*Giveaway now closed*
It’s out! The shiny, new, paperback edition of Reading the World: How I Read a Book from Every Country (featuring a new foreword and numerous updates) is officially available from today.
To celebrate, I have five signed copies (which I will personalise) to send anywhere in the world. For readers outside the UK and Commonwealth, this is a rare opportunity to get your hands on this latest version, as it is not available to buy where you are.
All you have to do to put yourself in the running for a copy is recommend me a book in the comments below. The offer is open until 31 October 2022 and I will contact the winners after that date.
Ooh, and if you need convincing about whether you’d be interested in Reading the World, there’s a recording of me reading an extract from it below. This describes the moment in late 2011 that started this project off, when I realised how narrow my reading habits had been and decided to spend 2012 trying to put that right…
*Giveaway now closed*
Lovely idea! I recommend Sovetica by Caroline Clark: a lovely collection of poetry and photos documenting her partner’s life growing up in the Soviet Union. Short, sweet and incredibly evocative.
I am an English teacher in Brazil and I got to know your amazing journey through the textbook by Cengage Learning that I used to use to teach a few students.
I would like to recommend you a collection of short stories by Brazilian author Lygia Fagundes Telles titled Before the Green Ball.
Hope you enjoy it!
I recommend The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (Japan). His description of being stuck down a well is so vivid that I feel like I lived that experience. I also recommend We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (Mozambique). It’s a beautiful coming-of-age story set initially in Zimbabwe and follows the protagonist as she emigrates to America.
Dear Ann, I saw you in Cheltenham last year where I was in my last Erasmus mobility in the UK . Back in Spain I explored your world through your website , shared with my students and we had a project : everyone of them chose a country and presented part of its literature to the rest of the class . They discovered a few countries they had never heard about !
I recommend Gewitterschwimmerin, by Franziska Hauser, it is available in English translation as well. Thank you for inspiring me to pursue my own reading around the world project😄
Very happy for you and for the whole world. Wish a long life to this cute baby.
I recommend you the first book written by the Algerian writer Abdelkader Rokaba intitled ‘Québec, je me souviens’. This autobiographical book has not been translated in English yet.
I would really like to receive your book. I recommend: Bekim Sejranović. From Nowhere to Nowhere (Sandorf Passage; trans. Will Firth), Croatian-Bosnian-Norwegian novelist. Thank you.
Hi Ann, i recommend “Istanbul” from Orhan Pamuk which I enjoyed reading while waiting for transit flight in Istanbul Airport. I feel regreat that i have not buy it.
I would recommend “ The Europeans” by Orlando Figes, a historical tour through the lives of three very “ contemporary “ Europeans from Spain, France and … Russia .
Lost in the Valley of Death: A Story of Obsession and Danger in the Himalayas by Harley Rustad This is a narrative non-fiction account of the unsolved disappearance of a U.S. backpacker in India.
Hi Ann, from Rosario, Argentina. I love reading your posts and I would love to have your new book (congratulations, by the way). I recomend a book called Los pichiciegos, by argentinian author Rodolfo Fogwill. It´s about the Malvinas war and was written in 1983, right after the war ended.
My recommended book is Circles in the Forest, by Dalene Mathee, of South Africa. Originally written in Afrikaans, it has been translated to English, and other languages as well. The story takes place in the forested area around the town of Knysna on the south coast of Africa, on the Indian Ocean. A young man who was raised by a San family makes his way over the mountains to Knysna, where he works and lives in the forest as a lumberjack. There are elephants in the forest as well, and they are protective of the forest that is their home. It is an engaging story, and well worthwhile reading! It has been a while since I read it, so I think it is nearly time to read it once more to remind myself of why I enjoyed it so much. I have also read other novels by this author, and all of them have been great reads, giving insight into the diverse cultural fabric of the beautiful land known as South Africa!
It’s unusual to have a novel that gives insights into the histories and cultures of two different countries and what it’s like to be caught in between the two. My choice of a novel that explores this is: ‘The Bamboo Stalk’ by Kuwaiti novelist Saud Alsanousi. It’s the story of protagonist Jose, the son of a Kuwaiti father and a Filipino mother, who spends time in both countries and struggles for acceptance in either.
I would love your book! I’ve followed your blog for some time. So many books I could recommend, but since I’m a Canadian, I’ll suggest the mystery series by Ausma Zahanat Kahn, the first one being The Unquiet Dead. The mysteries mostly take place in Canada, but involve world affairs; they are gripping page-turners while imparting serious history and war crimes info; and feature great characters.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and The 40 Rules of Love by Elif Shafak. Enjoy!
I loved Doctor Glas, translated from Swedish by Rochelle Wright. Originally published in 1905, it is a timely and clever novel of morality, set atmospherically in Stockholm.
I love this challenge and the giveaway. Congratulations on pub day! I recommend The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali.
Buenas noches Estimada Ann, de alguna manera tuve la misma idea que tu pero referida a la musica del mundo, tengo un programa llamado Travesia Musical que transmite Radio México: la radio cultural por internet (www.radiomexico.com.mx). El libro que recomiendo es El cementerio de los dioses menores del croata Zoran Malkoc, que nos lleva a Eslavonia en los años de la guerra y la posguerra a espacios perdidos mas no inexistentes. Gracias a usted he podido conocer y leer muchos libros, entre ellos El Africano de Groenlandia de Tete-Michel Kpomassie. Salud y larga vida!!!
I recommend My Brother by Swedish writer Karin Smirnoff. It is unique in its use of language – the history of a woman travelling to see her brother. First part of a trilogy.
I recommend Madol Doova by the Sri Lankan author Martin Wickramasinghe, translated from the original Sinhala.
Great giveaway! I recommend Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë for such amazing characters.
A little bit different as it’s a non-fiction graphic novel but Palestine by Joe Sacco. His other works of comics journalism such as Footnotes in Gaza, Safe Area Gorazde, and The Fixer are also great.
I would recommend No Exit by Taylor Adams! It’s even a Netflix (I think?) movie as well!!
For some “spooky/slightly creepy” October reading, how about Whisper by Yu-Ko Chang (published by Honford Star) or Comemadre by Roque Larraquy (published by Coffee House press)? I loved both of them!
First of all, congratulations on the new edition! I read the first one years ago and have a reading around the world bookclub in the meantime, where we are reading it again soon. I also often refer to your list and reviews for recomendations. It has served me well over the years. A signed copy would therefore mean so much to me!
About recomendations: the last book we read in the bookclub, by Australian First Nations author Melissa Lucashenko “Too much lip” was great! Also, as I am from Luxemburg, and that seemed to be a challenge for you the first time around, so I wanted to let you know that in the meantime we have an English language publisher : “Black Fountain Press”. Maybe you can find something in their catalogue. I’d be happy to send it over if you cannot get it from your local bookshops.
How wonderful. Thanks Edu. I shall look up Black Fountain Press! Happy reading, Ann
The Lonely American by Dr. Schwartz & Dr. Olds. American Nations by Colin Woodard. The Big Sort by Bill Bishop. Oh, The Meetings You’ll Go To! by Dr. Suits is one of my all-time favorites. Andorra Revealed by Clare Allcard et al.
I’d recommend “The Housekeeper and The Professor” by Yoko Ogawa. It’s such a beautiful, touching story about a housekeeper who takes care of a maths professor whose memories stopped at 1975 after an accident, leaving him with a short term memory of just 80 minutes. Yet his mind remains sharp when it comes to maths and it’s number problems that provide him comfort and a way of building relationships. It’s amazing how the author makes maths and number theories so poetic and fascinating (hard to believe but she manages it).
I would recommend The Toss of a Lemon by Padma Viswanathan. Set in the Brahmin community in Tamil Nadu, starting in 1890 and ending in the 1960s, this is an absorbing book. A young woman, Sivakama—a child, really—gets married to an astrologer and is widowed with two children by the time she’s 18. The central figure in this story, Sivakama combines a belief in convention (which dictates that widows have to retire from the world) and a sense of independence. She manages to push the boundaries of what is allowed to make some space for herself. The book is about her, her children, their children, and Muchami, the gay man that Sivakami’s husband hired so she would have someone to look after her when he’s gone.
Ann – Your blog has introduced me to so many great new books its hard to be able to return the favour to your standards, but Mikael Niemi – Popular Music is a magical memoir of growing up, being in bands, drinking competitions, fighting at funerals and surviving childhood and the Finnish winter. And it is not exactly an original choice but I really enjoyed East of Eden!
Hi Ann! The book I recommend to you is entitled “Eleni or nobody”, written in Greek by Rhea Galanaki, and translated into English by David Connoly. The story is about a Greek woman in art and patriarchy. I hope you are going to have the chance to read it. Greetings from Greece!
I’d love to be considered for your book giveaway! Your blog has introduced me to many great books over the years and I’m so grateful for that.
I’d like to recommend a book by an Indigenous Canadian author, Five Little Indians, by Michelle Good. This novel tells the story of 5 Indigenous children after they have been released from residential school and follows them as they move through adulthood. Their stories show the impact of intergenerational trauma and government violence while also celebrating resilience, strength, and community ties. It’s a phenomenal book and I’ve thought about it many times since reading it earlier this year.
You may have already read it bc it isn’t new but I loved The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This is a great giveaway!!
Hello from Indiana, US! I’m early in my Reading the World journey (19 countries and counting…) but am only getting more and more excited as I expand my reading horizons. I just finished The Borrowed by Chan Ho-Kei (Hong Kong). It’s a mystery novel comprising six novellas featuring the same detective told in reverse chronological order over his lifetime. It. Was. AWESOME. One mystery was better than the next and the twists just kept coming! An extremely fun read!
Hello Ann! What you have done for literature in translation is amazing. You have certainly given me a new perspective on my own reading. Thank you for the many reading suggestions you have shared. In return I will suggest a favorite, Suite Française by Irène Nemorovsky, which I have read with pleasure in both the French original and the English translation.
I just read An Excess Male and was struck by how realistic it felt despite being science fiction. The premise is that the gender divide has gotten so large in China that women are forced to take multiple husbands. After living in China for half a decade, it’s clear to me that much of the technology already exists, but so do the underlying themes and the presumption of control that the government has over people’s lives. It seems like something that could happen next year, not in the distant future.
Hello from New Zealand! Congrats on the new book. I’ve just spent a good 10min thinking of a book to recommend for you. I keep on changing it. Having to choose one is an issue, I think of one ‘type’ of book and then thinking of another five that are related in some way that are also really good. There are 100 I could easily pick – to go with one – The Bone People by Keri Hulme
Hello from North Carolina, USA! Book recommendations always leave me agonizing on what ONE book to name. 2022 has been a year of reading outside my “usual” choices and I have very much enjoyed it. One that really surprised and impacted me and sent me Googling is The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See. I knew nothing about this history of Jeju Island of South Korea.
Hello from Bozeman, Montana, USA. I’ve kept a journal since 1968 of every book I’ve ever read and I read 50-100 every year. I have to list two: Independent People by Halldor Laxness of Iceland and of course, The Door by Magda Szabo. My most recent favorite is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Oh, goodness, anything by Patrick Modiano. The Family of Pascual Duarte by Camilo Jose Cela. The Hawk is Dying by Harry Crews. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino. The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono, Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera. The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez. Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume. The Theory & Practice of Rivers and New Poems by Jim Harrison. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris. I’ve listed too many of my favorites so you can disqualify me. But please let me know how to get in touch with you so I can purchase a copy. Oh, and you might enjoy: My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul, editor of The New York Times Book Review. We’ve communicated and her book is about the journal of books that she has kept for a very long time. My journal is longer than hers because I am so much older but she wrote a book about hers. Would love to communicate with you? I’m also a member of the group Around the World in 193 Books. Thanks so much!
My Goodreads website is: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6355728-danita-l
Hello from Missoula!
I have just began my reading the world journey. I have finished The Atom Station (Iceland) and Saman (Indonesia). I’m a grad student in history so this is my leisure reading. Thank you for the idea!
As Scotland isn’t a country you don’t have it listed. But an amazing book from Glasgow is Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart.
Hi Ann, I would recommend you a not very well known 20th century Hungarian writer’s book, which is a Gulliver-style utopia where humour, social criticism and a satirical look at humanity as a whole mix very well. The author is Sándor Szathmáry, and the book in English translation is called Kazohinia (1975 English language Hungarian edition) or Voyage to Kazohinia (2012, North Adams, Massachusetts). There is also an Esperanto translation of this book, if you happen to speak that language, as the writer was an enthusiastic Esperantist (and a mechanical engineer as well just to make things more interesting:-). There is a Wikipedia article about the book in English with more details if you fancy to look it up online. I hope you’ll have a chance to read Kazohinia!
Congratulations on publication day! I would love to recommend Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – I read it a few years ago and still think about it!
I’ve just discovered your blog – it would seem I’m just in time! The title immediately caught my eye. Reading widely in terms of writing from different countries is something I’ve long enjoyed, and I’ve even thought of setting myself challenges sorts – but to have read something from every country… What an achievement!
From a glimpse at the shelf here in front of me, I’d recommend a lovely little treatise on architecture and life called In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanazaki (Japan), and An Armenian Sketchbook by Vassily Grossman, a great piece of travel writing in which Grossman lightens the mood throughout with masterful self-deprecation. I guess this could represent Russia, Grossman’s country by nationality, but it’s really Armenia for me, and it was through my love of that country that I picked it up.
When he wrote it, neither Armenia nor Russia were legally countries, of course – that was the USSR – so perhaps the question is moot!
I’ll be following your blog from now on. Thanks!