Here are my answers to some of the questions I get asked most often about A Year of Reading the World. If you don’t find find what you’re looking for here, please feel free to drop me a line (ann’at’annmorgan.me) and I’ll do my best to help.
How can I follow this project?
Although my Year of Reading the World is now finished, I do still write about books and related things on this site. If you’d like to have these posts emailed to you when I publish them, click the ‘follow’ tab in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.
Alternatively, if you want to keep up with post-world developments, including my forthcoming book, Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer, you can follow me on Twitter (@annmorgan30) by scrolling down to the Twitter button at the bottom of the screen. For Facebook users, there’s a dedicated A Year of Reading the World page (like it and you’ll make my day).
And if you want to get in touch directly just leave a comment or drop me a line at ann’at’annmorgan.me
How did you read 196 (plus one extra) books in one year?
With difficulty is the short answer! I had to be very organised. I worked out the amount I needed to get through every day (around 150 pages to keep on track to read four books a week) and made sure I stuck to it. This meant reading for two hours on my commute (I was working full-time for most of the year) and an hour or two in the evening. I sometimes read in my lunch break too.
In actual fact, the reading was only half the battle – writing the blog posts and doing all the research took as much time, so I got up early to spend an hour or two on this before I left for work. I was very grateful to the many readers who helped me out with information and suggestions along the way, and to my friends, family and now-husband Steve for putting up with me being quite boring that year! For all the hard work, though, it was a lot of fun.
How did you choose what to read?
This varied from country to country (you can find out the reasons for each choice by clicking on the country names on the List). Sometimes a book caught my imagination or just sounded so tempting I had to give it a try. At other times, visitors to the blog made very convincing arguments as to why I had to go for certain titles. A few books got so many recommendations that they were obviously national favourites. And in the cases of countries with very little work in translation, I was often lucky to find even one option.
How can I see what book you chose for each country?
You can find details of the books that were recommended for each country on the List. Click on the country name to see the review of the title I chose in each case.
Why is my country not on the list?
The list of countries I read books from is made up of the 195 UN-recognised sovereign states plus former UN member Taiwan. You can find out more about this here. In addition to works from the 196 states, I also read a book from one extra territory chosen by blog visitors to represent the territories not on my list. This was Jalal Barzanji’s The Man in Blue Pyjamas from Kurdistan. You can find out more about the Rest of the World contenders here.
What was your favourite book?
This is almost impossible to answer. I read so many excellent things during the project that it’s very hard to pick one out – my response tends to vary depending on what day of the week you catch me. Some of the books were wonderful simply because of the stories they told and the way they were written. Others were special because of the lengths people went to to get them to me.
However, I have drawn up a list of my ten favourite commercially available reads, which you can find below. Unlike some of the other books on the List, you should be able to buy copies of these:
- Albania – Ismail Kadare Broken April
- Canada – Nicole Brossard Mauve Desert
- Czech Republic – Bohumil Hrabal Too Loud a Solitude
- Mongolia – Galsan Tschinag The Blue Sky
- Myanmar – Nu Nu Yi Smile as they Bow
- Pakistan – Jamil Ahmad The Wandering Falcon
- Serbia – Srdjan Valjarevic Lake Como (limited availability)
- Sierra Leone – Ismael Beah A Long Way Gone
- Tajikistan – Andrei Volos Hurramabad
- Togo – Tete-Michel Kpomassie An African in Greenland
Will you review my book for your project?
Although my Year of Reading the World finished at the end of 2012, I have recently introduced a ‘Book of the month’ slot on this blog, where I write about one book I have particularly enjoyed each month. These books are usually suggested to me by other readers, publishers and experts, rather than the writers themselves. However, if you think your book might be of particular interest to me, you are welcome to leave a comment telling me about it.
I’m afraid I can’t provide feedback on unpublished works not featured on this blog. That said, I am always keen to hear about initiatives and events to do with reading, writing, literature and the world. If you have something you think I might be interested in, please feel free to get in touch (ann’at’annmorgan.me).
When is your book coming out?
Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer will be out in the UK on February 5, 2015, published by Harvill Secker/Random House. It is available for preorder from most major bookshops and e-tailers.
The book will be published in the US as The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe in May 2015 by Liveright/W.W. Norton & Co.