Reading the World


Inspired by Ann Morgan’s Reading the World project, I decided I wanted to do something similar. Now nationality and borders are tricky things to pin down and I don’t really want to get hugely pedantic about it all. Generally my rule of thumb is that if an author grew up in one country, then moved to another country as an adult, I’ll consider them an author from their birth country. UNLESS, their bio states that they consider themselves a citizen of the country they moved to. But this isn’t a terribly hard and fast rule, more a way for me to do a half decent job at cataloguing the books I read.

For this project I’m aiming to read a minimum of one book from each country, plus some unofficially recognized nations, like Palestine, Scotland, and Taiwan. This may not be entirely possibly due to my ability to get access to these books, whether they’ve been translated, and whether there’s a popular literary community in the country. Some countries don’t get their books translated a lot, some countries are relatively new and may not have a lot of literature that’s been published yet. To hopefully widen my ability to read these books, I’ll be doing this challenge in English and French and hoping my French is up to the job.

I’m also hoping to be able to read a majority of books by women. When we talk about “classics” and look at what books wind up translated and published internationally, female authors get the short end of the stick.

Books are ordered per country, by author’s last name and by title if I’ve read multiple books by one author.

Albania: Broken April by Ismail Kadare/ The General of the Dead Army by Ismail Kadare/ Spring Flowers, Spring Frost by Ismail Kadare/ The Country Where No One Ever Dies by Ornela Vorpsi

Argentina: The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges/ Kalpa Imperial by Angélica Gorodischer/ Thus Were Their Faces: Selected Stories by Silvina Ocampo/ A Musical Hell by Alejandra Pizarnik

Australia: The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Canada: Green Grass Running Water by Thomas King/ Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

Chile: The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

China: Half a Lifelong Romance by Eileen Chang/ Naked Earth by Eileen Chang/ Invisible Planets, edited by Ken Liu

Côte d’Ivoire: Aya by Marguerite Abouet

Denmark: Karate Chop: Stories by Dorthe Nors

Egypt: The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz

England: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter/ White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

Finland: The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen/ The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna

France: The Lover by Margeurite Duras/ Sphinx by Anne Garréta

Guatemala: The Polish Boxer by Eduardo Halfon

India: The Devourers by Indra Das/ The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Indonesia: Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan

Israel: The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem by Sarit Yishai-Levi

Italy: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino/ Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli/ The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante

Japan: The Briefcase by Hiromi Kawakami/ Manazuru by Hiromi Kawakami/ Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami/ Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami/ The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa/ The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto

Nigeria: The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Palestine: Mordechai’s Mustache and His Wife’s Cats: And Other Stories by Mahmoud Shukair

Philippines: In the Country by Mia Alvar

Poland: Primeval and Other Times by Olga Tokarczuk

Malaysia: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Mexico: The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli

Russia: Russian Science Fiction, edited by Robert Magidoff

South Korea: Human Acts by Han Kang/ The Vegetarian by Han Kang/ Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin/ The Guest by Hwang Sok-yong

Taiwan: Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin