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cook*create*read: On Reading Globally

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

On Reading Globally

Like many bookish people I come across on Twitter, Instagram 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.  

So 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 50ish 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 these 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!

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