Reading Around the World

Inspired by another LibraryThing user, I have added another tool to this blog to help me be a more well-balanced reader.  On my “Reading Around the World” page I have one of those fun little maps of the world where you can show people all of the interesting places you have been.  Instead of showing you when I’ve been physically, my map is designed to show you where books have taken me.  This is going to be something that is waaay simplified, because I’m not going to have any way to separate ancient Persia from modern-day Iran, etc.  I just finished reading a selection about Emperor Constantine of Rome, and I have to decide exactly how the heck I want to show that on the map (I’m thinking I may decide to omit it).

The rules:

  1. I am starting with the book I am reading RIGHT NOW, and only adding books I read in the future.  Even though I’ve read Kite Runner and Bookseller of Kabul, I’m not yet adding Afghanistan (although I can when I re-read those books), the fact that at least 40% of what I’ve read in the past 2 years has been around the Tudors doesn’t mean that I’m adding England (until I get to my next Jean Plaidy book I have waiting).
  2. To add a country, the book must be set in some significant way in the country.  For instance, I mentioned Kite Runner above.  The protagonist spends some amount of time in Pakistan, but the majority of the action and cultural feeling comes from Afghanistan and the US, so I could only add those two countries.  Conversely, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova has characters moving through the US, England, France, Turkey, and Eastern Europe.  The US, England, and to some extent France portions of the book are more generic “I was at Oxford and this was happening in my academic life,” etc.  When the characters are in Turkey and Eastern Europe, they are interacting with the culture and history of the countries, so I would consider those countries ones that should be added, even if they were technically the setting for a smaller percentage of the book.

Note: I am contemplating adding a corollary to this, which would be listing the books under the countries in which they occur.  Thoughts?

2 comments to Reading Around the World

  • Well, this is very strange. I also challenged myself to read world literature in celebration of world book day. Right now, I’m reading a Greek author, and in July or August, I’m going to choose a book from Finland. Great minds think alike! What country will you be reading next?

  • At the very least I’ll be reading a book from Nigeria at the beginning of July. I may also be reading a book soon dealing with Mexico, it just remains to be seen if it deals enough with Mexico and not too much with the US for it to ‘count’ (it is about illegal immigration from the perspective of those immigrating).