Monday, September 12, 2011

2012: Around the World in 52 Books

Quiet Learning
Photo courtesy of abhisheksundaram on Flickr

One day I was glancing at the feed in GoodReads and noticed a group called 2012: Around the World in 52 Books. I clicked through and joined right away. It is a group that is committing to reading 52 books from 52 different countries in the year 2012. Some people are picking books that are set in certain countries, but I am going as far as to challenge myself to read a book about a place that is also by an author from that place. I felt like this would be a greater challenge with less likelihood that I'd be reading many authors I had read before.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore writing lists, so as you can imagine, I've enjoyed myself in the past few weeks. Some of the other readers in the group have long created shelves (tags, really) in GoodReads indicating the setting of a book, and their lists helped enable mine. There were various other tools I used, including Listopia and just some generic Google searching.

The list is still in progress, and you can covet it in two ways - my GoodReads shelf labeled for the challenge, or my Google doc. Hey, this blog is called Reading Envy, after all. You can envy my newest list, and I can envy all the books I won't get to that are on the list right now, to be weeded out later. I think I had 75 last I checked, and I'll want time to read other things too!

If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I'm really interested in reading books set in areas I don't know much about. There is a small list of countries I've deliberately excluded, because I feel like I've read a great deal from them (and surely will continue to do so) - USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and South Africa. There are some books on my list right now that don't fit my author-from-the-country criteria, but I haven't found a better option to replace it yet. There are also a few authors on the list whom I've already read (Houellebecq, Jansson), and I'm open to replacing them as well. I'll probably read Houellebecq's new novel regardless of the challenge, and I would welcome additional Finnish ideas.

This whole challenge has also impressed on me the usefulness of tagging books by location, and now have shelves in GoodReads that say "location-X." I'll be able to do that moving forward as well. Is it 2012 yet?


  1. oh my, already a challenge for 2012, but this sounds so good, just joined the goodreads group, thanks for sharing! Emma @ Words And Peace

  2. Great Emma! Be prepared; the people in that group give a lot of feedback. I've gotten some great ideas.

  3. Sounds like a fun challenge.
    Are you familiar with The Guardian's "world literature tour" feature? Could be a good place to check for ideas. Here's their post on Finland:

  4. Oh that's a new one to me, thanks so much for sharing the link.

  5. That is a very cool idea - I loved reading your list, seeing what you're anticipating!


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