When I worked in the sales department at Princeton University Press, my cubicle was just across from the office of the guy who handled translation rights. Since he automatically received a copy or two of every book whose rights he sold, he had a ton of foreign books, most of them of no particular use to him.

One day when he cleaned out his office, I took possession of the books shown above and listed below—not that they are any particular use to me, either. I just think they’re cool. The Japanese hardcovers are particularly nice.

  • A Neotropical Companion by John C. Kricher in Japanese
  • Against Deconstruction by John M. Ellis in Hebrew
  • Cunning by Don Herzog in Korean
  • How to Solve It by George Pólya in Japanese
  • How to Solve It by George Pólya in Korean
  • How to Solve It by George Pólya in Turkish
  • Irrational Exuberance by Robert J. Shiller in Arabic
  • Le sac de Rome, 1527 by Andre Chastel in Japanese
  • Making Democracy Work by Robert D. Putnam in Georgian
  • Money on the Move by Robert Solomon in Korean
  • Murder at the Margin by Marshall Jevons in Chinese
  • Murder at the Margin by Marshall Jevons in Korean
  • Murder at the Margin by Marshall Jevons in Spanish
  • Murder at the Margin by Marshall Jevons in Thai
  • Public Goods, Private Goods by Raymond Geuss in Japanese
  • Republic.com by Cass Sunstein in Japanese
  • Success through Failure by Henry Petroski in Japanese
  • Symmetry by Hermann Weyl in Finnish
  • Symmetry by Hermann Weyl in Greek
  • Symmetry by Hermann Weyl in Polish
  • Symmetry by Hermann Weyl in Portuguese
  • Symmetry by Hermann Weyl in Spanish
  • The Box by Marc Levinson in Italian
  • The Box by Marc Levinson in Japanese
  • The Languages of China by S.R. Ramsey in Japanese
  • The Machiavellian Moment by J.G.A. Pocock in Japanese
  • The Reasons of Love by Harry G. Frankfurt in Portuguese
  • The Reasons of Love by Harry G. Frankfurt in Spanish
  • Uncorked by Gérard Liger-Belair in Italian
  • Uncorked by Gérard Liger-Belair in Japanese
  • Why Size Matters by John Tyler Bonner in Italian
  • Women Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock & Sara Laschever in Chinese
  • Women Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock & Sara Laschever in Italian
  • Women Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock & Sara Laschever in Korean

I say the list corresponds to the books in the photo, but the photo is more recent than the list and the photo is probably not up to date. I’ve managed to give away a few.

I’m fond of the thin red one written in Georgian. Looking at the script, I would have sworn it was a South Indian or Southeast Asian language. Nope. Georgian belongs to the family of Kartvelian languages, which are not related to any languages outside of, well, Georgia—and neighboring bits of Turkey and Russia. There are only about 5 million speakers of the four Kartvelian languages. Unless and until I visit the country of Georgia itself, I’m not likely to run across another book in Georgian ever again.

Then again, I probably wasn’t expecting I’d ever own a dictionary for Uighur.