It’s been an exciting time in the A Year of Reading the World camp over the past few weeks. First, BBC Culture asked me to write an article about the project (you can see it here, unless you’re in the UK, in which case you’ll have to paste the link into a proxy site such as anonymouse.org to access it). They even sent a photographer round to my flat to capture me with some of the books – I’d never realised how tough it is to smile continuously before!
When the article went live, a flood of visitors came pouring onto the blog and with it media requests from all over the world. This led to articles in newspapers in Denmark, Sweden, Serbia, Macedonia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Hungary and many other places besides, as well as approaches from radio stations in Australia, Ireland and the US. In fact, I’m still getting requests more than three weeks after the event.
If that wasn’t enough, some mysterious person then posted The List on Reddit and things got crazier still. More than 42,000 people piled through to this site in a single day, making my head spin. It was humbling to think that so many people could take an interest in what I’d been up to – and very exciting to know that the idea of reading world literature appeals to so many others.
In other news, the World Bookshop Challenge has got off to a good start with feedback from various sources in the UK and abroad (so far, it seems, you’re unlikely to find literature from more than 70 countries represented on the shelves of a single bookshop).
As ever, the world’s readers have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help – and none more so than Paul in Waterstones Windsor. He not only counted up all the books from different countries in the shop, but also wrote a blog post about the feat and did a pie chart to represent his findings. He’s itching to tell someone about the shop’s Kyrgyz literature now, so if you’re passing through Windsor why not pop into Waterstones and make his day? (Apparently, he’s the one with the beard.)
However, Paul’s labour of love and my own foray into nearby Kirkdale Bookshop (which, the manager estimates, carries literature from 25–30 nations) have made me realise just what a tall order counting up the number of books from different countries can be in many shops. For one thing, most places don’t even demarcate books that way. You’ll find The White Tiger and Things Fall Apart rubbing shoulders with Rebecca and Cloud Atlas in the general fiction section – not to mention the international free-for-all that is the bestsellers list.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to modify the challenge slightly. Where counting is not possible, it’s more than OK to ask staff to give you a rough estimate. Though it won’t be exact, it will nevertheless provide an interesting insight. Of course, if you are as diligent as Paul, I’d love for you to hit me with your pie charts, but whatever you can find out would be great.
Thanks again for all your support. None of this would have happened without you.
Picture by Diane Cordell
Amazing news, well done.
Maybe, you can share your list of books that you have recently read, the favorite ones, that is!
After the project finished, I did do a list of favourite commercially available reads on the A Year of Reading the World Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Year-of-Reading-the-World/344253838955473). Have rootle on there and you should find it!
Thanks to the BBC article, I’ve known A Year of Reading the World and immediately I’ve decided to start my own project. I’ve just finished my third book. It’s just the beggining, but I’ve learnt so much until now that I’m sure I’ll not be the same in the end of this journey. Thank you for being such a inspiration! 😉
Love this – thanks Camila. I hope you enjoy the ride.
How wonderfully exciting for you! Congrats!
Congratulations, I will click on the link to the article right after this is posted 🙂
Great stuff, thanks – hope you like it.
I did like the article. After following your adventures and knowing what challenges you went through, it is nice to see you get some recognition.
Thanks. I appreciate that. I hope you have a good day.
So happy for you!
Thanks very much
congratulations on all that’s going on. you never know where book blogging can lead to
You are amazing!
196 books in one year?
How did You do that?
I can’t believe o.0
This project is so amazing and inspiring! You’ve inspired me to take a good hard look at my bookshelf. Like you, I read mostly British and American titles. I shall work to remedy that.
Thanks – I know. I think it’s true of most English-language readers, certainly in Britain and the US. I hope you enjoy making some new discoveries.
Dear Ann, it’s a wonderful blog and initiative to discover! I came to know through a tweet by Elif Shafak. I want to do the same! I will also start reading the world 🙂 Thank you so much!
Thanks very much. I didn’t realise Elif Shafak had tweeted it. That’s great to know. Good luck with your own reading adventures.
Wow! I love reading your blog! I am from the Philippines. Have you read a book from my country. I read an article about from BBC.
Yes – you can find my choice for the Philippines on the list. Thanks for stopping by.
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Thanks very much!
Great story and project! We’re a Shanghai-based short story reading group called Micro Readers United (MRU) and we’ve been reading short stories from around the world since 2009. It’s quite a challenge to find English translations online!
Wow – your group sounds great. What have some of your favourite stories been so far?
Korean and Caribbean short stories have been delightfully mind-blowing.
Wow – I’ve just come across here, but can see I have lots to catch up on! Congrats, on all the madness!
Love that, the article was published by the BBC through it’s Worldwide service but you can’t view it in the UK because it’s not part of the UK license fee… do Americans or French people pay a license fee to view it? I think not. I need to avoid your blog honey, it gives me far too many reason to rant! Lol. Glad things are going your way anyway, congrats. 🙂
I know – it does seem a bit weird doesn’t it! Thanks all the same.
Wow, good luck to you.I guess having friends in the BBC helps with promotion 🙂 Having started my own ’round the world’ trip through books way back in 2009 I am delighted to be publishing volume one of my travels soon – ‘Reading the World: volume 1’ is out next week 🙂
Thanks John. No friends in the BBC – I wish! Just a lucky coincidence. All the best with your project.
I am a student from China.When i readed your story in my class ，i felt very amazing.
Thanks Huangyao. That makes me smile.