On Reading Globally



Like many bookish people I come across on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or blogging, I have lately become more conscious of how diverse (or not!) my reading is.  Recent analysis of my reading habits led me to discover that, to my shame, I do not read diversely at all.  The authors I choose are overwhelmingly American or British, with a fair smattering of South African thrown in for a little spice, and this was actually quite a surprise to me.  I thought I read a lot more international authors but it seems this is not the case.  All of this led me to a huge decision.  Over the next few years I intend to read a book by an author from every country in the world.  I have used the list of UN recognised countries, and added a few more (e.g. I’ve split UK into England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), for a total of 202 countries.  That’s a lot of books!  I don’t want to be too ambitious with this, so I haven’t set a deadline as such, but at a rate of 5ish books a year, I’d like to be done in 4 years.  I will also be reading other “free choice” books in between all these international and translated books.

I have gone through the books I own, and pictured above are all the physical books with international authors that I own.  I have a few more on my Kindle.  Some countries are represented here more than once, and these are not necessarily the books I will be reading for each country (e.g. pretty sure I won’t be reading that horrible copy (or any copy!) of War and Peace!), but it’s my starting point.

Before I had any real plan, I started reading Brixton Beach by Roma Tearne who is from Sri Lanka.  After some thought, I decided to concentrate on a continent at a time, so I will be working my way through Asia first.  With one exception.  I mentioned I was doing this challenge to a colleague at work who is from Kenya and she lent me a book, Dreams in a Time of War by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o.  The book belongs to a friend of hers, so I said I would read it next so she can give it back to her friend.

While tweeting about this challenge, Joy Isabella said she would be interested in doing the same thing, so she is joining me! Yay!  If anybody else would like to join in, please feel free to do so!  You don’t have to follow the same plan as me, of course, you can do it however you like 🙂  Joy also found the blog of a reader who has completed this challenge …. which will be a great source of inspiration for when things get tough!

I have created a page on the blog, here, which I will keep updated with my progress, and of course I will be tweeting, instagramming and blogging about the challenge as well, so if you’re interested in keeping up with my progress and shouting at me when I get distracted, please go ahead and follow me across any/all social media!  Links are in the sidebar.

Oh yes! I also had the idea of cooking a traditional dish from whichever country I am reading, so look out for some blog posts about that too!

And I am eager to hear about your recommendations from far flung countries, so please share as widely as you can and leave me comments or tweet me or whatever with your recommendations!

Bout of Books 13 Roundup

Yay! I managed to do a fair amount reading during Bout of Books 13!  Not as much as I would like, but you know, life happens!

I finished 2 books:

  • I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh – 4 stars – you can read my review here
  • Summertime (aka Under a Dark Summer Sky) by Vanessa Lafaye – 5 stars.  Seriously.  Loved it!

I started Brixton Beach by Roma Tearne (literally just the first chapter or so)

I listened to 41% of Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick

I entered the haiku challenge and the favourite book challenge.

I commented on quite a few blogs, linked up with twitter peeps and participated in the twitter chat.

I didn’t read This Is Not Your City.  Never mind!

This was so much fun.  Thank you to the organisers! Can’t wait for Bout of Books 14 coming in August 🙂

Bout of Books Challenge: A Haiku!

Today’s Bout of Books challenge is hosted by Kristina Horner.  Kristina has asked us to write a haiku based on the book we are reading!  I know a traditional haiku obeys strict rules about number of syllables per line, etc, but I’m a rule breaker (i.e. that’s too hard!).

I’m currently reading I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh.  Here’s my haiku:

Tragedy.  Mystery.  Tension.
The beach provides welcome escape.
Something is coming.

A masterpiece, no?! 🙂

A Bookish Survey

Today’s Bout of Books challenge is run by WritingMyOwnFairyTale and is a fab little bookish survey!  I can never resist this kind of thing, so here we go:

1.  How do you organise your shelves?
I try to keep my books organised alphabetically, but my shelves are full up and I keep buying books.  So they tend to pile up randomly around the house, much to my husband’s horror!

2.  What is one of your favourite books that is not in one of your favourite genres?
YA is not my favourite genre, although I do read YA occasionally.  I did really enjoy The Hunger Games trilogy, however, and would count this as one of my favourites.

3.  What is the last 5 star book you read?
*checks Goodreads*  It was The Road by Cormac McCarthy (which I’ve just posted a review for here!)

4. What books are you most excited to read during the read-a-thon?
I can’t wait to get started with I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh, and will be starting it this evening!

5.  What book do you recommend the most?
This would probably be Moloka’i by Alan Brennert.  I don’t hear many people talking about this book, but it is such a wonderful read – I recommend it to anyone and everyone!