International Reading Challenge 2020 ๐ŸŒ

โ€œA reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.โ€ โ€“ George R.R. Martin

Introduction – or Rather “Once Upon A Time”

Once upon a time, there was a blogger, poet, and English undergrad named Nissie-Grace, who spent her evenings surfing the net – as all real princesses did. Suddenly she stumbled upon a video which presented her with a challenge – no, a quest. She was to read a few books from every continent to widen her knowledge of world literature.

Lol okay enough of that literary trope. However, a) have you ever thought about what the phrase “once upon a time” actually means? and b) welcome to the blog post and page about the Seaofknees International Reading Challenge 2020 inspired by Ann Morgan.

(The answer to a) is a bit nerdy and will only turn on the real linguists amongst us so click http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-onc1.htm for more info.)

But anyways, back in 2017, I saw the TED talk above in my suggestions of videos I should watch. I watched it and was kinda surprised by several things a) how open and honest Ann Morgan was about her ignorance b) how little I knew about world literature and how small my reading pool was and finally c) how open the rest of the world were to helping her achieve this task. Now I tried to read the world in 2019 but I didn’t take it seriously and also just didn’t have the time. But we learn from our mistakes around here. So what I’ve chosen to do, is narrow it down to 5/6 countries per continent this year and keep doing the same each year until I’ve read the world. This whole post is an introduction to my journey of a year reading the world but on a much smaller scale because:

The Process

So to begin, I put each continent in a random generator and it came up with the countries. Then I asked twitter to help me to find books from those countries which was absolutely useless but that’s okay ๐Ÿ˜‚ we tried. I ended up deciding to use Ann Morgan’s book list to start with and then take a lot of time to research the countries that I couldn’t find in her list but also just create my own list as I get used to reading foreign texts. Here’s what we have so far:

Asia

  • Thailand ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Chart Korbjitti, translated from the Thai by Marcel Barang – Time: a Thai Novel
  • Singapore ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Su-Chen Christine Lim – Fistful of Colours
  • Qatar ๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Abdul Aziz Al Mahmoud, translated from the Arabic by Amira Nowaira – The Corsair
  • Philippines ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ Marivi Soliven – The Mango Bride
  • Brunei ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ณ Christopher Sun (aka Sun Tze Yun) – Four Kings
  • Hong Kong ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ No text yet

Africa

  • Congo ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Emmanuel Dongala – Johnny Mad Dog
  • Namibia ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Neshani Andreas – The Purple Violet of Oshaantu 
  • Cameroon ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Mongo Beti – La Pauvre Christ de Bomba (The Poor Christ of Bomba)
  • Morocco ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Tahar Ben Jelloun – The Sand Child
  • Eritrea ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ท Sulaiman Addonia – The Comsequences of Love

Europe

  • Spain ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Javier Cercas (trans. Anne McClean)  – The Anatomy of a Moment
  • Netherlands ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Harry Mulisch – The Discovery of Heaven
  • Andorra ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Albert Salvadรณ – The Teacher of Cheops
  • Iceland ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ Arnaldur Indridason – Jar City 
  • Romania ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ด Herta Mรผller – The Passport 

Oceania

  • Papua New Guinea ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฌ Russell Soaba – Maiba
  • Wallis and Futuna ๐Ÿ‡ผ๐Ÿ‡ซ No text yet
  • Kiribati ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Teweiariki Teaero – Waa in Storms
  • French Polynesia ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ซ No text yet
  • Marshall Islands ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ญ Ed Daniel Kelin – Marshall Islands Legends and Stories
  • Samoa ๐Ÿ‡ผ๐Ÿ‡ธ Lani Wendt Young – Telesa: The Covenant Keeper

South America

  • Argentina ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท Martin Kohan – Seconds Out
  • Venezuela ๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ช Federico Vegasโ€™ – Falke (yet to find translated version)
  • Chile ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Alejandro Zambra – The Private Lives of Trees  
  • French Guiana ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ซ No text yet
  • Uruguay ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡พ Horacio Quiroga – The Decapitated Chicken
  • Falkland Islands ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฐ No text yet

North America

  • Belize ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฟ Zoila Ellis – On Heroes Lizards and Passion
  • United States ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ literally anything? (I’ll put one in later sksksk)
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ณ Bertram Roach – Only God Can Make a Tree 
  • Jamaica ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Brian Meeks – Paint the Town Red
  • Saint Vincent and The Grenadines ๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡จ H. Nigel Thomas – Behind the Face of Winter
  • Dominican Republic ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ด Junot Diaz – The Wonderous Brief Life of Oscar Wao

About the list…

Now most of these I found from Ann Morgan’s “A year of reading the world” blog https://ayearofreadingtheworld.com/thelist/. But this is just a basic list to get me off my feet since I’ve never tried this before. As I do go on, however, I hope to be able to add texts of my own, from my own research but also with your help (whoever’s willing). The countries that have “No text yet” besides them are countries that Morgan didn’t do which already provides me with a bit of a challenge.

Next Steps

The next steps for me are obviously to order some of the books and get reading. But also to do loads more research around each of the countries, especially those that I’d never heard of before or have no basic information about.

I’ll be blogging about as many texts as I possibly can and will dedicate a whole page on my blog just to this reading challenge. I’ll also add the specifics like where to buy each book and how hard/easy it was to find as well as how challenging it may or may not be to get a hold of translated copies.

I hope some of you will join me on this journey – I’m nervous but inspired and excited to widen my knowledge of world literature.

So keep an eye on my blog and wish me luck. I’ve got 34 books to buy and read and blog about this year ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿพand at some point I really do hope to get in contact with Ann Morgan… we’ll see ๐ŸŒš

4 thoughts on “International Reading Challenge 2020 ๐ŸŒ

  1. The reason that Ann doesn’t have books from some of these countries is that they are not “countries”. Several are part of France – French Polynesia, French Guiana, Wallis and Futuna (in the same way that Hawaii is part of the United States). Hong Kong was a British territory but is now part of China. Falkland Islands is British although Argentina also claims these islands (they had a war over it!). That doesn’t mean you can’t read a book from each if you want to, but you will find it difficult. For instance Wallis and Futuna has a population of about 11,500. Probably not many of them published authors!

    I’m about half way through this challenge myself and I’ve tried to find different books to those Ann read – after all, there have been quite a few published since she completed it in 2012 – so if you would like more ideas you could see my blog (I have linked it). There is a page for “countries” where I link all the reviews.

    Like

    1. Hi Catherine,

      Thank you so much for adding this insight. I really appreciate it. I will definitely still try to find something even if itโ€™s just an essay or article.

      I look forward to looking into your journey also ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿพ

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s