49 Countries Read. One More To Go
Goal: Read books by authors from 50 different countries of the world.
Progress update: July 2022: 49 countries completed.
Why A World of Literature Project?
We live in an increasingly global world. We’re connected by phone, Internet, snail mail, newspapers, magazines, television. Technology has enabled me to ‘meet’ many fellow book enthusiasts from all parts of the world, sharing our love of literature through blogs, Library Thing and GoodReads. I’ve read hundreds of books in my lifetime and yet I feel my reading has been somewhat limited. I know little about the literature of South America for example, have barely touched the surface with China and Africa.
I kicked off this project in 2013 with the idea of focusing initially on reading books from countries along the Equator and countries along the Prime Meridian. Together that gave me a list 21 countries with an appealing mix of cultures, from Asia to Africa and Western Europe.
I’d love to be able to say at some point in the future that I’ve read a book from every county in the world. Unfortunately there are some parts of the world where it’s difficult to find books available as an English translation. France, Germany, Spain are all easily achievable but the chances I will find anything from Burkina Faso or Mali are slim.
My Guiding Principles
I’m trying to keep this simple and not tie myself down with too many “rules”. But I did feel the need to set some kind of boundaries.
1. This project is about reading indigenous authors
I’m not interested in books that are simply set in a particular country. I want books written by people who live and/or work in a country so I can get an insider’s perspective on its culture, language, way of life.
That does present me with a few challenges. Do I include authors who have been born in a country but now live elsewhere? What if they were born in country A but have lived most of their lives in country B? How about second generation authors? Those whi might never lived in China themselves, for example but through their parents and networks have a strong cultural affinity to that location?
There’s no perfect answer and I suspect I’m going to have to use a lot of judgement. If an author left the country of their birth when they were a very small child and have never returned (or only for a short visit) then I’m not going to classify them as being from that country. I’m probably going to get some decisions wrong but in the scheme of things that doesn’t matter too much.
2. Venture beyond the UK
For the purposes of this project I am excluding authors from the UK (Wales, Scotland,England and Northern Ireland). I’ll also exclude Eire and USA. I’ve read extensively from those parts of the world already so it wouldn’t be much of a challenge to include them here.
|Angola||A General Theory of Oblivion||José Eduardo Agualusa||December 2021|
|Australia||The Snow Kimono||Mark Henshaw||August 2014|
|Australia||The Sound of One Hand Clapping||Richard Flanagan||November 2020|
|Afghanistan||And the Mountains Echoed||Khaled Hosseini||May 2013|
|Algeria||Memory in the Flesh ||Ahlam Mosteghanemi||August 2013|
|Algeria||The Swallows of Kabul||Yasmina Khadra||February 2017|
|Austria||A Whole Life||Robert Seethaler||July 2019|
|Bangladesh||A Golden Age||Tahmima Anam||May 2022|
|Belgium||Fear and Trembling||Amelie Nothomb.||June 2016|
|Brazil||Dom Casmurro||Joachim Maria Machado de Assis||Aug 2011|
|Burkina Faso||The Parachute Drop||Norbert Zongo||July 2014|
|Canada||Dear Life||Alice Munro||Jan 2014|
|Chile||The Infinite Plan||Isabelle Allende||June 2014|
|China||Kinder Than Solitude||Yiyun Li||March 2018|
|China||The Chilli Bean Past Clan||Yan Ge||June 2018|
|Colombia||The Armies||Evelio Rosero Diago||Feb 2013
|Croatia||Hotel Tito||Ivana Simić Bodrožić||July 2019|
|Cuba||The German Girl||Armando Lucas Correa||July 2018|
|Czechoslovakia||Miss Silver's Past||Josef Škvorecký||May 2017|
|Democratic Republic of The Congo||Full Circle||Frederick Yamusangie||Jan 2014|
|Denmark||The Murder of Halland||Pia Juul||Dec 2016|
|Finland||White Hunger||Aki Ollikainen||May 2015|
|France||Old Goriot||Honoré Balzac||Sept 2015|
|Germany||The Search for Christa T||Christa Wolf||Sept 2015|
|Ghana||Wife of the Gods||Kwei Quartery||Sept 2013|
|Ghana||Homegoing||Yaa Gyasi||Dec 2017|
|Guadeloupe||The Tree of Life||Maryse Conde||July 2016|
|Holland/the Netherlands||The Evenings||Gerard Reve||Read 2017|
|Hungary||Satantango||Laslo Krasznahorkai||February 2014|
|India||The Glass Palace||Amitav Ghosh||March 2014|
|Indonesia||The Book of Jakarta||Maesy Ang and Teddy W. Kusuma||January 2021|
|Israel||A Man Lies Dreaming||Lavie Tidhar||2015|
|Israel||Waking Lions||Ayelet Gundar-goshen||2017|
|Italy||Inspector Montelbano||Andrea Camilleri||Sept 2014|
|Ivory Coast||In The Company of Men||Véronique Tadjo||August 2021|
|Jamaica||The Long Song||Andrea Levy||August 2019|
|Japan||The Housekeeper and The Professor||Yoko Ogawa||July 2016|
|Japan||After The Banquet||Yukio Mishima||Dec 2013|
|Kenya||Petals of Blood||Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o||Nov 2013|
|Mexico||Signs Preceding The End Of The World||Yuri Herrera||Oct 2021|
|Nigeria||Americanah||Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie||May 2014|
|New Zealand||The Luminaries||Eleanor Catton||July 2014|
|New Zealand||The Bone People||Keri Hulme||April 2014|
|North Korea||In Order To Live||Yeonmi Park||June 2020|
|Norway||Love||Hanne Ørstavik||July 2020|
|Norway||The Blue Room||Hanne Ørstavik||Dec 2016|
|Pakistan||The Reluctant Fundamentalist||Mohsin Hamid||Jan 2014|
|Pakistan||The Holy Woman||Qaisra Shahraz||Aug 2014|
|Poland||Chasing The King Of Hearts||Hanna Krall||July 2022|
|Republic of the Congo||Broken Glass||Alain Mabanckou||Jan 2013
|Rwanda||The Barefoot Woman||Scholastique Mukasonga.||Sept 2019|
|Somalia||From a Crooked Rib||Nurradin Farah||April 2014|
|South Africa||Cry the Beloved Country||Alan Paton||April 2011|
|South Africa||The Whale Caller||Zakes Mda||June 2018|
|South Korea||The Vegetarian||Hang Kang||June 2017|
|South Korea||Please Look After Mom||Shin Kyong-sook||Dec 2014|
|Switzerland||Twelve Nights||Urs Faes||Feb 2021|
|Turkey||10 Minutes, 38 Seconds In This Strange World||Elif Shafak||Oct 2020|
|Vietnam||The Mountains Sing||Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai||Aug 2021|
|Zimbabwe||We Need New Names||NoViolet Bulawayo||April 2015|
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