RidgewayGirl Reads Around the World

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RidgewayGirl Reads Around the World

1RidgewayGirl
Edited: Yesterday, 6:35pm

The idea of a place to track my global reading across the years appeals to me, so here we go. I'll add the ones I've read so far as I've been tracking this, so this thread counts books from January, 2015 on.

For simplicity's sake, I'm going to count by author's nationality, limiting myself to five titles to any single country, only count an author once, and choosing to list only those titles that seemed to say something about the country in question. So a novel by a Belgian author set in Australia would not be counted.


Create Your Own Visited Countries Map

2RidgewayGirl
Edited: Jun 29, 2022, 3:24pm

Afghanistan
A Fort of Nine Towers by Qais Akbar Omar (read in 2016)

Albania

Algeria

Andorra

Angola

Antigua and Barbuda

Argentina
Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin (read in 2019)
The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares (read in 2020)
Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica (read in 2021)
The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez (read in 2021)

Armenia

Australia
The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood (read in 2017)
The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett (read in 2019)
The Whispering Wall by Patricia Carlon (read in 2020)
The Dry by Jane Harper (read in 2022)

Austria

Azerbaijan

3RidgewayGirl
Edited: Nov 27, 2021, 1:49pm

Bahamas

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Barbados
How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones (read in 2021)

Belarus

Belgium
War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans (read in 2017)
The Public Prosecutor by Jef Geeraerts (read in 2017)

Belize

Benin

4RidgewayGirl
Edited: May 30, 2022, 1:49pm

Bhutan

Bolivia

Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon (read 2019)
Where You Come From (orig. Herkunft) by Saša Stanišic (read 2020)

Botswana

Brazil
The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao by Martha Batalha (read in 2018)

Brunei

Bulgaria

Burkina Faso

Burundi

5RidgewayGirl
Edited: Jan 26, 2:54pm

Cambodia

Cameroon
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue (read in 2023)

Canada
Leaven of Malice by Robertson Davies (read in 2016)
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese (read in 2018)
Autopsy of a Boring Wife by Marie-Renée Lavoie (read in 2020)
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice (read in 2021)

Cabo Verde

Central African Republic

Chad

Chile
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (read in 2020)
Nervous System by Lina Meruane, translated by Megan McDowell (read in 2022)

China
Frontier by Can Xue (read in 2017)
Rouge Street by Xuetao Shuang (read in 2022)

Colombia
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (read in 2017)
Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (read in 2021)
Like This Afternoon Forever by Jaime Manrique (read in 2021)

6RidgewayGirl
Edited: Nov 28, 2021, 3:41pm

Comoros

Congo (Democratic Republic of the)

Congo (Republic of the)

Costa Rica

Côte d'Ivoire

Croatia

Cuba
The Kingdom of this World by Alejo Carpentier (read in 2021)

Cyprus

Czech Republic

7RidgewayGirl
Edited: Nov 27, 2021, 2:13pm

Denmark
The Woman from Bratislava by Leif Davidsen (read in 2015)

Djibouti

Dominica

Dominican Republic

8RidgewayGirl
Edited: Feb 1, 2:00pm

Ecuador

Egypt
The Yacoubian Building by Alaa al-Aswani (read in 2022)
Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz (read in 2023)

El Salvador

Equatorial Guinea

Eritrea

Estonia

Ethiopia

9RidgewayGirl
Edited: Dec 3, 2021, 9:26am

Fiji

Finland
Compartment No. 6 by Rosa Liksom (read in 2021)

France
The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrère (read in 2017)
The End of Eddy by Édouard Louis (read in 2018)
The Years by Annie Ernaux (read in 2019)
The Margot Affair by Sanaë Lemoine (read in 2020)
At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop (read in 2021)

10RidgewayGirl
Edited: Jan 10, 12:00pm

Gabon

Gambia

Georgia

Germany
In Matto's Realm by Friedrich Glauser (read in 2015)
At the Heart of the White Rose: Letters and Diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl edited by Inge Jens (read in 2018)
1,000 Coils of Fear by Olivia Wenzel (read in 2023)

Ghana
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (read in 2017)
Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu (read in 2021)

Greece

Grenada

Guatemala

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Guyana

11RidgewayGirl
Nov 26, 2021, 8:33pm

Haiti

Honduras

Hungary

12RidgewayGirl
Edited: Sep 30, 2022, 12:42pm

Iceland

India
Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag (read in 2017)
A Burning by Megha Majumdar (read in 2020)

Indonesia

Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Refuge by Dina Nayeri (read in 2018)
Seasons of Purgatory by Shahriar Mandanipour (read in 2022)

Iraq
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi (read in 2018)

Ireland
Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín (read in 2015)
Smile by Roddy Doyle (read in 2018)
Snowflake by Louise Nealon (read in 2021)
Acts of Desperation by Megan Nolan (read in 2021)

Israel
All the Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan (read in 2017)
Second Person Singular by Sayed Kashua (read in 2019)

Italy
The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (read in 2016)
First Execution by Domenico Starnone (read in 2019)
A Girl Returned by Donatella Di Pietrantonio (read in 2020)
The Dry Heart by Natalia Ginzburg (read in 2022)

13RidgewayGirl
Edited: Nov 27, 2021, 2:05pm

14RidgewayGirl
Edited: Oct 25, 2022, 6:00pm

Kazakhstan

Kenya

Kiribati

Korea (Democratic People's Republic of)

Korea (Republic of)
Human Acts by Han Kang (read in 2017)
Lemon by Kwon Yeo-sun (read in 2022)

Kosovo
Crossing by Pajtim Statovci (country of birth) (read in 2022)

Kuwait

Kyrgyzstan

15RidgewayGirl
Edited: Jun 29, 2022, 3:18pm

Lao People's Democratic Republic

Latvia

Lebanon
The Children of the Ghetto: My Name is Adam by Elias Khoury (read in 2019)

Lesotho

Liberia

Libya

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

16RidgewayGirl
Nov 26, 2021, 8:50pm

Macedonia

Madagascar

Malawi

Malaysia

Maldives

Mali

Malta

Marshall Islands

Mauritania

Mauritius

17RidgewayGirl
Edited: Jun 29, 2022, 3:12pm

Mexico
Sudden Death by Alvaro Enrigue (read in 2017)
Tomb Song by Julián Herbert (read in 2018)
Tell Me How it Ends by Valeria Luiselli (read in 2020)

Micronesia

Republic of Moldova

Monaco

Mongolia

Montenegro

Morocco
Straight From the Horse's Mouth by Meryem Alaoui (read in 2022)

Mozambique

Myanmar

18RidgewayGirl
Edited: Jul 21, 2022, 4:53pm

Namibia

Nauru

Nepal
We Measure the Earth with Our Bodies by Tsering Yangzom Lama (born and raised in Nepal but ethnically Tibetan) (read in 2022)

Netherlands
The Ditch by Herman Koch (read in 2019)
Outsider in Amsterdam by Janwillem van de Wetering (read in 2020)

New Zealand
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (read in 2018)

Nicaragua

Niger

Nigeria
Looking for Transwonderland by Noo Saro-Wiwa (read in 2017)
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (read in 2019)
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré (read in 2020)
Lightseekers by Femi Kayode (read in 2021)
Prayer for the Living by Ben Okri (read in 2021)

Norway
One of Us: Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway by Åsne Seierstad (read in 2016)

Oman
Bitter Orange Tree by Jokha Alharthi, translated from the Arabic by Marilyn Booth (read in 2022)

19RidgewayGirl
Edited: Jun 29, 2022, 3:44pm

Pakistan
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (read in 2017)
Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal (read in 2020)

Palau

Palestine

Panama

Papua New Guinea

Paraguay

Peru

Philippines

Poland
Death in Breslau by Marek Krajewski (read in 2016)
Chasing the King of Hearts by Hanna Krall (read in 2017)
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (read in 2019)

Portugal

Qatar

20RidgewayGirl
Edited: Nov 27, 2021, 1:45pm

Romania

Russian Federation
The Aviator by Evgenii Vodolazkin (read in 2018)
Klotsvog by Margarita Khemlin (read in 2019)

Rwanda

21RidgewayGirl
Edited: Nov 27, 2021, 1:34pm

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Samoa

San Marino

Sao Tome and Principe

Saudi Arabia

Senegal

Serbia
The Tiger's Wife by Teá Obreht (read in 2019)

Seychelles

22RidgewayGirl
Edited: Nov 27, 2021, 1:58pm

Sierra Leone

Singapore

Slovakia

Slovenia

Solomon Islands

Somalia

South Africa
The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso (read in 2017)

South Sudan

Spain
Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (read in 2018)
Come On Up by Jordi Nopca (read in 2021)

Sri Lanka
A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam (read in 2021)

23RidgewayGirl
Edited: Nov 27, 2021, 2:08pm

Sudan

Suriname

Swaziland

Sweden
The Man on the Balcony by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (read in 2016)
Detective Inspector Huss by Helene Tursten (read in 2018)
The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag (read in 2019)

Switzerland
Autopsy of a Father by Pascale Kramer (read in 2017)

Syria

24RidgewayGirl
Edited: Nov 28, 2021, 3:42pm

Taiwan

Tajikistan

Tanzania
Gravel Heart by Abdulrazak Gurnah (read in 2021)

Thailand
Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad (read in 2020)

Timor-Leste

Togo
An African in Greenland by Tété-Michel Kpomassie (read in 2020)

Tonga

Trinidad and Tobago

Tunisia

Turkey
Honour by Elif Şafak (read in 2016)
Dawn: Stories by Selahattin Demirtaş (read in 2019)

Turkmenistan

Tuvalu

25RidgewayGirl
Edited: Oct 16, 2022, 5:52pm

Uganda

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom
The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher (read in 2015)
Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller (read in 2021)
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (read in 2021)

United States of America
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (read in 2016)
Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell (read in 2021)
The Trees by Percival Everett (read in 2021)
Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley (read in 2022)

Uruguay

Uzbekistan

26RidgewayGirl
Edited: Nov 27, 2021, 2:10pm

Vanuatu

Venezuela

Vietnam
The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen (read in 2017)

Yemen

Zambia

Zimbabwe
The Boy Next Door by Irene Sabatini (read in 2016)
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga (read in 2021)

27Jackie_K
Nov 28, 2021, 6:33am

Welcome to the Global Challenge!

28RidgewayGirl
Nov 28, 2021, 3:14pm

Thanks, Jackie. I love the idea of being able to track over multiple years instead of starting off fresh every January.

29cindydavid4
Nov 28, 2021, 8:11pm

wow! thats quite the list! many I'd like to read as well. Im not good at keeping up with challenges but I like the idea of reading what other people are doing

30RidgewayGirl
Nov 28, 2021, 9:18pm

>29 cindydavid4: What I like about this one is that it isn't tied to a single year and I can keep it up as I go.

31cindydavid4
Nov 28, 2021, 10:16pm

yes, perfect! It would be easy to do, going through my shelves and my reading journals and seeing what I read when, and where it should go. Lots of countries Ive left out, but enough to make a start anyway

32RidgewayGirl
Nov 29, 2021, 9:39am

>31 cindydavid4: I look forward to browsing your list!

33RidgewayGirl
Edited: Nov 29, 2021, 4:06pm



The Trees by Percival Everett begins with an apparent double murder in Money, Mississippi. Then one of the bodies disappears from the morgue. When another man is found murdered, and the missing corpse is with the body, things get weird. And then two special detectives for the MBI (Mississippi Bureau of Investigation) show up to solve the crime and find the (again) missing corpse.

The Trees is a novel that defies easy description. It's a novel about lynching that is also really funny? A humorous novel about racism? Whatever it is, it's best book I've read this year.

34starbox
Dec 2, 2021, 5:22am

Welcome to another new member! x

35RidgewayGirl
Dec 2, 2021, 10:03am

>34 starbox: Thank you! I'm thrilled to have a space here to keep track of my global reading.

36RidgewayGirl
Mar 29, 2022, 4:36pm



Struggling with her dissertation, a woman wishes that she could come down with some sort of injury or disease that would buy her some time away from teaching to finish it. When she becomes ill, leaving her too tired and unable to concentrate to work on it, it's hard for her to not see some sort of cosmic karma at work. Nervous System by Chilean author Lina Meruane and translated into English by Megan McDowell starts out seeming like a novel about how a woman deals with life with a chronic illness, but that's not what the author is interested in, turning to a larger exploration into the ways our bodies can fail, whether through injury, accident, disease or simply aging.

There's a lot less plot and a lot more ambiguity to this novel than I enjoy. I'm not entirely sure what Meruane was doing here. There were some interesting moments, but far too often, something interesting happened and is brushed aside for something less interesting. I'm glad the Tournament of Books pushed me well out of my comfort zone, but I'm happy to be back in it now that I've read this one.

37RidgewayGirl
Edited: May 30, 2022, 1:38pm

I've finished a book by Spanish author Virginia Feito, Mrs. March, but as the book was set in the US and all the characters were American, I'm not going to count it for this challenge.

I did read a book of short stories by Iranian author Shahriar Mandanipour. I'll add a review soon.

38RidgewayGirl
Jun 29, 2022, 3:11pm



In the middle of Casablanca, Jmiaa, a prostitute in her mid-thirties, lives with her daughter and a roommate, where she supports herself and her daughter and tries to have a little fun along the way. In Straight From the Horse's Mouth by Moroccan author Meryem Alaoui, and translated from the French by Emma Ramadan, Jmiaa tells her own story, how she went from a beloved daughter in a secure family to having to earn her own way in a society where women have very few options. And the reader accompanies Jmiaa through her current life, where she might just have a chance at something better.

Jmiaa is a fascinating character. She's not much given to self-reflection, but she's also not going to indulge in feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she lives her life in the moment, keeping nothing to herself. I'm not sure I'd want to know her in real life, but she's a fantastic character to spend a few hours with.

The picture painted of the seedier side of Casablanca was fascinating. The translator, Emma Ramadan, helpfully includes a glossary of untranslated words and explanations of the people and places referenced in the novel.

39RidgewayGirl
Jul 9, 2022, 10:29pm



Bitter Orange Tree by Omani writer Jokha Alharthi tells the story of a young woman attending an English university, where her friends are other foreigners, some also Muslim, some not. When she hears news that the woman she considers her grandmother has died, she is filled with regret for not giving her more of her time and affection while she could. While Zuhur becomes involved in the problems faced by her friends, she also spends time thinking about the life of her grandmother, whose life included both struggle and sacrifice.

This is a novel about women living within Islamic cultural constraints, but it isn't a novel about rebellion or breaking free. Zuhur and her two best friends, sisters from Pakistan, are content to live lives as they are expected to, although one sister decides to demand her own choice of husband. And for Zuhur's grandmother, it was never a question of choices, but of making the best of the life she was given. The different cultural perspectives and attitudes made for fascinating reading. The novel illuminated ordinary life in Oman in a way accessible to the Western reader, but not in a way that simplifies things.

40cindydavid4
Jul 9, 2022, 10:47pm

>39 RidgewayGirl: that does look intriguing. will have to look for that

41RidgewayGirl
Jul 12, 2022, 3:19pm

>40 cindydavid4: It's a really interesting look at Omani culture.

42cindydavid4
Jul 12, 2022, 7:44pm

Have you read celestial bodies? thats about Omani culture (think the author is) I had some problems with it but learned somethings too

Ill check out that book

43RidgewayGirl
Jul 21, 2022, 4:52pm

>42 cindydavid4: Jokha Alharthi also wrote Celestial Bodies. There really isn't much published in English that was written by an Omani author.

44RidgewayGirl
Aug 17, 2022, 4:08pm



Rouge Street is a collection of three novellas by contemporary Chinese author Shuang Xuetao, all set on Yanfen Street in Shenyang, an industrial city in northwest China, not far from the border with North Korea. The novellas focus on families, especially children, living through tough times. Memories of the Cultural Revolution and even the Japanese occupation are woven into these stories and there are fantastic elements that feel folklorish in tone and meld seamlessly with the gritty, realistic setting.

I was prepared for this book to be something that felt like homework. Instead, it was a delight. Each novella was very different from the others. The first was a generational tale, the second was a folktale-feeling story involving two children who were just trying to survive in the absence of parents who were capable of caring for them, and the final novella was a noirish tale of criminals and the detective hunting them down. The novellas are also inter-connected, making this feel more cohesive that the usual collection. These novellas were a wonderful introduction to a celebrated young Chinese writer. I hope more of of his work is translated soon.

45RidgewayGirl
Oct 9, 2022, 1:00pm



He had asked me to give him something hot in a thermos bottle to take with him on his trip, I went into the kitchen, made some tea, put milk and sugar in it, screwed the top on tight, and went back into his study. It was then that he showed me the sketch, and I took the revolver out of his desk drawer and shot him between the eyes. But for a long time already I had know that sooner or later I should do something of the sort.

This happens on the first page of The Dry Heart by Italian author Natalia Ginzberg. The question isn't who but why and this novella carefully details the relationship between a naive young teacher, living in a boarding house and longing for a better life, and a reserved man in love with a married woman. First published in 1947, this novella is also a clear look at the choices available to women at that time.

46cindydavid4
Oct 9, 2022, 2:20pm

ok that paragraph got my attention. will have to look for this

47RidgewayGirl
Oct 25, 2022, 7:32pm



The Yacoubian Building sits on a once prestigious street in Cairo, a lovely European-style building with retail on the ground floor, apartments on the floors above and, on the roof, a labyrinth of small sheds, housing the people who work for the apartment owners and those lucky enough to get a space. Alaa al-Aswani follows a diverse group of residents as they negotiate their lives in a quickly changing Egypt. Everyone from an elderly and very wealthy man involved in a feud with his widowed sister, to an educated newspaper editor, forced to hide his homosexuality, to a young woman who has to work to support her family and so becomes the target of increasingly blatant sexual harassment, and a young man whose dreams are destroyed by the ordinary corruption of bureaucrats.

This is a vivid snapshot of what life was like in Cairo, at a time before the demonstrations in Tahrir Square, but when a religious extremism was on the rise, a reaction to the lack of opportunity for those without money or connections. al-Aswany also looks at the treatment of women and how they are expected to keep themselves removed from public life, as well as the stark disparity between the wealthy and those who are struggling to get by. The author treats all his characters, even the most reprehensible, with understanding and a clear-eyed compassion that made me feel invested in even the characters I actively disliked.

48Cecilturtle
Oct 29, 2022, 7:49pm

>47 RidgewayGirl: I totally loved that book!

49RidgewayGirl
Oct 29, 2022, 9:34pm

>48 Cecilturtle: I liked it, too! I'm going to read more by al-Aswani.

50cindydavid4
Oct 29, 2022, 10:04pm

>47 RidgewayGirl: The author treats all his characters, even the most reprehensible, with understanding and a clear-eyed compassion that made me feel invested in even the characters I actively disliked.

I always appreciate authors who do this. I may have to try this book

51RidgewayGirl
Oct 30, 2022, 2:42pm

>50 cindydavid4: If you do read it, I'd be very interested in hearing what you think about it.

52RidgewayGirl
Jan 20, 4:46pm



1,000 Coils of Fear by Olivia Wenzel follows a woman as she goes about her life in Berlin. She's struggling under the years of being a Black German woman, the cumulation of open racism and microaggressions (which are not that "micro" at all) wears on her, as does her brother's death to suicide. Her mother faced her own struggles, first as an openly punk girl in the DDR, then as the wife of an Angolan man who had to return to his country, leaving her to raise two Black children in a place that not only encountered very few non-white people, but where conformity was highly valued. As this unnamed woman thinks through her current relationship and remembers her past, she decides what form her future should take.

Told in short vignettes, this novel was easy to read, despite the way this format chopped up events and recounted them in pieces scattered across the novel. This is a format that I usually dislike as it feels lazy, like the author couldn't be bothered to write complete scenes, but it works for this novel, better than a more traditional format, allowing for breathing room in the more intense events. It also mirrored the protagonist's disorganized habits and how she is at an inflection point in her own life. There's a lot to think about in this book, which was longlisted for the German Book Prize.

53RidgewayGirl
Yesterday, 6:28pm



Wow, wow, wow is Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz fantastic. It's a substantial book, and the first of a trilogy by a Nobel Prize-winning author and it certainly has the reputation as An Important Book, which put me off reading it despite having picked up a very nice copy over a decade ago. This book seemed like it would require effort and somehow I was never up for making the effort. And so when I finally pulled it down off of the shelf, I was astonished at how vibrant and fun this novel was, one of those rare novels where time disappeared while I was reading.

Set in Cairo, in the years before Egyptian independence from Britain, the novel centers on al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad and his family. In public, Sayyid is the life of the party, a fun-loving and generous man who loves nothing more than gathering with his friends, drinking and singing, and sleeping with a series of mistresses. At home, however, he is intent on having a strictly observant religious household, the women who stay home and never show their faces to anyone outside the family, and sons who obey his every order and remain free of all vice. At home, his genial personality transforms into one that is quick to rage. Each family member reacts differently to their circumstances and the novel concerns itself with domestic issues and the crises that pop up in ordinary life, until the dissatisfaction with being an occupied country is expressed in demonstrations and rebellion and the family has to adjust to these new circumstances.

Mahfouz writes so engagingly about ordinary life of a shopkeeper's family that it's impossible not to be drawn into their lives. He's clear about the restrictions placed on women and how onerous and damaging that is, while also showing how a rigid, patriarchal society harms everyone in it, even the ones in charge. He also goes into detail about what life was like in that time and place, in a way that makes me eager to jump into the second book of the trilogy.

54RidgewayGirl
Yesterday, 6:29pm



When the American oil company first started work on the village's lands, the villagers were excited about the benefits and improvements that were sure to come. But what followed were lands destroyed and dying children, the water undrinkable and the village stuck between a company that insists that they'd like to help, but their hands are tied, and a government that silences anyone who might get in the way of the current arrangements.

How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue isn't a fun read, but it is an informative one. Mbue has made some interesting decisions about how she told this story, including the use of the first person plural for some chapters, a choice that works far better here than in other places I've encountered it. This is very much a book written by an African (Mbue was born in Cameroon and now lives in New York) for an American audience but it isn't a book that coddles the reader. It explains without over-simplifying. At heart, though, this is less a novel propelled by a story than one motivated by a cause.

55MissBrangwen
Today, 5:57am

>53 RidgewayGirl: >54 RidgewayGirl: I am adding both of these to my ever growing WL!
There are so many books still waiting on my shelves because I am shying away from the expected effort, so your experience with Palace Walk is encouraging me to just go and try them!