Reading around the world

January 15, 2015 § 2 Comments

There’s been an idea percolating in my brain for a while. Why not read a contemporary book from every country round the world? Give it a deadline of a year, say, or maybe two. This totally unoriginal idea has evolved into something marginally less gimmicky: read a handful of books from each country (countries in strict alphabetical order, of course), with the timescale to be … as long as it takes. I still want to read plenty of everything else while I’m doing it. And other things might get involved too: non-fiction, films, restaurant visits: why not?

I haven’t quite decided what definition of “country” to use; most likely it will be the 193 member states of the UN. But whatever list I go with, Afghanistan is first. I’ve got four candidates so far, but none of them have always lived in Afghanistan, as far as I can tell. They are:

 three jeegareh

qais2 hashimi2

I definitely don’t want to read Khaled Hosseini, and in truth I’m a little concerned about the Hashimi. The cover alarms me. But it’s in my local library, so no harm done if I don’t like it.

It seems that only Atiq Rahimi originally wrote in Dari (and later in French); the others in English. Words Without Borders had a great Afghan literature issue back in 2011, but it’s hard to track down books by the featured authors.

Any other recommendations?

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§ 2 Responses to Reading around the world

  • You might be interested in Ann Morgan’s forthcoming book Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer. Her blog, Ayearofreadingtheworld.com covers her quest to read a book from every country in the world over the course of a single year. I look forward to hearing more about your reading adventures.

    • Thanks, Emily. My journey is definitely going to take more than a year. I’m already finding so much interesting stuff from/on Afghanistan–I think I’ll be there for a while! I just wish some of the films were more easily available.

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