Jackie's global reading challenge

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Jackie's global reading challenge

1Jackie_K
Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 6:31am

streamsong was talking about this challenge over in the 75ers Non-Fiction Challenge thread, and it instantly appealed! I love the idea of a non-stressy or obsessive global challenge, which can take place over my whole lifetime, and introduce me to many new authors and countries. At the moment the main places I hang out on LT are the ROOT group and the Category Challenge, and I am prioritising tackling Mt TBR rather than buying lots of new books (although, er, I seem to be doing that as well!) - maybe I should say I'm not prioritising buying new books just for a challenge, but if I have a book on Mt TBR or the wishlist that happens to fit, then that's great. So I will just use this thread to list the books I've already read, and the new ones as and when they happen. And I look forward to getting ideas from other participants here as well!

I'm going to count 'books about' as well as books 'set in' or books by indigenous authors, although I hope to get to as many of those as possible.

(I'll put a map in here at some point)

2Jackie_K
Edited: Mar 5, 2022, 3:49pm

A

Afghanistan


1. Khaled Hosseini - A Thousand Splendid Suns
2. Cliff Jones - Water Runs Slow Through Flat Land

Albania

Algeria

Andorra

Angola

Antigua and Barbuda

Argentina

1. Tom Michell - The Penguin Lessons

Armenia

1. Armine Ishkanian - Democracy Building and Civil Society in Post-Soviet Armenia
2. Narine Abgaryan - Three Apples Fell from the Sky

Australia

1. Bill Bryson - Down Under
2. Marlo Morgan - Mutant Message Down Under (NB this is a terrible book!)
3. Nevil Shute - A Town Like Alice

Austria

1. Raphael Jerusalmy - Saving Mozart

Azerbaijan

3Jackie_K
Edited: Sep 8, 2022, 8:17am

B

Bahamas

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Barbados

Belarus

Belgium

Belize

Benin

Bhutan

Bolivia

Bosnia and Herzegovina

1. Zlata Filipovic - Zlata's Diary
2. Mrs E.R. Whitwell - Through Bosnia and Herzegovina with a Paint Brush
3. Steven Galloway - The Cellist of Sarajevo

Botswana

1. Alexander McCall Smith - No 1 Ladies Detective Agency; Tears of the Giraffe; Morality for Beautiful Girls

Brazil

Brunei Darussalam

Bulgaria

1. Julian Barnes - The Porcupine
2. Georgi Markov, tr. Dimiter Keranov - Two Essays

Burkina Faso

Burundi

4Jackie_K
Edited: Nov 15, 2021, 4:28pm

C

Cambodia


1. John Swain - River of Time: A Memoir of Vietnam and Cambodia
2. Chris Moon - One Step Beyond

Cameroon

1. Nigel Barley - The Innocent Anthropologist : Notes from a Mud Hut

Canada

1. Billy Connolly - Journey to the Edge of the World
2. Annie Proulx - The Shipping News
3. Stef Penney - The Tenderness of Wolves
4. L.M. Montgomery - Anne of Green Gables
5. Andre Alexis - Fifteen Dogs

Cabo Verde

Central African Republic

Chad

Chile

1. Brian Keenan & John McCarthy - Between Extremes

China

1. Jung Chang - Wild Swans
2. Frances Wood - Hand Grenade Practice in Peking

Colombia

1. Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Bon Voyage Mr President, and Other Stories

Comoros

Congo

Costa Rica

Côte d’Ivoire

Croatia

1. Dubravka Ugresic - Baba Yaga Laid an Egg
2. Slavenka Drakulic - How we Survived Communism and Even Laughed

Cuba

Cyprus

Czech Republic

1. ed. Hana Havelkova & Libora Oates-Indruchova - The Politics of Gender Culture Under State Socialism: An Expropriated Voice (specifically about Communist Czechoslovakia)
2. Jan Kotouc tr. Isabel Stainsby - Frontiers of the Imperium

5Jackie_K
Edited: Jun 11, 2021, 4:40pm

D

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea


1. Barbara Demick - Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
2. Bandi - The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea
3. Michael Palin - North Korea Journal

Democratic Republic of the Congo

1. Ben Rawlence - Radio Congo: Signals of Hope from Africa's Deadliest War

Denmark

1. Helen Russell - The Year of Living Danishly.
2. Barry Lopez - Arctic Dreams (features Greenland).

Djibouti

Dominica

Dominican Republic

6Jackie_K
Edited: Nov 28, 2020, 4:29pm

E

Ecuador

1. Charles Darwin - The Galapagos Islands

Egypt

1. Linda Herrera - Revolution in the Age of Social Media: The Egyptian Popular Insurrection and the Internet
2. Goscinny & Uderzo - Asterix & Cleopatra

El Salvador

Equatorial Guinea

Eritrea

Estonia

Ethiopia

1. Peter Gill - Famine & Foreigners: Ethiopia Since Live Aid

7Jackie_K
Edited: Jun 26, 2022, 8:06am

F

Fiji

Finland

1. Tove Jansson - The Summer Book
2. Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietila - Notes from an Island

France

1. Patrick Leigh Fermor - A Time to Keep Silence
2. Stephen Clarke - 1000 Years of Annoying the French
3. Voltaire - Candide
4. Jean-Paul Sartre - The Age of Reason
5. Jean-Dominique Bauby - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

(also: Simon Kitson - The Hunt for Nazi Spies: Fighting Espionage in Vichy France; Peter Mayle A Year in Provence & Bon Appetit)

8Jackie_K
Edited: Nov 23, 2020, 4:32pm

G

Gabon

Gambia

Georgia

1. Colin Thubron - Among the Russians

Germany

1. Hester Vaizey - Born in the GDR: Living in the Shadow of the Wall
2. Thomas Harding - The House by the Lake

Ghana

Greece

1. Louis de Bernieres - Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Grenada

Guatemala

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Guyana

9Jackie_K
Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 9:08am

H

Haiti

Honduras

Hungary

10Jackie_K
Edited: May 21, 2022, 4:57pm

I

Iceland

1. Richard Fidler & Kari Gislason - Saga Land

India

1. Vikram Seth - A Suitable Boy
2. Arundhati Roy - The God of Small Things
3. Michael Booth - Eat Pray Eat

Indonesia

1. Tim Severin - The Spice Islands Voyage.

Iran (Islamic Republic of)

1. Azar Nafisi - Reading Lolita in Tehran

Iraq

1. Paul MacAlindin - Upbeat
2. Dorothy Al Khafaji - Between Two Rivers

Ireland

1. Tony Hawks - Round Ireland With a Fridge
2. Lawrence Donegan - No News at Throat Lake
3. Roddy Doyle - The Barrytown Trilogy
4. Joseph O'Connor - Star of the Sea
5. Lisa Smyth - Abortion and Nation: The Politics of Reproduction in Contemporary Ireland

Israel

1. Mark Thomas - Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun
2. Matthew Small - The Wall Between Us: Notes from the Holy Land
3. Mohammed Omer - Shell-Shocked

Italy

1. E.M. Forster - A Room With a View
2. Emma-Jane Kirby - The Optician of Lampedusa
3. Julia Blackburn - Thin Paths: journeys in and around an Italian mountain village
4. Jan Morris - Venice

11Jackie_K
Edited: May 1, 2020, 10:40am

J

Jamaica

1. Jean Rhys - Wide Sargasso Sea.

Japan

Jordan

1. Christina Grau - Backpacking My Style.

12Jackie_K
Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 9:31am

K

Kazakhstan

Kenya

Kiribati

Korea

Kuwait

Kyrgyzstan

13Jackie_K
Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 9:19am

L

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos)

Latvia

Lebanon

Lesotho

Liberia

Libya

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

14Jackie_K
Edited: Oct 1, 2022, 4:42pm

M

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Madagascar

1. Douglas Adams - Last Chance to See
2. Alison Richard - The Sloth Lemur's Song

Malawi

1. William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer - The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Malaysia

Maldives

Mali

1. Joshua Hammer - The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu

Malta

Marshall Islands

Mauritania

Mauritius

1. Mark Carwardine & Stephen Fry - Last Chance to See: In the Footsteps of Douglas Adams

Mexico

Micronesia (Federated States of)

Moldova

1. Tony Hawks - Playing the Moldovans at Tennis
2. Charles King - The Moldovans
3. Rory Maclean & Nick Danziger - Back in the USSR: Heroic Adventures in Transnistria
4. Vladimir Lorchenkov - The Good Life Elsewhere

Monaco

Mongolia

1. Michael Kohn - Dateline Mongolia

Montenegro

Morocco

Mozambique

Myanmar

15Jackie_K
Edited: May 1, 2020, 12:06pm

N

Namibia

1. Chris McIntyre - Bradt Guide Namibia

Nauru

Nepal

Netherlands

New Zealand

Nicaragua

Niger

Nigeria

1. Ben Okri - The Famished Road
2. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - We Should All Be Feminists; Dear Ijeawele
3. Jackie Kay - Red Dust Road

Norway

1. Tim Moore - Frost on my Moustache

16Jackie_K
Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 9:27am

O

Oman

17Jackie_K
Edited: Dec 17, 2022, 3:57pm

P

Pakistan

1. Michael Palin - Himalaya
2. Mohsin Hamid - The Reluctant Fundamentalist
3. Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb - I Am Malala

Palau

Panama

Papua New Guinea

1. Lloyd Jones - Mister Pip

Paraguay

Peru

Philippines

Poland

1. Zvi Feine - Jewish Communal Service in Romania and Poland 1986-2006
2. Joanna Mishtal - The Politics of Morality: The Church, the State, and Reproductive Rights in Postsocialist Poland
3. Ben Aitken - A Chip Shop in Poznan: My Unlikely Year in Poland
4. Diane Ackerman - The Zookeeper's Wife

Portugal

18Jackie_K
Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 9:30am

Q

Qatar

19Jackie_K
Edited: Jun 2, 2018, 4:11pm

R

Romania

1. Mike Ormsby - Never Mind the Balkans, Here's Romania (plus Romanian version Grand Bazar Romania)
2. Olivia Manning - The Balkan Trilogy
3. Haya Leah Molnar - Under a Red Sky: Memoir of a Childhood in Communist Romania
4. Cornelia Muresan - Schimbările comportamentului familial în România : o abordare din perspectiva cursului vieții
5. Katherine Verdery - Secrets and Truths

Russian Federation

1. Leo Tolstoy - War & Peace
2. Andrew Meier - Black Earth
3. Valerie Sperling - Sex, Politics and Putin
4. Mikhail Bulgakov - A Country Doctor's Notebook
5. Margaretta Eagar - Six Years at the Russian Court

Rwanda

20Jackie_K
Edited: Mar 27, 2022, 4:50pm

S

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Samoa

San Marino

Sao Tome and Principe

Saudi Arabia

Senegal

Serbia

1. Rebecca West - Black Lamb & Grey Falcon

Seychelles

Sierra Leone

Singapore

Slovakia

Slovenia

1. ed. Roman Kuhar - Beyond the Pink Curtain (published in Slovenia, includes chapter on Slovenia)

Solomon Islands

Somalia

South Africa

1. Nelson Mandela - Long Walk to Freedom
2. Trevor Noah - Born a Crime
3. Didier Fassin - When Bodies Remember: Experiences and Portraits of AIDS in South Africa

South Sudan

1. Various authors - The Weekenders: Travels in the Heart of Africa

Spain

1. Tim Moore - Spanish Steps: One Man and his Ass on the Pilgrim Way to Santiago
2. Goscinny & Uderzo - Asterix in Spain
3. Alan Parks - Seriously Mum, What's an Alpaca?

Sri Lanka

Sudan

Suriname

Swaziland

Sweden

1. Jonas Jonasson - The 100-Year Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared
2. Fredrik Backman - A Man Called Ove

Switzerland

Syria

1. Ghada Alatrash - Stripped to the Bone: Portraits of Syrian Women

21Jackie_K
Edited: Oct 30, 2022, 1:43pm

T

Tajikistan

Tanzania

1. Craig Packer - Into Africa

Thailand

Timor-Leste

Togo

1. Tete-Michel Kpomassie - Michel the Giant: An African in Greenland

Tonga

Trinidad and Tobago

Tunisia

Turkey

1. Elif Shafak - The Flea Palace
2. Jeremy Seal - A Fez of the Heart: Travels Around Turkey in Search of a Hat

Turkmenistan

Tuvalu

22Jackie_K
Edited: Jun 16, 2018, 4:03pm

U

Uganda

Ukraine

1. Jonathan Safran Foer - Everything is Illuminated
2. Sarah Phillips - Women's Social Activism in the New Ukraine
3. Adriana Petryna - Life Exposed: Biological Citizens After Chernobyl
4. Vasyl Baziv - Armageddon at Maidan (terrible book!)
5. Marta Dyczok - Ukraine's Euromaidan: Broadcasting through Information Wars with Hromadske Radio

United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

1. John McCarthy & Sandi Toksvig - Island Race
2. Melissa Harrison - Rain: Four Walks in English Weather
3. Robert Macfarlane - Landmarks
4. James Rebanks - The Shepherd's Life
5. Alastair McIntosh - Soil and Soul

United States of America

1. Billy Connolly - Billy Connolly's Route 66
2. Josie Dew - Travels in a Strange State
3. Bill Bryson - The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
4. Eric Schlosser - Fast Food Nation
5. Michael K Brantley - Memory Cards

Uruguay

Uzbekistan

1. ed. Kathleen Kuehnast & Carol Nechemias - Post-Soviet Women Encountering Transition (several former Soviet Union countries, but does feature 2 chapters specifically on Uzbekistan)

23Jackie_K
Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 10:00am

V

Vanuatu

Venezuela

Viet Nam

24Jackie_K
Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 10:00am

W

25Jackie_K
Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 10:00am

X

26Jackie_K
Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 10:00am

Y

Yemen

27Jackie_K
Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 10:01am

Z

Zambia

Zimbabwe

28starbox
Apr 10, 2018, 9:07pm

Wonderful, a new member! Happy reading - this will take over your life for years! xx

29streamsong
Apr 11, 2018, 10:06am

Welcome, Jackie, I'm also glad you've joined!

30Jackie_K
Apr 12, 2018, 6:15am

>28 starbox: >29 streamsong: Thank you both very much! I'm loving the relaxed nature of the challenge!

I've got my list of books lined up for various challenges this year (non-fic, ColourCAT) in other LT groups, and already highlighting to myself which ones might fit here.

I've finished a few countries already, in terms of having read 5 for them, but I have decided that if I read a book by a citizen of that country (rather than, say, a travel book by an outsider) then I would swap it in to my total of 5 and remove the non-native book (or at least just count it as an 'additional' title). Not that anyone's interested apart from me, but it's nice to be nerdy about details sometimes, and I do want to increase my reading by non-Anglo writers.

Most recently, this week I finished Simon Kitson's The Hunt for Nazi Spies: Fighting Espionage in Vichy France which I added as an additional as I'd already got 5 titles for France (plus the author is a Brit). It was a bit dry in places, but interesting to read about something I knew nothing about before.

31Jackie_K
May 15, 2018, 10:49am

Yesterday I finished a very small collection of short stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which I am counting as my first for Colombia as that was where he is from, even though none of the stories was set there. Bon Voyage Mr President and Other Stories was a Penguin60 book (little books published by Penguin in 1995 to celebrate their 60th anniversary). I'd not read any Marquez before, so wasn't sure quite what to expect. This was four short stories, the title one being by far the longest. That was about a deposed Latin American/Caribbean dictator (country not specified) seeking medical treatment in Geneva. There were also shorter stories about a guy on a flight seated next to a beautiful woman and he imagines their interactions, although they never so much as share a glance; a woman who is accidentally admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Spain and whose husband, when he eventually traces her, sides with the doctors rather than helping her get out; and the fourth one was the only one featuring the magical realism for which Marquez is famous, about two brothers with a boat in their 8th floor flat in Madrid, who end up drowing all their classmates in light.

I'm glad I can now say I've read some Marquez, and I thought the writing was beautiful (and the translation very good too) - here was obviously a very talented writer at the top of his craft. I found it hard to relate to any of the characters, though, and other than the third story about the accidental psychiatric patient, which was intriguing enough to make me think it would have worked as a longer novel, I don't feel particularly like I'd like to read more. 3/5.

32Jackie_K
Jun 16, 2018, 4:05pm

I just finished an edited volume, Post-Soviet Women Encountering Transition (ed. Kathleen Kuehnast & Carol Nechemias) which as well as Russia and Ukraine (both of which I have completed for this challenge already) also featured a few other former Soviet countries. I am going to include this book for Uzbekistan, as there were two chapters related to there.

33Jackie_K
Jun 27, 2018, 5:11pm

Yesterday I finished a library book, Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist. It's set in the USA and Pakistan, so I'm counting it for Pakistan for this challenge.

34Jackie_K
Jul 11, 2018, 3:03pm

I'm counting Colin Thubron's Among the Russians for Georgia, as that is one of the states he visits on this epic journey (it was undertaken in the Soviet times so it was all part of the same country), and I've already completed this challenge for Russia and Ukraine. It's a great book, well worth a read.

35Jackie_K
Jul 16, 2018, 6:22am

An LTER book which I couldn't actually finish was Christina Grau's Backpacking My Style. She visits 16 countries in total, on a budget. Before I abandoned it, one of the countries I did read about was her trip to Jordan, so I'm counting this in the challenge. Although I honestly wouldn't recommend it to anyone else!

36Jackie_K
Aug 3, 2018, 7:05am

Yesterday I finished Ukraine and Russia: People, Politics, Propaganda and Perspectives. As mentioned in >34 Jackie_K: I've actually completed this challenge for both countries already, but wanted to just note it here.

37Jackie_K
Aug 6, 2018, 4:24am

Adding Matthew Small's The Wall Between Us: Notes from the Holy Land as my second book for Israel. It was good, although I preferred the other book I read about the Separation Wall, Mark Thomas' Extreme Rambling.

38Jackie_K
Edited: Aug 9, 2018, 4:37am

I've added Charles Darwin's The Galapagos Islands to Ecuador for this challenge - it kind of feels a bit cheeky, especially as I've not read anything about or from mainland Ecuador, but as the islands are an Ecuadorean territory I'm sneaking it in on a technicality :)

39Jackie_K
Apr 28, 2019, 7:06am

I've 3 more books to add for this year so far.

For Cambodia, Chris Moon's One Step Beyond, a memoir about his time working with the mine clearance programme of the Halo Trust. It covers his time in both Cambodia and Mozambique (where he stepped on a mine and lost most of his right leg plus his right hand), but a huge chunk of the book is set in Cambodia (including a few days where he and his team were kidnapped by the Khmer Rouge).

For Denmark, Helen Russell's The Year of Living Danishly - I always like a good book title pun!

And my first for Iraq, Paul MacAlindin's Upbeat, which is the story of the formation and first few years of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq.

40Jackie_K
Apr 28, 2019, 7:10am

Ooh, and I forgot another one!

My 3rd for Italy: Julia Blackburn's Thin Paths: journeys in and around an Italian mountain village. An excellent book, highly recommended.

41Jackie_K
Jun 2, 2019, 1:56pm

I remembered a couple of other books I read earlier this year that count for this challenge. I'm cheekily counting Asterix & Cleopatra as my second book for Egypt, and I also read Jackie Kay's wonderful Red Dust Road, which is her memoir of looking for her biological family - her dad was a Nigerian student in Scotland in the 1960s, and a fair bit of the book features her meeting him and other family members in Nigeria, so that's my 4th book for Nigeria.

42Jackie_K
Oct 22, 2019, 10:27am

I haven't added to this thread for ages, but I've several more books to add:

* Trevor Noah - Born a Crime (South Africa)
* Alexander McCall Smith - Morality for Beautiful Girls (Botswana)
* Zvi Feine - Jewish Communal Service in Romania and Poland 1986-2006 (Poland)
* Douglas Adams - Last Chance to See (Madagascar)
* Mark Carwardine & Stephen Fry - Last Chance to See - in the Footsteps of Douglas Adams (Mauritius)
* Mohammed Omer - Shell-Shocked (Israel) (well, really Palestine, I hate that I have to include it with Israel here, given the subject matter).

43Jackie_K
May 1, 2020, 10:50am

I've added a number of books to a number of countries - Moldova, Italy, Jamaica, Afghanistan, Iraq, Poland.

44Jackie_K
Aug 4, 2020, 3:42pm

Adding books to Iceland (Saga Land) and Chile (Between Extremes). Both excellent!

45Jackie_K
Aug 16, 2020, 4:49pm

Adding a rare book to North Korea - Bandi's The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea.

46Jackie_K
Sep 16, 2020, 1:23pm

I've added two more books - Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez to Denmark (well really it features Greenland quite a lot, but for the purposes of this challenge's definition it would come under Denmark), and my first for Austria, Raphael Jerusalmy's Saving Mozart, which is set in Salzburg.

47Jackie_K
Oct 7, 2020, 9:01am

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer is a wonderful book, and my first here for Malawi.

48Jackie_K
Nov 23, 2020, 4:33pm

I've just added the excellent The House by the Lake by Thomas Harding to my Germany list.

49Jackie_K
Nov 28, 2020, 4:29pm

And my first for Ethiopia - Peter Gill's Famine & Foreigners: Ethiopia Since Live Aid, which was very interesting (even though it's already a decade old).

50Jackie_K
Dec 16, 2020, 3:54pm

I have just finished Joshua Hammer's The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu which was fascinating, and read like a heist story. It's also my first for this challenge for Mali.

51Jackie_K
Jan 17, 2021, 11:03am

Hmm. I was excited to add my first book about Taiwan here, but it doesn't seem to be on the list of countries. Looking at wikipedia, it appears that it is not recognised by China and so it is not an official member of the UN.

Anyway, I can't include it in my list because of that, but I do want to note that Jessica J. Lee's Two Trees Make a Forest is a wonderful introduction to Taiwan.

52Jackie_K
Mar 12, 2021, 9:33am

Into Africa by Craig Packer is my first book for Tanzania. It's an account of a fieldwork trip to the Serengeti and Gombe national parks, and I really enjoyed it.

53Jackie_K
Apr 26, 2021, 12:54pm

Adding A Chip Shop in Poznan: My Unlikely Year in Poland to Poland (unsurprisingly!). An enjoyable travelogue of a Brit moving to Poland, after being intrigued by so many Poles moving to the UK.

54Jackie_K
Jun 11, 2021, 4:41pm

My latest library book was Michael Palin's diary accompaniment to his travel documentary, North Korea Journal. An easy and interesting read, although hampered by having to read it on my computer and Adobe Digital Editions only showing the top half of the photos.

55Jackie_K
Edited: Jul 31, 2021, 1:13pm

Adding the anthology The Weekenders: Travels in the Heart of Africa to South Sudan (if I'd read it when it was published, in 2001, it would have been added to Sudan, of course, but all the stories and accounts are set in the south, which is now independent).

An interesting collection from writers taken to south Sudan by the Daily Telegraph - including Tony Hawks, Alex Garland and Irvine Welsh (who contributes a very vivid novella which takes up around half the book - that will stay with me a long time).

I've also added Tom Michell's The Penguin Lessons to Argentina. This was a lovely light true story about a remarkable penguin.

56Jackie_K
Oct 5, 2021, 12:00pm

I have added a new book to Pakistan - Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb's I am Malala. Which was every bit as inspiring as you would imagine.

57Jackie_K
Nov 15, 2021, 4:29pm

I've added Jan Kotouc's Frontiers of the Imperium (translated by my friend, Isabel Stainsby) to the Czech Republic, as the author is Czech (as is the original language of the book). This is my first foray into military sci-fi - not really my thing, but the book kept my interest till the end, and I'd happily pick up the next in the series sometime when Mt TBR is a bit lower!

58Jackie_K
Jan 8, 2022, 9:15am

A little bit pushing it, but I've added Julian Barnes' The Porcupine to Bulgaria. It's a fictional novella about the trial of a former Communist president of an unnamed eastern European country, but is widely known to be based on the trial of Bulgarian Communist leader, Todor Zhivkov.

59Cecilturtle
Jan 10, 2022, 3:56pm

Welcome, Jackie and see you on ROOT too!

60Jackie_K
Feb 18, 2022, 4:51pm

>59 Cecilturtle: Nice to see you here :)

I finished Fredrik Backman's novel A Man Called Ove and it's my second read for Sweden. I really enjoyed it.

61MissBrangwen
Feb 19, 2022, 6:12am

>60 Jackie_K: Great! I fear that I will just fill Sweden with Nordic Noir novels, so it's good to get another idea of other possibilities that are still very readable.

62Jackie_K
Feb 19, 2022, 9:03am

>61 MissBrangwen: whereas I'll be filling Sweden with the grumpy old man genre (my other book so far for Sweden is The 100 year old man...!).

63Jackie_K
Mar 5, 2022, 3:50pm

My second book for Armenia is the wonderful novel Three Apples Fell from the Sky by Narine Abgaryan, translated by Lisa C Hayden. What a magical book, I loved it.

64labfs39
Mar 14, 2022, 5:08pm

>60 Jackie_K: I really like Backman's books too. My favorites are A Man Called Ove and And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer

65Jackie_K
Mar 27, 2022, 4:49pm

>64 labfs39: I'd like to read more of his work (so many books, so little time....!).

I've added my 3rd book to South Africa - an academic text from 2007 with plenty of contemporary relevance still, Didier Fassin's When Bodies Remember: Experiences and Politics of AIDS in South Africa.

66streamsong
May 19, 2022, 10:49am

>63 Jackie_K: I've added Three Apples That Fell From the Sky to my library hold list. Thanks for the recommendation!

67Jackie_K
May 20, 2022, 10:50am

>66 streamsong: You're welcome, you're in for a treat!

68Jackie_K
May 21, 2022, 4:58pm

I've just added my first for Indonesia, a fascinating travelogue of a sailing trip in the footsteps (sailsteps?) of Victorian explorer and self-taught naturalist, Alfred Russell Wallace - Tim Severin's The Spice Islands Voyage.

69Jackie_K
Jun 26, 2022, 8:07am

Adding two books by Tove Jansson to Finland - her novel The Summer Book which I read last summer and obviously forgot to add at the time, and the beautiful book written with her partner, artist Tuulikki Pietila (Tooti), Notes from an Island.

70Dilara86
Jul 29, 2022, 8:55am

>69 Jackie_K: Notes from an Island sounds fantastic!

71Jackie_K
Edited: Sep 8, 2022, 8:17am

>70 Dilara86: It is gorgeous!

72Jackie_K
Sep 8, 2022, 8:21am

A short foray into communist Bulgaria, with a short book, Two Essays, by writer and dissident Georgi Markov, who was assassinated in London in 1978 by a poisoned dart from an umbrella (yesterday was the 44th anniversary of the attack, he died a few days later aged 49). After his defection in 1969 he ended up working for the BBC World Service, but also produced bulletins for Radio Free Europe, along the lines of From Our Own Correspondent or Letter from America bulletins, about every day life in Bulgaria under communism, and it is thought that these bulletins are what riled the authorities there so much and led to his assassination. This book is the translation of two of those bulletins, 'Prostitution' and 'Wastewater', and I'd love to read more if they were ever translated. Apparently the translator is working on a biography of Markov; I for one would be really interested to read it.

73labfs39
Sep 8, 2022, 2:58pm

>72 Jackie_K: That does sound interesting. I have not read anything from Bulgaria yet.

74AnnieMod
Sep 8, 2022, 3:24pm

>72 Jackie_K: He is also a very talented fiction and drama writer (not sure what is translated into English from his fiction...).

75Jackie_K
Sep 8, 2022, 4:00pm

>73 labfs39: This is a good introduction, that's for sure, albeit very short. I hope more of his work is translated.
>74 AnnieMod: Yes, so I gather. There appear to be a handful of his works on amazon, but not much.

76Jackie_K
Oct 1, 2022, 4:43pm

#2 for Madagascar is The Sloth Lemur's Song by Alison Richard, which I listened to in audiobook form. She is an academic, who from her PhD in the very early 1970s to today has lived and worked extensively in Madagascar. This book is a magnum opus, looking at all the evidence for Madagascar's emergence as a country and landscape, and the various changes it has undergone over deep time. As well as her own discipline (anthropology - her research is on lemurs), she draws on zoology, botany, geology, ecology, archaeology, climate science, and history, in order to complicate the simplistic narratives of Madagascar's virgin environment being destroyed by local human inhabitants, as well as how the unique habitats and landscapes and flora and fauna of the island emerged. She highlights local Malagasy research as well as international scholars, and also includes anecdotes from her own extensive experience of living and working in Madagascar, and this is a highly respectful and loving as well as meticulously researched account. The book was narrated beautifully by Lucinda Roberts.

77labfs39
Oct 1, 2022, 7:18pm

>76 Jackie_K: Sounds like a great overview of the country and thus perfect choice for the challenge.

78Jackie_K
Oct 2, 2022, 5:46am

>77 labfs39: yes it was, I learnt loads!

79Jackie_K
Oct 30, 2022, 1:44pm

Although mainly (as per the book title) set in Greenland, I am counting Togolese author Tete-Michel Kpomassie's Michel the Giant: An African in Greenland as my first book for Togo (the first two chapters are set there). This is a terrific book, I highly recommend it!

80Willoyd
Oct 31, 2022, 1:29pm

>79 Jackie_K:
I've got that down for Togo on my list too: so glad you recommend it, as it's already on my shelves! It was reviewed very positively in the Book Club Review podcast earlier this year too (and they're not afraid to say when they don't like something!)

81Jackie_K
Oct 31, 2022, 1:36pm

>80 Willoyd: You've got a treat in store!

82Jackie_K
Dec 17, 2022, 4:00pm

For Poland, I'm adding Diane Ackerman's The Zookeeper's Wife, the true story of the family who ran Warsaw Zoo before, during and after WW2. The zoo became a temporary safe house for many Jews escaping the Warsaw Ghetto, and Antonina, the wife of the title, did the bulk of the day to day managing of the logistics of this, while her husband Jan worked for the Polish Underground.

83labfs39
Dec 17, 2022, 4:08pm

>82 Jackie_K: There is a movie based on the book as well. It was interesting to see the differences between the two.

84Willoyd
Dec 19, 2022, 7:45am

>81 Jackie_K:
I did have, you were right! Just finished it - so interesting. Gripped me right through to the finish. So much insight both into Greenland lifestyle (of that period) and of his own. Rightly a 'Modern Classic'.