Sunday, January 3, 2010
As I mentioned previously, I've decided to undertake a "Reading Challenge" to help me stick to my goal of reading more for fun this year. I think this is partly due to my Teach For America brainwashing that I need to set measurable goals, but after all, having a clear goal in mind isn't a bad idea either so, here we go...
The challenge I've chosen is the 2010 Global Challenge, which I imagine is going to overlap quite a bit with other challenges throughout the year. I'm going to rein my inner over achiever and not go for the "Expert" but moderation is the key so I am undertaking:
The Medium Challenge
Read two novels from each of these continents in the course of 2010:
Try to find novels from twelve different countries or states.
- North America (incl Central America)
- South America
So here are my proposed picks. As the year progresses, I will revisit this page and cross them off as I read them. This list (like anything) will change (a lot) over the year, so feel free to send along any recommendations you might have. I would especially appreciate recommendations of authors from continents I haven't hit yet...
(Note: Clicking on any of the photos will take you to the amazon page for that book. I've tried to stick to paperbacks or kindle editions, to keep the cost down.)
Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan - Nigeria
To say that I have heard good things about this book would be an understatement. It's a collection of five short stories by a Nigerian Jesuit Priest about life in Africa. I am really looking forward to reading this one!
COMPLETED: January 9th, 2010
The Bone People by Keri Hulme - New Zealand
I have to admit that I was stretched to come up with books for this one. I've been really curious about New Zealand ever since the amazing endorsement it received via Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, so I thought a good Kiwi book would be a worthy choice. I don't really know a lot about this one, but it is described as being a blend of Maori mythologies and modern narrative.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde - Ireland/Britain
This is one of those books that I have heard about over, and over, and over..... So I am using this challenge as an excuse to finally sit down and read it. I absolutely loved The Importance of Being Earnest, so I am hoping that I will love this one as much. Best part... it's a classic so it's FREE at Gutenberg!
Another classic. I read quite a bit of Voltaire in college (and a bit in high school, since the French tends to be on the easy side even if the philosophical concepts aren't) but I never got around to this one. This seems like the perfect time to tackle Voltaire's critique of we silly believers in "fate" and "Divine plans." I'll be reading this in the original French, but the link to the right is for the translation. I've (obviously) not read this one, but the Penguin series tend to have pretty decent translators so I don't see why this one would be any different.
5) North America (Including Central America)
Monkey Hunting by Cristina García - Cuba/America
This is a book that I have seen sitting on other people's bookshelves, but that I have never picked up myself. The book is the story of a family split between two countries, Cuba and China. The novel is a story of hardship, tradition, love, and struggle.
Runaway by Alice Munro - Canada
It's time that I finally read something by the woman that Jonathan Franzen (New York Times Book Review) said "has a strong claim to being the best fiction writer now working North America." My love of short stories, and my need to complete the North America section makes this one an easy choice!
6) South America
The Storyteller by Mario Vargas Llosa - Peru
I haven't really read much South American literature so this one was tough. But, this book stood out at me from a mile away. A Peruvian Jew is determined to preserve the culture and story of an Amazonian tribe, so he becomes their "habladore"(storyteller).
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez - Colombia
Having read (and enjoyed) One Hundred Years of Solitude I knew that I wanted to read another Márquez. This one came highly recommended. It's a love story told over many years, but in a rather unconventional format. Looking forward to reading this one!
Ok, so there's my list. Please feel free to leave me comments, suggestions, critiques, or encouragement!
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