I am very excited about sharing a new personal goal with you all that I am making into a series on the blog, called Booking Around the World. By no means am I going to pretend this is an original idea. About a year ago, I watched a TED Talk by Ann Morgan. Essentially, she read one book authored by someone from every country around the world in one year. As a lover of all things cultural (after all, I did study International Relations) I thought this was such an incredible idea and wanted to take on the challenge. But life got in the way, and it quickly fell to the back of my mind. At the time, I was taking a World Literature course and was exploring literature from cultures that I had not previously read from, particularly a lot of East Asian literature.
I have always been fascinated by the idea of culture, and how it shapes a society on the whole, but also how each human views the world through their own cultural lens. I grew to have a deep appreciation for reading books authored by writers from a number of different countries and backgrounds. I quickly realized, though, there were many voices I had been ignoring, even from American literature (first or second-generation immigrants, intersectional feminism, etc). As a second generation Taiwanese-American, I am ashamed to admit I have not read much from Taiwanese authors, though I have done a great deal of reading and research on the Asian-American experience. What I’m trying to say is, we all have our own blind spots and I’m just trying to fill them in.
Ann Morgan has her own blog, aptly named A Year of Reading the World, and she also wrote a book titled Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer. The US edition is titled The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe. Even after she completed her goal, she continues to add additional titles to her list. She recounted the obstacles she encountered in some of her reviews, so it will be interesting to go through them myself. For example, how difficult will it be to find translations for certain languages? Should I attempt to read my selections for the languages I know in the native/original language? We shall see how confident I am at the time. Additionally, how difficult will it be to find literature from insulated or closed countries, such as North Korea? I will have to do my research when the time comes.
The modification I am going to make for my own challenge is the time constraint. I am an avid reader but I do not know if I will be able to commit to finishing this challenge in a year due to my schedule. However, I will do my best and I will try and do short reviews and insights on each book, as well as compiling a list of my selections for each country, just like Ann Morgan did. However, I want to make this challenge my own, so I will try to select different books than the ones she chose for each country.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions in the comments! PLEASE let me know if you have any suggestions for any of the countries. I appreciate any feedback.