Monday, December 29, 2014

Around the World in 52 Books in 2014

There are roughly 196 countries in the world, depending on how and when you count.  In 2012, a group of us in GoodReads started a challenge called Around the World in 52 Books.  In that year, I read 64 books from 48 countries.  Last year I focused far more on Turkey, and read 20 books from and about that country alone. I read 69 books for the Around the World challenge last year, and checked a few more unread countries off the list. 

This year I read another 52 books set outside the United States, with 15 countries I hadn't yet tackled.  The highlight for me was the eight I read from and about Iceland, the focus of The World's Literature group.  I also really enjoyed The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne, that takes place in a near future Ethiopia and India. 

Here is my list! The asterisks indicate countries new to my around the world reading this year. 

Africa, alphabetically by country

First of all, all of Africa
Africa: A Biography of the Continent by John Reader

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne (fantasy novel)

Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Dear Exile: The True Story of Two Friends Separated (for a Year) by an Ocean by Hilary Liftin

The Sand Child by Tahar Ben Jelloun

The Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Every Day is for the Thief by Teju Cole

Asia and the Middle East, including Turkey

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne

سووشون Suvashun

Fifteen Iraqi Poets

An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

Korea, South* (I had read North Korea previously)
Another Man's City by Choi In-ho

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamad

Summer's End by Adalet Ağaoğlu
There Was and There Was Not: A Journey through Hate and Possibility in Turkey, Armenia, and Beyond by Meline Toumani
Topkapi Palace: Milestones in Ottoman History

Americans and Caribbean, from North to South

Walking Into the Night by Olaf Olafsson
Icelandic Poems and Stories ed. Richard Beck
Iceland's Bell by Halldor Laxness
Icelanders in the Viking Age: The People of the Sagas by William R. Short
Children in Reindeer Woods by Kristín Ómarsdóttir
The Blue Fox by Sjon
The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Continental Drift by Russell Banks

Fake Caribbean
The New Moon's Arms by Nalo Hopkinson

The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba by Julia Cooke

Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the People's Temple by Deborah Layton


The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

The People in the Trees

Europe, alphabetically

There Was and There Was Not: A Journey through Hate and Possibility in Turkey, Armenia, and Beyond by Meline Toumani

The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Anne-Marie O'Connor

Chechynya, Russia
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra, reread

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

The Undertaking by Audrey McGee

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
A History of Loneliness by John Boyne
In the Woods by Tana French
A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride

La Cucina: A Novel of Rapture by Lily Prior

The Letters of a Portuguese Nun

Ballerina, Ballerina by Marko Sosič

The Infatuations by Javier Marías
The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese by Michael Paterniti

UK - including Scotland and Wales
Burning Down George Orwell's House by Andrew Ervin
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell 

The list of countries still to tackle seems daunting, but I still have many unread books on some shelves at home.  The World's Literature group will be shifting its focus to Oceania and Australia so I expect to read a bit in that area! I'd like to get back to baking from the region I'm reading in as well.

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