Sunday, October 09, 2016

Reading the World.

So there I was this morning catching up on my Facebook feed when a link came up to a BBC post about writer Ann Morgan who in 2012 decided she would read a book from every country in the world in the course of one year. It proved to be quite a challenge because there are new countries, small countries, countries with only an oral and no written tradition and others where books may have been published but have not been translated or written and not published.

Inevitably I mostly read books from English speaking countries - which largely means books from the UK, Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand but includes other English speaking countries as well. For instance I've recently read some great books by Irish and Scottish writers. I do read books from other languages but sadly they have to be translated into English because, although I have a basic knowledge of a couple of other languages, I'm not fluent enough to capture all the nuances needed to read and comprehend a complex book and do it justice. In recent years I have read books translated from Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, French, Cantonese, Egyptian and Arabic but when I remember how many countries there are in the world it's obvious that I've barely scratched the surface of writing from around the globe.

Now I've realised this I'm determined to make a serious effort to read more widely. Given the difficulties Ann Morgan faced I'm not even going to attempt to read a book from every country in a year but I am going to actively seek out books from other cultures using her list as a starting point. I suspect I am going to learn a lot.

Ann Morgan's post on the BBC website is here and the link to her book list is here


Jo said...

Ambitious of you Helen. These days I just read books I enjoy and only about certain subjects. Can't be bothered with the other stuff any more. Getting too old I guess.

Satima Flavell said...

I'm a bit the same, Jo. I really only enjoy fantasy, a bit of crime (especially if it's got fantasy as well, as in the works of Ben Aaronovich and Marianne Delacourt). Romance likewise. But I really have difficulty getting interested in other books, no matter where they come from. My failing, I fear! Helen, I wish you luck with your international reading project. I hope you'll blog the books as you read them!

Helen V. said...

It helps that I am a very fast read reader, Jo. I'm not setting myself any time limit though. That would be too hard.

Helen V. said...

I read very widely, Satima, so I don't mind a bit of variety. When I think I'm getting too set in my reading choices I just go to the library and take books at random off the shelf. Sometimes it's a disaster but I've found some wonderful books that way.