Thursday, December 14, 2006

Around the World in 52 Books

I've been thinking a lot about my reading for next year, in addition to the books I've got to read for work and ones I'm going to try to tackle in the new year for the 1001 Books odyssey, I wanted to broaden my reading base. In the last 10 years or so since finishing school, I've mainly been reading Canadian fiction, and bestselling books at that.

In the new year, I'm going to try and read more from authors around the world, hoping to cover 52 countries in 52 weeks. Now that might be a lofty goal, call it the one and only challenge I'm going to cover for the calendar year, but I think it's achievable. And since there are some African, Australian and Caribbean writers on the 1001 Books list, I might be able to knock a few off of both challenges as I go along.

So, if anyone has any suggestions for my 52 countries in 52 weeks, please let me know...right now my list is comprised of the following: Henning Mankell (Sweden), Nadine Gordimer (South Africa), Peter Carey (Australia)...and that's it.

And, of course, any excuse to give myself a challenge that I'll never finish, well hey!


1. A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini, Afghanistan
2. The Successor, Ismail Kadare, Albania
3. The Swallows of Kabul, Yasmina Khadra, Algeria
4. Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid, Antigua
5. Theft: A Love Story, Peter Carey, Australia
6. Nowhere Man, Aleksandar Hemon, Bosnia and Herzegovina
7. The Devil and Miss Prym, Paulo Coelho, Brazil
8. Consumption, Kevin Patterson, Canada
9. The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende, Chile
10. Soul Mountain, Gao Xingjian, China
11. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabrial Garcia Marquez, Columbia
12. Havana Best Friends, Jose Latour, Cuba
13. The Trial, Franz Kafka, Czech Republic
14. Out of Africa, Isak Dineson, Denmark
15. Good Morning, Midnight, Jean Rhys, Dominica
16. The Lambs of London, David Mitchell, England
17. Platform, Michel Houellebecq, France
18. April in Paris, Michael Wallner, Germany
19. Our Sister Killjoy, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ghana
20. Disappearance, David Dabydeen, Guyana
21. The Melancholy of Resistance, Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Hungary
22. The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy, India
23. The Master, Colm Toibin, Ireland
24. Lion's Honey: The Myth of Samson, David Grossman, Israel
25. Don't Move, Margaret Mazzantini, Italy
26. Hallucinating Foucault, Patricia Duncker, Jamaica
27. The Unconsoled, Kazuo Ishiguro, Japan
28. Petals of Blood, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Kenya
29. A True Story Based on Lies, Jennifer Clement, Mexico

30. Half A Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigeria
31. Out Stealing Horses, Per Petterson, Norway
32. Blindness, Jose Saramago, Portugal
33. The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Master and Man, Leo Tolstoy, Russia
34. The Accidental, Ali Smith, Scotland
35. Slow Man, J.M. Coetzee, South Africa
36. Depths, Henning Mankell, Sweden
37. All Soul's Day, Cees Nooteboom, The Netherlands
38. In a Free State, V.S. Naipul, Trinidad
39. My Name is Red, Orhan Pamuk, Turkey
40. The Emperor's Children, Clair Messud, United States
41. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, Alexander McCall Smith, Zimbabwe


42. Halldór Laxness, Independent People, Iceland
43. The Moldovian Pimp, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Argentina

A couple of truly fab forums are talking about the challenge and they've given me some more countries, so thanks!

44. Mariama Ba, So Long a Letter, Senegal
45. Javier Cercas, Soldiers of Salamis, Spain
46. Tahmima Anam, A Golden Age, Bangladesh
47. Dalia Sofer, The Septembers of Shiraz, Iran
48. Michael Ondaatje, Divisadero, Sri Lanka
49. Lloyd Jones, Mister Pip, New Zealand
50. Nurudin Farah, Links, Somalia


Kerry said...

I'm currently reading Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria) and it's wonderful. (And if I've spelled her name correctly, I will be very pleased with myself. )

Anonymous said...

Are you aware of this blog - Around the world in 100 books.

Right now I'd be happy to read *anything*. Stupid crazy work schedule.

Beth said...

I am too lazy to get up and take a peek at my "library" as to suggestions for you but since I'm at the computer anyway, I googled "fiction best sellers Denmark" and came up with this site.

Pretty good. Books from Russia, Japan, Italy, South Korea...

I may even check out some of these myself.

Good luck. Your intentions are admirable.

Anonymous said...

I had never seen that 100 countries in 100 books blog, no, thanks for forwarding. Man, that's even more agressive than me! So much for my amazingly "original" idea. HA!

Anonymous said...

Great idea. Hats off on this ambitious project. I'd recommend any Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Columbia) and Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (France). Those are the first ideas that popped into my head.

How will you pick your Russian?

Anonymous said...

Banana Yoshimoto is a great Japanese writer -- I've read and enjoyed her book "kitchen" (plus, it's only 152 pages!)

Anonymous said...

Never mind Russia -- how on earth are you going to choose an Indian writer? (If you haven't read any Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, may I recommend her?) You could do an Indian writer a week for a year and not even scratch the surface...

A suggestion for Morocco is Leila Abouzeid's Year of the Elephant -- I haven't read it yet myself but it's been well-reviewed. And it's short! -- Deborah

Flávia Saad said...

Please nevermind about Paulo Coelho (Brasil).
Do look for: Jorge Amado, Machado de Assis or Guimarães Rosa.
You can thank me later.

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