Streamsong's Global Reading
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Wow, the ultlimate list and a couple maps thrown in!
COUNTRIES VISITED IN 2019
visited 8 states (3.55%)
Create your own visited map of The World
* Countries New for Me In 2019:
Finland The Wife: A Novel - Meg Wolitzer - 2003 - Fic - Partial location - 3/2019
**Countries Read in 2019 Which I've Previously Visited - Working on Five Books per country!
Algeria #2: The Tongue's Blood Does Not Run Dry - Assia Djebar - 1997 - Fic/SS (location/author) 3/6/2019
South Africa #4: Expedition to the Baobab Tree - Wilma Stockenstrom - 1981 - F (location, author) 2/3/2019
***Countries Completed in 2019 - 5 books read***
*** Additional books for country already completed
Italy The Story of a New Name - Elena Ferrante - 2012 - F - (location, author) read 2019
Nigeria: My Sister the Serial Killer - Oyinkan Braithwaite - 2018 - Ric location, author - March 2019
UK - numerous
Russia: Secondhand Time - Svetlana Alexievich - 2013- NF (location, author) read 2019
CUMULATIVE : 87 countries visited: 18 countries completed with minimum of five books
visited 87 states (38.6%)
Create your own visited map of The World
19 Countries Completed With Five Books:
visited 19 states (8.44%)
Create your own visited map of The World
✔ Canada (still working on the read every Province thing)
✔ Italy (2017)
✔ Kenya (2018)
✔ Nigeria (2018)
✔ Russian Federation
✔ United Kingdom
✔ United States
✔ Viet Nam
Here are some very helpful links for me to remember:
Very cool interactive map with suggestions from all (?) countries: http://ideas.ted.com/your-guide-to-reading-the-world/?utm_campaign=social&ut...
A few years ago, the writer, Ann Morgan took on a personal challenge to read a book from every country in the world in one year. http://ayearofreadingtheworld.com/thelist/
Two wiki pages started by the Category Challenge group last year. I plan to keep updating and hope others do too!
Fiction Location Wiki
Non-Fiction Location Wiki
This thread is a very comprehensive listing of mystery locations:
LittleMissBashful's Crime, thriller and mystery location thread
Books that Students Read in 28 countries around the world: http://ideas.ted.com/required-reading-the-books-that-students-read-in-28-countri...
More Interesting lists on LT:
Best African Books
Good Reads lists:
1001 Books Around the World
Around the World in 80 books
Resources for Finding World Literature
✔ 1. Afghanistan
1. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini - 2003 - (location, author), F - pre- LT
2. The Bookseller of Kabul - Asne Seierstad - (location, Norwegian author) - 2002 - NF Rd 2008
3. A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini - (location, author) - 2007 - F - 2011
4. The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan - Jenny Nordberg - (location, Swedish author), NF, 2014 - Reread in 2015 for RLBC - still just as good!
5. These Happy Heroic Dead - Luke Mogelson - 2016 - (location, US author) - 2/28/2016
1. The File on H.: A Novel - Ismail Kadare - 1989 - (location, author) - F - 2008
1. Stop Being Mean to Yourself - Melody Beattie - (location), NF, 2014
2. The Tongue's Blood Does Not Run Dry - Assia Djebar - 1997 - Fic/SS (location/author) 3/6/2019
6. Antigua and Barbuda
1. Annie John - Jamaica Kincaid - 1985 - (location, author) - F - 1001 4/24/2016
1. Alive - Piers Paul Read - 1974 - NF (location, UK author)
✔ 9. Australia
1. In A Sunburned Country - Bill Bryson - (location) NF, 2013
2. A Town Like Alice - Shute, Nevil - (locatoion, author) F, 1001
3. The Rosie Project - Graeme Simison - (location, author), F 2014
4. Elizabeth Costello - J. M. Coetzee - 2003 - (location, author) F 1001 - 08/13/2016
5. The Immortal Irishman - Timothy Egan - 2016 - (partial location- Tasmania, US author) NF - 04/2017
----Additional books for Australia:
------The Arrival - Shaun Tan - 2006 - Australian author
- The Hare With Amber Eyes - Edmund de Waal -(location), NF 2014
22 (Plurinational State of) Bosnia and Herzegovina
1. People of the Book: A Novel - Geraldine Brooks - 2008, (location), Fic 2009
2. The Cellist of Sarajevo - Steven Galloway - 2008, (location, Canadian author), Fic, 2011
3. The Fixer - Joe Sacco - 2003 - (location), Graphic Journalism (NF), 4/22/2016
1. Return to Nisa - Marjorie Shosak - 2002 - (location, US(?) author) - NF, 2011
1. The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon -Alexander McCall Smith - (location, resident author), F, 2014
1. The Devil and Miss Prym - Paulo Coehlo - (location, author) Fic, 1001
2. State of Wonder - Ann Patchett - 2011 - (location, US author), Fic, 2013
3. The Hour of the Star - Clarice Lispector - 1977 - Fic (location, author) - 1001 books - Dec 2018
25 Brunei Darussalam
27 Burkina Faso
✔ 31. Canada
1. British Columbia: We Like it Wild - Bradford Angier - (location, resident author), NF 2014
2. Newfoundland: The Shipping News - Annie Proulx - 1993 - (location, US resident author), F 2016
3. Nunavut: Barren Grounds: The Story of the Tragic Moffatt Canoe Trip by Skip Pessl - (location) NF, 2015
4. Ontario: Lives of Girls and Women - Alice Munro - (location, author), F/SS, 2014
5. Ontario: Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood - (location, author), F, 2014
I'm continuing to list Canadian books as I am trying to read all the provinces in Canada.
6. Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables - L. M. Montgomery - (location, author); Reread 2014
7. Saskatchewan: Canada - Richard Ford - (location) - F, 5/14/2015
8. Nova Scotia - Someone Knows My Name - Lawrence Hill - (partial location, Canadian author), Fic, 2008 Counted the country under Sierra Leone, another partial location
Not yet on map:
9. Manitoba: Canoeing With the Cree - Eric Sevareid - 1935 - (location, US author) NF 04/06/2017
10. Quebec: Still Life - Louise Penney - 2005 (location, author) F 07/18/2018
visited 6 states (46.1%)
Create your own visited map of Canada
32 Cape Verde
33 Central African Repubic
1. Daughter of Fortune - Isabel Allende - - 1999 - (Partial location, author), F, 2011
2. Of Love and Shadows - Isabel Allende - 1984 - (unnamed S American country, author) F, 1001, 12/17/2016
✔ 36 China
1. Monkey - Wu Ch'eng-en - F, 1001
2. The Man Who Loved China - Simon Winchester (location), NF 2014
3. Beijing Bastard - Val Wang - (location, ex-pat) NF, 2015; Pub 2014
4. A Map of Betrayal - Ha Jin - (location, author) F, 2015; Pub 2014
5. The Painted Veil - W. Somerset Maugham - (location) Fic, 2015, Pub 1925
--More From China:
--- The Most Wanted Man in China - Fang Lizhi - 2015 (location, author)- NF - LTER; 2/2016
--- Street of Eternal Happiness - Rob Schmitz - 2016 - (location, resident author -US) - NF- LTER - 6/2016
1. Reputations - Juan Gabriel Vasquez - 2013 - Fic- (author, country); Read 2018
1. Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver - 1998 - F (location, US author) 1001, 2008
2. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad - F, (location) - 1001 2013
40 Costa Rica
46 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea)
1. The Living Reed - Pearl S Buck F, 2014
2. Without You, There is No Us - Suki Kim - 2014 (location, US author) NF 01/26/2015
3. The Ginseng Hunter - Jeff Talarigo -2008 - (location, US author) - F
4. The Girl With Seven Names - Hyeonseo Lee - 2015 (location, author) 8/2016
47 Democratic Republic of the Congo
1. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver - F - (location)
2. The Emerald Labyrinth - Eli Greenbaum - 2017 - NF (location, US author) 3/2018
1. Hamlet - William Shakespeare - P - (location, English author)
2. To Siberia - Per Petterson - F - (location, Norwegian author)
51 Dominican Republic
1. In the Time of the Butterflies - Julia Alvarez - 1994 - (location, author) - F - 2010
2. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents - Julia Alvarez - 1991- (location, author) - F - 2012
3. Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz - 2007 -(location, author resident of DR & US) 08/04/2016
1. (Galapagos Islands) - The Beak of the Finch - Jonathan Weiner - 2007 - NF (location - Galapagos Islands; US author) - 2/2018
1. The Time and the Place - Naguib Mahfouz, (location, author), F/SS
1. Moon Tiger -Penelope Lively - (location), F, 2015
2. Midaq Alley -1947 Naguib Mahfouz - (location, author) - 1001, 9/30/2015
3. That Smell and Notes From Prison - Sonallah Ibrahim - 1966- (author, location) Fic & NF; read 3/2018
54 El Salvador
55 Equatorial Guinea
✔ 61. France
1. The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Barbery, Muriel - (location, author) - 1001
2. The Little Prince - de Saint-Exupéry, Antoine - (location, author) - 1001
3. The Count of Monte Cristo - Dumas, Alexander -(location, author) 1001
4. Suite Française - Némirovsky, Irène - (location, author) 1001
5. Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay - (author, location), F, 2014
More From France:
**Martinique (Insular Region of France) Texaco - Patrick Chamoiseau - 1992 - F (author,m location)
My Life in France - Julia Child - 2004 - NF (location, US expat author) 4/19/2017
1. One Dry Season: In the Footsteps of Mary Kingsley - Caroline Alexander - (location) NF
✔ 65 Germany
1. Threepenny Novel - Bertolt Brecht - (location, author) 1001, F
2. Siddhartha - Hermann Hesse, - (author) - 1001 - F
3. Stones From the River - Ursula Helgi - 1994 - (location, author), F - 2008
4. Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut - (location), 1001- F, 2014
5. All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr - (location) - F, 2015
---Additional Books for Germany:
-----Transit - Anna Seghers - 1944 - (France, German author) F, 1001 2017
---- The Women in the Castle: A Novel - Jessica Shattuck - 2017 - (fic, location), 2018
1. Homegoing - Yaa Gyasi - 2016 F (author, location) 4/2017
✔ 67. Greece
1. Phedre - Racine - 1677 - (location - Greek myth, French author) - P - 2007
2. Spies of the Balkans - Alan Furst - 2010 - (location) - F - 2012
3. The Moonspinners - Mary Stewart - (location - Crete) - F
4. The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood - (location) - F, 2014
5. Travels With Epicurus - Daniel Klein - (location) - NF, 2015
More from Greece:
* Night of Rain and Stars - Maeve Binchy - 2004 - (location, Irish author) - F - 2011
1. Jungle Peace - William Beebe - 1918 - (location, US author) NF
1. Haiti After the Earthquake - Paul Farmer - 2011 - (location, US author) NF (read 2012)
2. Mouths Don't Speak - Katia D. Ulysse - 2017 - fic - (location, immigrant) - LTER- 4/11/2018
1. I have lived a Thousand Years-Growing up in the Holocaust - Livia Bitton-Jackson - 1997- (location, author) - NF
2. Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America - Kati Marton - 2009 - (location, author) - NF 2010
1. Independent People by Halldór Laxness - (location, author), F; 1001
✔ 77. India
1. The Inheritance of Loss - Kiran Desai - India/UK 1001
2. Family Matters - Rohinton Mistry - India/Canada; 1001
3. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie - India /UK; 1001
4. Buddha - Karen Armstrong - (location), NF 2014
5. Gandhi An Autobiography - Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi 1925 - (location, author) NF 2015
More From India:
----- Life of Pi - Yann Martel - 2001 - (Canadian author who lived in India, location) F - 2016
1. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert - 2006 - (partial location, US author) - 2008
79. Iran (Islamic Republic of)
1. Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi - 2003 (Location, author) NF - 2006
2. Not Without My Daughter - Betty Mahmoody - 1987 - (location, US author) - NF - 2006
3. Persepolis - Marjane Sartrapi - 2003 - (location, author/artist) - GNF - 2012
4. Tehran Noir - Salar Abdoh - (location, authors, most translated from Farsi); F/SS Feb 2015
1. Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell - Janet Wallach - (location, US author) - NF 2009
2. Coppola: A Pediatric Surgeon in Iraq - Chris Coppola - 2010 - (location, US author), - NF - 2010 -(LTER)
3. Abu Ghraib After the Scandal: A Firsthand Account of the 344th Combat Support Hospital - Anthony Esposito - 2013 - (location, US author) - NF 2013 (LTER)
✔ 81 Ireland
1. How the Irish Saved Civilization - Thomas Cahill - 1995- (location, US author) - NF - 2007
2. Across Time And Death: A Mother's Search For Her Past Life Children - Jenny Cockell - (location, author), F
3. Heart and Soul - Maeve Binchy - (location, author), F
4. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde - Ireland/UK - 1001
5. Castle Rackrent - Maria Edgeworth - (location, author), F, - 1001; 2015
---More From Ireland
------ Bowen, Elizabeth - The House In Paris 1935 - (location =France & UK/ Irish /UK author)
------ Egan, Timothy - The Immortal Irishman - 2016 NF (location, US author) 4/2017
------ Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels - 1726
------ Swift, Jonathan - A Modest Proposal - 1729
------ Toibin, Colm Brooklyn - 2009 - Fic (partial location, author) 10/2017
1. A Tale of Love and Darkness - Amos Oz - (location, author), NF, 1001
2. Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan - (location, author), F/GN 2014
3. City of Secrets by Stewart O'Nan - 2016 - (location, U.S. author) F 03/2017
4. Judas - Amos Oz - 2014 - Fic - (location, author) - 4/2018
✔ 83. Italy
1. Metamorphoses - Ovid - (author, location) poetry, 1001
2. Pope Joan - Donna Woolfolk Cross - 1996 - (US author, location), F , 2010
3. The Leopard - Giuseppe Di Lampedusa F 1001
4. Monster of Florence - Douglas Preston - (location, co-author), NF 2014
5. My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante - 2011 - (location, author) F - 2017
---More from Italy:---
-----Oil and Marble - Stephanie Storey - Fic (location, US author)
1. Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys - 1966 - (location, UK/West Indies author) F 1001
✔ 85. Japan
1. Across the Nightingale Floor - Lian Hearn - 2002 - (location), F 2012
2. Unbroken - Lauren Hillenbrand (location); NF 2014
3. A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki (location) F 2015
4. Silence - Shusaku Endo - (location, author) F - 1001 - 8/08/2015
5. Library Wars Love & War Vol 1 - Kiiro Yumi - (author, location) manga - 2010
- Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden - 1997 - (US author; location); 1001; 7/2017
- Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami - 2002 - 1001; (author, location) 8/2017
✔ 88. Kenya
1. West With the Night - Beryl Markham - 1942 - (location, colonial author) NF
2. Born Free - Joy Adamson - 1960 - (location colonial author) NF
3. The Flame Trees of Thika - Elspeth Huxley - 1959 (location, colonial author) NF - 2013
4. Dance of the Jakaranda - Peter Kimani - 2017 (location, Kenyan author) F (LTER) - 2017
5. A Guide to the Birds of East Africa - Nicholas Drayson - 2008; Fiction(location, UK author)
91. Lao People’s Democratic Republic
1. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - Anne Fadiman - 1997- (partial location, US author), NF, 2007
2. Curse of the Pogo Stick - Colin Cotterill - (location, resident author), F, 2014
3. The Song Poet - Kao Kalia Yang - (location, US expat)- NF, LTER 2016 (7/17/2016)
4. The Merry Misogynist - Colin Cotterill - 2009 - Fic - (location, US expat) - 3/2018
1. The Gabriel Hounds - Mary Stewart - 1967 - (location, UK author) F
2. Uncompromised: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of an Arab American Patriot in the CIA - Nada Prouty - 2012 - (location, author) - NF 2012 (LTER)
96 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
106 Marshall Islands
✔ 109. Mexico
1. Gaby Brimmer: An Autobiography in Three Voices - Gaby Brimmer - 2009 - (location, author) - NF - 2009
2. Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquivel - (location, author), F, 1001
3.Oaxaca Journal - Oliver Sacks - 2002 - (location, US author), NF ,
4. All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy - (location, US author) F, 2014
5. Mexico: Stories - Josh Barkan - 2016 -(location, US expat author) LTER, Fic-ss; 2016
**Martinique (Insular Region of France) Not independent
1. Texaco - Patrick Chamoiseau - 1992 - Fic (author, location) 03/20/2017
110 Micronesia (Federated States of)
116 Myanmar (Burma)
1. Saving Fish From Drowning - Amy Tan - 2005 - F (location, US author) pre LT
2. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats - Jan-Phillip Sendker - 2002 - (location, German author), fiction, Read 2010
3. Burma Chronicles - Guy Delisle - 2007 - (location, Canadian author), Graphic novel - 6/25/2017
1. The Guru of Love - Samrat Upadhyay - (location, birth country of author) fiction - 2003- 8/22/2015
1. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank - 1947 - (location, author) NF
2. The Girl With a Pearl Earring - Tracy Chevalier - 1999 - (location, US author), F
121. New Zealand
- 1. Colour Scheme - Ngaio Marsh - 1943 - (Location, author), Fic
- 1. Animal Dreams - Barbara Kingsolver - 1990 - (location), Fic, 11/20/2015
✔ 124 Nigeria
1. Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe - (location, author), F, 1001
2. Survive the Fittest - Henry Amaechi Onwubiko - (location (Biafra), author), F, 2007
3. What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky - Lesley Nneka Arimah - 2017 - (short stories, location, author) August 2018 PBS/NYT Now Read This;
4. Lagos Noir - Chris Abani - 2018 - LTER - (location, authors) short stories; read 2018
5. Binti trilogy - Nnedi Okorafor - Read 2018
Additional for Nigeria:
- Welcome to Lagos - Chibundu Onuzo - 2018 -Fic - LTER; audiobook - 2018
- My Sister the Serial Killer - Oyinkan Braithwaite - 2018 - Fic; location, author - March 2019
1. Out Stealing Horses - Per Petterson - (location, author) - 2003 - English translation 2005; F 2005
2. Kristin Lavransdatter - Sigrid Undset - 1920 - (location, author), F 12/2015 - 1001
3. Norwegian By Night - Derek B Miller - 2012- (US author, location) F 04/xx/2016
1. I Am Malala - Malala Yousafzai - (author, location), NF, 2014
2. The Upstairs Wife - Rafia Zakaria - (author, location), NF 6/2015
3. An American Family: A Memoir - Khizr Khan - 2017 - NF; (partial location, author) 1/2018 4. 4. Exit West - Mohsin Hamid -2017 - Fic; (?location/ Pakistani author); read 4/2018
128-B (add on) Palestinian Authority
1. The Lemon Tree - Sandy Tolan - 2006 - (US author, location), NF, reread 2016
2. The Drone Eats With Me - Atef Abu Saif - 2016- NF (location, author) 12/2016
130 Papua New Guinea
1. Maus : A Survivor's Tale - Art Spiegelman - 1986 - NF, GN, (location), 2013
2. The Property by Rutu Modan - (location, Israeli author), GN, 2014
3. Inherit the Truth, 1939-1945: The Documented Experiences of a Survivor of Auschwitz and Belsen - Anita Lasker-Wallfisch - (location, author), NF,
4. Night - Elie Wiesel - 1958 - (location, author) NF
1. The Elephant's Journey - Jose Saramago - 2008 - Fic - (location, author); 2017
137 Republic of Korea (South Korea)
1. Please Look After Mom - Kyung-sook Shin (author, location), F, 2008 - (2013)
2. Human Acts - Han Kang - 2016 - F (author, location) - 2017
3. Pachinko - Min Jin Lee - 2017 - Fic (location, author) - also Japan (8/2018)
138 Republic of Moldova
1. The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova - 2005 - (location, US author) 2013
2. For Two Thousand Years - Mihail Sebastian - 2017 - fic - (author,location) - translated from Romanian - LTER - 2017
✔ 140 Russian Federation
1. Doctor Zhivago - Boris Pasternak - 1957 (location, author), fic, 1001
2. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - 1962 (location, author), f, 1001
3. Summer in Baden-Baden - Tsypkin, Leonid - 1982 (German location, Russian author), f - 1001
4. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy 1868 - (location, author) 3/28/2016
5. Gorky Park - Martin Cruz Smith - 1981 - (location, US author) read 2013
More from Russia:
6. Child 44 - Tom Rob Smith - 2008 - (location, UK author) -
7. The Girl From the Metropol Hotel - Lyudmila Petrushevskaya - 2006 - NF (location, author); read Dec 2018
8. Secondhand Time - Svetlana Alexievich - 2013- NF (location, author) read 2019
146 San Marino
147 Sao Tome and Principe
148 Saudi Arabia
1. Princess: a True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia - Jean Sasson NF (Location, author) - 2006
2. The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century - Steve Coll - 2008 - NF (location, US author) - 2009
3. Daring to Drive - Manal al-Sharif - 2017 0 NF - (location, author)
1. The Tiger's Wife - Tea Obrecht - 2010 - F, (unnamed Balkan location, Serbian/American author) read 2017
156. Solomon Islands
1. Bride in the Solomons - Osa Johnson - NF (location, US author)
158 South Africa
1. Cry, The Beloved Country - Paton, Alan - 1948- (location, author) f. 1001
2. The Pickup - Nadine Gordimer - 2001 F (location, author) 2009
3. Born A Crime - Trevor Noah - 2016 - (location, author) NF 4/9/2017
4. Expedition to the Baobab Tree - Wilma Stockenstrom - 1981 - F (location, author) 2/3/2019
1. The Dumas Club - Pérez-Reverte, Arturo - (location, author) F, 1001 - 1993
2. Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon (location, author) F, 2001 - 10/2015
160 Sri Lanka
1. A Disobedient Girl - Ru Freeman -2011 - (location, author), F , 2013
2. On Sal Mal Lane - Ru Freeman - (location, author) F, 2014
3. Wave - Sonali Deraniyagala - 2013 - NonFic (location, author) 5/2018
1. The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari - (location, author) - NF - 2008
2. What is the What - David Eggers - 2008 - (location, US author) 2010
161- B. South Sudan - recognized as independant 2014
✔ 164. Sweden
1. Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren - (location, author), fic, 1001
2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson - (location, author) - F, 2014
3. Waiting for Willa - Dorothy Eden - (location, UK author) F 2014
4. Yes, Chef - Marcus Samuelsson - NF (location, author) 2016
5. The Invoice - Jonas Karlsson - 2016 - F (location, author) read 9/30/2016
1. Einstein: His Life and Universe - Walter Isaacson - 2007 NF (location, US author) 2014
2. The Manticore - Robertson Davies - 1972 - F (location, Canadian author) 2016
166 Syrian Arab Republic
1. Stripped to the Bone: Portraits of Syrian Women - Ghada Alatrash -2016; Fic/ SS; LTER; 2017
1. Killed at the Whim of a Hat - Colin Cotterill 2011 - F (mystery series); (location, US author in residence), 2012
2. The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi - 2009 - F (dystopian future); (location, US author) 2012
169 The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
✔182. United Kingdom
1. England - The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro - (location, author), F, 2015
2. England - Mansfield Park - Jane Austen - (location, author) F, 2015
3. England - Fingersmith - Sarah Waters - (location, author), F, 2015
4. England - The Children Act - Ian McEwan - (location, author) F, 2015
5.Scotland - To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf - (location, author), F, 2015
183 United Republic of Tanzania
✔ 184. United States of America
1. Rabbit Run - John Updike (location, author), F, 2015
2. Winter Wheat- Mildred Walker (location, author), F, 2015
3. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers, , (location, author), F, 2015
4. The Last Report on the Miracle at Little No Horse - Louise Erdrich, (location, author), F, 2015
5. Main Street - Sinclair Lewis - (location, author), - F 6/2105
188 Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
✔ 189 Viet Nam
1. The Lotus Eaters - Tatjana Soli - 2010 - (location-Vietnam war, US/Austrian author) 2013
2. The Quiet American - Graham Greene - (location, UK author), Fic, 1001, 8/26/2015
3. Another Man's Moccasins - Craig Johnson - (location), fic, 9/5/2015
4. The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien - 1990 (location, U. S soldier fought in Vietnam), fic - short stories; 10/20/2016
5. The Sympathizer - Viet Thanh Nguyen - 2015 - fiction (location, author) 9/5/2017
1. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness - Alexandra Fuller - (location, resident), NF, 2015 (also Zambia, Malawi, Kenya)
Books with multiple countries: (may move these around)
- The Hare With Amber Eyes - Edmund de Waal - Austria - also:
- Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness - Alexandra Fuller - Zimbabwe - also Zambia, Malawi, Kenya
- Say You're One of Them - Uwem Akpan - 2008 - (location, author) - F-short stories (Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia)
- Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness - Alexandra Fuller - Zimbabwe - also Zambia, Malawi, Kenya
This is the story of the author's mother who liked to style herself as 'Nicola Fuller of Central Africa' using as inspiration the protagonists in such books as Out of Africa, The Flame Trees of Thika, and West With the Night. We meet bipolar Nicola in later life and see her in a manic phase while learning to fly an airplane.
She's amusing, but it all seems quite surface-y until later in the book, through a series of flashbacks, we learn her life story. Born in Skye, she moved to Kenya at an early age where she met and married her husband. But pushed out by the Mau Mau rebellion they decided to choose a more peaceful setting to establish a large ranch and chose the relatively peaceful and remote Rhodesia. Little were they to know that this would also be the site of bloody civil war as the British colonial government was overthrown and the free states of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawa were established.
Besides being a memoir of living with a bipolar mother, it's a love letter to that mother (although one not appreciated by Nicola A she refers to the the first installment of the story, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight as That Awful Book.) It's also a love letter to Africa. And finally it's an anti-war story as we grieve with the unimaginable losses that occur with the death of one regime and the beginning of another
“No one starts a war warning that those involved will lose their innocence – that children will definitely die and be forever lost as a result of the conflict; that the war will not end for generations and generations, even after cease fires have been declared and peace treaties have been signed. No one starts a war that way, but they should. It would at least be fair warning and an honest admission: even a good war – if there is such a thing – will kill anyone old enough to die.” p196
Tehran Noir - Salar Abdoh (February 2015) - Iran
These are short stories by Iranian writers showing the noir side – the dark underbelly – of Tehran.
There are stories of crime, stories of people living with the scars and displacement of war, stories of living in a totalitarian state closely watched by state sponsored police as well as the morality police.
Some of them were too dark and disturbing for my taste – as examples, the story of a woman stoned to death, and another about a revenge-seeking pedophilic mullah.
If one can learn a bit about the middle by reading the extremes, I do feel I learned a bit about the lives and thoughts of Iranian people. Although this is a collection from a variety of authors, I thought all were well written, and that the translations from Farsi were well done.
This is one of a series by this publisher, featuring noir stories from cities around the world and is the first I have read in this series.
(This book was received through LTER.)
:) Love the lists! And, of course, the maps. This year I'm not mapping myself out because I'm HOPING to work on already started series for most of the year. Unfortunately, of my 20 books so far, 3 of them are new series and one of them an old series. *sigh*
Second one for Pakistan: The Upstairs Wife - Rafia Zakaria
I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in exchange for a written review.
In 1947, as the British domination of India was coming to an end, Britain partitioned India into the nations of Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. In a bizarre twist, Pakistan actually consisted of two areas separated from each other by India proper and situated on the coasts of two different seas. After bloody fighting, one part broke away and became Bangladesh.
Author Rafia Zakaria has written this beautiful memoir, braiding together the history of Pakistan and the history of her family, refugees from India who settled in Karachi in 1962. It's also the story of her aunt, relegated to a few rooms in an upstairs apartment when her husband took a second wife, whom he loved.
The history of the Pakistani nation, while short and bloody, has deep roots. Zakaria brings to life its wars and struggles, as well as the internal struggles of the people. Life for post-partition immigrants from India was often quite limited in opportunities – and life for women became even more so.
I came away from this with a richer understanding of Pakistan's history including the conflicts of religion against religion, ethnic group against ethnic group, refugees against established inhabitants, men against women, and even sadly, women against women.
This one will stay with me for quite a while. Recommended. 4 stars
Keeping up with listing my reads, but I haven't been very good about commenting on them.
A second one for Spain:
Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon - 2001 (October 2015)
From the publisher: "Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.
This is one of those novels that I know has been a favorite with many people here on LT besides being an international best-seller.
I found it a delight of a read, with events in Daniel's life braided together and echoing those of the mysterious author Julián Carax with an identical strand of evil wound into both. Part mystery, part romance, I may well go on to the next in this series. Has anyone else read the other parts of this trilogy?
My first for Belarus: Voices From Chernobyl by recent Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich. Review on book page.
And my first for Niceragua: Animal Dreams - Barbara Kingsolver - 1990 - (location) 11/20/2015 This one was only partially set in Niceragua - it may get bumped as I read more.
I'm starting to add books pre- 2014 from my LT tags. (Afghanistan)
Thanks for feedback on Voices from Chernobyl which is on my TBR list for next year.
>50 starbox: Hi and thanks for stopping by! It's an emotionally tough read, but well worth it.
Here's a very cool map with book suggestions for all (?) countries.
.52 You're welcome! I'm trying to accumulate links in my top post for global book lists.
# 2 for North Korea: Without You, There Is No Us – Suki Kim - 2015
Suki Kim was born in South Korea and moved to the United States with her family when she was 13. She grew up with stories of missing family members who were separated when the Outside Powers divided Korea in 1945. It was a horrific division with casual decisions separating families forever, as those in the North utterly disappeared to their families, never to be heard from again, without even the possibility of knowing whether they were dead or alive.
As a result, Ms. Kim had an abiding interest in North Korea. A journalist, she had managed several trips to North Korea and written articles about the regime. When she applied as a teacher to the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, she was accepted as an English teacher.
The University is entirely unique. It is entirely run and funded by a Christian organization, but its teachers are forbidden to mention God; their only mission is to be kind so that if policy ever does become more liberal, Christians will be remembered favorably. Nevertheless, it is an evangelical Christian mission. Ms. Kim had to pose as a Christian – even if her deception was a message of omission.
Ms Kim taught in North Korea in the summer and fall of 2011. All other Universities in North Korea had been disbanded just prior to this time,and their students sent to manual labor. In retrospect, Ms Kim speculates that this was due to the imminent death of the Great Leader, Kim Jong-Il, in order to prevent student unrest on his death. The boys who were exempted from this manual service and sent to the Pyongyang University are sons of the elite.
She found a country with total and constant indoctrination.
Any slip up by a foreign teacher would result in instant deportation of the teacher. Anything that the teachers said that might cause the students to question their regime's indoctrination, could lead to death for the student and his family.
This is really a fascinating glimpse into the mysterious world of North Korea, and Ms Kim felt that it was important that this story be told. It's well written and kept me interested and page turning until the end.
However, there's a bit of a dilemma.
It is unlikely that she would have been hired or retained if it had been recognized that she was a journalist who had written previous articles about North Korea. A bit of googling about the fallout from this book, leads me to believe that there were reprisals against the Christian organization running the University and perhaps against some of her students, although she endeavored to disguise their identities. For me, at least, this leads to a bit of a moral ambiguity – it is more important for a journalist to get a story to the public, or to 'Do No Harm' to the subjects as Hippocrates advised the health care profession?
Nevertheless, 4 stars.
Joe and Azat - Jesse Lonergan - 2009
This is a very short (96 pages) YA graphic novel.
It's loosely based on the author's experiences as a Peace Corp volunteer in Turkmenistan. The author pretty much sums it up in the opening frame. "It was a strange place. A lot of the strangeness came from the President for Life, Turkmenbashy."
Very quick read and both enlightening and entertaining. And hey! My first read set in Turkmenistan!
My fifth book for Afghanistan:
These Heroic Happy Dead - Luke Mogelson LTER - review 3/9/2016
The epigraph and title are from e e cummings poem 'next to of course god america'
“ … why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead”
This is a series of intertwined short stories set both in Afghanistan and the US.
The protagonists are soldiers who went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq where they found a reality both improbable and impossible with morality twisted inside out, and hung upside down.
They returned to the US and their US lives, but something inside them had been changed forever; it had died just as surely as some of their friends had physically died. Some of these returnees have been physically wounded; some have been psychologically wounded – all no longer fit where they once belonged.
The stories share their time in Afghanistan; later we see a character pop up in a story in the US.
It's very thought provoking and beautifully written.
My one wish for this book is that although, we see women in the book who are partners and mothers; we do not, see any women soldiers.
Although Luke Mogelson chose the e. e. cummings poem as his epigraph, he might as easily have used another of my favorites: The Second Coming by Yeats
"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
I think I'm all updated on my countries list for 2017. Onward to 2018. I'll try to be better with reviews!
First review of the year for a book read in 201 and first book for Colombia - both author and setting!
I read this book for the literature seminar I attend. I thought it was interesting that due to Colombia's heated political situation, it was first published in Spain.
1. Reputations - Juan Gabriel Vasquez - 2013
- January lit seminar
- Global Reading Challenge: First book from Colombia
- acq'd 2017 ROOT #1; 1 ROOT point
This is an incredibly intriguing short book.
Political cartoonist Javier Mallarino is at the zenith of his career in Bogata, Columbia. He has endured 40 years of political death threats, given up his dream of becoming a serious artist, and lost his wife and daughter who have fled from the man he has become.
But now he is being feted and even featured on a new postage stamp.
After the ceremony, a woman comes up to him. Was she molested in Mallarino's house 30 years ago when she was a child? Mallarino thought so, and with a political cartoon brought down the accused man, who committed suicide soon afterwards.
But what happened that night? What are the responsibilities of power? How true are memories? After all, as the White Queen said to Alice “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards”.
Pakistan : Book # 3
An American Family: A Memoir - Khizr Khan - 2017
(partial location, author) 1/2018
Other locations: United Arab Emirates, US
You probably know of author Khizr Khan even if you don't recognize the name. He was the Muslim gold star father who spoke at the Democratic National Convention. However, he doesn't fit into a Democrats-only box. He is also inspired by Republican Ronald Reagan's vision of the United States as a city on a hill and statements by George W. Bush. He spoke at the DNC due to a deep love for America and the feeling that the anti Muslim rhetoric had reached a frightening turning point.
This is a very intelligent, thoughtful man who has a lot to say regarding reasonable discourse about divisive matters. He also has a flair for telling his story.
Born in Pakistan, he came from a family of farmers. His father, although uneducated, was an insightful man who instilled a love of God, fellow humans and education in his son.
As a student, Khan found a copy of the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution in a used book store. He was completely unfamiliar with US history, but was immediately struck that some people believe that some truths about freedoms and rights were self-evident and God given. His homeland of Pakistan did not recognize of these concepts.
So began his journey to America.
This is probably one of the most uplifting books you will read this year. Don't miss the experience.
12. The Museum of Unconditional Surrender - Dubravka Ugrešić - 1996
- lit seminar;
- 1001 Books To Read Before You Die;
- Global Reading Challenge: Croatia;
- TIOLI #3: Read A Book of which the title contains something that you love;
- purchased 2018
From 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die: “The novel attempts to capture the slow and constant sense of loss and displacement caused by exile, and the disappearance of anything one could call home. Its scattered, Postmoderm method of narration moves between magic realism, diary entries, essaysitic prose, and even a recipe for Caraway soup. This allows the author to recognize herself as a kind of museum exhibit, as are all those who have left behind a home that no longer exists. She refers many times to the two different types of exile, those with photographs (ties to the past) and those without...”
“Rilke once said that the story of a shattered life can only be told in bits and pieces …” p107
The novel begins with a description of the contents of a stomach of a walrus which died in the Berlin zoo; unimaginable bits of random, plastic modern life, which, no matter how one may try to fit together, stay a random collection, but still describe the walrus's life and ultimately his death.
So it is with Ugrešić's novel. There are random bits and pieces which one is in despair of fitting together, and yet describe the refugee's life.
Beautifully written, but a tough book for me to get through; less because of the subject matter than the episodic, patchwork style. Perhaps this only reflects my lack of experience with postmodernism.
By the end I had a little clearer understanding of living with a life ripped away.
Ugrešić herself fled war torn Yugoslavia as it disintegrated into five separate nations. Her birthplace became part of Croatia and she writes in Croatian.
Since this is the first book I have read from Croatia, I thought a map might be fitting:
Wikipedia map of Croatia:
A Guide to the Birds of East Africa - Nicholas Drayson - 2008;
- Global Reading: Kenya (book #5 for Kenya);
Widower Henry Malik has been in love with widow and fellow bird enthusiast Rose Mbikwa for quite some time. He has just screwed up his courage to ask her to the Nairobi Hunt Ball.
But a schoolfellow nemesis of his, Harry Khan, appears and is equally taken by Rose. In order to settle who has the right to ask Rose to the ball, the two men engage in a top secret wager as to who can identify the most species of birds.
Enough Nairobi details to give a feeling for the realities of Kenyan life – street gangs, crime, raiders from across the Ugandan border, dangerous politics, AIDS, and the eco tourists.
But mostly this book is fun; more so if you would enjoy details of the rich bird life this area has to offer.
This is the fifth book I have read set in or by Kenyan authors and the first country I have 'completed' in Africa.
So another map is in order:
Book #1. (Galapagos Islands) - The Beak of the Finch - Jonathan Weiner - 2007 - NF (location - Galapagos Islands; US author) -
Nearly everyone has heard of the Galapagos Islands and the finches which sparked many of Darwin's theories of evolution.
This is an in depth look at the evolution of these finches and the continuing selective pressure they are under as they continue to evolve, season by season, as each year brings a bit different conditions to these islands.
Most of this is seen through the lens of Peter and Rosemary Grant, two dedicated scientists who have devoted their careers to the teasing out the secrets of evolution as shown by these birds.
It's not just about finches, though, as later chapters deal with topics such as climate change, pesticide and antibiotic resistance.
This classic book was first published in 1995 and won a Pulitzer. Nevertheless, while older, the information is still solid. I feel this book is accessible and downright fascinating.
People's Republic of the Congo: Emerald Labyrinth – Eli Greenbaum - 2017; Read 3/2018
Author Eli Greenbaum is a herpetologist and evolutionary biologist. He's also a modern adventurer.
He's been to the People's Republic of the Congo several times in his quests to document new or rare species of amphibians (and the occasional snake). There is real urgency for this work, as with each acre of jungle that disappears, undiscovered species may disappear forever.
This is also a modern day travel adventure account as central Africa, with its continuing wars and unrest, along with its remote, difficult to access locations, has been overlooked and little understood by the West for many years.
Each chapter begins with a bit about the area he will be traveling in – history, such the colonial ambitions of Belgium's King Leopold II and more current events including wars, uprisings and civil wars including the Hutu/Tsutsi conflict and genocide. We're also introduced to some of the geology of the area that formed the Great Rift; and of course, the endangered gorillas and elephants of the area.
The chapter then continues with the story of his expedition , including the obstacles to travel due to terrain, illnesses such as malaria, and hostile inhabitants. And of course, he describes the creatures that he found, and how they are is important to his research and to understanding our changing planet as a whole.
I enjoyed the sheer adventure of this book, the scientific work and also learning about the Congo. I came away from it with an increased knowledge and appreciation of central Africa. If you're an armchair scientist or an armchair adventurer, I think you'll find this book of interest.
I received this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers' program in exchange for an honest review.
Israel - Book #4: Judas - Amos Oz - 2014 - Fic (location, author) - read 4/2018
Schmuel Ash is a grad student at Hebrew University, interested in creating his thesis on 'The Jewish View of Jesus'. But after two thousand years, it is hard to produce new thought on this. He believes he has struck on one: Judas, instead of being the reviled traitor, is the kernel of the story. Judas is Jesus's first true believer, but frustrated with how Jesus is not cooperating, Judas pushes events forward.
Discouraged by his advisor's unenthusiastic reception and having money problems, Schmuel drops out of school and becomes the caretaker to a mysterious old man, whose son was killed in fighting for the Israeli state. His current caretaker is his son's widow. Her father fought for a more moderate Israeli nation, with compensation for the displaced Palestinians.
So we have two traitors, Judas and the widow's father; and two heroes – Jesus and Israeli leader Ben-Gurion. But who is traitor and who is hero? Who is trying to do the right thing and how will history remember them?
Tough read for me, because while I am familiar with the nuances of the story of Jesus and can see the skews, I am not familiar with the nuances of Israeli politics at the time it was becoming a nation. Is Ben-Gurion's story also a bit skewed? I just don't have the experience to know, although I spent a bit of time researching his positions since I read this as part of a literature seminar.
Still, it's an interesting look at the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian situation and the mistakes that may have been made leading to today's conflict.
And Oz's writing is fine and thought provoking.
Pakistan Book #4 Exit West - Mohsin Hamid - 2017
Read April 2018
"Saeed wondered aloud once again if the natives would really kill them, and Nadia said once again that the natives were so frightened that they could do anything. “I can understand it,” she said. “Imagine if you lived here. And millions of people from all over the world suddenly arrived.” “Millions arrived in our country,” Saeed replied. “When there were wars nearby.” “That was different. Our country was poor. We didn’t feel we had as much to lose.”
Saeed and Nadia are young adults, working in a city in a non-specified Middle Eastern country. As their relationship grows, so does the war. The city they live in crumbles: bombings and killings on the streets, lack of water and infrastructure and their jobs disappear. They fear the indiscriminate killing on both sides of the conflict.
And then they hear of magic doorways – secret exits to other countries. Desperate and afraid for their lives, they decide to pay a smuggler to get through the door. While Nadia doesn't have any family, Saeed's father decides to stay behind. Everyone know this means they will be unlikely to see each other again.
But refugee camps are chaotic places, not as safe or as hopeful as they imagined. There is a great deal of sadness as they can never return to their country, and the people they knew before are also lost to them. They decide to chance the magic doors as they move onward through other doors to find a safe, more permanent life.
Interesting and well written, I read this along with the March PBS/NYT Now Read This Book Club.
I probably would have been more impressed by this work had I not read the spectacular Stripped to the Bone: Portraits of Syrian Women by Ghada Alatrash last year. Alatrash's short stories affected me emotionally in a way this book did not quite capture.
Haiti: Book #2: Mouths Don't Speak - Katia D. Ulysse - 2018
A hard book to summarize without spoilers!
Jacqueline is an immigrant from Haiti, married to an ex-Marine with several combat tours behind him and untreated PTSD. They have a young daughter.
Jacqueline was neglected and had little contact with her upper class Haitian parents as a child. When she was very young, she had been left in a boarding school while her parents toured the world. She saw little of her parents from that point onward.
Nevertheless, she is frantic when she cannot contact them after the Haiti earthquake. She dials their unresponsive phone obsessively as the days turn into weeks. And yet, sometimes the unexpected happens.
Jacqueline decides to return to Haiti with her daughter to renew family ties and to reconnect with her home country. Her husband refuses to go with her as he considers the chaos in Haiti to be a virtual state of war.
Tragedy happens. The marriage is tested to its limits. Then once again we return to the Haitian class divisions.
This is actually a very short novel, with many different themes braided into it. They are all interesting strands, but I felt that they were worthy of more development. Too many themes, like too many spices in a dish, can muddle the story. In addition this fairly bleak novel was tied up with a bow at the end, which was rather unexpected and I'm not sure fit with the rest of the novel. Can trauma be solved that easily?
However, it was a compelling read, that kept me quite interested. I also was fascinated by this look at the wealthy in Haiti and this view of the country. This is an interesting novel by a young writer. I would definitely be interested in her next book.
I received a copy of this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.
Sri Lanka: Book #3 Wave - Sonali Deraniyagala - 2013; read May 2018
In 2012, Sonali Deraniyagala was celebrating the New Year week with her beloved family and friends at a national park on the Sri Lankan coast, only a few miles from where she had grown up. She, her husband and sons had traveled from London for a happy holiday reunion with Sonali's Sri Lankan parents.
Suddenly a friend alerted her to the curious fact that the sea was rolling in on their hotel. It took a few moments for them to realize it was a tsunami. She and her husband grabbed their boys and started running in a panic, not even pausing to pound on her parents' next door hotel room and warn them of the coming disaster.
They leaped into a good Samaritan's jeep, but could not outrun the wave. Sonali does not remember seeing her husband and sons disappear; she knows only that after being swept by the water for a long time, she grabbed a branch above her. She remembers herself being rescued as she was curled motionless and speechless into a ball. Her rescuers told her that she was spinning, spinning, spinning....
She never saw any of her family alive again.
This is not just a disaster tale, but a story of surviving the unimaginable. She tells of moving through a world where her family no longer exists: the near catatonia in the first months, followed by the incredibly slow inchworm acknowledgment (but never becoming forgetful) of her unimaginable loss.
Malaysia: Book #2 The Gift of Rain - Tan Twan Eng - 2007 - Read June 2018
Set in Malaya before the Second World War, Phillip Hutton is the son of a powerful British businessman who is one of the wealthy elite of the island. Phillip is also the only child of his father's second wife, a Chinese lady cast out by her family due to this marriage.
Phillip found himself never quite fitting in: not in his British, white family; not as a half Chinese child growing up in Malaya; and certainly not with his estranged Chinese grandparents whom he had never met.
But then he met a Japanese diplomat, Endo-san, who was renting a home on an island owned by Phillip's family. The diplomat, also very much alone in Malaya, took on Phillip as his martial arts disciple, molding his philosophy as well as his physical body. The two became deeply connected; the sensai revealed that the two had been connected in many lifetimes.
When Japan invaded Malaya, it became obvious that much of what Phillip believed about his beloved teacher was not true.
Where do loyalties lie? How can Phillip best help his family and his country? This is a wonderfully complex novel investigating connections and conflicting loyalties. The world is real enough to touch; the people are wonderfully three dimensional. It's a hard novel to put down. 4.5 stars
>66 streamsong: That's a really interesting review and conclusions. I haven't read Exit West, but I did read The Reluctant Fundamentalist a few months ago and thought it was excellent. I also read Stripped to the Bone the other year as I won it as an Early Reviewer book, and thought it was OK but honestly couldn't rave about it. I do remember in my review saying that I thought it would work better reworked as an epic novel weaving the various stories together - I found the short stories really frustrating as I never felt like I was able to do any more than scratch the surface with the characters.
>70 Jackie_K: Thanks for stopping by, Jackie! I love divergent views of books. And I understand that short stories aren't for everyone.
I really, really enjoyed the short about the old woman wanting to take her plant starts with her to the US. Reminded me so much of my grandmother.
Nigeria: Book #4 Read August 2018
What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky - Lesley Nneka Arima - 2017
- August PBS/NYT Now Read This Bookclub;
This is a wonderful, thought provoking collection with many different genres represented. It's my favorite collection of short stories that I have read this year.
Two of the best which I am stil thinking about months after reading them:
'What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky' – a future society where mankinds' troubles have been assuaged – people will even professionally bear your emotional burdens. But then it starts to go wrong.
'Who Will Greet You at Home” - This is based on an African tale that I felt was similar to 'The Snow Child' – wanting a child so much that an inanimate object comes alive. But this one was quite darker than the Nordic version.
Read these and enjoy. Your knowledge of Nigeria (although some of the stories also take place in the US) and human nature will both be the better for it
Read in December 2018 for a literature seminar in January 2019
Brazil Book #3: The Hour of the Star - Clarice Lispector - 1977
Clarice Lispector is one of Brazil's iconic writers. Born in 1920 in the Ukraine, she moved at an early age with her family to Brazil. She was only the third women to go to law school in Brazil and the first Jew. This book is the last published before her death in 1977.
Lispector often uses nonconventional syntax and grammar. This can make it quite hard to translate; previous translators have often given in to the urge to 'clean' up her writing.
This is an unusually styled book. The first character is an unnamed male narrator who is writing the story of a young impoverished woman in Rio de Janero; a woman not only living in physical poverty, but in spiritual and emotional poverty. She ekes out a daily living, living almost anonymously in the huge city and so beset by each day that she cannot imagine a future.
The male narrator steps out of his character several times to chide himself that he must not become sentimental and 'write like a woman'. There's a bit of humor, a large measure of pathos and a story line that will stick with me.
First review of 2019! This book was a selection last fall in my lit seminar. Although fascinatating, I had to take it in short chunks.
1. Secondhand Time - Svetlana Alexievich - 2013
- Global Reading: Russia (additional book);
This book is written in a similar style to the only other book of Nobel laureate Alexievich's that I have read: Voices From Chernobyl. Both volumes feature recollections of people who have lived through the events. In this case , these are people who lived through the breakup of the Soviet Union.
The dissolution of the USSR was much more chaotic and violent than I imagined. While older people struggled that the ideology they had based their lives on was no longer relevant, they also faced the dissolution of their work places and the loss of their pensions. Professional people ended up on the street selling small goods for whatever tiny sums they could get.
Many people longed for their previous lives and felt they had traded a lifetime of idealism for salami in the shops.
The USSR satellite countries saw violence. Russians and other minorities were purged, and killed in the streets by citizens who had formerly shared the status of USSR citizens. The reverse also happened with Russian citizens in Russia purging those from former member countries.
The crumbling of the social and economic left huge holes which led to the rise of the Russian oligarchs and Vladimir Putin.
Those who lived through this era tell their accounts vividly. As with the Chernobyl book, I came away with a much better understanding of both the events and the way individual lives were upturned.
A fascinating and highly recommended read.
>75 Jackie_K: Hi Jackie! Are you part of the February group read in the category challenge? I thought I'd see people have to say about it.
South Africa #4: The Expedition to the Baobab Tree: A Novel - Wilma Stockenstrom - 1981 - Fic (author, location)
- February Lit Seminar
This stream of consciousness novel opens with our narrator living in a baobab tree, utterly alone, and ignorant in the ways of fending for herself in the middle of the African veld.
Living in Africa just before the coming of the white man, she has been a slave her entire life and schooled in the art of pleasing men.
Now she reflects back on her life. She is devoid of human contact but fills her life with bits and pieces of memory, just as she arranges and rearranges three small beads into a variety of patterns.
“And I fill my thoughts with all sorts of objects to obliterate everything, endless row upon row, not to be counted, I thank providence, I can think of enough objects to obliterate everything, and in addition I can make up objects if the remembered ones run out. I have good remedies against being empty.” p 14
“If I could write, I would take up a porcupine quill and scratch your (the baobab tree's) enormous belly full from top to bottom. I would clamber up as far as your branches and carve notches in your armpits to make you laugh. Big letters. Small letters. In a script full of lobes and curls, in circumambient lines I write round and round you, for I have so much to tell you of a new horizon that became an expedition to a tree. “ p 34
This is a beautiful novel.
Translated by J. M. Coetzee.
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