Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Year of Reading Oceania

It all started in 2012 with a small group in Goodreads, who wanted to read 52 books "Around the World." I started collecting books for that challenge in October 2011 and haven't looked back! I have yet to read a book from every country, and unlike Ann Morgan, the reader who got a lot of attention this year for a similar project she completed in a year, I am taking my sweet time about it. I'm not limiting myself to one title per country, just at least one. And if I get attached to a place, I stay there in my reading.

I have joined a few more groups in Goodreads that urge me forward in my reading. One of the most useful has been "The World's Literature," as it focuses on a new part of the continent every year. When I first joined we read Japan (2012), then Turkey (2013), then Iceland (2014). This year for the first time they chose to read a larger region - Oceania and Southeast Asia. I narrowed it farther to just Oceania (apart from one country that is arguably in both regions) because I felt like Southeast Asia could have its own year. I have grown to let their choices be a very vague guide to my reading. I don't necessarily read along with all the selections, but still discuss my reading with the group. Sometimes I join in with a group read when it fits my mood or a country I still need to cover.

This year, I read thirty-six books from Oceania. What an amazing time I've had. I have no idea how to put it into words so for now I will make a list by country (the image is organized by date finished, most recent upper left.) I plan to reflect more on it on the next Reading Envy podcast, posting the first Tuesday of January. I will say that when I set out to do this, I intentionally did not read much from Australia, feeling as if I had done quite a bit of this already from Booker Prize winners to silly Phryne Fisher mysteries. I wanted to dig into places I had never been in my reading. Other than the Theroux I still haven't read a book from every country in Oceania. I will return to those at some point, but next year finds me moving to a new region of the world!

I also spent the year experimenting with baked goods from Oceania. You can read about those projects over on JennyBakes. With no further delay, my Oceania list of books!

Sentenced to Life: Poems by Clive James (my review)
Lost & Found by Brooke Davis (my review)

Indonesia (part is in Oceania!)
Indonesian Cooking: Satays, Sambals and More by Dina Yuen (my review)
This Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer (my review)

New Guinea (West Papua, part of Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea)
The Asmat of New Guinea: the journal of Michael Clark Rockefeller, with his ethnographic notes and photos made among the Asmat people during two expeditions in 1961 by Michael C. Rockefeller (my review)
Euphoria by Lily King (my review)
Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea by Kira Salak (my review)
From Modern Production to Imagined Primitive: The Social World of Coffee from Papua New Guinea  by Paige West (my review)
Garden of War: Life and Death in The New Guinea Stone Age by Robert Gardner (my review)
Growing Up in New Guinea by Margaret Mead (my review)
Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff (my review)
Michael Rockefeller: New Guinea Photographs, 1961 by Kevin Brubriski (my review)
Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman  (my review)
Secret Places: My Life in New York and New Guinea by Tobias Schneebaum (my review)
Where the Spirits Dwell: An Odyssey in the Jungle of New Guinea by Tobias Schneebaum (my review)
The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? by Jared Diamond (my review)

 New Zealand
The Aloe by Katherine Mansfield (my review)
An Angel at My Table by Janet Frame (autobiography #2) (my review)
Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century by Peter Graham (my review)
The Bone People by Keri Hulme (my review)
Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: A New Zealand Story by Christina Thomson (my review)
The Envoy from Mirror City by Janet Frame (autobiography #3) (my review)
Faces in the Water by Janet Frame (my review)
Hot October: An autobiographical story by Lauris Edmond (my review)
A Man Lay Dead: Inspector Roderick Alleyn #1 by Ngaio Marsh (my review)
New and Selected Poems by Lauris Dorothy Edmond (my review)
Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff (my review)
One Whale, Singing (Stories From New Zealand) by various (my review)
Potiki by Patricia Grace (my review)
To the Is-Land by Janet Frame (autobiography #1) (my review)
The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (my review)
When Sun And Moon Collide by Briar Grace-Smith (my review)
Wulf by Hamish Clayton (my review)

Pitcairn Island
Serpent in Paradise by Dea Birkett (my review)

The Adventures of Vela by Albert Wendt (my review)
Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilisation by Margaret Mead (my review)

The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific by Paul Theroux (my review)


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