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Reading Around The World

In the United States of AfricaA Year of Reading the World is a very interesting project by a blogger who wanted to read a book from every country in the world. This was admitted as being a fairly difficult project, not only because it involved reading over 190 books, but also because even the choice of who to include as a country would cause massive debate. In the end it was decided they would choose one from each of the UN member countries, plus Palestine and Taiwan. However, there are also suggestions for books related to “non-countries” like Kurdistan, Catalonia, Guam and the Antarctic – the list is very extensive.

I find this project super interesting because, like the author, I have an extremely Anglocentric knowledge of world literature. However, unlike the author, I am admittedly far too lazy when it comes to seeking out new interesting writers to explore. For this fact alone this list of reading recommendations by country is simply amazing. Want a book by an author from Djibouti? Try In the United States of Africa by Abdourahman Waberi.

Interested in something by a Sri Lankan? There is a shortlist to get you started.
Reef by Romesh Gunesekera
Carl Muller The Jam Fruit Tree
Chinaman by Shehan Karunatilaka
A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman

Most countries have at least a couple novels to choose from, and the novel which was chosen by the blogger to represent their country also includes a fairly in-depth review. So as a lazy, Anglocentric reader I give A Year of Reading the World two thumbs up.

The other takeaway for me was that for as vast as the inventory available on AbeBooks.com is, we still didn’t have any of the books listed by authors from Belarus (for example). There are so many great books out there that we are never exposed to, and it troubles me to think that I am almost certainly missing out on my new favourite author because I don’t know about them yet. So if any booksellers from Belarus read this, you should sign up to sell on AbeBooks; I really don’t want to miss out any more.

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