TalkThe Global Challenge

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Mar 15, 2022, 5:56 pm

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Edited: Jan 6, 2023, 5:29 pm

Hi, I've just become aware of this group. I'm curious about what the general qualifications are for including books. The group description says "Global Challenge is a place to track your reading from countries around the world." So, does that mean that a book must be written by someone from that country in that country's language? Suppose a book is written in English by an American, but it takes place in France. Would that qualify the book as being "from" France for the purposes of this challenge? I think I discern an informal "to each his/her/their own" philosophy to the proceedings. I'm interested, though, in learning what the general inclination of the group is along these lines. Either way is fine with me; just trying to get a fix on the lay of the land, as it were. Any thoughts?

Jan 6, 2023, 5:33 pm

Jerry, I'm only counting authors from the country in question, but that really is something each reader gets to make their own decision about. Since there's no time limit and not many people watching, I'm enjoying the opportunity to set my thread up that way. But to each their own, obviously.

Jan 6, 2023, 5:44 pm

>2 rocketjk: Basically - make your own rules. If you want to count that book for France, you can. If you want to count it for USA, that also works. If you want to ignore it, you can do that as well. :)

My own challenge requires local author (regardless of the language they write in - and with a bit of a wiggle room to allow the interpretation of "local" - someone who fled the country can still be considered local for me) and either a book at least partially set in the country or a speculative novel set on the secondary world/in space and so on (as I read a lot of SF/Fantasy and I don't want to exclude these). Plus I only allow 1 book per author.

Everyone has their own interpretation of the rules based on their own reading patterns, wishes and what they find doable for them.

Jan 6, 2023, 6:02 pm

3> & >4 AnnieMod: Thanks! That was my expectation. One more question: fiction only? Or, again, is it up to the individual?

Jan 6, 2023, 6:22 pm

>5 rocketjk: Up to the individual. I allow both fiction and non-fiction (and poetry and drama) (the non-fiction and drama under the same rules as the fiction - needs to be related to the country - so local histories and memoirs work but a math textbook is out; any poetry by local poets is in).

Jan 6, 2023, 7:27 pm

>2 rocketjk: I'm only counting authors from that country, unless they emigrated but the book is set in the home country or in that language. Like Annie, I'm counting memoirs and local histories, but not generic nonfiction. I'm not counting a lot of Holocaust memoirs, unless a significant portion of the book is about life before or after. One way in which my challenge differs is that I'm not restricting myself as to number of books for each country. Also, I have broken out Canada into Provinces, the UK into Scotland/Wales/England, and added several places like Palestine, Tibet, and Taiwan.

I think this group is what you make of it, but mostly it's a great place to keep your list and get ideas for books from hard to find countries.

Edited: Jan 6, 2023, 8:09 pm

As others have said, it's very much each to their own. FWIW, i'm trying as much as possible to go for prose fiction set in the country by an author from the country. That's just not going to happen though, particularly as I'm restricted to reading English, French or German. So I'll accept non-fiction or poetry, or a book by a local author but set elsewhere, or a book by a non-local set in the country etc etc where I have to. The aim though is to find a book that, closely as possible, is a decent representative of the literature of that country, or at least reflects the nature of it. Thus, of the 16 I've read so far, I've included at least 2 non-fiction (Michel the Giant for Togo, The Republic of San Marino for that country - both by native authors. Another example: my book for Antarctica (yes I've included it) is currently set as a piece of fiction set in the continent, but I might change that to a book of exploration or one about living there.
I'm currently only going for one book per country - any more will be noted but aren't part of the project.
My most interesting challenge may well turn out to be England (I've split the UK into 4)! That's because I'm only allowing books I haven't read. Finding a book that represents England and English literature from those is not difficult, but it's a tough decision deciding on which one (for me at least)!

Jan 6, 2023, 9:40 pm

>2 rocketjk: echoing what others have said: it's your challenge, your thread, so your rules.

I want to read the literture of other countries. So, for me a book must meet two of the three following criteria:
B - author was born in the country
C - author is a citizen and/or lives in the country for at least 10 years
S - book is primarily set in the country

Jan 7, 2023, 2:30 am

>2 rocketjk: I am in the minority here, but I do count other books as well: Histories of a country written by authors not from the country, and also travel books and even novels. However, I have decided on a rather complicated system of how many books of which qualification are allowed to count or not, and it is my ultimate goal to read five books by authors from the country.

Jan 7, 2023, 2:00 pm

Adding to the discussion, I think I'm similar to >10 MissBrangwen: in that I do allow books set in a country but by a non-local author - but I also want to read local authors, so if (say) I had already read 5 books for a country by a non-local author, and then read one by a local author, I'd either add them as a #6, or bump one of the non-local authors off the list.

I think ultimately my aim is to learn more about each country, however that's done. Ideally it would be from authors from that country, but I'm not going to exclude visitors.

Also, as per my ROOTs/Category Challenge/personal reading preferences, my reads are quite heavily skewed towards non-fiction. I wouldn't count a text book, but other academic books, such as research on an aspect of life, history, politics, etc in a particular country, would count for me.

Jan 7, 2023, 4:41 pm

Thanks, everybody! I appreciate all the feedback. I have added a thread and populated my list from the entries in my annual Reading Globally threads, beginning in 2010. Cheers!

Edited: Nov 27, 2023, 8:10 am

Since I set up my thread here, I've been struggling with finding a place to list possibilities - some are in a haphazard spreadsheet, some are screenshots on my phone, some are in various places in a notebook, and some are added to library wish lists.

To help consolidate and also to help crowdsource ideas, I've created five challenges on Storygraph (they get a little unwieldy after about 50 or so prompts). I like that it shows me all the titles I've added to a prompt and that if I click on the prompt I can see all the titles added by others. Since these are set up as endless challenges (no start or end date) anytime I mark a book "read" that I've added to a challenge the prompt is automatically marked as completed.


These group the 193 countries roughly by continent (Turkey and Russia are in the Asia list). As an experiment, I added Taiwan and Palestine as "bonus" prompts.

All are welcome to join (or not). Let me know if you want more bonus countries added or if you have any questions or suggestions.

Nov 27, 2023, 11:33 am

>13 ELiz_M: I set up an account in Storygraph, Liz. I've never used it before. So we should add suggestions to your lists and mark which we have read? I wish there was a way to thumb a title to show that we recommend it.

Nov 27, 2023, 5:03 pm

>14 labfs39: Yes that about sums it up.

It is basically a challenge tracker that allows you to see just your own progress ("Prompt Complete" and "Books you've added to this prompt"), but has the option of clicking on the prompt (name of the country in this case) to see all the books other participants have added.

There are social aspects to the website also, but I haven't added any friends so I don't know if there is an easy way to see what other people liked/recommend.

Nov 28, 2023, 5:13 pm

>15 ELiz_M: I added my books to the Africa list, since that is the continent I focused on this year. I've finished 23 of 54 or 43%. So that's cool. And I like the visual of seeing the covers. I just wish there was a way to distinguish which books I've read and which I haven't without clicking on the book. I like that I can click to see which books others have added, but I can't tell if the person has read the book or would recommend it. So mixed feelings...

Nov 29, 2023, 4:29 pm

Great idea!
Just a couple of thoughts on extra countries, assuming that the 193 are the United Nations members. I'm not saying any should be added, just that these are countries I'm using.

Palestine is an observer member of the is Vatican City.
I've split the United Kingdom into its 4 constituent countries (personally, that is because, whilst I've read a lot of English lit, and a fair bit of Scottish lit, I've previously read very little (virtually none in fact) of Welsh or Northern Irish lit. But, of course, whilst they might regard themselves as seperate countries (or even part of another country!), they are globally designated as the UK, so you may want to keep it that way.
All the above constitute 199 of the 200 books I'm reading. My 200th is from Antarctica (so has slightly different rules in my challenge!).

Jan 25, 1:59 am

Hello fellow Global Challenge people!
Here's the link to the list of all the works translated and published with UNESCO's support since 1948:
Leave all fields blank and hit search for the full list, or select a region/country/language/genre and see what comes up!
Wikipedia says there are 455 translations into English and 450 into French ( )
All titles aren't easily available, but it is a good first step towards finding works that are considered significant in their country of origin.

Crossposted from my personal thread in case it's useful to others...

Jan 29, 2:44 pm

>18 Dilara86: This is so cool, thanks!

Mar 27, 1:58 pm

I hope this is within the scope of this thread: this is a query for a book including a specific scene, crossposted from the Club Read group.
My mum is setting up a small show about women's lives and remembers a story she read about a pregnant woman working in the fields, giving birth, wrapping the child and tying it in her back, and resuming work. She would like to find a book with a similar scene. She thinks the one she read happened in Africa but she's not looking especially for a book set in Africa.
The book would have to be written in French or translated to French as she doesn't read English.
If anybody has any suggestions it would be great!

Mar 29, 4:58 am

>20 chlorine: I had the answer in Club Read and the book that my mother read is The good earth by Pearl Buck.