About This Blog

This is yet another incarnation of my personal blog. Here's where you can read about what I do when I'm not at work: hiking, seeing plays and other shows, eating, traveling, etc.

Popular Posts

Around the World In 52 Books

Posted by gck Thursday, December 29, 2011

tajmahalAnyone who has talked to me about books has probably heard me recommend GoodReads. I started using it as a way of tracking books I had read and wanted to read, and I also found that their ratings and reviews were more meaningful than what I found on Amazon. Other features I explored later include the free book giveaways and reading groups.

There are many active reading groups on GoodReads, and since my reading habits are pretty irregular, I never participated in any of their book clubs before (though I did follow what a few of them were reading). When my friend Faith told me of a group she was joining called Around the World in 52 Books, I was intrigued. I know I can’t finish 52 books in a year, especially since I can’t completely eliminate any out-of-challenge reading in 2012, but I decided to join anyway and do what I could, maybe making it a two year world tour.

Why did I decide to do this challenge?

  • I think it will be enjoyable reading for me. I love historical fiction, and that’s a particularly good genre for finding books from other countries.
  • I’d like to learn more about countries I’m unfamiliar with. I do tend to pick up books about China, India, Iran, France, and a few other countries, but I’ve been woefully negligent about exploring Africa and South America. I’ve also never traveled to the Southern Hemisphere, and maybe reading more will motivate me to do so.
  • I like challenges.

Everyone is defining this challenge in their own way. I already made the modification for not tryingtoweroflondon to finish in a year, and I’m also loosely defining the meaning of “from the country,” with preferences towards books that are more strongly tied to the country.

My book selection criteria:
1. Books I own. I strongly skewed to this because there are things sitting on my shelf that really need to be read, including The Kite Runner, Shalimar the Clown, and Of Love and Shadows. I ended up putting down The Book Thief for Germany, despite the book being written in English by an author who was born in Australia, because I own it and need to read it.

2. Books on my to-read list. I went through my list and was a little pickier about books set in the country but written by authors that were unconnected to the country, but I still ended up adding a few like The Lotus Eaters.

3. Books written by authors from the country. Some of the ones I’m most excited about are the Scandinavian books because they’re English translations of books written in Danish, Finnish, etc. I also made the distinction that literary non-fiction and memoirs were acceptable choices, but I didn’t want any standard non-fiction.

4. Finally, books set in the country.

ayuthayaThe group has been super helpful in providing recommendations for books, including a huge master list of all the books that people are planning to read for the challenge, organized by country. I definitely got a number of mine off of the list. Someone also pointed to a travel site as a way to map your “journey.” I wanted an idea of the geographic distribution of my selections, so I put mine together. Sadly, Oceania is completely empty and Africa is still underrepresented, so I will probably be making some additions.

You can see my map here. If it really was a trip, my mom would probably be in the hospital out of worry for me. It starts out with Cuba, Myanmar, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia.

My reading list is posted here in a separate post so I can make progress updates as the challenge goes along.


Post a Comment