My year of reading the world led to a book, published under two different titles in the UK and Commonwealth, and US and Canada, as you can see below.
The book examines the big questions I encountered during my adventure, such as how translation, censorship, cultural identity and technology affect the way we share and understand stories. It brings in some of the personal histories of the people I met on my quest, as well as my own reading experiences throughout my life, a whole lot more research and many other books. Ultimately, it explores how reading can change and shape us, and reveals the extraordinary power that stories have to connect us across cultural, geographical, political and religious divides.
(NB The book is not a blow-by-blow account of the titles I read for my literary expedition – to get that you can simply use this link and read the posts on this blog chronologically for free.)
Writing that book and reading all the extraordinary stories that went into it proved transformative for me. It freed me up and taught me to be much more daring as a writer.
I have since completed two novels. You can find details about them below too.
Every time you buy one of these titles, you help support this project, which I fund entirely through the money I earn from my published work. You also make me smile!
Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer was published in the UK and Commonwealth in February 2015 by Harvill Secker/Random House. Order your copy here (or go to your lovely local indie bookshop and buy it from them).
The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe was published in the US and Canada in May 2015 by Liveright/Norton. Although the title is different, the rest of the book is identical to the UK edition – Liveright even kept my British spelling. You can buy it here (or get it through your local book store and help keep them going).
The World Between Two Covers is now available as an audiobook (narrated by me) in the US and non-Commonwealth countries. You can listen to an extract and buy yours here.
Beside Myself was published in 2016 and has been translated into eight other languages. It tells the story of a pair of identical twins who swap places in a childhood game and get trapped in the wrong lives when one refuses to change back. You can discover how I came to write it here. And if you’d like to read it, you can order a copy here or through any bookshop.
Crossing Over is an Audible Original novel, narrated by Adjoa Andoh. It explores memory, trauma and language through an encounter between an 87-year-old dementia sufferer and the Malawian migrant hiding in her barn. There’s more information about the background to the book here and this is where you can buy yours.