Tuesday, July 8, 2014

reading the world, or a trip around the globe in short stories



There are so many books out there - and so many countries. Since I travelled to Asia and around Europe, I also started to travel more in reading - looking for books from other countries, preferably written from authors who live there.

To keep track of the countries and books I've read, I started an online list, it's up here: "Books from around the world". For a while, I looked for "missing countries", but then the focus shifted a bit towards graphic novels (job-related), and towards gender balance, inspired by the #readwomen2014 initiative (more here, in a reading note: "can a hashtag change reading habits?").

Now, as the calendar reached the halfway-point of the year, I reflected on the books I've read so far this year, and put a list together, it's on top of the country list: 2014 Reads. So far I've read 37 books. 15 were written by women, 18 by men -- which gives the answer to the question "can a hashtag change reading habits?"

From a global perspective, though, the 2014 reads offer not many "new" regions. there's a mix of UK, US, Germany, France, Brazil, Japan, Spain... yet the only new territories that come in book-size are North Korea and Ukrania. To get more "wordly" again, I looked for a world list, to print and mark. Here's the plain list: Countries listed by continents.

In the picture above, you see a snapshot of the list with marks. Just reading through it and marking the countries I've been to literally made me curious for the ones that are still "missing". Also, the marking brought back a memory: I actually have read a story from Bangladesh this year. It was part of the collection "One World" reading note . I even listed the countries in the post... but then, didn't include them in my Book List. Same goes for the other global anthologies I read this year:  "Be There Now", "Her place", "Poetry of 3000 years"...

**

Summer Reading, or a trip around the globe in short stories

That's how the "reading map" for this summer found its shape: for the next weeks, I want to focus on short stories, and look for stories from the places I haven't read from yet. Following that thought, I googled a bit - and arrived at the page of the Caine Prize for African Writing. They currently have the shortlist for 2014 up, and inlcuded the nominated stories as PDF to read.

So that's the startig point for my summer reading trip: Caine Prize Shortlist 2014

Here are the stories and the reading links: 



Not sure yet how to "map" the list best - will see. Also, I want to revisit and add the links to the stories I've read in the last months, too, especially the ones with a strong element of place, like "Wakulla Springs", the Nebula nominated storyt that is set in Florida...  And reading the first story, the thought came up: I could check out the current issues of international magazines like Asymptote or Words Without Borders, and also browse their archives... ah, wor(l)d journeys!

**

Update 1, July 14: Stories of migration
Here's the next blog post, with short stories on migration and a long-time walking/writing project: 
Reading (+crowdfunding) a global walk through time & stories of migration


Update 2, July 21: Hugo Award + Stories Between Borders
Reading this week: the nominated short stories of the Hugo Award  2014 (which are rather international this year), stories from between borders, and more: Reading: Hugo Award Stories + Between Borders + Nadine Gordimer

More Links

1 comment:

Chris said...

Love this idea of reading around the world. I do this anyway, but it would be interesting to try to read a short story from every country. I imagine it would be hard to find translations for some. Oh, if only I could speak all languages!