Monday, January 29, 2007

Reading Across Borders

Since I'm progressing moderately well on my classics challenge (half way through the third one, with the last two being the shortest in the challenge) and, well, progressing on the chunkster challenge (only a quarter of the way through the first one, although I have read several books over four hundred pages not on the chunkster list), I thought I'd take on another one. Recently, I saw the Reading Across Borders challenge mentioned on Tales From the Reading Room. I was planning to create my own challenge to read more international and translated books, so I'm hopping on the bandwagon.

The general layout is found at Kate's Book Blog. Basically, the goal is to read from regions that you don't usually read from. My typical regions are: the US, the UK and the Commonwealth, and Italy. I know-a huge variety. So, my goal is to read more from: East Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and continental Europe. I've adopted Kate's criteria of at least ten books, at least half of which have been translated. I had one more constraint: the books must be held by my college library (I go to a small liberal arts school, so this is more challenging than it may seem). With all of that in mind, here is my list:

1. The Black Bookby Orhan Pamuk, Turkey, translated. Because I already have it checked out, and it sounds amazing, and I really want to read it!

2. No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe, Nigeria, English. I really enjoyed Things Fall Apart, so I'd like to read some more by him. Also, if I get my medical clearance, I'll be going to West Africa w/ the Peace Corps in June. It seems like I should read a bit more about it.

3. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, Japan, translated. I've heard good things about Murakami, and I keep meaning to read him.

4. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert,France, translated. Despite two years of college French, I have spent virtually no time with French literature (I've read Phantom of the Opera and The Three Muskateers). It seems as if half of what I read references this book, so I'm looking forward to finally reading it.

5. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, Japan, English. Ok, I'm kind of cheating, since even though he's Japanese he went to school in England. But, I've seen a lot of recommendations for him, so that's that.

6. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende, unidentified Latin American country, translated. I 'read' Zorro (audio book) and absolutely adored it. So, I want to go back to the beginning!

7. Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt, translated. I read Midag Alley last year, and I didn't see what all the fuss was about. So, I thought that I'd give Mahfouz another chance.

8. The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz, Poland, translated. I've heard good things around the lit blogosphere, so I'd like to give it a shot.

9. Waiting by Ha Jin, China, translated. I was looking for a Chinese book, and saw this recommended on Reading Matters

10. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Latin America (Colombia?), translated. I really enjoyed One Hundred Years of Solitude, and this title seems to get rave reviews amongst blogs I read.

So, that's the list. Hopefully, I'll be able to add more as I have time. Having just discovered Book Traveller's blog, I feel very inspired!


iliana said...

Great choices! I've read a few of those and have enjoyed them greatly. I will be curious to hear how you like Kafka on the Shore. I've read two Murakami books and they were both beautiful.

Sheri said...

I think all your picks were great. very appealing. I loved Kafka on the Shore. strange , but good.

This challange is so tempting. I suck at Challenges though. I think I'll do it without a commitment. Freestyle.

Good luck with the Peace Corp

Bookfool said...

Wow, what a great idea and terrific choices. Remains of the Day is one of my all-time favorite books and I adore Garcia Marquez. I need to read Love in the Time of Cholera - haven't gotten to that one, yet.