#FridayReads: Proverbs & Sayings

Need a little inspiration in your life this weekend? Find a new mantra in one of these four books from Medina Publishing! These amusing and intriguing titles provide quotes and sayings from different cultures, a direct English translation, and an English equivalent saying. You’ll have a lot of fun reading these quotes and contemplating the differences and similarities in cultures from around the world. 

You can’t get Blood out of a Turnip

9781905299065Inspired by the success of The Son of a Duck is a Floater , Apricots Tomorrow and Unload your own Donkey, this gathering of Italian proverbs is intended to bring to its readers a smile of recognition from the discovery of a pooled aphoristic wit. Each proverb is given a literal translation and an English equivalent. These are sometimes identical, perhaps because of their Biblical or Latin origin, sometimes they are bizarrely askance as the title illustrates. Illustrated by Kathryn Lamb

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Don’t Toss Granny in the Begonias

9781911487012Continuing the popular series of proverbs from around the world, each paired with an English equivalent, Don’t Toss Granny in the Begonias sheds an amusing and often intriguing light on the rivalry between the French and the English: an odd couple who, from time immemorial, like to dislike – or is it dislike liking? – each other. How curious that the French say, ‘Filer à l’anglaise’, while the English insist on taking French leave.

Fortunately, old enemies make the best friends, and Don’t Toss Granny in the Begonias highlights the many similarities between the cultures. Witness ‘Porter l’eau à la rivière’ and ‘To carry coals to Newcastle’, or ‘Quand le chat n’est pas là, les souris dansent’ – dancing mice as opposed to their English rat counterparts, who play in the cat’s absence.

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Apricots Tomorrow

9780905743578To understand a people, acquaint yourself with their proverbs’ runs an Arab adage, and here are the books that do just that. The popular Apricots Tomorrow, a selection of sayings from the Gulf region, is joined by sister titles The Son of a Duck is a Floater and Unload your own Donkey which draws on sayings from the Maghreb and Levant. Paralleling age-old Arabic sayings with English equivalents, the proverbs highlight the uncanny similarity of inherited wisdom in both East and West.

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Where There’s a Will There’s a Way

9781909339996The English may say, ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way,’ and the Japanese, ‘A concentrated mind pierces even a rock’, but the meaning is clearly the same; ‘Too many boatmen sail the boat up the hill’ may be the same as the English, ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’, but the Japanese version has a delightful absurdity about it which is illustrated
in Kathryn Lamb’s witty cartoon. These and many more proverbs and sayings feature in Where There’s a Will There’s a Way, which joins the family of six other bilingual illustrated proverb books, devised in 1985 by Primrose Arnander and the late Ashkhain Skipwith: three in Arabic, and one each in Italian, French and Chinese. Each title in the series gives the proverb in its original (and where the scripts are different, provides the original script
and its transliteration), the literal translation and the English equivalent. They are not intended as weighty works of scholarship, but rather as a source of entertainment. They make the perfect gift, as well as being useful to language students, whatever their native tongue. The cartoonist Kathryn Lamb has brought her skills to all seven titles.

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