Exactly five years ago today, I did something eccentric. Sitting in my living room in south London, I decided to spend 2012 trying to read a book from every country in the world.
To this end, I registered the domain name ayearofreadingtheworld.com and posted a short appeal online asking the planet’s book lovers to suggest what I should read from different parts of the globe.
On that dank October day, I had no idea whether anyone would be interested. Yet within hours of my request going live, I had numerous comments and messages from people I’d never met offering all sorts of ideas. Just four days later, a stranger in Kuala Lumpur had volunteered to go to her local English-language bookshop to choose my Malaysian book and post it to me.
What followed was an extraordinary quest that challenged and remade me in ways I could never have imagined. It introduced me to writers and translators around the planet. It established friendships and professional connections I cherish to this day. It reshaped the way I read and write. And it taught me a huge amount about the extraordinary power stories have to connect us across geographical, political, social and religious divides. It also transformed me into a published author.
A year of reading the world changed my life. But it could never have done so without the generosity of the hundreds of book-loving strangers who went out of their way to do research, send me books, and even translate and write things specially for me from countries with no commercially available literature in English.
The project prompted the most extraordinary outpouring of altruism I have experienced.
And so, as the five-year anniversary of A year of reading the world rolls round, it seems only fitting to take a leaf out of those generous volunteers’ books and pay some of that kindness forward.
As such, this October 24, I have decided to spend next year doing another eccentric thing. Once a month throughout 2017, I will send a translated book to a stranger – a sort of postcard from my bookshelf.
You can apply to be one of the recipients by leaving a comment below. All you need to do is tell me a bit about you, the sort of things you like reading and why you want a book from me.
On the 15th day of each month I will choose one person to receive a book translated into English and use the information they have given me to select something I hope they will enjoy. I will post or courier this title to the recipient wherever they are in the world.
It would be great to hear from as many readers as possible, so please share this with anyone you think might be interested. As I discovered five years ago, the more people who get involved, the better reading the world can be.
What a fab idea! I love the serendipitous nature of the project!
Oooh, I’d love to do this! I have dual British & German citizenship and live in Germany. I’m into travelling and South America, in particular (I also speak Spanish, but not really well enough to read comfortably) – but I have big gaps in my knowledge of Asia and Africa. I am a translator myself, but not a literary one – I do mainly financial and legal stuff. I read all sorts of books (mostly fiction, but some non-fiction as well) and, inspired by this blog, have been trying to read more diversely. I think I have about 20 different countries this year so far… I also love bookswapping and giving books to, and taking them from, public shelves. it would be fantastic to add another international read!
I would love to receive a book! I am a translator living in Ukraine. Right now I am working on a Ukrainian translation of “The Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Over the past year I have also translated her “Signature of All Things” and two books from children’s popular science series about a little boy George and his adventures in space by Steven Hawking and his daughter Lucy. Translation is my love and a huge part of my life. I am also into traveling and reading (mostly long psychological novels rich in language and details and nicely illustrated children’s books – to my 3-year-old daughter:). I have been following your blog for quite a while – it’s a real treasure for all bookworms and book lovers, I would say. And I would be really happy to get a book from you!
Hello Ann, what a great idea. From my own experience you can make great discoveries if you allow someone else to choose books for you, that way you do not end up reading the same old thing. I live in London UK, but have traveled a fair bit, and always try to read something relevant to where I am going. Ethiopia is the current place I am going to for a few times. My language skills are shamefully poor but I have been learning Spanish for a while. Anything you send I would read!
I read your blog about 6 months ago after stumbling across your Tedtalk. As an avid reader, I recognized myself in your own observation that you tended to read local authors. For the thousands of books I had read over the years I had done the same. I decided then and there to read the world using your list as a start. I started a small book club to join and we began with Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter. We are reading 1 book a month so we have not yet run into the challenge of finding books. Thanks for inspiring me to enlarge my world!
This is an amazing project, as was your original one! I love reading books from overseas, my most recent reads have been from Afghanistan, about a young boy growing up in warlord & Taliban times; from Indonesia, a Norwegian girl growing up in a Japanese prison of war camp & now I’m reading about a young boy who becomes a member of the resistance in France during WW2. So abroad, war & youth seem to be common themes for me!
I travelled widely when I was younger, I lived & worked in Borneo, USA & France. Now I have retired from working as a teacher & psychotherapist with children with special needs, I have plenty of time for reading & would love to receive whatever you might chose for me! 🙂
The plots of the books you mentioned are fascinating. Do you mind telling the names of these books? I’d love to read them.
What a fabulous idea. I love books and the escapism it permits especially when set in a foreign country. I adore Greece and have read or collected with a view to read many books set there as well as writing about the country. I love France and studied French at uni and have lived in Poland, Thailand. Anything from the latter would be welcome or ion fact any other exotic location.
This us wonderful. So I would like to be one of them. I started reading the world in January and I think it is going to last for two years. Just destiny will say the one you send me. I live in Catalonia and I follow all you publish.
Hello Ann! Another marvelous idea! I’d love to participate as well. My name is David, I am a Spaniard teaching Spanish and French in China. My normal reading languages are Spanish, French and English, with some Italian, Portuguese and Catalan occassional readings. I love reading novels and short stories with books as one of the main features of the plot as well and above all anything realated to ‘small literatures’, meaning with that literatures that are not mainstream literatures (the Spanish literatures in other languages than Spanish, Francophone literatures, ‘Post-colonial literatures’ in English). It was through literature that I could discover countries in which I have lived before going there: France, England, Mexico, Poland, Quebec, New Caledonia, Hong Kong, China. In Asia since 2010 and forever attached to this continent for family ties since I married my marvelous Filipino wife, with my lovely nieces in Philippines and Malaysia, I have discovered that books are life and travel and I now try to transmit this to the kids in my family and my students. Your blog struck me for your objectif to see the world through its books and I feel this new project is a good continuation to your first book travel.
I absolutely LOVE what you did and it has inspired me to do the same. I am currently on world book 14, which is from Vietnam. I am also consciously trying to split my reading list 50/50 between men and women after reading your Women In Translation month blog posts.
Similar to you, when people found out about this challenge that I am undertaking, they have been kindly recommending or gifting me with books. I am also finding out more about the history of each of the countries; for instance details on the 1987 military coup in Fiji, fascism in Europe in the 1930s and I’m currently reading the hardships faced by Vietnamese women during the Vietnam War.
Thank-you for your insight and I look forward to reading more of your blog posts in the future :o)
A friend and I started reading the world in January. It is going to last two years more or less. It is great. We are from Catalonia so the one you consider it will be ok and kept as a treasure as the others.
I have been following your blog since I saw your TedTalk years ago. As a retired librarian and avid reader since childhood, I was extremely interested in your project. I’ve always been an eclectic reader so dove into some of the titles I was able to find where I live in Maine in the United States. Especially moving was Jamil Ahmad’s “The Wandering Falcon” and Hiromi Kawakmi’s “Manazuru”. Keep going as your project brings the world closer together.
Lovely! I have lived and travelled in Asia for 7 of the last 15 years. On our travels, I enjoyed stopping in local bookstores and selecting books for my young grandchildren. Some favorites have been Gecko Gecko, Edward the Emu, and a beautifully illustrated book about a mother and child shopping in a busy Chinese market. My reading list varies geographically, fiction and non fiction, and my bookshelf overflows with unread books and oft-read favorites. But there is always room for another!
what a fantastic and original idea! well done for your previous year challenge too! I’d love to participate, I am a bookworm and always looking for reading suggestions so I would love to recieve a book from you! I love family saga and American contemporary literature but aslo love books that take me in countries I have never been to or back to Italy, my home country. thanks and good luck!
I am on Instagram, too as matiminireviews
Lovely! I have lived and travelled in Asia for 7 of the last 15 years. On our travels, I enjoyed stopping in local bookstores and selecting books for my young grandchildren. Some favorites have been Gecko Gecko, Edward the Emu, and a beautifully illustrated book about a mother and child shopping in a busy Chinese market. My reading list varies geographically, fiction and non fiction, and my bookshelf overflows with unread books and oft-read favorites. But there is always room for another!
I really wish to discuss your favourite books and places over a cup of tea. You are always welcome to Czech Republic!
I loved AYORTW and would definitely be interested in reading something you sent. My tastes are pretty broad but I’m especially interested in anything which opens a window on another culture. I read fairly regularly in French and Italian too, which gives me more options.
Since I’ve discovered your blog I follow your (and your book-loving friends) lead wherever I go. Every journey I take starts with reading a lecture from your list. Thank you for this. I’ve always considered that browsing through someones library is kind of personal thing. Maybe because usually you have to be let into someones house or flat to do this. You let us do this virtually. Yet, that’s why I would like to read a book from you. To broke this virtual connection and bring it to another level.
I’m an art historian from Poland. Once, a profesor of mine told me: don’t read scientific, art historian books. Use them, but don’t read them. If you want to be a good art historian – read as many fiction as you can. It will theach you thinking outside the box. And so I do.
All the best,
I like your idea. I may do this for 2016.
What a great idea! Thanks again for your help in my search for African books 🙂
Thank you for such a great opportunity. I’m Bram, I currently reside in Surabaya, Indonesia pursuing a Law degree. I normally read non-fiction, in particular books related to media & journalism and cultural studies. However, lately I’ve been trying to widen my reading materials through an app called iPusnas which is developed by the National Library of Indonesia, providing me with access to hundreds (and counting) of books written mostly in Indonesian right at my fingertip. I would be more than excited to receive a copy of any books from you. So, fingers crossed.
Anne, this is fantastic! From reading to world, to travelling the world, to SHARING the world…you go girl!
And I feel the same way now as when I did when I first posted it. At 60, and a retired minister, this is what I also try to do. I read/review about 200 books a year- used to be higher but I’m slowing down- across genres, politics, and socio economic status. I try to teach and reflect and challenge people to get beyond their comfort zones, as you have done with mine. Be safe in this changing world
I am the 12 year old, Aisha from Pakistan, reading a book from every country of the world. I have made tremendous progress and am determined to achieve my goal.
I would love to read a book of your choice from a country that I have still not explored.
Some of the difficult countries for me are: São Tomé e Principe, Guinea-Bissau, Hondorus.
I think this idea of sharing your books really makes one appreciate the literature of the world, not only North America and Britain. It even motivates writers and publishers, translators and poets. It makes them believe that they are also being looked at, they are also being appreciated.
What a wonderful and generous idea! I blog about books at A Geography of Reading and am always finding that my “Oceania,” “Arabia,” and “Africa” sections are lacking. I’m always adding titles from your blog to my Goodreads (I started following you late), but I’d be honored to receive an actual physical copy. I read primarily literary and political fiction, but I also enjoy a good detective novel or something that surprises me. Thanks for your blog and thanks for considering me and all the rest of us🙂
What a wonderful idea! I’m from Honduras and I’m 9 books in my Reading the World Challenge. I want to know how you did it in just a year, working and having a family. I have a lot of free time and no family and it seems I can’t read more than 40 books a year. Maybe I mourn a book for too long, it’s hard to let go.
But you have inspire me to keep going faster. You know what they say “so many books so little time”.
I love historical fiction but I read about almost everything. I’m very interested in African literature, it’s a whole new world to discover.
I watched your TED talk a couple months ago, and I felt completely inspired to widen my literary horizons. I have always loved books (which is partly why I became a librarian), and I would like to follow your footsteps and read a book from every country in the world. I am pretty open to almost any book, except I usually stay away from horror and anything graphically violent. I’ve read a few books translated from European countries (Sweden and Spain), but anything you have to offer would be greatly appreciated.
That’s so generous of you. I’m a student from India (junior in high school right now). India is a fascinating place, given it’s cultural diversity and the fact that there are more than 1700 languages spoken here. I’m multilingual myself, and ever since I learned about your project, I decided to do a similar thing and read one book from each of the scheduled languages of India. The variety is fascinating. I hope that once I’m done with my high school, I’ll be able to buy more books and travel the world through them. Right now my bookshelf is not very diverse and I hope to read something that’s written by someone from anywhere in the world except Australia, England and USA (I’ve got plenty of those).
Thank you for creating such an amazing list! I am an avid reader, especially of books in translation. I am always eager to learn about different cultures and their histories from anywhere around the world. Your blog will encourage people to read more translated works, and more importantly, encourage publishers to get those translated books out there. (I am my father’s translator and I am honored that you included Wave of Terror for Ukraine.)
I love this Idea and I would love to get a book from you! 🙂 I have been a big fan of your blog since I discovered it one year ago (which means that I could not be a part of the project itself, sadly). I am from Luxembourg, but now I study comparative literature in Vienna. I have always deplored that we (at least here in Vienna) are so focussed on european literature, and I have always been interested in reading more widely and outside this box. I love your approach and have been reading the posts with great interest. Your thoughts on translation were very enlightening (especially in your book), since translation is one of my preferred subjects.
You are doing great, thank you so much! 🙂
Hello! My name is Ana, I’m from Serbia, but I spent last two and a half years studying in Glasgow and Budapest and working in Prague for a while. I am a philologist by education, with major in Russian language and literature and minor in Czech language and literature. As someone who’s fluent in 3 languages, I have access to many books from different countries. However, not all of them are easy to find, despite the fact they might have been translated to some of these languages I speak. Also, there’s a problem of finding a book to read from some country, that’s why I’ve been amazed by your project and all the recommendations.
When it comes to my taste in books, besides Czech and Russian literature, I’m quite interested in Turkish writers. However, I have always tried to satisfy my curiosity and read books from as much countries as possible. I mostly enjoy novels, but I can basically read anything and always find it interesting (blame my studies for that 🙂 ). Receiving a book from you would broaden my knowledge and inspire me to continue exploring literatures of different countries. However, only this website and the list of books it contains contribute a lot. I wish you plenty of new ideas and excellent reads! Greetings from Serbia! 🙂
Hello! What an exciting opportunity! I’m a sophomore at a university in Denver, CO, US, where I am pursuing a Bachelor’s degree with a major in English and a double-minor in Spanish and biology. I hope to live and work somewhere in Europe as an editor for a publishing house. I read far more frequently than I truly have time for, but that’s okay because I’ve nearly completed my goal of reading 40 books this year alone. I usually read fiction novels as long as they’re not young adult, although the books are primarily from the US or the UK. I recognize a severe lack of culture on my bookshelf, and I think this opportunity of yours would help immensely in fixing this; not only for myself, but for countless other readers as well. I do have a great urge to travel and I plan on studying abroad in Poland next August! Your idea is a marvelous one, which will allow avid readers like myself to broaden our literary horizons, and gain new ideas and perspectives which otherwise would be completely unknown to us.
I was on a little quest to travel the world through books myself when I bumped into your blog. Previously to this I was constantly reading travel memoirs. I don’t like predictible romantic plots, instead I like adventurous characters who roam free and take you a journey.
Dear Ann, I love the journey you have chosen and the way it has opened up your world. It is truly inspiring! And what an incredibly thoughtful way of offering complete strangers the chance to widen their horizon as well! I was thinking how nice if would be if you would be so kind to send a book to a dear friend of mine who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. One thing that hit me when I was a cancer patient myself is how small your world gets when you’re stuck in the ‘waiting room of life’ and your only window to the world is the hospital window. I am sure that a book to lift my friend’s spirits will be a great way to make her forget – even if just for a while – that she is a patient. And there is definitely no better medicine than the kindness of others! Thank you for considering and happy reading! Soon-ok
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A brilliant idea – I’d love to take part! I am a translator myself with a great interest in literary translations, so this would be very inspiring for me. I love not too bloody detective stories, books for children or young adults and romance novels. Currently, I am reading the Odyssey for the first time, and last week, I visited the Frankfurt Book Fair where I enjoyed readings by the Singaporean author Amanda Lee Koe and Miriam Van Hee from the Netherlands. I have followed your blog for a while, although unfortunately only after your “Year of Reading the World”, but I have become a great fan! I’d be most interested in reading a book from an island state, maybe from Polynesia, the Caribbean, East Timor, the Indian Ocean or anywhere else in the world, because I am fascinated by island states – the smaller, the better! 🙂
What a great idea! As my do my own #readtheworld quest, I appreciate so much more the work of translators to bring great books to the world.
Follow my blog here: https://t.co/3YeZMlMOXn. Ideas welcome!
I feel I am going to get lucky here. I have never received a book as a gift, believe it or not. Looks like the first one’s going to come from a very special person. 🙂 Thank you tons and tons in advance. I love memoirs very much.
I’m new in your blog; I found it because I’ve been doing the same with a friend (not a blog, but reading books from different countries). I’m from Brazil and I love books since I’m a young kid. I’d love to receive a book from you just for the fun of it. It would give a nice story to my grandchildren in the future…”this book I received from a lady who travelled around the world through books and she gave me her love, yes kids, used books are love in paper-format.”
Along with so many others, you’ve inspired me to begin “reading around the world” too. I’m doing well with Asia and Europe, but plan to focus on Africa very soon. Thank you so much for the inspiration!
What a wonderful idea! Your blog and adventures has inspired the next theme for my upcoming year of reading as many books as the age I am turning. In 2017, I turn 40 and plan to read 40 books from 40 different countries.
Dear Ann, This is such a cool idea! As cool as the idea of ‘reading the world’. I am from India and this year (taking inspiration from you and doing the popsugar reading challenge), I read not only in many regional languages of India but also from around the world. The experience has been simply amazing. Besides, I am a PhD student in Neuroscience and I really have to squeeze out time to do my reading. 🙂
I love historical fiction/non-fiction a lot because I learn a lot about the country through it.
Your project has been an inspiration for me and I keep going back to your list to get suggestions of books from countries I don’t know of!
I am really curious as to which book you will select for me if you choose me. (even if this does not happen,do suggest me one). I will be extremely happy.Your experience of reading literature from across the world is really very inspiring and I am sure many people are going to do it (I, definitely am one!)
What a fun idea! I would love to get a book for my own global reading. I’m a librarian and homeschooling mom (soon to be out of that job) in rural Northern CA, I blog about my reading at Howling Frog Books, and I’m always looking for neat books I haven’t met yet. (I also have non-book-related interests, though you can’t tell from this comment.)
What a wonderful idea to share lives and ideas by sharing books. I am living at Germany and my husband is from Colombia. Taking the best of all cultures is our common ground. Truly believing that literature is linking people, that literature gives peace to us personally as well as between people and nations.
your blog was a huge source of inspiration for me – in many ways. I´m a bookworm with heart and soul, that´s why I decided to study literature at university and haven´t stopped since. But with reading your recommendations I discovered how limited my choice of books has been, which set me on a journey of discovery. I´d love to make space in my library for a book from you. I also love the idea of snail mail (if you plan to use it). Nothing is more appealing than a story which will have its own story thanks the way it arrives to the reader`s hands. If it were mine, I would wish for a piece written in a poetic language, a story about relationships, no matter what kind. I wish you all the best and many wonderful ideas like this one:)
I would love to be one! I just finished my first world book and loved it! I’ll keep going because this is such a fun project!!!
I love what you have been doing and have envied your persistence. Maybe receiving a book from you would inspire me to try something like your year. I’ve lived in California pretty much all my life, with travels here and there in Mexico and Europe. Fiction is usually more fun for me to read than nonfiction. I love artful use of language.
This is exciting! I have been one of those voracious readers my entire life, and reading about your year has helped me understand how much of what I’ve enjoyed has been euro-centric. I have greatly increased my Goodreads “to read” list by adding books you have reviewed, and by exploring more on my own. I would be thrilled to have a book that perhaps I have never heard of or would have trouble finding on my own. I read all kinds of fiction and enjoy learning about other cultures through their novels. I try to be open to reading new styles and genres and am completely open to being surprised. I would also like to “pay it forward” if I receive a book, and make sure others are introduced to the work.
This is amazing,I would so love to be a part of this please. I have never left the UK and travel vicariously through my books . They are my constant companion !
What a wonderful project you have undertaken! I am a voracious reader of books and mainly an armchair traveller so always enjoy reading about other countries through novels, biographies or non-fiction. It would be an honour to be chosen to receive a piece of your library. I have a particular interest in the European countries as that is where my ancestors originated before moving to my homeland of Canada. Canada is a veritable stew of intriguing cultures all living a relatively peaceful co-existence. Folklorama is a great yearly event here in Manitoba where various cultures host a pavilion showcasing their culture and of course, wonderful foods from their land of origin.
It’s only been a few months since I learned about you and your endeavor to read the world (through your TED talk). Thought it was a wonderful idea and it has inspired me to read more and read differently. Your list of books is a wonderful resource! Though I love to both read and travel, I’d never thought to read literature from other parts of the world as an additional way to experience the world. I grew up loving to read thanks to my parents who are both avid readers and kept our house full of books. I also love snail mail and regularly send postcards to people all over the world through Postcrossing so the thought of getting a book from you delivered to my mailbox that brings together my love for reading, travel, and snail mail makes me smile! I read all kinds of books but a few of my favorite books are True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (my favorite girlhood book that I reread annually), The Secret Life of Bees, and Poisonwood Bible all of which tell stories of the lives of women and girls. Thank you for sharing your project with all of us! This project has ignited in me a desire to read the world as well I’m sure it has many many others.
Hi there! I wish I could have the discipline to do what you do! I am portuguese and I live in Brussels, where I work as an interpreter. I love to travel and I love books, so a few years ago I started buying books from the countries I visit, instead of buying touristy things, which is much more interesting. I still buy the odd souvenir now and then ;-D, but can t leave without a book!. Some examples: in Tanzania I bought “The black Mzungu”, in Egypt several books of Naguib Mahfouz; in Cambodia “First they killed my father”; in Vietnam “the sorrow of war”; in Australia “Rabbit proof fence”; from Croatia I got Slavenka Drakulic s “They wouldnt hurt a fly” and so on. Never been to a portuguese speaking country though, other than Portugal, of course; what works from these countries did you like the most and would recommend and why?THANKS!!!!
I love history. European such as London, Russian and now Saudi Arabian has become my favorite. What’s yours?
Oooh! I forgot, Greek/Roman and now Nordic Mythilogy, I enjoy.
A beautiful idea! I’m a voracious reader, mostly of fantasy/sci-fi, historical novels and 19th century classics. I’ve travelled a fair bit, and inspired by your blog I’ve tried to make my reading travel too, but while I’ve made some progress with Latin American and Caribbean writers, my bookshelves are still distressingly Europe and North America-centric. I’d be honoured and delighted to get a book from your shelves!
Whoaa, I’d love to be part of this! First of all, I am an Indonesian and I live in Indonesia. I speak Javanese at home, Bahasa Indonesia at work(or school) and English with my friends. I love reading. I was able to read a full long sentences when I was in the kindegarten. But for me book is an expensive thing. Book is a luxury that hard for me to afford. That’s why I love library, and unfortunately the library in my hometown has a limited collection. I read everything, mostly fiction and history. Ok, let me tell you why you should pick me as one of the recipients. On the late 2014 my best friend sent me your blog and asked me and my other friend to do what you did with reading the world. We created a list of the books that we were going to read on 2015. We were very excited, we even started the 2015 with Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. For a month the three of us read the book and did some discussions through our whatsapp because we lived in different towns. And that book was the last and the only book we read as a part of the project. We were busy with our lives that we couldnt find the time to have a proper discussion. That’s why we kind of abandoned the project. Though we still read many books but mostly those books were not the titles that we had on our list. So yeah, I hope that I could continue to finish our list with a limited access to the books.
Hello Ann. Your references have helped in discovering works like that of Ismail Kadare, Mo Yan, Abraham Verghese, Mohamed Mansi Qandil, Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Wajdi al-Ahdal. The books Moon Over Samarqand & Cutting for Stone are two books that are on my gifting list to people around me. I read anything but off late I am exploring more books which are based on geographical imaginations. This is a list which I refer often when I think of a place to visit but cannot travel there yet! I live in India and am always keen on exploring the world through books. Great idea and I would be glad to exchange books going forward!
I love this idea so much! My name is Jennifer and I’m in Australia. I love your blog and reading for me is a chance to live through and empathise with other people’s lives. I travel and volunteer a lot, both at home here in Australia and in countries like South Africa and Nepal. Travel gives me the chance to learn about places and people for myself, just like books do. That’s why I respond so well to this idea of reading translated works. Of course, I’m someone who reads books recommended to her first before any other and so this project really speaks to me. I’m also insanely curious and so can respond to any subject in fiction or non-fiction form. I like learning about the histories of places I know nothing about and really enjoy a story that is more about friendship and family than romance. That being said, if a character is LGBT* I’m bound to want to read it at least once. I’m pretty good at guessing the ends to most books (and TV shows, and movies) and so absolutely love it when an ending surprises me or I’m too drawn into the book to be thinking any further ahead. I don’t have a lot of money and so am restricted to what I can get my hands on, thankfully I studied English Literature at university, am a member of my local library, and have very generous friends. Rest assured if I received a book from you I would not just read it, but pass the favour on and lend it to my friends to read to.
It looks like you have a lot of people to choose from, so good luck narrowing it down to twelve!
I would love to receive a book! I am a part time poet and full time accounts clerk from New Zealand and I discovered your blog when I had already started my own project. I have read books from about forty countries so far. I’m trying to find different ones from the ones you have read and reviewed already (not always easy, from some countries). My tastes are fairly eclectic although I tend to like books that are quirky and a bit different.
I am posting my reviews on my blog Still Standing on her Head, although they are neither as good nor thorough as yours!
That is so wonderful. I love translated works they are so wonderful to read! I am a bookseller in USA also review books on goodreads and librarything thank you
I love your blog, because it’s an hommage to one of literature’s greatest pleasure: its ability to make you travel through space and time. I always read local literature before and during my travels and it gives me such an insight in the country’s culture. Moreover, it helps me meet locals who see that I’m more than a tourist and that I have a genuine interest in getting to know them. Over the years, I’ve lived in many countries and learnt many languages, partially in order to finally read some of my favourite authors in their original language.
Of course, I still read many translations and I share your frustration to see so few foreign books available in the Anglo-saxon world. I would love to receive a surprise from you because I believe in a book’s destinity to land in a reader’s hands. Best regards from Mitteleuropa.
Congrats on five years! It was with great interest that I followed your adventure and it inspired my own literary quest, if on a smaller scale. I live in london with my wife and baboo (as of today my wife is 28wks). Books have played a massive part of our lives and will continue to do so. Our library is testament to this. I have even taken to making my own! To be given a part of yours would be a great day and if not it has been wonderful following your blog. Five high fives!
I am an American public librarian. One of my big interests is international literature. I have been envious when you posted in your blog about books translated just for you–I’d like to read them too. I hope I win one of your books.
What a great way to give back!
I came across your project when I was looking to reach out and connect with the outside world. My world has over the last few years become quite small.
The last several years I have taken care of and helped my wonderful parents transition from this world to the next, supported my daughter as she buried her child (something I wouldn’t wish on anyone), helped a daughter battle brain cancer (she is in remission!! Hooray!!) , and help my brother transition from this world to the next after a courageous battle with brain cancer.
Seriously, two people in my family within a week of each other are diagnosed with brain cancer , it’s the stuff of a seriously bad plot … but sadly @#&*$% true (use your favorite expletive) .
My world has been the world between hospitals, clinics, medication schedules and ramifications of medications. My world was pretty depressing at times.
YOUR project and YOU brought to me something of a life line. I could get outside of myself and my situation a few pages at a time , and page by page I could survive the bad stuff.
I loved the way people rallied around your project, supported your project, were so loving,caring, generous. They wanted you to succeed! In you succeeding, everyone that followed succeed by being enriched with examples, words, deeds!
I love to read, (non fiction, memoirs, historical fiction, really anything) I loved your suggestions.
I love the the way a book can pull you in and help you escape, thank you for the reminder in such a grand way.
I am not a scholar I am a regular woman, trying to make sense of the everyday in the sometimes craziness that is my life. I don’t begrudge my life, I have learned a lot .
I would love to win something of your choosing… something fun, something to take me somewhere wonderful.
I know someday my life will be different, I will have time to travel, I will have time to discover the wonderful book stores you share on your blog, but for now I am here.
Until then I have books, and I have your blog and your words.
Thank you for all you have shared.
Ann, this is yet another inspiring project and exercise in unity. After hearing your TedTalk, I felt truly inspired. I challenged myself to read a book a month. Admittedly, I haven;t had the pleasure of reading texts as diverse as I would like, but I am taking first steps in discovering the world through reading. I even started writing short reviews of some greta books I’ve discovered through this challenge. I love to travel and see new places. There is something incredible about witnessing the humanity, rich culture, and opinions of people around the world. The more diverse the voices are that we hear, the more rich our lives can be. Thank you for inspiring me to discover these many strong voices. I love to read personal narratives and books that are full of stark examples of human nature (good or bad). I would love to read a book from Japan (where I plan to take my next trip) or from North Africa (where my mom was born).
Thank-you so much for your blog and the inspiration you’ve given to so many people. My name is Hannah. I live in London, and I’m a writer. I love London, but ever since I first went to New Orleans I’ve been in love with that city too, and in my free time I write a blog about both places.
I love to read all kinds of things: novels of course (who doesn’t?) but also creative non-fiction and poetry. I love books about women’s lives, and books where I feel I can empathise with the characters, especially through reading about all the details of their daily lives – which of course doesn’t mean they have to have lives at all like mine. I’m trying to learn Spanish though not am good enough to read a proper book in Spanish yet sadly, so I love books in translation from the Spanish-speaking world. And of course I love anything about New Orleans and all the other places to which it is connected.
I would love to receive a book from you because at the moment I’m trying to take my life in some new directions and I feel a book from a different place could be a useful roadmap. I strongly believe that when someone gives you a book – even when they don’t know you – there’s always a message in there somewhere…
Hello! Just this past Sunday, the 23rd my sister was telling me about her recent school trip to London. I asked her about her roommate and she began telling me all about her. She told be that her roommate was very ambitious and that she had read a book from every country. Since I love to read that got me thinking and I said that was an excellent idea, surprised I had never thought of it myself. I decided that it would be my 2017 resolution, to start reading a book from every country.
That same night I looked it up to see who else had done it so I could get a basis of where to start and I came along your blog. While I am only at the very beginning stages, your list has helped me very much so far. I would love to win one of your translated books this coming year, it would a great help for my new goal. If I happen not to win I still am very grateful for the list you’ve provided. Thank you for sharing!
I only just heard of your blog today, but wow! I sit here in awe of you. I love to read, but feel like I’ve read too much cheap mass produced junk and not enough substance. This year I turned 27, so at the beginning of 2016 I set a goal to read 27 books. I’ve made it thru 18 and life has gotten a bit crazy lately and spare moments have been spent on other things, reading has fallen by the wayside. Don’t get me wrong, the things I’ve been doing instead of reading have been amazing, I’ve been living a beautifully messy life. I have two young sons, am working on an AS degree in Early Childhood Education, and have recently begin rebuilding a friendship with my children’s father. I love Harry Potter, Ted Dekker, poetry, creative nonfiction, the “classics”, favorite that I’ve read recently would probably be Ayn Rand’s Anthem. Topics that interest me are mental health/illness, education, juvenile detention /justice, butterflies, faith/religion, music, art, architecture.
This piqued my interest when I saw the words translated books. I am in the process of doing just that for the first time ever – Footprints in Australian Sand. Just for family who cannot read Finnish, I am translating my father’s memoirs of our early days as migrants to Tasmania from Finland. It’s an interesting journey of reminiscing for me and a revisit having read it a long time ago. Along the way I’ve been posting short excerpts of it onto my blog.
I am 14 and have been travelling the world with my family for my entire life. I am constantly having to adapt to new situations and make new friends, and just as I am getting settled in again I move. I have lived in England, Fiji, New Zealand, Scotland, Bangladesh and now Indonesia. I went to 5 different primary schools and am now on my 3rd secondary school. I have never had a friend for more than 4 years except for one. books. Throughout my travels, I am constantly reading and learning, and my thirst for literature will never be quenched. I have also spent my life learning different languages; French, Fijian, Maori, Bangla, and Indonesian. So both languages and books are very close to my heart.
Ann, this is certainly a wonderful idea. Would love to know about the all the experiences you had while reading the world. I’m going to do the same. I’m a teenager and I read almost anything except YA. I’ve never bought books. I use my school library. Reading makes me happy.
Hello! I would be honored to receive one of your books. I am an international art educator and most recently lived in Istanbul, Turkey. While there, I belonged to Global Minds Book Club and we read many books from other nations. It grew my mind and my imagination. After reading, I would happily send the book onward to the next recipient. I love historical fiction best! Many thanks for the work you’ve already done.
First off, thanks so much for sharing with the world your impressive literary jaunt around the world. It’s inspired me to look further afield when I seek out writers; which shouldn’t prove too difficult now that I live in Bali, Indonesia and the annual Ubud writer’s festival is set to begin this evening. I’ll definitely keep my ears and eyes open for the ‘must-read’ Indonesian author of this year.
I’m so grateful that you want to pay forward a more adventurous path for your readers – hallelujah!
There’s one culture that feels so unknown to me, though the country’s language and culture are etched into my DNA: Romania. My father and paternal ancestors are Romanian. Though I’ve visited the country twice, I feel a substantial disconnect from the culture of my forefathers… much of it due, no doubt, to my inability to read literature in their native language. I’d so love to dig into a book that would shed more light on my ancestral heritage.
Thanks so much Ann for the inspiration.. and love!
ps I’m a Canadian-born writer, photographer, creativity HEARTshop leader and labyrinth maker.
Hi Ann! I am completely amazed at the wonderful ideas you have come up with, both with you first project of reading books from around the globe and your current project of spreading your love of reading to the rest of the world. It comes as a surprise to me that I am only just discovering your blog now… But I am beyond words to find this amazing website as I know I have some fascinating reads ahead of me. I am now so curious to read your debut book ‘Reading the World’ as I am inspired to know and hear your insight on how your project has affected you.
But just reading this article, you have opened something in me to broaden my literature horizons and explore more books from the different corners of the world. I, like you, have a passion for reading and world culture. I recently obtained a degree in French-English Translation and am currently working on obtaining a Certificate in Spanish-English Translation. So it goes without saying that reading and writing, especially in different languages and cultures is completely fascinating to me. Whether it be a fiction novel filled with romance, either happy or sad, an eye-opening autobiography, a mystery novel or any other genre known to man, I find every book to be a great read. In my field as a Translator, I can whole-heartedly say how important translation is to getting literature, or any type of writing, out into the world. Reading is so important in our lives and I cannot imagine a world that does not extend this vital necessity to each of its inhabitants.
Through books, I am able to create a world of my own. Through reading, I feel that I can learn more about the world, and ultimately, I discover more about myself. I am able to be transported to any place and any time, all the while figuring out more about my personality.
I thank you for introducing me to this incredible idea of reading books from all over the world. Whether you wish to include me in your 2017 project or not, I know that you have touched my soul and have inspired me to begin a journey like this for myself.
Thank you and Happy Reading!
Hi, what a great idea! I enjoyed the premise of your original project, and reading about how enlightening it’s been for you! The idea of sharing back with some followers with a book is a generous and kind idea! For me, I read a lot of diverse fiction and non fiction. I have read lots of Canadian, American, and European novels in the past, but I am trying to branch out, for example wanting to read fiction from Central or South American authors, translated into English since I can only read one language (so far!). Thanks for the opportunity and keep up the great work! -Matt, Winnipeg, Canada 🙂
What a fabulous project! It’s wonderful that there are people in this often cruel world willing to actively make it a better place.
I am a new graduate student in English Literature, doing my MA in British and American Literature with an eye on postcolonial literatures and diaspora studies. I’m Irish-American and a gay ex-Catholic so my identity has always been bifurcated, divided along sociopolitical and religious lines of demarcation. Reading is my safe haven, my ultimate refuge, and my first love.
I would love to receive a book from you this year! There are so many great comments on here though and obviously you have to make choices. I’m just happy that this network of book lovers exists. It’s a pleasant reminder of the potential good in this world.
Hi Ann, I respect the innovation, and the peacemaking, in your idea so much! I would love a book that gave me the same joy of discovery that I had when I read my first book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I couldn’t imagine not knowing her books. What have you read that gives you the same amount of gratitude for your discovery? That’s the book I would like to receive. Thank you! In deep admiration:
What an excellent way to encourage people to read, I would love to be part of this and would love to receive a copy to read and review.
My name is Sobia, I’m British Pakistani, presently in Egypt studying an additional language. I love reading and I review books as a hobby for Netgalley.
I have come many staff plus students I n the language institute I am presently studying at who love reading.I was quiet taken by one particular lady who had read all the novels and loves Bronte sisters, Jane Eyre being her favourite.
She’s someone I’d definitely share the book with, plus I was quiet amazed how books were easily available here in English, plus many titles had already been translated in Arabic too.
My favourites are classic novels, women’s literature, romance, fantasy, thrillers, hmm anything that has the ingredients of a good story.
What a brilliant idea 🙂
I’d love to be the recipient of a book. I miss reading more translated book. I grew up in France and there was always a lot of translated books on library shelves. But since moving to the UK, it feels there is less of the world at hand in book form. There is plenty of originals but not as many translations.
Starting from January, I am going to avoid English written books and focus on the Portuguese language instead (part of a larger project to immerse myself in European Portuguese culture). I am thinking of reading other translations too if my project all becomes too much.
I don’t have a favourite genre per se. I like a good story that challenges and surprises you, something to make your view of the world change and expand. I also enjoy a well-written book where the prose sings (I have read books before solely because I enjoyed the writing and didn’t care one bit about what was happening) and I’ve just began to carve an interest in poetry.
Thanks a lot for organising those postcards from your bookshelves. It’s a marvellous project.
Hi Ann. I would love to be one of the recipients receiving your book. I’m Siti, from Kuala Lumpur. I enjoy reading any travel books, romance novel and also the mystery. I actually came from an engineering background but somehow always falling in love in art ever since. Hopefully, you’re doing well with your current project and success in future project 2017. Keep it up, Ann! Thanks..
As the 79th commenter (not sure if that word even officially exists but certainly should do), suspect I may be a little late to request a book, but just wanted to say ‘What a lovely idea’, and at the beginning of next month, I’ve been persuaded to buy your book ‘Reading the World’. You have also persuaded me to start an online project, in which writers around the world will contribute to creating a body of work, which I hope will encourage a bit more peace, love and understanding between people’s and nations. Of course, this probably makes me sound like a naive Miss World contestant, but I’ve now reached the age where I don’t really care. Look forward to reading your next blog. I have just entered this blogasphere as greenstoryteller.com and in my first flush of blog enthusiasm, am looking forward to posting my weekly blog.
What a brilliant idea! That’s one surefire way to broaden your horizons. And since I’m going into the publishing industry, reading books from all over the globe would probably help, right?
What an amazing idea. I am a Canadian born of Italian parents, currently teaching English in Istanbul. I spend a lot of time thinking about the power of words and expressions, particularly as I struggle to learn Turkish. I enjoy reading history, and non-fiction. And I love reading works from the place that I currently find myself in. Please let me know if you need any recommendations or donations for Canada or Turkey. I am so intrigued by your journey that I will put together a map showing me ”where” I have read from. It will be interesting to see how global my reading habits actually are.
Hello! I’m an 18-year old Singaporean who’s an avid lover of literature, art and mathematics. I’m in my senior year now, applying to university next year! I have just came across this wonderful idea and couldn’t stop giggling with glee! Although I have not travelled the world (or to most of my other Southeast Asian counterparts, for that matter), I have attempted to chart through the seas, from Nigeria to Louisiana, old Britain to rural China, and some others. All within the grasp of my humble book collection sitting in my room. I love to read war stories, romance fiction, stories with plenty of character development, spy thriller, cultural stories and anything to do with time travel! I’d love to take this opportunity to possess a book that might change my life and world perspective for the better, as I too undergo life’s passage through age, and tough times.
Giving back to the world what you got from it in the first place is such a noble thought and initiative! I hope this endeavour is fulfilling for you as well as the lucky and deserving people benefitting from it.
I’m from India; a blogger and an aspiring author. I love to read and know about Roman and Egyptian history and architecture and wish that you could help me get a book that portrays them in the most unjudgemental manner and states facts as they were.
I absolutely love the sentiment that lies in this project and want to not only congratulate, but thank you for introducing such unique, thought provoking, and dare I even say revolutionary, idea out into the world.
Being a young (eighteen years old, nearly nineteen) aspiring writer and humanitarian/animal/environmental rights activist, I am heavily influenced and motivated by the written word, particularly beautiful literature that stirs the soul to act- whether creatively through expression and movement, or through inward evolution and contemplation.
However, I have been stuck… I was raised in deep poverty and have had to work hard doing mundane and soul sapping 9 to 5 vocations to afford to someday soon execute my dreams of travelling and writing, and participating in, of the complexity and acts of revolutionary change being born out of different cultures, and the lovely souls that are making positive change to better our world. I have yet to even explore much of my own country (I have lived in California nearly my entire life) because of my financial shambles, and so I choose to ease my restless spirit by escaping my reality momentarily and living instead through the eyes of another in literature, seeing a glimpse of their inward world as much as their outward. I want to inspire and to be inspired. I feel I need to start a project such as this and to respark that inner passion that has been flickering aimlessly while I have fought to rediscover myself, and my perceptions of this vast creation, every day.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you immensely for further inspiring me to valiantly pursue my heart’s desires without being discouraged by the ones who would consider such a frivolous act whilst getting on my feet.
xx Devyn Lippert
Oh wow. This is brilliant. If you’d like a Kannada book (one of the South Indian Languages; or any language translated book from India) please do let me know. I will be happy to send it to you.
I think what you’re doing is brilliant. I’d love a book. I’m 19, from Bengaluru and i started Postcrossing a few months ago and I’ve loved sending them as much as making them. I love all the stories and their culture and how different it is from my own, but from certain angles, very similar. This will be a great chance to learn something from a foreign country. Who knows if I’ll be able to travel there?
Hi ! I simply love this idea. I discovered your site not a long time ago and I really like it! I’m from France & I’ve always loved reading . I’m 17 & reading is one of my favorite hobbies. I’d be pleased to receive a book from you. The problem is, I love every gender ! All the stories make me fantasize.
Discovering a new culture would make me really happy. Bye, Thomas 🙂
Your reading the world project inspired me to start my own global reading blog (http://thebooktrekker.blogspot.com/), and I’m having a wonderful time reading books from other cultures and traditions. Receiving a book from you would give me further inspiration to continue my own project. I love that you are encouraging readers all over the world to read outside of their comfort zones. Thank you! Pam Giarrizzo
Hi! I’m not writing in the hope for a book for myself, but rather for my friend Katia.
About 20 years ago, we started university together. I read scifi, and and only scifi, and she opened my eyes to a completely different world by giving me ‘Flowers for Mrs Harris’ as a present. When we finished our studies, thanks to her, I had also become aquainted with Erich Fried, Andrea Schwarz, plenty of poetry, and this weird idea that a good book doesn’t nessecarily need a starship.
So, I think a book for her would be a way of expressing thanks that she helped somebody else to develop as a reader.
Anyway, I hope your new project is as successful as the last one :). Kristina
What a lovely idea, Ann! I went to your talk at The Independent Bath Literature Festival in 2013 (?) and it helped me re-discover my passion for foreign literature. As a translator (although I don’t work with literary texts), I’m a strong advocate of reading books translated from other languages. I recommended your list of books from your ‘A year of reading the world’ project in a blog post a couple of months ago http://www.mastermindtranslations.co.uk/best-translated-books-summer/. What a great role model you are inspiring people to try something different and broaden their horizons. Well done! I don’t mind trying any book from your list (although I have a soft spot for Asian writers. By the way, I’ve already read The Black Lake in the original Dutch and in English, and it’s one of my favourite books.). Many thanks and best of luck with all you’re doing.
I have just found your blog, while I was wandering in search of literary inspiration.
After I graduated in Classics last year it was difficult for me to find a job that’s really related to culture in some way. Now I’m working in Picasso exhibition in Verona, Italy. What I’m doing every day it’s not really cultural because I’m just delivering audioguide to the visitors, but I will have the chance to admire Picasso’s “Minotaur’s head” or Picasso’s “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe” every time I want for the next 4 months, so I can’t complain.
I love gardens, art and the ancient world, especially ancient languages, that have been so far my way to explore far-distant humanity (what you do through space, it’s what I love to do through time).
Except of what I read in sanskrit, norse and hebrew during my studies, I have never gone really far with my readings, so I would be delighted to have you as a first mentor in this new journey.
I watched your ted talk last year and it inspired me to begin my own little journey. I wanted to read 100 books and I’m currently on 96. During this period I also decided to take a leaf from your book. So I decided to read a book each from every Africa country, it happened to be easier said than done. After getting stuck at Cape Verde I decided to skip that country and read the next and I have done that some number of times leaving me with 19 books from 19 countries read, 11 skipped due to difficulties getting a translated book from that country at my regular bookstore and 24 countries still in the offing. I would be over the moon if I can get Joseph Brahim Seid’s Told By Starlight in Chad, Makombo Bambote’s Daba ‘s Travels from Ouadda to Bangui or Germano Almeida’s The Last Will and Testament of Senhor Da Silva Araujo. Thanks so so much!
I can humorously say that I am a recovering light social media addict, who finally has found respite in books. Some time ago I picked a non-fictional book that opened my eyes to the curiosities of the world, or at least showed me that I learn about something much more interesting than what one person ate, did, or put on today. I respect books, I love them, and I cherish everything that I learn from them. I read non-fiction books from “all walks of life”, be it about space, espionage, female rules history, and would love to read anything else that you, or like-minded people, deem worthy of ones attention.
I found your blog while looking for writing inspiration. I am a Sikh woman, living in Canada, retired lawyer and currently a human rights/equality advocate. I would love to receive a book from anywhere about anything you think might be interesting. I generally read non-fiction on topics that relate to my human rights bend – right now a lot about the history behind the 1984 Sikh genocide but I’m a rather rabid reader and am open to anything!
I discovered your book one day this past summer while browsing the bookshelves of the Princeton Public library and I immediately found a comfortable chair and sat down to read the beginning chapters which I found fascinating.
For several years, I have been interested in reading books from other countries, two titles that I have are ” 1000 pieces of Gold”, on Chinese heritage,and ” Book of Unforgettable Journeys, Great Writers on Great places, Klara Glowczewska, editor of Conde Nast Traveler.
I recently obtained a book called ” Salt” about perspectives from different peoples kitchen and cultures, I think in an Asian or a Middle East country.
My interest in receiving a book selected by you is that for an unknown amount of time, I’ll have to be happy as an armchair traveler; I am caregiver of my elder mother who fractured her arm in two places last November and is not back to where she was in abilities from prior to the accident on Thanksgiving day. Also, I was saddened that I could not travel with my recent Italian group of friends to Italy, and I remind myself that books bring the mind to explore wonderful places. I like reading books with a theme of Italy, Asia, England. I also belong to a cookbook club through my local library for the past year.
Looking forward to a chance to read what you select.
Though I cannot attest to reading a book from every country — a feat unparalleled throughout history — I can confidently and proudly state that I am on a quest to visit every country. Books are my undying companions, immortal in that they’ll never leave my side (or hands). I would be honored to obtain a book from your collection, wander through a paper-and-ink world, and then hand the story down to the next pair of hungry eyes. Any book will suffice; suffice to say that it carries a special meaning to you. If you ever want to discuss books, novels, poems, philosophies, discourses, lectures, and any other form of literature that I may have wrongfully neglected, my Contact page is always working on my blog.
Cheers & Ciao!
I want to do this!!!~ I’m from Malaysia, a new lifestyle blogger, I love to learn about different cultures. Getting some inspiration from you as an editor since yesterday when I wrote for Blonity.com about you. I would love to read any book you pick for me as long as it is about another country’s culture. Looking forward for every 15th of the month, next year!!~ I’m excited to read, your story inspired me to read Ann!!!~
Pingback: Postcards from my bookshelf (or A year of sending the world books) – Bibbity Bobbity Bopeep
“Never judge a book by its cover because the amazing journey is beyond the front page”
Hi, I am seriously new to wordpress and I found your post in the discover section. My heart flutters just like a girl falling in love. I’m in love with your amazing idea and I really hope I can be a part of this amazing global society of books lover.
I am 20, from Malaysia and will be pursuing my studies in engineering next year in New Zealand. This will be my first journey of discovering literature outside my comfort zone and I have no specific genre that I would like to read. I hope I’ll get choosen and being able to know a person better by their personal collection.
Lots of love.
Hi only just discovered your blog and you’re wonderful book project for next year. I live in Jersey in the Channel Islands and love reading crime novels. I’ve tried reading translations over the years but it’s been a bit hit and miss. I particularly enjoyed the Italian Inspector Montallbano series by which I found laugh out loud funny at times.
I’ve been reading the replies to this post, and frankly, I feel a little unqualified. I’ll come straight to the point. My name is Azfar Zaidi and I’m from India. I have a keen interest in writing and reading as well. I started off blogging with mycogitation18.wordpress.com where I posted stories, reviews and occasionally, just random thoughts. But there was a lot getting accumulated inside my mind, most of it concerning my relatives. It certainly would not have been appropriate to blog about them because they closely followed what I wrote. So I switched to this “secret” blog. I blog more often, I am able to express and I’m secure. I’m nowhere near as “international” as anyone here. I’ve never sat on an airplane, and there are are few cities in India that I have explored. But I read, and that breaks borders. Being able to imagine a parallel world through the descriptions and situations in a book is one thing I love to do. However, I believe that every book has a bit of its author’s own world in it. No matter how fictitious a book is, there’s an element of the author in it. It gets reflected by the way he narrates, describes or argues. Exploring parallel worlds through the medium of books somewhat compensates for the (current) limits of my world. I don’t have a specific genre to request. I read what comes my way, and I leave it to your discretion as to which book you’d like to send me (if you do). I’m only looking to widen the horizons of my mind. And I hope you’ll help.
Thank you, and all the best for your future endeavours.
I’m an avid reader 🙂
I love reading Japanese and English books.
I love to do translations myself 🙂
Incredibly amateurish I might say 🙂
I love reading fiction, science-fiction, fantasy, drama, comedy, whatever is interesting 🙂
and yes, I’d love a translated book from you.
I’d have to watch your TED talk video 🙂
Because I like getting inspired.
Good luck on your upcoming & future projects 🙂
Another wonderful initiative. I discovered your reading quest only after it had ended, but I’m glad I did. I’ve been looking at your list and it’s quite inspiring – I hope to read at least some of those titles in the future, though I imagine not all of them are easy to get.
I’m a Romanian high-school drop-out, and I discovered the magic and charm of reading only after dropping out of school and learning English on my own. Books have been my faithful companions ever since. A few reading feats I am proud of is reading One Hundred Years of Solitude about 13 times (and enjoying it each time), and reading all of Shakespeare’s 38 plays.
Dead authors are my best friends. I am perhaps too faithful to my reading list, though, for fear that I will die before reading all the good books (as if a lifetime is ever enough to read all the good books).
Sometimes I have this fantasy of picking a book at random from someone else’s bookshelf and reading it in one go.
Unfortunately, the gravitational pull of my reading list is always too strong, and I keep returning back to it, but perhaps one day you could help me out with an unexpected book like that, one I would have never discovered on my own, however exotic or unusual…
I enjoyed reading about the books and have put several on my to-read list. I’ve also been posting books I’ve read across the USA and across the globe–inspired by your project. I would certainly love a ‘postcard.’ I hope other bloggers will post recommendations by geography as well so we can all learn more about each other’s homes. Well done, you!!
I’m a former university professor who started a new career as a book editor. I get my projects primarily through referrals by friends, former students, and colleagues and it has turned out that I mostly edit books by non-native writers. I have edited two books on the war in the Balkans, both translated from Albanian, one Ph.D. dissertation by a student from Iran, a book about utopian urban planning in Europe and Central America by a professor from Portugal, and my current book by a professor in Australia on video piracy and online culture in her native China.
I love these projects because they give me a window on other countries and cultures and because armchair traveling is next best to the real thing. I would love to read books, fiction or non fiction, that have a significant sense of place. I live in New Orleans and find that books set here often use the city itself as a character. I’d like to read books like that, from any country at all.
New Orleans, LA
Ooohhhhh you are the best! I would love love love to take part in this, and that’s an understatement. I read mostly to take in culture different from mine own, and your project gives me a wonderful opportunity to read about other countries. I live in India, and the market is saturated with Indian and American reader. Would like to try something different.
Much love xx
Did anyone send you a book from France? I’m English but have lived in worked in the Pyrenees for a good while now…I’m lucky I can read in both French and English. It’s a shame a lot of French authors don’t make it across into the English language as many English language books go into French…book lovers here embrace all literature whatever the original language…I’ve discovered some world books in French that I’ve yet to see in English…I’m new to this thing so if no one sent you a French written book then I’d be happy to! I’d love to take part in your project! Andrew
Thanks Andrew. It was easy to find a book from France, so I didn’t need anyone to send me one (although you’re right that there are lots of great French books that don’t get translated into English). It’s kind of you to offer, though. Thanks!
Hi Ann! This is absolutely incredible, and I would love to be considered to receive a book. I live in Austin, Texas in the United States and as a high-school student I’m am also attempting to read the world at the current moment. I would love to read about any stories that you think show a great deal of character development, or have a strong main protagonist with an interesting perspective. I am still very much a developing reader, but as a student who wishes to go into English, it’s difficult because the current classics that are on the shelves are magical and beautiful, but also primarily written by white men.
Starting slowly with the current times, I would like to see that classic list that is recommended for prospective college students turning into a list full of diversity and inclusiveness, because that is what language should be.
I’m nothing special, but I blog myself @myreadanddream.blogspot.com, I am a Slytherin, I love dark chocolate and Les Miserables, and I would love to take part in this.
Thank you so much 🙂
How fun! I found this post because i am an insatiable reader and traveller. I love reading fiction from all over because it provides me the opportunity to see the world from a point of view i may not have previously considered. I find an author’s ability to share the the inner working of a character’s mind an incredible gift to the reader, as we learn so much about motivations and drivers, sensicle or not, and the effects events, actions, conversations may have on someone.
I have started reading fiction from countries i travel to, before i get there, to have the start of understanding of how people from that nation might see the world. Since I just booked a ticket to Greece for next month, I was searching for something from there! I’d love to receive a translation from you!
What a great project Ann and this sentiment about giving something back is really lovely!
Your new project is (again) inspired by your generous imagination. I have already read three of your recommendations—most recently Meruane’s ‘Seeing Red’. I would be especially interested in works from the smaller, less-well-known countries, those whose voices and cultures are decidedly off-center of the world stage.
I am myself a poet and literary critic. I have written two books of poetry: ‘Genealogies’ was published in April 2016. My first book of poetry is titled ‘My Gargantuan Desire’. I also have two chapbooks: ‘Propagandas’, and ‘Limits of Resurrection’. I am working on a manuscript titled ‘Medical Life’, which is book of creative non-fiction. My website is at: bradcrenshaw.me
I have worked as a neuropsychologist for many years in a New England tertiary care medical center, and in the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services. ‘Medical Life’ reflects my encounters with people who have had neurological insults of various sorts, and the problems that result.
Hi Ann, I love your project and world literature. Translated fiction always feels like a double opportunity: fiction always gives us space to explore the world from another person’s perspective but also the chance to view the world through the lens of a whole new culture. Your blog helps so many of us to do that better.
I would love to read any of your recommendations but especially from Eritrea. I recently started volunteering with the awesome Harbour Project, teaching English as a foreign language to asylum seekers and refugees. I taught a lesson which used paintings as discussion prompts. One of our guests was telling me about his home country and, being a muppet, I asked him about art there. He replied that there wasn’t much scope for artistic expression, given the political situation. I’d like to read some Eritrean fiction both to understand our friends a little better and also because it would be wonderful to know that art can still come out of such sadness.
Thanks again for the blog and the book. Mel
A little bit about myself – my mom died in a car accident when I was very young. My father was driving while intoxicated and lost control of the car. For my entire life, I have been learning how to cope with my story and even more so, learning how to embrace it. It has been a tough journey, but I have always found solace in reading and writing. I especially love to read memoirs, my favorite being The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. I enjoy reading about how others have found strength in who they are and how they use their story to help others write their own.
I have always excelled at reading and writing, but it wasn’t until high school that I realized I wanted to pursue a future in reading and writing. Since then, I was asked a question that has stuck with me even to this day – “What do you want to have accomplished 10 years from now?” I immediately knew my answer and that was to have written and published my own book.
I am really interested in nonprofit work because I really value the idea of dedicating my life to making the lives of others better. More specifically, I have a huge heart for children, especially those who have been forced to face tough challenges so early in life. I paired my passion for children and my passion for reading and writing with my professional aspirations and ended up working for my first nonprofit starting last January. I work for a nonprofit called Promising Pages. Promising Pages is an organization that works tirelessly to level the playing field for all children by helping them develop a love of reading. We understand that with reading, a child can do anything in this world. We collect books and distribute them to children all throughout the city, mainly in Title I schools, who may have never owned a book of their own until meeting us. We go into these school and host “Magic Book Parties” in which we encourage children to keep reading through our mascot, Erma the Bookworma. I could go on for hours about how much I love my job and how much of an impact we are making in the world of literacy in my city.
Ultimately, I have been truly inspired by your quest to read books from all over the world. In fact, I would love to embark on my own quest starting next year. I have a feeling 2017 is going to be a big year of transition for me as I graduate from college and figure out what my next chapter will be. As a part of this change in my life, I want to dive back into my one true love – reading. Even more than just reading, I want to become more aware of the different cultures of this world through reading books from across the globe. Perhaps this journey will be my first step to writing a book of my own.
If I am so fortunate to receive one of your “postcards,” I vow to you that I will respect the beauty of this journey while also learning so much more about myself and the world I live in.
I randomly stumbled across this and I just love it. When you mark your next month when you post your next book, would you ping me an email and I will send you a hat I knit as a thank you. ~Juls
How lovely – thanks Juls. I will take you up on that and be in touch when I send out the first book in January. (Btw, I edited your comment to remove your email address as I always take out people’s personal details from comments – I have it though.) Thanks again!
I was in London in Sept and it was unseasonably warm, but I suspect that it will soon (if it isn’t already) be cold enough for a hat for you in London or in your travels. Best, Juls
Reblogged this on Worth Getting in Bed For and commented:
Another favorite blog. Sign up to have a book sent to you as part of the Postcards from my bookshelf giveaway. Enjoy!
A great idea, and I love the idea of trying getting to know the writings and works of other cultures. Would love to be involved! Although next year I’m not entirely sure where I will be!
Hi Ann, I’ve been following your delightful blog since earlier this year when I Googled ‘African authors in English’. I discovered Chimamanda Adichie and read ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ and then set off to explore some of the others. I’m 70 years old but still remember vividly the fairy stories and folk tales I read when I was six or seven. Today is a short break from caring for my wife, who is terminally ill. I’ve not been able to settle to reading since we had the diagnosis in June but here are some of the books I enjoyed in the first half of this year. ‘Satin Island’ by Tom McCarthy, ‘Family Album’ by Penelope Lively, ‘On the Beach’ by Nevil Shute, ‘Evening’ by Susan Minot, ‘Vanity Fair’ by W M Thackeray, ‘Journey’ by Gheysika Adombire, ‘Brooklyn’ by Colm Tóibín, ‘The WhiteTiger’ by Aravind Adiga….I might just have a go at re-reading ‘Love and Empire’ by Erik Orsenna.
This is a lovely idea and so kind! I would love to take part, and I’m living in London now (as of one month) so I can save you on postage by picking the book up from somewhere convenient for you.
My name is Philippa and I’m a PhD student in social policy. My undergraduate degree was in French and Russian literature though, and reading fiction is still a big part of my life. I’d also like to do more literary translation and am working on a couple of things in that direction at the moment.
Given that I studied French and Russian literature for so long, I have a bit of a deformation in that direction and have been trying to diversify for a while. That said, I often find myself coming back to French and Russian-language stuff. So participating would be a nice way to try something totally new! I am particularly interested in central asia and the middle east, but really – anything is amazing.
As to what sort of things I like reading… It’s hard to say.. Perhaps the easiest way to answer is by mentioning what I’ve read since September: School for Fools by Sasha Sokolov, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, N-W by Zadie Smith, The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing, Immortality by Kundera, The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa, and Stone Dreams by Akram Aylisli. I think that’s all!
Thank you and happy reading 🙂
This is such an amazing idea!! I love reading posts like this it’s so inspiring 🙂 Would love to receive a book! I’m 25, a student from New Zealand and have only just started blogging here, although it was something i wanted to do for a long time! Best of luck xx
I’ve been following your blog since you were about halfway through your year of reading, and it’s definitely influenced what I read! Almost 2 years ago I got more involved with the ‘book’ community on instagram and youtube, and I’ve been using that platform to talk about translated literature whenever I can. This exploration of the world through books has led to actual exploration of the world, as 4 months ago I quit my job, and have spent the last 3 months traveling to different countries and seeking out their book-ish haunts and literary influences. I have at least 3 months and a dozen countries still to go on this journey before I return to Australia, but the hunt for windows into worlds other than my own will continue.
Receiving a book from you would be a delight, and a wonderful excuse to talk to my community about the importance of translated literature, the challenges for non-English speaking/writing writers and to encourage them to seek out books that will open up their world.
As for what I like reading, that’s a harder question. I love sci-fi and fantasy, especially if I can find it in translation, imagined worlds drw heavily on what we know best after all. But I also love stories about women, their lives, struggles, fears, hopes and loves. There is a connectedness in reading about someone whose context is so different to your own, and yet under it all we are just the same. Lastly, I also love stories which draw on local legends or myths, because those stories become gateways to learning about the history and identity of the writer and their people (as complex and ill-defined as that might be).
Hello! I only recently discovered your initial project of “reading the world”, it really was an amazing idea! I’m already going through your list, checking what I’ve read or like to read or like to dig up a bit 🙂
Sending books out to strangers sounds like another great idea, I’d really love to receive one!
As for me, well, I just turned forty and I’ve been wrapped up in books for the past twenty years or so. I translate prose and poetry from English, Spanish and, occassionaly, French into Greek. I haven’t read all nationalities really, but I dare say my favourite foreign authors and poets are usually French (Balzac, Camus), U.S. Americans (McCullers, Faulkner, Sexton), Mexicans (Fuentes), Colombians (Marquez), Irish (Joyce, Banville) and, curiously, some contemporary Austrians (Jelinek). Oh, and the Japanese, most particularly those who got their work published during the first half of the twentieth century (Mishima, Kawabata). Still, I haven’t read many Russians, Italians, Chinese, Africans or Canadians, so again, your list will be handy!
I’ve a love for the classics but I admit that what I pick to read every time has to do with the mood I’m into. At this time of my life, I wouldn’t go for Dostoyevsky or Emily Dickinson or even Kundera. I don’t know, I think I would go for a nice thick novel of a Turkish, Syrian or Egyptian writer. I live on a greek island and during these past two or three years, our life has been changing rapidly. War refugees keep arriving in Greece on a daily basis and I feel I should somehow get to know them a bit better. I don’t mean to get political or anything but my daily contact with people from Pakistan or Syria or Afganistan sometimes makes me think that the only thing I know about my new neighbours is the capital city of their country and, maybe, part of their cuisine. Well, writing this answer to your post got me thinking, so I guess that is something already 🙂
Other than that, I’m a cat lover, news-addict and hope to travel to Latin America one day!
Wish you all the best
Your blog has inspired me in many ways, it has helped me broaden my mind and my goals. I believe that wondering about the worlds narrative will keep on changing my way of perceiving everything around me. Thinking about all the stories that we dont know about, beacause of the lack of translations, has made me much more aware of the cultures I would like to understand. So Thank You very much for everything, and congratulations!!!
Hugs from Colombia 🙂
( I had already posted on your facebook entry, so I pasted it here :). More hugs!!)
You’re a great inspiration to many and even though I’m still quite limited with what I read, I want to expand and explore the literature of different countries. I myself am 24 years old and from Finland. I read almost everything in English, which makes it a bit harder to find books from local bookstores since they tend to sell mostly Finnish books.
I usually read fantasy and sci-fi but I also enjoy other genres, and if I were to receive a book, I’d love it if it was from an African or Asian country since those are most unfamiliar to me. I have read one book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and it was really interesting to get a glance into an unknown culture, so I’m hoping for more experiences like that in the future.
Sharing your books is a wonderful idea so whether I receive a book or not, I want to thank you for this project. I’d definitely want to pay it forward by sending the book further around the world once I’ve finished reading it.
All the best
This is a great idea. I already have a TBR pile as tall as myself so not asking for a book but thought I’d cheer you on anyway!
A friend has sent me a link from TED in which you shared “A Year of Reading the World Project”. I was just stunned.
My boyfriend and I are cycling around the world, started July this year from Vietnam. As a petite Vietnamese girl plus my nationality, not many people believe I can do it, I would say. That’s why I’m setting up a personal blog where I can share my experiences, feelings, activities, what I’ve been through, etc. with hope that I can change the conventional mindset of our people and even inspire young generation to go out and explore the world, no matter how much they fear of the unknown.
I admire your works and this project. I may send out a similar request to my facebook friends to see what happen. I am curious if knowing my situation, which book would you send me.
I have been reading your blog for a while and I just love it!
In my little French speaking town of Repentigny in Québec (near Montreal) I always feel like I have a British friend when I receive your newest post by email. Thanks!
Visiting Old Montreal with my children last summer, I found a little book shop, small and cosy, and I immediately tought about you… I took a picture, I could to send it to you if you like (I just don’t know how, I will try and find out 🙂 ).
I would sure love to receive any of the book you read during your quest since they all seemed great; Your reviews were all very interesting and I surely followed the links to the “samples” when it was possible. I like almost everything: Fantastic, Historical, Psychology…
I am in the process of reading “The world between two covers” and I will surely purchase “Beside Myself” next since I am the mother of twins (boys that are not identical but twins anyway!) and I really like the way you write. I have read another British author in the past (What have I done? by Amanda Prowse) and I can appreciate the difference between British and American writing which is more available (which, I have come to learn, is most unfortunate) to me living in North America.
Thank you for reading me even tought I do not write as well as you do :-). I am not saying this to pity myself, I just want to point out that reading you (as any good reading does, for anyone, in every language) is helping me improve myself (or so I hope! :-)))) ). And I really like the way you “promote” reading.
Have a nice day,
I’m a science student (actually at Selwyn College where you went in Cambridge!) and so reading gives me an opportunity to ‘escape’ the highly stressful world of essays, research papers and experimental reports. I was born in Oxford, lived in Africa and Vietnam, went to boarding school for a couple of years in the U.K. and now live in Oxford (full circle!) and go to uni in Cambridge. Travelling has really been a massive part of my life and part of it stems from the desire to actually see for myself all the places I’ve read about.
I absolutely adore Japanese novels and am in love with mythology from around the world – so receiving a book from anywhere would be amazing – I’m fascinated how different, and even how similar some cultures can be and how much this can really come across even in the style of fiction writing the authors from these different places produce.
I just want to say how fantastic it is what you’re doing, and wish you luck x
I just watched your TED talk!
I’m impressed and inspired by your project. What a fantastic idea! 🙂
A little about me?
I’m a rainbow-nation educator, musician, blogger, writer-in-the-making and avid reader from the sunny shores of South Africa! My passion is teaching and my goal is to get learners to READ so I’m always trying to encourage them…and always trying to devise ways to “hook” them. This is difficult because most kids are drawn to movies and don’t see the value and joy in reading. But I’ll soldier on!
I read widely and am always open to reading new authors.
I love the sound of your pay-the-kindness-forward-project and would appreciate ANY book that you send my way!
You are SO right in saying that the more people who get involved, the better reading the world can be.
Imagine the results if every reader considered incorporating this project into their bucket list? Even if it’s spread over two or three years? Imagine the global impact? We could set the world ON FIRE…literary fire! What an uplifting thought!
Thank you for making my day.
Writer In Transit
my name is Juliana, and I am a student of Publishing Studies. Your work has been an inspiration to me, and I religiously follow your blog. It makes me feel ever more blessed for choosing the path I did! When I saw your TED video I immediately had a look at my bookshelf and I realized it wasn’t multicultural at all! Not a good sign for someone that wishes to work in the publishing world. Since then I have been trying to change this. A million thanks for opening my eyes! I was amazed to find out you read and loved Paulina Chiziane, because she is an astonishing writer and represents Portuguese language marvelously!
I love your new idea as in fact I love all others you had before, and I would be thrilled to participate too! I am not very picky with books! The last one I read is called Depois de morrer aconteceram-me muitas coisas by Ricardo Adolfo, a Portuguese writer that I am just now discovering and already find to be spectacular! A book I highly recommend, by the way! I am mostly happy when I find out books like this: amazingly written, funny and dramatic at the same time, that conveys deep meaning, but not very well known. These are the books I like to call pearls! Those I feel proud to find out from a million of other books. But I am not picky, as I said before! To receive books, any kind of books, is both a joy and a blessing.
Thank you for making my day better and for volunteering to be our Santa Claus this Christmas! 🙂
This is such a beautiful idea. I loved that you were reading a book from every country, and I followed some of your experiences. I am currently working my way through all of the Newbery Award and Honor books. I am student teaching in second grade and have always loved children’s literature. I would love to try to read more children’s books written from all over the world, and I hope to one day share more of these with my students.
Wow, what a great way of paying it forward – I wish I had seen this post sooner, as I’m a long-time reader of your blog, and really enjoyed your book! I’m a huge reader of translated fiction, and actually started my own blog a while back to document reading (especially in translation): http://readingcities.tumblr.com/
Having lived in Turkey, I try to read as much Turkish fiction as possible – I’m actually trying to track down a copy of the Sema Kaygusuz collection that you recommended here in the States. I also love Greek fiction, but am always open to reading new voices of any kind.
Another inspiring idea! Watched your Ted talk and was moved by your incredible story. I am a ravenous reader of fiction and although from Scotland, I currently live in Kuala Lumpur. So it was great to hear someone from here sent you a couple of books. I would love to read something you would recommend. I absolutely adore books that are page-turners and that you cannot put down for a second. Love the blog x
Hopefully, this is the ‘leave a comment below’ spot. I’ve just finished reading the world. It has taken me 3 years and it has been an experience unparalleled in my reading, and thinking, life. Thank you, thank you for introducing me to so much. To be truthful, I haven’t words to describe the joy (even when the information gleaned is far from joyful) which this reading project has given me – not to mention pointing out, and hopefully rectifying (a bit) my ignorance of cultural values and customs as well as geography. You are a wonder.
Julie charlton (you might remember me from habs – maths and stats!)
Thanks Julie, that’s lovely to know. Ah, maths and stats – there’s a phrase that takes me back!
What a lovely opportunity! I would love a postcard from your bookshelf, particularly a short story collection. I rarely read short stories, so if I am selected, a collection from you would be a highlight of my year!
This sounds amazing – I did a university project on your book, Reading the World, in my final year of my undergraduate degree. Some of my main interests include postcolonial writing and identity politics, so in my project – which was a blog about the literary contemporaneity of your book – I was able to pick up on all the issues you covered and question the notion of the (L)iterary as a canon and how we define what does and doesn’t count as literature. So really, I would love to be a part of the project as it spans out and hopefully carry on writing about why we need to read more of the world, especially in its current political climate.
I don’t really have a favourite area of fiction – some of my favourite books, however, are: The Centre Cannot Hold by Elyn R Saks, The Icarus Girl, White is for Witching and Boy snow bird – all by Helen Oyeyemi, Oranges are not the only fruit and The Passion – by Jeanette Winterson, and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.
Much love! xoxo
Reblogged this on Just Fooling Around With Bee or The Bee Writes… and commented:
For all you book lovers out there 🙂 reading translated fiction is so important. It opens up the world to us. That is why I reactivate my #supporttranslatedfiction reading group on Goodreads in 2017. While researching books I want to use I stumbled over this post and feel it’s great. So please head over and pay Ann a visit. Thanks!
Hi Ann, my name is Bee and I am a bi-lingual blogger about poetry, life and the universe ;-). I have a book group on Goodreads which supports translated books (https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/104332-supporttranslatedbooks) but due to my bad mental health, I had to stop it for two years. I am reactivating it in 2017 and am already excited because I have found so many brilliant translated books.
I am from Germany so reading translated books has never been an issue for me. To be honest I am still astonished how the British reader seems to have a problem with it and I am in the country for over nine years :-).
Three years ago I stumbled over your blog via the readers day of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and I have been very inspired by your project. Actually, that was the reason for me starting the Goodreads group.
I would love to receive a book from you because it would enrich my reading, my life and my book group :-). Thank you very much and good luck with all your endeavours. Bee
Pingback: Introducing: #supporttranslatedbooks Goodreads Reading Group | Just Fooling Around With Bee or The Bee Writes...
That’s Something Cool! 😉
I saw your initiative mentioned in a local newspaper and I thought this is so much like ‘Around the World in 80 days’ but of course, with books ! How adventurous and pioneer-like ! In today’s world, what a wonderfully creative, honest, self-empowered way to break the monotony and offer something so uniquely valuable to the world, which is keeling under extreme experiences of disconnection. So, love what has come out of your 2012 October evening, and salute you for following your intuition.
I love reading children’s books because they present the world in a such a fresh way, with so much detail and insights that resonate with the mind of a child. Some of my favourite ones have been by Lauren St. John (Animal Healer series), Sonya Hartnett, Susan Perrow (healing stories).
I also enjoy reading include spiritual reality (stories from the Vedic and Upanishadic literature of India), fantasy science fiction (Ursula Le Guin), Zen and Buddhist stories which depict cogitation and cognition.
Been with you through this journey and would love to be in on the “postcards”….I’ve passed on many books to my community and our ocal library system. Happy Holidays and may 2017 be peaceful for everyone
I would love to receive a book from you. I live in rural Australia in a beef and quarter horse farm but I’m originally a city girl. I work as an accountant and I’m an avid reader. I like anything literary but not too heavy. I read a smattering of translated fiction. I would be most interested in reading some Arabic literature.
As a high school World Literature teacher, I am constantly on the lookout for new books and have loved your blog. Another colleague and I are faithful readers. I myself am looking for true pieces of World Literature, especially writers from places other than the US writing about their homeland and experiences to share with my students. I am a firm believer that reading other places gives us insight and empathy with others, challenging our beliefs, and making us see the world outside of our “safe” American lense. You have given me the inspiration to explore other cultures through outside writers not just Americanized versions, and I would love to continue to share these pieces with my students. We as educators need to present not just the pretty but the ugly. Thank you for sharing with me and my students!
Couple years ago a friend told me about your blog and since then I have kept thinking, what a nice challenge! I love the idea because I love to read about other cultures, to learn, to grow, be open minded. I for sure wants to start with reading of the world but not in one year. I fear that is not possible for me, I read about 80 books per year. And I fear that I will not be able to read books from all countries that might not be translated in Dutch or English.
And I also like to pass on the books. I cleared out over 100 books and gave it to free library. So I have space for new books 😉
I simply love what you do. I am an Indonesian student, currenly pursuing a bachelor degree in Communications in the country. One thing that can describe me might be the fact that I’m utterly in love with the written world—be it fiction, or non-fiction. It began when I was first introduced to journalism in my school’s student press, then worked in a publisher for a year. I just love how written words can speak to other people when you have no idea where they are, and affect them on various degrees. That’s why I love reading and writing, and aspires to be a writer and journalist one day.
This year, I had the privilege to travel to both US and UK, and I was thinking on some souvenirs I should bring from back home to the people I’ll meet. I started with the usual souvenirs people buy when they abroad—keychains, batiks, and food—but then I thought that those are not enough to tell people about my country. My home country is beautiful in many ways, especially its culture—and those small souvenirs simply cannot tell a story about it. And so, I started searching for Indonesian translated books to be brought abroad. I bring some for my American and British friends and professors, and gave it to them in hope that they will find my country beautiful with the same lens that I use.
However, even doing those were kind of hard. I worked in a publishing house before and know for a fact that each year, Indonesian publishers go to international book festivals to promote their writers and get the translated version published. Believe me, it is hard. Because of that, even I, an Indonesian through and through, found a hard time finding good translated books to be brought abroad. Most of them are either self published or very popular romance kinds of books. Don’t get me wrong, I love all kinds of books, but I just wished that I can have a good story that represents Indonesians with our culture and lenses rather than the ones adopting American modernized culture and don’t have any depths.
I would be very honored if I can get a book of your pick, and in turn find you a translated Indonesian book or even translate some for you myself. My collection so far has been from either Indonesia or English-speaking countries, meaning US and UK. It is one of my rituals to go to used book stores and buy as many books as I can while traveling. In my previous travel, I had one mid-sized suitcase exclusively for books I got from Waterstones and Capital Carboots. I simply can’t have enough of them!
Hi, Ann. I’m a passionate lover of Ted, which is how I heard about you in the first place. Your talk was so awesome, interesting and enlightening. I couldn’t believe that you achieved such a feat. The altruism you experienced from random people around the world has forever changed my mindset of kindness in the world. I would be forever grateful.
Now, why I would like to receive a book:
I’m from and reside in the city of Ibadan, in Nigeria. And I would love to cultivate a very good reading habit. I hope your book would be a starting point for me.
And also, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this, but this is one of my favourite TED talks so far. Adichie, an African writer shared her story on how, even most stories from her home country, contain excessive Western culture while forgetting their own. I’ve seen it in my country as well. It would be interesting if you can reference people on the books that are constructed on local values and culture of its people 😉
Yes, I refer to this talk often. It’s great!
I don’t remember how I learned about your Year. People who circumnavigate the globe or try to visit as many countries as they can fascinate me. I must have stumbled on your site because of the unique way you have traveled the world! I live in the big country of the U.S.A and it’s always fun to read about cultures in small countries. I also love science fiction. Of all the books you could have read for the US, you chose American Gods, which is sci-fi and a travel narrative and draws in elements of so many cultures. Wonderful! My reading of non-English sci-fi probably starts and stops with the Hugo winner The Three Body Problem. I have experienced Verne and Lem in movies but not books. There must be a whole world of sci-fi to sample. What have you read in the genre?
Hi Ann, that’s a lovely idea. I found your project last year and kept following your blog. I got curious to know how many nationalities I had read so far and discovered that Portugal has a small publishing market but a rich one! What it means is I had read around 18 nationalities at the time and all books were published in portuguese. Therefore I got excited and wanted to keep going to I convinced two friends to join me and in 2017 we will start the “World Book Tour” project (you can find our group on facebook, but unfortunately it’s in portuguese) and read a book from each nationality every month. It means we will have many books to read during the following years but that’s ok, it’s a project for life😉 I read almost everything, but prefer stories about families or important subjects, I also read historical fiction and many of my favorite books are included on that genre. Recently I discovered Ohrman Pamuk and I’m loving his writing style. Some of my favorite books are The Constant Gardener (John Le Carré), The Fall of Giants (Ken Follet), Memoirs of a Gueisha (Arthur Golden) but I also like funny books and with character. I think I would like to receive one of your books because I want to continue a similar project, and because I believe on the importance of sharing. I only keep my favorite books, the others I offer to friends or donate to my local library. It’s a way to share stories and books, and cut the exploration of some forests😉
Hi! I’m a librarian from Alaska. I wrote a blog about travel inspired by literature. I found your blog while trying to come up with a domain name not already taken. I think your project was a great idea! So far all the books on my to-read list will take me to various European countries, but I haven’t read much to put Africa, Asia, or South America on my travel bucket list. I’d love some inspiration to expand my travel comfort zone!
Your blog makes important titles accessible to me–as a teacher, my reading needs to be diverse and not so (as you also taught me a word “anglopomorphic”)–so, you are doing more than simply sharing books that you love. You’re enriching a lot of reading lives. I recently physically passed along a book recommended by you (What the Day Owes the Night)…
Hi Ann, The world become a different place if students were required to read a book from each country. In doing so, students would learn about family, customs and traditions in a medium that much easier to relate to than fact lists in textbooks. Most importantly, students would likely have more humanistic perspective of national events in that everyone regardless of their nationality wants the same basic things (ability to provide clean water, good food, and a safe and secure home to raise their family). I welcome the opportunity to be a recipient of one of your books. This year my library includes: One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment; Lilac Girls; Memoirs of a Geisha; Outcry; The Lizard Cage; The Sun Also Rises; The Forgotten Seamstress; Address Unknown; The Pearl that Broke its Shell. I am currently reading, Duma Key and my next book is The One Man. It would be an honor to read one of the translated works of your choice. Once read, I will share it with my daughter who’s a teacher.
I’d love a book! I think this idea is incredible and would like to help out in any way if I can. I’m a literary agent based in India and enjoy reading non-fiction books. Hope to hear from you. Happy New Year and all the best for a wonderful year ahead
I have been fascinated by your blog and the idea of it so much that I started on of my own but for my multi-language speaking country. The stories across the globe still mesmerize me and I am posting this comment just for the chance to receive a book from a country whose stories I have not read. 🙂 Happy New Year Ann.
I live in south Florida, USA. I LIKE READING. I think your blog and posts are vey informative and eye-opening. Thank you for sharing.
What a wonderful idea! Each year, starting January 1, I read at least as many books as the age I am turning this past year. In 2016 I read 39 books by authors of color. In 2017, my goal is to read 40 books from (and set in) 40 different countries. I was inspired by hearing about your journey on wood set to listened to earlier this year. I enjoy fiction, historical fiction, mystery, and new fiction centered around identity or family journeys.
Dear Ann, I dont know if you remember me, I am from Colombia and I wrote to you a quite long letter, sorry about that, about how much your A year of Reading the World and your blog in general has inspired me. You answered and I was extremely happy. I want to travel and learn about the world, I want to read it just like you did, I want to read my country Colombia and find what makes us similar and different. I would love to receive one of your books! It would mean a lot.
This is the second time I comment! 🙂
Lots of love from Colombia, even though right now I am travelling in Ecuador!
Dear Ann, I live in a small town on the coast of Maine, USA. I love The List. I am working my way through it…very…slowly…. At first, I chose countries by the layout on The List. Then I bought a map of the world and put a sticker on each country as I finished its book. That made a huge difference. For example, I noticed I was way up on African books, but way down on South American books, so I fixed that. I now jump around from continent-to-continent.
Sometimes, I get stuck on a particular author (I cannot rest until I have read all of Elena Ferrante’s books!). When I read a review of a book from somewhere I’m not, I check The List and circle it as a priority for down the road.
Finally, I am trying to cook a meal for my kids from each country as I finish its book. I am not a great cook, so this is almost as much work as reading the book. To the horror of my children, I play Pandora music from the particular country to add atmosphere!
Suffice to say, I am an uber fan. I am looking forward to reading your books this year. I think you have pulled off a remarkable achievement. Thank you!
I have always been an avid reader and I have always been drawn to literature from around the world. When people ask me what books (or countries to travel to) are on my bucket list, I often have trouble answering because it has been my experience that every place has something to teach you. There will always be “trendy” or hyped books – even works in translation that make the mainstream, but some of the books I have most enjoyed have been your recommendations that were nearly impossible to get my hands on and which had one (or even zero!) Amazon reviews. I went to Oman, UAE, Egypt and Sudan this year and loved “Moon Over Samarkind” and “The Palm House”, though there was virtually no information in the American press and they were a challenge to get my hands on through my library system! I would love to read a title from a small, under the radar country. Something that would be a bit off the beaten path. I thank you so much for this blog. It is such a gem!
A life of moving from place to place ensured that books became the touchstones, one of the rare constants, that I could always count on. I’ve been a voracious reader since I was young, and although a lot of my time these days is taken up by the books I read in university (I am reading history at a Canadian university, after growing up in the UK and Belgium) I find that my appetite for the written word has not abated.
The first ‘grown-up’ novel that I read, at ten years old, was The Fellowship of the Ring, followed by The Two Towers & Return of the King. I was captivated by Tolkien’s poetry and world-building. I read Louis de Bernieres’ Birds Without Wings at fifteen or sixteen and was incredibly moved by the lives and loves of these people on the edges of history. Jane Austen, Roald Dahl, and Isabel Allende have all been enormously important to my literary life as well. This summer, at twenty-three, I read the Aeneid for the first time & was bowled over by its confirmation of the continuity of the human experience – loss of family and homelands, the double-edged sword of forgiveness and vengeance, the “anger in the hearts of the gods,” the blurred line between choice and fate.
I have been following your blog for a while & have been challenged by it to read further and more deeply beyond the Western canon, but feel that I still have a long way to go in learning to listen to (and read!) the voices of those who are not white European men. If you could walk with me as I continue on that journey, I would greatly appreciate it!
Wow! What a fabulous idea. Thank you for opening the world of opportunity and ideas to many readers by sharing your journey with us. I just stumbled upon your blog today which makes me a day late and a dollar short (as usual).
I am an avid reader–even more so now that our children have become teenagers and able to look after themselves more. I read a bit of everything, but my newest challenges to myself are to read classics that I have missed reading (despite having majored in teaching English) and to add some adult reading to the young adult reading I do for my job (I teach fifth and sixth grade literacy intervention).
I searched your site to find the book you read about Ukraine and promptly ordered “Death and the Penguin”. After all, my only true life adventure out of the country was traveling to Odessa, Ukraine, and I have a ridiculously odd fascination with obituary writers.
Your idea to share a book each month is brilliant. There is no true reason why one might be chosen, but wouldn’t it make a fabulous afternoon in Arkansas if I were the lucky one?
I am looking forward to reading more of your work. Thank you for sharing your passion and journey with us.
I have just discovered your blog and realised how limited my reading is. Mostly fantasy, a little philosophy and non fiction birth and parenting writings as I’m an antenatal teacher. I would be honored to receive a book frim your shelves and will continue to indulge in your blog posts for inspiration to expand my own.
Greetings from Indonesia!
At the last week of December, I went to South America through The House of Paper by Carlos Maria Dominguez. Despite being very thin, the book inspired me to learn more about this world, to travel more through books. Thus my 2017 resolution, “Travelling Around the World Through Books”. I am going to start from Israel with Etgar Keret, by the way.
I was going to make a list of books that I want to read when I encounter your awesome project. I’d be so honoured if a postcard from your bookshelf could be part of my personal resolution.
“A book is a world, and those who do not read travel only one city.”
I am a Canadian mom to 4, student in translation, who reads just about anything and everything. I especially like to discover authors I would not usually be exposed to.
Hello! I’m Ada, I’m almost 20 years old, currently studying Hungarian Philology (yes, I do love difficult languages) and I’m from Poland. Found your website some time ago and you inspired me to read more book from around the world. It is truly eye-opening. My dream is to travel more, but I don’t always have a way to do so. I discovered that books (of course!) are a great source to get to know another cultures better. When I was younger I would read a lot of fantasy books, but now my desire is to discover the world I’m living in, not to escape it. Maybe not completely. I want to know how people from around the world think, what are their values, what makes them wanna dream bigger. I’ve read enough about weltschmerz in high school. 😉 I want to find hope and a purpose in life and I know that there is way more to discover that my own world.
Just realised hadn’t left support here! Sorry! Totally up for this and have already sent out a translated book to a friend. Getting a list together as we speak – a great idea and here’s to discovering and getting others to discover even more fantastic books in translation!
Ann, where do you get all those wonderful ideas?
I finally read your book, taking time to savor each word, really, and am working on my review. Your book is SO rich, so much more than I even expected (more details on that in my upcoming review). I do read every year a good amount of books in translation (plus some in original language, French mostly, 1 in Spanish this past year, as you can see in my crazy 2016 stats: https://wordsandpeace.com/2017/01/01/year-of-reading-2016-statistics/.
Actually, out of 95 books I read in 2016, only 50% were originally written in English.
Through my tour company, I encourage the reading of books translated form the French, already a beginning for some folks.
I would love something original in concept, a book playing with the language and words, see Ella Minnow Pea for a general idea. any genre is welcome except horror. Merci beaucoup!
I like be reading anything inspirational. I am a fan of books that cause growth in any area. I would love to expand my reading repertoire. To participate do I also need to send books? Do I return them once finished like a library?
No need to send books. This is a no-strings-attached gift.
Wow! Alright, I thought that the first venture was ambitious, but this one is even more spectacular! Right now, I’m on my own adventure to read the world by exploring stories from places that I don’t know very well. So far, I have read 2 books from East-Asia that are not necessarily translations, but I am on a roll. I would love to see where this goes. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us, Miss Morgan! You are truly inspirational.
Hi Ann, great idea sending books all over the world, hope the books will go to mainly who need them, who do not have much access to them. Your project and your book ¨A year of reading the world¨ has inspired me too, I have always tried to read about other countries but I became much more conscious about my choices and I started really reading from local authors. I believe writing and getting published is mainly limited to a very select elite around the world anyway. Will follow this project with great pleasure, please post updates, thank you…
I love this concept! What a wonderful way to share books with people.
My name is Julianne, I’m sixteen, and I’m currently doing my own “reading the world” challenge. I have a blog dedicated to it as well (www.aworldofwordsproject.wordpress.com) – yep, that was some shameless self promotion…
I think reading widely and diversely is incredibly important to being able to understand and appreciate other cultures. We’re living in a world that can seem divided, and being able to share with each other is one of the only things holding us all together.
For a long time I thought I knew what I liked to read, but now I’m not so sure. Even the nine books that I’ve read on my project so far have opened my eyes to new worlds of stories. I suppose I’ve decided that I like to read anything. What’s the point in having favourite genres when there are millions of new books waiting to be discovered, right? That being said, I will always lean towards fantasy and historical fiction. I LOVE short story collections too, probably because that’s what I gravitate towards writing.
AYORTW was the inspiration for my own project, and I often find myself going back to old favourite posts. For me, at least, it opened up a whole new way to read, and I’ve found so many favourites because of it.
Hi, this is a great idea. My name is Jorge and I read as much as it is possible. One of my favorite type of books are those in translation. It allows me to explore other ways of thinking and ideas. I am also fluent in Portuguese and I am able to read many Portuguese, Brazilian and other Portuguese speaking countries books. Additionally, I can also read in both Spanish and French. I have been following you for a long time and have been inspired by your comments and recommendations.
This is a great idea! I am thinking of doing my own version of this, but I won’t be able to fit it into just one year. I live in Victoria, Australia and I am 15 years old. I absolutely love reading. However, when I looked at my bookshelf, I saw a similar trend throughout my books, to what you saw when you looked at yours. I have now come to the conclusion, as you did, that I need to extend my range of reading.
To be given a copy of a translated book would be extremely helpful for this challenge, as the problem with spending money to buy all the books (as a lot won’t be available in my local libraries) is something that is playing on my mind.
Before starting this challenge I am writing a list of what books I will read for each country (which I am in the process of doing at the moment).
Also, do you have any tips or tricks that will help me with this challenge? Anything would be extremely helpful 🙂
I read about you and your book and I loved the idea, as a person who can’t travel “around the world definitely” but not even to neighboring countries as I come from Syria, and my passport is not fit enough for visas :), I was inspired by you reading the world,I worked as a translator (mainly with refugees) until I became one (not the best time to be a refugee in this word 🙂 ),I made it to Germany trying to start a new life, I enjoy reading all kinds of books, I would like to read something inspiring for a person in exile like me (exile physically and psychologically, on many levels), I mean going through this for me needs a lot of energy and strength, somehow I feel I lost the ground, maybe throughout your reading-the-world experience, you can suggest a book that could help
thanks for being such an inspiration to so many people
Dear Rasha, I came across your comment by accident and I thought this organization might interest you too: http://www.thereader.org.uk/
Maybe as an inspiration to start a reading group in Germany?
I’ve just started your challenge to read a book from every country (not in a year, though. I have a toddler. I’m giving myself more time than that.) I love the idea of getting to know different peoples through their literature!
I would love to receive a book – or just recommendations. I sometimes struggle to find books that aren’t overtly sexual – I’m okay with some sex, but nothing pornographic – and sometimes authors try to make their books “edgy” and only succeed in making them really awkward. Is this something I just have to get over? Is this a worldwide trend, or just something Americans do to try to look grown-up?
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I came across your ted talk late last year and decided to try and expand my reading. The main reason I decided to do this was because usually I read books about or by authors from the countries that I plan to travel to. These books always end up being my favourites and I love how much they expand my mind and give me an opportunity to learn about world history and culture that otherwise I would not have had access to. The main challenge I have found so far is being able to source these books. I live in rural/outback Australia and so these books cannot be sourced from the local library. Thank goodness for internet purchasing and e-books! However, obviously this does come at a cost and it normally takes about a month for physical books to arrive at my door after ordering them as they are usually shipped from the UK. Any book that you would be willing to send me would be treasured, however, I would especially love something that has had to be translated that cannot be found in ebook form that gives me a wonderful new understanding of a culture or country. Either way I will continue to expand my understanding of the world we live in, thanks for the idea and inspiration 🙂
There’s not much I can say to impress you in order to be chosen for this project 🙂 I’d genuinely consider myself beyond happy and lucky to receive a book of your choice. 🙂
This is what we really need: share knowledge and love. Thank you.
It’s great what you are doing. I love reading, as many of you, but I can’t tell you what I prefer now, because we change every time. I discovered, long time ago, that all books can teach you something. And all people too. When they arrive into your life, it’s the good moment to learn. And when I saw your blog for the first time, I understood that I need to change my readings. And I did. A good experience. Thank you for your idea. Jasmine
You inspired a friend of mine & I to create an online book club to read a book from every counrry in the world. Lovely journey so far!
I love reading sci fi & fantasy, but we let the group vote on which book to read so there’s a lot of variety. (I often end up reading 2 books from the country. The one which was voted on & a sci fi or fantasy one.)
I have followed your site for a few years now and have my book club choosing books from different countries to try and broaden our reading experiences. I have read a few books from your list (The Patience Stone, The Palace of Dreams, and The Sexual Life of an Islamist in Paris) and they were unlike anything I’ve ever read before, truly unique experiences.
I really enjoy reading psychological thrillers and anything that challenges the norm. I look forward to exploring your list more and reading new things!
I am currently and undergrad studying English Education, so I love everything that relates to books. While I did not follow your project in 2012, I found out about it about a year ago, and I’m so glad I did. Your quest inspired me to start reading more widely as well. Just since last summer I have been able to buy about 15 translated books through my local bookstore and have been able to find a few more through my library’s inter-library loan program. I printed off the list of books for each country that you have, and it’s really exciting when I find a title at the bookstore that I remember seeing from it.
Since starting this, I have found that I really like Eastern European literature. Two of my favorites are The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky and Steps Through the Mist by Zoran Zivkovic.
Thank you for inspiring others to read the world as well!
You’re such an inspiration Ann 🙂 I first read about your amazing feat in a Guardian article and ever since I’ve been on my own book voyage of sorts too,curating books from different countries and in diverse languages.At times when my resources don’t permit me (that’s because I’m a broke student) I simply pick up books from one of the numerous states of India (that’s where I live).It was a pleasure to see you discover Indian English literature 🙂 Thank you so much for this and your inspiring quest for books.Just came across this post 🙂
Recent years I have an inclination towards various religious experience, and tried my best to glance through some scriptures, be it from Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Taoism or such likes. Religion is fundamentally a question about the ultimate mystery, but as a mere mortal, I still have my unavoidable bias when choosing a book from this subject, so if you have come across some fantastic writings with not-so-mainstream religious concepts, please open my eyes to the wonder of this mystery.
Chew, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
I love this project! I have always said that if I could, I would love to spend quality time in every culture in the world. This is a great way to see into those different cultures and know that we are all the same, no matter where we ended up being born. I have eclectic taste: poetry, sci-fi, apocalyptic..I especially love reading books that show the day to day lives of other cultures so you feel yourself immersed in that culture. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!
This project is such a fantastic idea. I’m only 18 and I wish to travel and only recently I’ve realised that I don’t read diversely. I mostly tend to stay to the YA fantasy genre because I know that’s what I like. Recently I’ve just had this urge to travel (I can’t, I’m a student, I have 0 money) and so I realised I’d love to travel the world in books. I’ve always loved learning about the russian culture, Greek/Roman history as well as recently Polynesian culture (maybe because of Moana >.> ) To me reading is about immersing into a whole new world and experience, and so that’s why I love those cultures because they are nothing like how I live.
I love what you’re doing and I hope to achieve something like this in my life. Thank you for your inspiration.
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I love books! Always have, and I predict, always will! As a teacher, I love sharing books with learners. As a speech language pathologist, I love that books bring language, comprehension, problem solving and interactions alive. As a cognitive therapist, I love that books expand thinking, allowing readers to build mental pictures, add to their memory abilities, and see the perspective of others. As a member of the Think Equal program, I love books because the narrative is a powerful phenomenon, and we all have a story, which we share, and in our sharing of stories, a new story forms, a collective one, which can unite us. Books when shared, have the potential for connection, honoring our similarities, celebrating our diversity, and creating connections for a global society that fosters the betterment of all of us! Thank you for your work, as it is a powerful tool to expand our understanding of each other, as we learn to celebrate each other.
While I am writing this, I am at work and I’ve just watch your TED Talk about “A year of reading the world”, and I was like “I want this for a job!!!!” :). I love reading, I usually read 1-2 book on a month. Am I love to buy books. I am proud to say that my bookshelf is full with books that I bought in the last 10 years.
Why I enjoy reading? Maybe because when I read a book I tend to imagine the book, like a movie director. i use to get lost in the books I read and create a small world in my head.
Thank you very much for the inspiration you gave me to read more and more.
This is such an inspiring story! It is the dream for every book-lover, now I’m daydreaming of a sunny cafe terrace and a novel… instead of being in front of the computer. Thanks a lot for providing the list of local authors, as I’m often looking for authors outside the beaten path of the franco-english literature. Books are a incredible mean to travel and you just give us a worldwide plane ticket. I’m looking forward to embrace this journey, starting by reading more pieced written by writers from the Caribbean and Oceania, before moving to central Asia, as I’ve been searching for them since ages. The richness of our world, often set aside, is highlighted here.Thank you!!!
Hi! I stumbled onto your TED talk when watching another talk by the Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I immediately identified, as I both love reading and considered myself a cosmopolitan reader and then quickly realized that I read almost entirely English language books. Since I have family from Greece, I have read some books, mostly children’s books, from Greece (for Greek school) and in school, I have read books from France. I love reading all types of books, especially memoir, realistic fiction and fantasy. I’d love to receive a book from you as a first step towards reading books from other countries. I am currently unaware and unprepared to find translated books to read and I hope that I will expand my bookshelf.
I don’t remember how I found about your project, but I started my own Year of Reading the World January 2016 because I was fresh out of college and I didn’t have a job yet. I went alphabetically and I made it to Armenia, starting to read Armenian Golgotha. You can see my reviews of the books I finished on my personal blog: http://www.sarahmariefletcher.com. Unfortunately, I got a job as a writer in May of 2016 and had to postpone my project — I don’t have a ton of time to read and have to be really choosy about the books that take my time (I really like audio books for my drive). (And honestly Armenian Golgotha got me stuck.) However, as a lover of books, I never gave up on my dream of working in publishing. 1 week ago I found out I got accepted into the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford University! In August, I’ll be coming to England and then it’s on to NYC to land my dream job. One day I hope to finish Armenian Golgotha and complete every book on my list (that I made from your list). I learned so much from the 6 books I read and I admire you so much! I’m also looking forward to using public transportation again, because it gives me time to read a lot more than I’ve been able to lately.
I’m nineteen, from India. I do write, read and live with fiction. An Autodidact, Dropped out of School to support my family when I was 14 (Hated reality, not satisfied with that from childhood, even now (That is why I came into the world of books) but somehow making my own life, creative life). Working full time in a data company now, by learning whatever I love. Did so many different jobs. The language I do write is Tamil, with a 2000-year-old literary tradition. Learn from the world. Learn from the people who are here to share their knowledge. It will be an amazing and inspirational thing to receive that from you. I’m excited what that can be.
I’m South African, but I’m living in Beijing, China at the moment.
I really love the idea of a project like the one you tackled, and am actually considering a similar project for myself (but slightly different).
My favourite genres tend towards fantasy, action and adventure, but as long as the story is interesting, I really wouldn’t mind if it’s from a country that isn’t that well known.
I love languages and travelling, as well as being outdoors (and reading of course).
Thank you so much for giving me the idea of starting a similar project (which I’ve been thinking about for a while),
Hi again (from Someone),
I forgot to add some things:
My list of countries that I’ve read so far include England, Ireland, South Africa, USA, China, and Nigeria. The way I’m judging it is if the author is from that country, and the book is set in it.
For my variation I plan on not limiting the books to only English, but also any other languages that I can speak at the time ( I’m bilingual and currently learning more languages).
In order to advocate for my culture I will also recommend reading ‘Oom Schalk Lourens Stories’ by Herman Charles Bosman. It’s multiple short stories and is translated into English (this is if you’re interested in continuing to read around the world).
I decided to leave some comments. I got your story and project through tedtalks yesterday occasionally and then go to your blogs here, much inspiration!
The world reading day this year become a little different, each year’s world reading day, it is to read a kind of book list, but this year, it is good to know that somebody initiated such good project and would continue as later…, I will come here now and then!
I am Chinese woman girl , not writer. I think I am changing a little bit after I began to read books since 2013, not pretty much books I read, most of books I read is China Writer, some of them coming from US, Japan.
Thank you for sharing this good project, it provides more insight that everybody not to touch his own local but look up the sky…
Culture may be different, but reading, it is same…
Hey Ann! Just saw your recent post. My birthday is on May 15 so here I’m 😀
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Hi Ann! Thanks for the original inspiration from your TED talks video, it’s helped me to widen my reading habits, and generally to seek more opportunities to read books from other places. Your “one year” goal seems really impressive, though I have to admit I haven’t set myself a strict deadline for my own book blog journey around the globe.
You were talking about which high-profile person to send a book to and which book I’d send. Well, my immediate thoughts go towards a non-fictional book “Bad Pharma” by Ben Goldacre. I’d probably send it to the Secretary of State for Health. That perhaps sounds more political than I intend it to, but I think books can be a powerful way to prompt change and increase awareness.
I’ve got a new boost of motivation for my reading due to it being World Book Day. Really any book that you would be willing to send me would be like winning the lottery I reckon! Though I am currently particularly drawn towards South American authors.
Thanks again for sharing your ideas and inspiring others to learn more about the world we share 🙂
Hi Ann!! I was just blog walking and end up here. Your idea of postcard from your bookshelf really excites the bookworm side of me. I’m new here but I would really love to receive one of your books.
I’m stuck with my reading habits when I was stuck in a hospital for almost a year. Before that, I do love reading but I’m not too keen of having books yet. Until one day, during my boring days when I was bed ridden, there was this one volunteer group..they were foreigners. They approach me, and play a bit with me. They offer me two things, one of it is a story book. It was my first novel. Enid Blyton. Since then I learn that by reading books makes me leave the current world I’m in. I’m in love with the wide world inside books. I can travel anywhere I like. I love to read adventure books. As i grew up, my adventures cross to some heavy literature like Haruki Murakami’s. I’ve tried various genres, like science fiction and love stories.. but nothing beats the beauty of those flowery literature writings in adventure books. I’ve read dark books such as the series of “Flower in the Attic”. It’s dark, twisted and lots of dramas but the way the author spins the words makes me love it so much.
I’m just a normal girl from Malaysia. I love reading and treats it as my savior. I was 8 when I was bed ridden. But i fought off my sickness and live strongly till today. I take courage from the characters in the books I’ve read. I learn to be positive from them too. And now I’m in University learning engineering.
I’d love to see what kind of adventure books you have in your bookshelves that you can offer to me. Some that have a strong and unexpected endings. 😉 Or maybe you have something else to offer that will broadens more of my adventure world.
I hope you would choose me. Thank you for reading this Ann. ❤
I have watched your TED talk and I have realized how limited my reading is. I am a Chinese student who is about sixteen years old. I believe that if two people read the same book, there is a link between them. Everyone in the world is snowing , each with their own obscure and bright. I look forward to such obscure and bright. My cup is empty.
I’m Alistair, an Australian-Latvian living in Adelaide, South Australia. I have loved reading from a young age; Robin Klein’s ‘The Listmaker’ was the first book I saved up all my money to buy and once I read it, I realised reading was not only worth my time, but also my money!
I’m currently a history teacher and work as an Aboriginal Education Coordinator at my school – so culture is something I love learning about. Everyday, I work and learn about important aspects of Australia’s indigenous culture, and have began reading and listening to Indigenous stories and voices. Also being Latvian, I try and read as much as I can (both in English and in Latvian) about my culture, trying to discover the past and future of Latvia.
I try to read anything new, and something about people. Books about the lives of others interest me; their daily routines, cultural and social practices, and understanding why different people do and appreciate different things in their life. Recently, I have read ‘The Vegetarian’ by Han Kang, and ‘White Bird in a Blizzard’ by Laura Kasischke and have really enjoyed them both.
So, I’d love you to send me a book about people from somewhere else in the world. It doesn’t matter where, just a place that will let me get to know them, their country, and their lives. This project you’ve created is amazing, as just reading your blog inspires me to read more books from other countries (which I have actually started doing!).
Thanks so much 🙂 and happy reading!
A wonderful idea that supports a border less world and enables a world wide book club of sorts for those interested in all things literary! Chanced upon your project and am glad I did as it made me realize how biased I am in my reading habits. Thank you for unleashing the satiety center yet again towards unexplored horizons! All the best to you!
This is amazing, i saw your ted talk and i’ve just got into reading canadian literature though it’s not too dissimilar from all the british stuff i read. What an excellent idea, i can’t wait for a summer of reading your list before school begins!
I love accidental discoveries, and here is one. To confess (kindly do excuse my naivety) I didn’t know about you or your amazing project on reading books from every country or about your book, till i happened to read a piece about you in ‘Malayalam’ newspaper published in the small state of Kerala, lying in the southern tip of India. Then I googled about you, ransacked your blog, placed an order in Amazon etc etc.
Basically I love reading non-fiction, something on history and I have a traveller’s soul which yearns to visit the place have I read. In this ‘postcard’ thread where you have promised a book for a ‘lucky’ one, surprisingly I didn’t find an Indian name or to be more precise a Keralite. Trust me, we Keralities, are voracious readers (thanks to the 100% literacy of the state) who reads the best of world literature. You shouldn’t be surprised, if 4 out of 5 people you come across here, would have read Gabriel García Márquez.
Anyway, happy to know about you 🙂 I would like to borrow your idea, and try collecting one book from every state in India. We are a country of unity in diversity, you know 🙂
Will be extremely delighted if you decide to send a book, with your sign 😛 Looking forward to find a ‘surprise’ in my inbox at the earliest.
I discovered you only recently via your TED talk. I’m very glad I did! Your literary travels have inspired my own project, Planet Picture Book, where I explore the picture books of the world. I only set out a couple of months ago, but I have discovered so much already and am excited by what lies ahead.
Despite being immersed in world kid lit a lot of the time, I hope to have the opportunity to read some of your recommended finds, too.
Hello Planet Picture Book,
I would highly recommend the picture book “When We Were Alone,” written by David Alexander Robertson, and illustrated by Julie Flett. It tells the story of the Indian Residential Schools in Canada, a very difficult story, with grace.
Hello from Southern California!
About a year ago, I discovered your blog and read it with great interest. In fact, you inspired me to start my own reading-around-the-world journey. I had always considered myself well-read (I am an English teacher, after all), but after looking through my own library, I realized how Western-focused my shelves were. Your journey inspired my own.
Using your list, I began creating my own. I borrowed about half of your list, and then I got adventurous and started scouring other web sites and asking friends for recommendations. My list was still lacking, though, as several countries had nothing I could find, or no English translations. This did not stop me, though.
As I searched for books that would complete my list, I got into contact with the one author whose name kept coming up as being from Palau. I took a chance and emailed her, and not long after, I received a response! We corresponded, and she agreed to let me read an as-yet-unpublished manuscript in exchange for my editing skills. In short order, I was able to cross Palau off my list. It was, in fact, the first country in my reading-around-the-world journey!
Using leads that your blog post provided, I contacted the author of Angels of Mauritania. He, too, responded to my request in short order and I received an e-copy of his book. I’ve not yet gone to Africa in my journey. I am saving it for when I do.
So you can see I’ve been quite resourceful in gathering books, but there are three countries that I still have no titles translated in English, and I am hoping you can help me. They are countries with which you yourself had some challenges: Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome & Principe, and Tuvalu.
I am a fan of many different kinds of literature, so the content of the books don’t matter so much to me. In fact, I’ve been enjoying my journey through the Middle East because these stories give me new perspectives that I’ve not otherwise been exposed to. My challenge has been in the rules I set for myself for my reading-around-the-world journey: Books have to be fiction from the last 30 years (though I broke this rule with one country and went back 40 years). Can you help me complete my book list?
Thank you for your inspiration, Ann. I look forward to hearing from you!
I just listened to your Ted talk and am delighted to see it inspiring myself and others to read more widely around the literature of the world. Your project dovetails nicely with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk The Danger of Single Story, where she warns that having only a single story of a people or a place leads to stereotyping, and the problem with stereotyping is “not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” She goes on to state: “Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity,” and I think your project of encouraging others to read stories from all over the world written by and about people who are often presented to those of us in the West only as stereotypes is a good part of the work we need to do to recognize the dignity of others and transform our own understandings, as you spoke to in your talk.
I love to travel from my home in Canada and try to find a local bookshop (and someone who speaks English who works there) to recommend books from their part of the world to me, which they are always happy to do. During my undergraduate in English Literature I took a World Lit class, and I remember reading a story translated from the Japanese (the name of the story and the author completely escape me at the moment, I would have to look it up in my anthology, which is currently packed away in a box. Apologies!) that so completely altered the way my mind worked and how I saw things that it was almost an out of body experience when I finally emerged from finishing the story. How I understood the world, how I saw it and interacted with it, was very different for a day or two while that book was absorbed into my system. That experience profoundly unsettled me, and was a wonderful gift that I cherish. Your project is just the encouragement I needed to remember to seek out more books from other countries here from home, without the excuse of travel. I would love to receive a book from you, and wish you well as you continue to invest your energies into the mysteries and pleasures of wrestling with words!
(Forgive me if this comment appears twice, the first time I tried posting it it didn’t seem to work?)
The Japanese novel I referred to is “Snow Country,” by Yasunari Kawabata.
I recently came across this project of yours and gladly took it up. I’m currently on my book no. 4(The circle of Karma, Bhutan) and taking recommendations from your list and other people. Just the 4 of these books have given me so much perspective, I just wonder how much we could gain if we were able to read the world through books.
There are books from so many countries which are not readily available in all the countries. It’d be great if I could receive one of those.
And, thanks for all the inspiration you have been providing to the readers across the world. 🙂
Hi there! This is Linda from Nanchang, China. It is absolutely by chance that I watched your address on Ted. I was looking for material for my new students. I spotted yours and decided that I’ve got it. The lesson will be on this Saturday. Hope I will update the massage by then.
Great – thanks Leeqi. I hope the lesson goes well!
Hi there!This is Harry from Fuzhou,China. Well,today i saw the radio about your speech in Lee’s lesson.I think your pronunciation is really good and you were confident.Although I’m just a student,my English is just so so.But I really wish you can reach your goal（I don’t know if you have finished it,because I can’t understand your article well.）And Miss Lee’s class was very great.
Thanks Harry. Your English is very good. Good luck with your studies!
My name is Edna I am a 25 year old portuguese girl and I came across your TedX talk last year while I was searching for books about Latvia.
I have lived in Latvia this past year and I am now back in Portugal. I have travelled around some european countries always trying to find books by local authors but sometimes it gets really hard. Specially for me because I always try to find female writers.
I have found in Italy and in Czech Republic and I brought them home with me.
Since a young age I was loving books. They always made a big statement in my life. My mother told me that she passed me this passion because she lived with difficulties and she never had the money to have books. The only time she received one she read it so many times that the book started to felt apart.
She didn’t travelled much too so I come across this idea because you inspired me so much with this blog and I was coming here for inspiration in your list of books: I decided I would try to read the world too. But in a different way: try to only get books from libraries, from kindness of people or second hand and only trying to read female authors. After reading them I will pass them to my mother so she can travel the world even if it’s only in words.
I started and on my blog they are a couple of reviews already (theroadtoiceland.blogspot.com) but there are some countries really hard. This is a hard job that I am really enjoying anyway!
So I am leaving this comment in order to see if you can help me with recommendations or even a book as a postcard 🙂
I have good access to portuguese, french, spanish, african, british english, american, (south american countries) and brazilian books easily on my library but the other countries are coming a bit harder. I am not picky so any kind of help you can give me it will be such a kindness.
Thank you so much.
Hi Ann! I’m an undergraduate student who spent 5 months living in France and am now in Thailand for 7 months. I’ve been working my way through your list of books, and reading some of them in the original French. I would like to read a book that might inspire me in choosing my next country of residence!
I am a just starting my graduate studies in English language and literature and an undergraduate degree in Italian language and literature. As I am from Poland, I can ready in few languages now. I am also starting in the field of translation, so it was most inspiring to listen to your talk on TED about the availability of translated books in the UK. In Poland most translated books on our market come from English speaking countries. I intend to follow your example and embark on the journey through the world literature. However, I am sensing troubles already – I just made myself a list of books from Asia and I can see that I will have hard time finding them in my local libraries, or even ebook stores.
All the best,
Hi Anne, my name is Kerry and I have a little second hand bookshop in Strathalbyn, South Australia. I write a blog here, not about books so much as about reading and about the people who visit me and how and why they read. I have just read about your brilliant project. Your comments regarding the power that stories have to connect us are very inspiring and very profound. I want to tell the visitors to my shop about your mission and I want to take part in it in some small way…I love to read all literature, but particularly books by women. Books by women in translation, seem to me to be something the world needs badly at the moment. Thank you
Hi Anne, some years ago when I was a high school teacher librarian, I organised a display where we clustered tables into continents and New Zealand (amazing material comes from New Zealand), and I had the students sort on place of publication. Very revealing. Very different. Lots of oooh and ahhhs. More school libraries should do it. Jan in Sydney.
Hello Anne, I found your project from the WordPress ‘Discover’ site. It sounds amazing and I am humbled by the connections you have made with others from all over the world. My own blog strives to link readers to books as my small team and myself review many books from a wide range of genres. We particularly support indie writers.
I enjoy books where I learn about the indigenous people of the world and how they respect and live with nature through their spiritual practices. I think there is much for us to learn from the ancestors.
I would be very pleased if you have any recommendations from your reading project. Thank you.
Good morning (in Arizona, USA) Ann!
This sounds like such an amazing idea! I’ve only been writing on WP for a few months, but I’m trying to get more connected to the community here, and this would be a great way to start!
My name is December, I live in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, and I can be summed up as a person with many interests that are nothing alike, but I’m willing to try all of them. Finding your place in the world is hard sometimes, so I hear. I’m working as a civil engineer with a part time job as a barista at a coffee shop and another flying drones for construction and real estate photography. I’m also a musician working on several projects both in Los Angeles, CA and here in AZ. I’m originally from Detroit, MI, and have moved around so much that I am beginning to enjoy it. I’m beginning to wonder if it even makes sense to decide on staying in one place for more than a few years at a time. I love people which is why the whole civil engineering + barista thing (you don’t talk much as an engineer sitting in a cubicle all day), as well as assimilating to new places and communities.
My favorite book is “Ireland” by Frank Delaney because it reads like someone telling a story, and Frank has a way of writing that makes you think the narrator is sitting in your living room with you, reciting the tale. I also love Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and The Hunger Games series. I enjoy how the details make the stories all the more impactful, but they’re also easy to miss.
I am working on writing a few books, and have used WP to practice creative writing daily, sometimes adding to my stories, and other times simply responding to the one-word daily prompts.
I appreciate you taking the time to bring together a community of writers and readers through this project, thank you 🙂
I am Ufuoma from Nigeria. I got to read about your reading journey about 2 years ago and I was inspired. I am a mom who loves to sow seeds of hope, faith and love through my words and life.
I love reading inspirational books especially books about Motherhood. I also like reading novels. I have read a little bit of African Literature and I want to start reading more of literature to help develop my writing skills.
Getting a book from you means being a part of your journey. It will also give me a peek into other people’s cultures and worldview through their own stories.
I think this is a brilliant idea! I love that you’re doing it! My name is Kelsey Owen (blogging as bookishbiche) and I live in Kansas City, MO. I’m brand new to Word Press, just joined yesterday. I LOVE to read anything and everything.
Hi Ann! I’m really hoping that I could take part in this fun adventure of yours!
I’m Cheche and I’m from one of the distant provinces here in the Philipppines! I’m 25 and diagnosed with leukemia last year. Thankfully, I’m now in remission but still under maintenance treatment. Before, I have always wanted to read books that are not related to school or medical stuffs (I graduated with a degree in Medical Technology) but didn’t had enough motivation to do so and ended up reading very very few ones only. Then came my diagnosis that made me stay in my bed and at home for most of my days. It was then I finally did the thing I’ve always wanted to do – read. But mostly as a distraction from depression or a time- killer. I was surprised to find myself able to finish a book in just one day! I know this is pretty much nothing for you guys who are bookworms but I have never done that before, especially that I was on weekly chemo at that time. I discovered how much I truly love reading. And now I have my blog which has been up for a few months now. I write about my experiences and also tried one daily prompt by WordPress out of desperation. Hahah! I don’t write fast and don’t publish in a daily or weekly basis. I learned that I am able to write better if I read more. I dig up the right inspiration to start a blog after reading stories of other cancer survivors as well. I admit I’m sort of running out of motivation again and I kind of beat myself up for this since I have only started writing for just a few months. It hasn’t even been a year and I can’t seem to find the words now.
Anyways, every time I go to the bigger city, I always try to find time to drop by at Booksale to rummage through some quality second hand books from US, Canada and other places in the world at very cheap prices. For months now, I haven’t been reading a book, physically, as I find myself enjoying the blogs and Long reads from WordPress. But I am really looking forward to getting myself smelling the pages of a book again! I’ll be going to the big city probably by the end of this month for a procedure and I’ll make sure to buy books good for 2 or 3 months. I like reading inspirational books, fiction or non-fiction, real stories of survival of whatever kinds of adversities. Also I would like to read books about cancer, healthy eating, lifestyle and healing.
Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity to share with you how reading made do something I have never thought I would ever do in my lifetime. And THANK YOU too for your utmost love for reading!
Hi Ann! You are doing such a wonderful thing here!
I’m a 62-year-old mother of six cats and one dog. I live in the Washington, D.C. area, and I ride the Metro to work, so I have lots of time for reading during my commute. I typically read nonfiction books… mainly history and books about how we think and process information. However, when I find a novel that I really love, I read through it really fast and wish it would never end! My all-time favorite novel is The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I’m currently reading Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown. The thing that surprises me the most about that book is its timeliness… It really speaks to the way things are in the world today, and how disconnected we’ve all become in our various echo chambers.
At any rate, I would love for you to choose a book for me to read.
Thank you for doing this! // Andrea =^..^=
Hello, Ms. Anne! Good day! I firmly believe that the universe tonight had helped me stumbled on your site and inspired me to join in your wonderful community.
I’m Joy from Philippines, and I’m officially entering my quarter life on the 25th of this beautiful month of October. Reading novels is one of my favorite pastime. Some of the authors that I really admire are Danielle Steel, Sophia Kinsela, Paulo Coelho and Mitch Albom.
I would be so glad to receive a book from you!! I hope I could also be part of your chosen ones 🙂 *birthday & beginner’s luck wishing*
Thank you for this helpful idea and for giving us opportunity to receive a wonderful present from you.
I’m a sophomore in college, and an avid-reader. I grew up in the Bronx, NY and as an introvert in a loud world AKA New York City, reading was my escape from the chaos and a way that I could truly feel comfortable and at home. Reading has allowed me to understand the world around me, and has helped me maintain my humanity and love for other human beings + their stories. I like exploring all book genres, but my favorite genres of writing are poetry + magical realism – think Haruki Murakami and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I would love to receive a book from you because I just recently learned about your project, and book, and would love to learn more about your career and your experience with this on-going project. It’s something I’m greatly interested in!
Hi, Ann! You have, though simple, a really beautiful name. I love it.
(My apologies for my possibles mistakes below, my mother tonge is spanish and yet is a little hard to me writing in english and other languages; tips and corrections will be welcomed).
My name is Eduardo Blanco. I’m from Venezuela. I’m philosophy student, volunteer firefighter, a books, writing & reading lover, and aspiring writer; I love reading books of poetry, philosophy and the greats classics of world’s & latinoamerican literature, in those languages that I know enough at least to read in untill now (english, italian, french, and soon german). My favorites books and subjects are those that treat about the human nature and condition, the time, the death, love, creativty, and human improving from pain and anguish. My favorites writers, philosophers and poets are Julio Borges, Julio Cortazar, Roberto Bolaño, Mario Benedetti, Dostoyevski, Umberto Eco, Camus, Mallarme, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Nietzsche, Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, Plato (I could keep typing names until tomorrow, lol)… I recomend to you every one of them, even more the first and the second one.
Your project and your blog seems wonderful to me. Really interesting things!
Oh, wow! I’m finding you late in the project! I love this idea.
I am Swapna Gardner, a teacher in Texas. I work at a PBL-based STEAM (STEM + Arts) school. Most of my students come to my school because they are interested in STEM careers, so many of them are not interested in literature. I have experimented with different approaches to literature for the last 3 school years. This year, my project is to share a book talk with them every day and give them ten minutes to read every day. There have been a few days when I have to sacrifice that time, but on the whole, I have been pretty strict about sticking to my goal. It’s working out pretty well so far this year. I would love to participate in your new project because it would give me another title to share with my kids, as well as an opportunity to show them your amazing reading project! I love reading literary works with a writing style that feels fluid. My favorite writer is Jhumpa Lahiri. I have loved reading Anthony Doerr, Donna Tartt, and Elizabeth Strout. My students love young adult fiction and historical fiction. Many of them enjoy sci-fi and fantasy. The best book that I’ve read lately that combines both my students’ interests and mine is The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. I would love it if you’ve got something that would interest my students!
Just found this project – what a fantastic idea! I might have to embark on something similar myself at some point, this year I’ve been making an effort to read more diverse authors but my shelves are still biased to white western women! I’d love to receive a book, what a generous plan. I’m pretty open, I like a lot of types of fiction and memoirs, particularly ones that are a bit quirky (e.g. magical realism) in a heartwarming kind of way. The only thing I don’t read is horror.
All time fiction favourites: Unless by Carol Shields, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and anything by Aimee Bender.
Recent fiction favourites: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Memoir/Non-fiction favourites: The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla (ed.); The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls; Hunger by Roxane Gay; When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
That’s probably way more than you need but there we are!
Hello! I am new to WordPress and stumbled upon your project. I find your journey and story to be amazing and awe-inspiring at the same time. To me, books are a way to travel to different time periods, places, and even backgrounds. As someone who is fond of traveling and experiencing different cultures, I find that reading is another escape in which we can do just this. By reading books from other countries you learn so much about their people, heritage, customs, fears, hopes, etc. When I read I love to read historical fiction. I love the way that real life events are presented in a fictional story line that allows you to connect with the characters and author in such a raw way. I would love to be picked to be sent a book. However, even if I’m not, your story and blog have inspired me to begin my own journey of reading and seeing the world. Thank you.
P.S. – my name is Kersey Kelly. I live in Colorado, USA. I’m about to move to Suffolk England. I graduated college with a degree in Spanish.
This project is inspiring and magical! I love to read fantasy novels, realistic fiction, and crime novels — some of my favourite books are Harry Potter, The Gargoyle (by Andrew Davidson), and Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander series. I stumbled upon this project through your TED talk and now I’m making plans to try to read through some of your list in the new year! That being said, I also have made it a goal recently to be more conscious in general of the diversity of authors I’m reading; most of the authors whose books are on my shelves are mostly white and North American/European as well (maybe that’s why this project struck me?), and as an aspiring teacher of literature I think it’s important that I diversify my personal library. I would love to receive a book suggestion from you if chosen!
I have just received my degree as a translator and interpreter (English and French) in Hungary. Currently I am in love with Irish literature as I have spent a weekend in Dublin with my best travelpals. 🙂
I always loved to read any kind of literature, but I was a university student when I fell in love with postcolonial literature. Since then I drive my relatives crazy by endlessly talking about books written about random foreign countries and by forgotten writers. And I think that is the main reason I like the idea of your challenge. You may not have the means to travel to or live in all the countries of the world, but through books, you wil be able to look into the lives and feelings of people living in a given place. You can step into their shoes, feel what they feel (let it be joy or sorrow), and have a glimpse about the world the way they perceive it. And when it comes to countires and people whose stories haven’t been told that many times, the experience of reading enriches you in an unimaginable way.
Besides, I also like to read historical books, biographies, fantasy, and science fiction. The subject of my BA thesis was dystopia in modern literature — and I think dystopias will always dwell a special place in my heart.
Even if I don’t win, it was nice to share my thoughts with somebody who seems to be that (and even more) enthusiastic about other cultures as me. 🙂 But if I won, I think I would be more than thrilled to have a book from some country whose novels are usually not part of the mainstream literary canon. (…and/or a dystopia…)
Anna from Hungary
P.S. The Paul Street Boys is one of my favourite books, I am glad that it is on your list… 🙂
P.S.2. If you have any access to the books of Szabó Magda, I would recommend you to read some of her works, because she is so painfully awesome I cannot describe.
My name is Maria and I’m writing from the island of Corfu. Moving here two years ago to start my translation studies, I had never thought that I would fall in love with this place! I recently started a blog to write about my travels and passions. That’s how I came across to this blog of yours. I think that what you do is really inspiring and unique. Linking traveling with reading literature sounds like a dreamy poetic job almost everyone would love doing. What intrigues me the most is how this idea of yours to read so many books from all over the world has shaped your inner self. I’d love to read about how this great selection of readings changed you in a way because I’m sure it did… So now about me… I fancy reading stories of romance about people who have found their passions and love what they’re doing. I believe that this world needs more passionate and enthusiastic people who regardless of what life brings to them remain strong and dedicated to what they love the most. I wish I’m lucky enough to receive a book from you! Can’t even imagine how exciting that would be.
OK, enough with daydreaming… I’m going back to translating…
I started to follow your blog after running into your TED talk. Your project is more than amazing, it is a treasure for the whole world´s reader.
And I totally understand you. I am Chinese business professional who lived in China, Australia and Chile (currently). Thanks to my languages skills I could read a little bit of literature of each language from different countries. The more I read, the more realise how big the literature world is and how tiny we are.
Apart from rading, I also do sports, cook a lot. I love this beautiful and crazy world, especially cats and greats minds. After trying all genres of books I wouls say my favourite is magical realism (btw I do recommend a book from a Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by the Chinese-born British writer Jung Chang, technically this may not be magical realism). I have put all these books in my reading list anyway; however, if I could get a book from you it truly is a honour and will remind me of the beauty of this great project, of world humanity.
What a great idea, this is going to be my goal for 2018.
I got to know your story from Ted Talks and I’d love very much to receive a book from you!
I am a passionate 16-year-old reader and in regards to favorites, I would love to experiment with new genres and find out new ways of thinking and of seeing the world, new cultures and traditions. I don’t particularly enjoy romances or YA books and find myself enjoying mysteries, comedies, and autobiographies as well as the classics. I’m from Italy and I was hoping you could suggest some books you found absolutely incredible. My favorite book is “The shadow of the wind” by Carlo Ruiz Zafòn.
I hope that you’ll at least see this post because I admire you a lot and would go absolutely crazy over any book advice from you. You inspired me to look for the words of people far away and to see the world with different eyes.
What a wonderful idea! I enjoy reading books from other countries. I have lived in three countries myself and speak fluent Mandarin and English. My taste is pretty general, from My Brilliant Friend to Norweigian Woods to Master Harold…and the boys. But my all time favorite has to be One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
I just discovered you and your site through the TED Radio Hour program in which you were featured. I’m moved and inspired by your idea and quest. I’m an avid reader (two book groups) and writer (journalism, PR, marketing) and love historical fiction and nonfiction. Thanks so much for offering to send a book. I look forward to continuing to follow you and to read beyond my world. Best wishes,
I have a complete stranger to thank for introducing me to your project – well, she was then! On a group holiday in Nepal I met a fan of yours – Pri Barthan – who was reading her 26th novel. I believe you sent her a couple of rare translations to support her efforts. I was an instant convert, as were 3 other women in the group. It’s great – we share ideas, egg each other on – and I’m now on country 14! In 2 months. To give that some context, last year I read two, maybe three books. I’ve developed horrendous floaters and peering through the morass of dots and squiggles was tiresome and tiring. But now I’m back! And I have you to thank. As an ex English graduate (BA and MA) I was really missing reading. So, a heartfelt thank you. And to my friend, Pri, for the introduction. I’m currently reading Herta Muller’s ‘The Fox was Ever the Hunter’ (Romania). I’m trying to read half female and half male writers, as woman writers are so under-translated. Shame on you, publishers! But with the more obscure countries that’s proving problematic. Enjoying the process of trying to find them though. Jude
How lovely- thanks Jude!
I found out about you several months ago, just after my 14th birthday when I was watching TED. And you can’t imagine how happy I was to get to know about your project at that age and because you inspired me so much that I immediately wanted to remake my reading habits. Before your project I haven’t even thought that all around the world there are so many interesting authors and books because I mostly read only American, English and Russian clasissics. And it’s also a great ambition for myself to learn English even harder because if it was difficult to find some books in English, can you imagine how difficult it is to find them in Russian?! That’s why I started to read more in English. Best wishes, Veronika.
P. S. Sorry for my English in advance.
Thanks Veronika! And your English is great, by the way.
Hello I hope you’re fine.
I’m Fatemeh Rezaei and I’m Iranian I’m 17 year’s old.
Your work s truly admired.
I started reading books a years ago and during this time I often read Iranian books
But I would love to read foreign books too.
I would be glad if this book was introduced by you or from you.
Be happy and victorious
Hi, I am Akanksha from India.
Today I finished a book by Leo Tolstoy. I love exploring different cultures through different mediums such as books/ television series/movies . And I have this same feeling every time I finish watching or reading, that no matter the story belongs to which part of the world, I can relate to all the characters , all the ideas, all the struggles and all the emotions portrayed.
And I am still curious whether its true for stories from all parts of the world and decided to read books set in different parts of the world that truly give a glimpse of the culture its based in. (This is how I came across your blog)
If you have come across books like that, please recommend .
So far, I have managed to get a glimpse of America , Britain, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Japan.
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Hi, I heard you on Radio 4 this morning and found your insights refreshing and well-presented. I’m a bit of a completist too, having visited every ski resort in Switzerland (other than those without lifts, or only surface lifts) and documented that at https://swisswintersports.co.uk, and mid-way through trying to drive through every US state (https://oatridge.com/america). I say mid-way, the remaining half dozen of the contiguous states will have to wait until my next visit in Covid-free times. But you got me thinking about reading a novel written by an author from, or – possibly better – and also set in, every US state, in a year. It would be a leisurely book a week, with a couple of weeks available to catch up. You (or your followers) don’t happen to have a suggested reading list?
Intriguing idea- let me ask around and see!
Hi Ann! My name is Izze and I am a first-year student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in the capital city of Nebraska, USA. I am a Communications Studies Major and Global Leadership minor. I am taking a Cultural Anthropology class this semester and I was assigned to watch your TED talk from London in 2015! My professor loves your project and your world curiosity. So she decided to create a project for all of us students using your year of reading the world! We are assigned to pick just 1 ethnography to read this semester and create a video blog or podcast about the book. I am so excited to start this project and pick my ethnography. I can’t wait to learn more about other cultures around the world and dive into my life long journey of worldly exploration, not only through travel but by word on paper!
Love this project and I appreciate you sharing your year of reading the world and other reading experiences with everyone to enjoy and learn from! Thank you!
Thanks Izze. What a lovely message. Good luck with your studies and say hi to your professor from me!
Hi Ann, thank you for giving the world the chance to open their mind to others and to the world. I loved this idea and hopefully if not too late I would love to receive a book from your choice. I am curious about other cultures so I give you my trust to chose one for me if I am lucky!Saida
Thanks Saida. I’m afraid this project is four years old now, so it is finished. But thanks for your interest!