, sorted them by a popularity metric (the log of the number of raters multiplied by the square of the average rating expressed as a percentage), and listed the top 20 entries for each year below. There are several problems with using Goodreads ratings in this way. Goodreads tries to use the same entry for each edition of a book, so if the book originates in a country where Goodreads itself is popular, there will be many ratings and reviews long before the book is translated. Also, Goodreads doesn’t always succeed in grouping different editions together, and if I wasn’t able to find the entry with the most ratings, it won’t do well here. Along the way, I also excluded some TV novelizations and children’s books, because they were for some reason overrepresented in about three years of the data, but I did reclassify popular YA or general interest graphic novels into categories that would count (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry).

Entries in bold are those that were not only popular—they also met the relatively strict criterion of having > 33% more 5 star ratings than 4 star ratings, > 33% more 4 star ratings than 3 star ratings, and so on.


Stieg Larsson, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Roberto Bolano, 2666
Nisioisin, Death Note: Another Note
Jose Saramago, Death with Interruptions
Muriel Barbery, Elegance of the Hedgehog
Arnaldur Indridason, Draining Lake
Boris Akunin, Special Assignments
Stefan Zweig, Post-Office Girl
Fred Vargas, This Night’s Foul Work
Henning Mankell, Pyramid
Giorgio Faletti, I Kill
Andrea Camilleri, Paper Moon
Stefan Brijs, Angel Maker
Peter Zilahy, Last Window-Giraffe
Jiang Rong, Wolf Totem
Willem Frederik Hermans, Darkroom of Damocles
Naguib Mahfouz, Cairo Modern
Elena Ferrante, Lost Daughter
Mo Yan, Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out
Johan Theorin, Echoes from the Dead


Stieg Larsson, Girl Who Played with Fire
Jo Nesbo, Nemesis
Fernando Pessoa, Collected Poems of Alvaro de Campos: Volume 2
Sebastian Fitzek, Therapy
Hiroshi Sakurazaka, All You Need Is Kill
Eduardo Galeano, Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone
Yoko Ogawa, Housekeeper and the Professor
Walter Moers, Alchemaster’s Apprentice
Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, Mind at Peace
Javier Marias, Your Face Tomorrow Volume Three: Poison, Shadow, and Farewell
Jonathan Littell, Kindly Ones
Max Frei, Stranger: Labyrinths of Eho, Book One
Mahmoud Darwish, Almond Blossoms and Beyond
Markus Heitz, Dwarves
Jan Guillou, Road to Jerusalem
Miyuki Miyabe, Brave Story
Fernando del Paso, News from the Empire
Philippe Claudel, Brodeck
Ricardas Gavelis, Vilnius Poker
Hape Kerkeling, I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago


Stieg Larsson, Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
Jo Nesbo, Devil’s Star
Cornelia Funke, Inkdeath
Isabel Allende, Island Beneath the Sea
Giacomo Leopardi, Canti
Oliver Potzsch, Hangman’s Daughter
Olga Tokarczuk, Primeval and Other Times
Camilla Lackberg, Ice Princess
Deon Meyer, Thirteen Hours
Markus Heitz, War of the Dwarves
Sofi Oksanen, Purge
David Grossman, To the End of the Land
Henrik Pontoppidan, Lucky Per
Wislawa Szymborska, Here
Arnaldur Indridason, Hypothermia
Ahmed Mourad, Vertigo
Joses Rodrigues dos Santos, Einstein Enigma
Hiroshi Yamamoto, Stories of Ibis
Paolo Giaordano, Solitude of Prime Numbers
Amelie Nothomb, Hygiene and the Assassin


Jo Nesbo, Snowman
Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
Jo Nesbo, Leopard
Jussi Adler-Olsen, Keeper of Lost Causes
Keigo Higashino, Devotion of Suspect X
Carsten Jensen, We, the Drowned
Margaret Mazzantini, Twice Born
Max Frei, Stranger’s Woes
Mahmoud Darwish, In the Presence of Absence
Henning Mankell, Troubled Man
Jose Saramago, Cain
Daniel Glattauer, Love Virtually
Jo Nesbo, Headhunters
Kyung-sook Shin, Please Look After Mom
Jan Guilllou, Birth of the Kingdom
Ferdinand von Schirach, Crime: Stories
Lars Kepler, Hypnotist
Edouard Leve, Suicide
Wieslaw Mysliwski, Stone Upon Stone
Fabio Geda, In the Sea There Are Crocodiles


Kerstin Gier, Sapphire Blue, Book 2
Ibrahim Nasrallah, Time of White Horses
Elena Ferrante, My Brilliant Friend
Jo Nesbo, Phantom
Jan-Philipp Sendker, Art of Hearing Heartbeats
Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Prisoner of Heaven
Jonas Jonasson, 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle: Book One
Hector Abad, Oblivion: A Memoir
Laurent Binet, HHhH
Ursula Poznanski, Erebos
Donato Carrisi, Whisperer
Max Frei, Stranger’s Magic
Sarah Lark, In the Land of the Long White Cloud
Antonia Michaelis, Storyteller
Jussi Adler-Olsen, Absent One
Michel Houellebecq, Map and the Territory
Camilla Lackberg, Stonecutter
Oliver Potzsch, Dark Monk
Anne Voorhoeve, My Family for the War


Elena Ferrante, Story of a New Name
Andrzej Sapkowski, Time of Contempt
Melissa Muller, Anne Frank: The Biography
Jo Nesbo, Police: A Harry Hole Novel
Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle: Book Two
Christiane F., Zoo Station: The Story of Christiane F.
Andrea Hirata, Rainbow Troops
Jo Nesbo, Redeemer
Jussi Adler-Olsen, Conspiracy of Faith
Aleksandra Mizielinska, Maps
Lars Kepler, Fire Witness
Parinoush Saniee, Book of Fate
Jussi Adler-Olsen, Purity of Vengeance
Florencia Bonelli, Obsession
Max Frei, Stranger’s Shadow
Cornelia Funke, Fearless: Book 2
Maurice Druon, Iron King
Pierre Lemaitre, Alex
Sarah Lark, Song of the Spirits
Oliver Potzsch, Beggar King


Fredrik Backman, Man Called Ove
Elena Ferrante, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
Radwa Ashour, Woman from Tantoura
Cixin Liu, Three-Body Problem
Joel Dicker, Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair
Leonardo Padura, Man Who Loved Dogs
Jo Nesbo, Son
Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Marina
Jang Jin-Sung, Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee–A Look Inside North Korea
Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Florencia Bonelli, Possession
David Van Reybrouck, Congo: The Epic History of a People
Florencia Bonelli, Passion
Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle: Book Three
Delphine De Vigan, Nothing Holds Back the Night
Jan-Philipp Sendker, Well-Tempered Heart
Mariusz Szczygiel, Gottland: Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechoslovakia
Camilla Lackberg, Hidden Child
Sarah Lark, Call of the Kiwi


Elena Ferrante, Story of the Lost Child
Cixin Liu, Dark Forest
Saud Alsanousi, Bamboo Stalk
Jaume Cabre, Confessions
Ibrahim Nasrallah, Lanterns of the King of Galilee
David Lagercrantz, Girl in the Spider’s Web
Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle: Book Four
Tonke Dragt, Letter for the King
Irma Joubert, Girl from the Train
Eugene Vodolazkin, Laurus
Orhan Pamuk, Strangeness in My Mind
Isabel Allende, Japanese Lover
Pierre Lemaitre, Great Swindle
Oliver Potzsch, Werewolf of Bamberg
Etgar Keret, Seven Good Years
Andrus Kivirahk, Man Who Spoke Snakish
Leila Chudori, Home
Bernhard Hennen, Elven
Petra Durst-Benning, American Lady
Clarice Lispector, Complete Stories


Cixin Liu, Death's End
Fredrik Backman, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
Fredrik Backman, Britt-Marie Was Here
Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle: Book Five
Keigo Higashino, Under the Midnight Sun
Giuseppe Catozzella, Don't Tell Me You're Afraid
Benyamin, Goat Days
Samuel Bjork, I'm Traveling Alone
Arkady Strugatsky, Doomed City
David Foenkinos, Charlotte: A Novel
Parinoush Saniee, I Hid My Voice
Petra Durst-Benning, Champagne Queen
Sarah Lark, Toward the Sea of Freedom
Robert Seethaler, Whole Life
Yusuf Atilgan, Motherland Hotel
Armando Lucas Correa, German Girl
Paul Pen, Light of Fireflies
Petra Durst-Benning, While the World Is Still Asleep
Pierre Lemaitre, Blood Wedding
Han Kang, Vegetarian


Fredrik Backman, Beartown
Sabahattin Ali, Madonna in a Fur Coat
Jo Nesbo, Thirst
Mustafa Khalifa, Shell: Memoirs of a Hidden Observer
Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, Aranyak: Of the Forest
Mina Baites, Silver Music Box
Han Kang, Human Acts
Juan Villoro, Wild Book
Oliver Potzsch, Play of Death
Mariam Petrosyan, Gray House
Deon Meyer, Fever
Julia Drosten, Lioness of Morocco
Dee Lestari, Paper Boats
Boris Akunin, State Counsellor
Petra Durst-Benning, Queen of Beauty
Anais Barbeau-Lavalette, Suzanne
Hasan Ali Toptas, Shadowless
David Lagercrantz, Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye
Lena Manta, House by the River
Hendrik Groen, Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old


Fredrik Backman, Us Against You
Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Labyrinth of the Spirits
Masaji Ishikawa, River in Darkness
Hiro Arikawa, Travelling Cat Chronicles
Lars Kepler, Sandman
Christelle Dabos, Winter’s Promise
Gael Faye, Small Country
Oliver Potzsch, Council of Twelve
Paolo Cognetti, Eight Mountains
Dolores Redondo, All This I Will Give to You
Carlo Rovelli, Order of Time
Karl Ove Knausgaard, Spring
Maria Parr, Astrid the Unstoppable
Haruki Murakami, Killing Commendatore
Antanas Skema, White Shroud
Andrzej Sapkowski, Season of Storms
Marina Dyachenko, Vita Nostra
Marc Levy, Last of the Stanfields
Sayaka Murata, Convenience Store Woman
Negar Djavadi, Disoriental


Note: It’s only June, so there’s a lot of 2019 left.

Christelle Dabos, Missing of Clairdelune
Guzel Yakhina, Zuleikha
Benedict Wells, End of Loneliness
Sofia Segovia, Murmur of Bees
Magda Szabo, Abigail
Boris Akunin, Coronation
Marc Levy, Strange Journey of Alice Pendelbury
Donatella Di Pietrantonio, Girl Returned
Sofia Lundberg, Red Address Book
Alessandro D’Avenia, What Hell Is Not
Stephane Larue, Dishwasher
Han Kang, White Book
Susana Lopez Rubio, Price of Paradise
Linn Ullmann, Unquiet
Selahattin Demirtas, Dawn
Edouard Louis, Who Killed My Father
Samanta Schweblin, Mouthful of Birds
Hedi Fried, Questions I Am Asked About the Holocaust
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I’m Not Here to Give a Speech
Jonas Jonasson, Accidental Further Adventures of the 100-Year-Old Man