While on holiday in Greece, I had plenty of time to read. During the last three years, when I did my master degree, reading had basically meant work, so it was wonderful to have not only time but also room in my brain for stuff that was not connecting with teaching or linguistics. So I had this idea to read, and read much more than I had got used to over the years. As a child and teenager, I managed to go through a book a day on average. Working full time, this is next to impossible to do now, but reading more is always a good goal!
The question arose what to read. My first thought was I could go for the writers who had won a Nobel prize in literature. Somehow that seemed a bit too exclusive and would have ruled out writers published before the prize, so the plan changed.
What I shall try is to read one book from each country on the planet, possibly in one year, possibly this might take a little longer. Getting all the countries is tricky enough – there are currently 193 member states of the UN if wikipedia can be believed (I did not count the entries on the UN website). And then there are of course places like Taiwan – which in my book is a country – plus places which seem to be quite distinct from their officially designated country, e.g. Greenland or Palestine. Again, this is also very political and I’m not sure where to draw the line, but time will tell.
Yet another matter is availability. When Ann Morgan did her ‘Year of reading the world‘, she found it challenging to get English translations of some books, or to get a book from a certain place at all. I also read in German, and I can try to convince my brain that there’s still some Portuguese and Icelandic. However, that will take a lot of time.
Lastly, what to read? I can use Ann Morgan’s extensive list as a guide, but I’m also very happy to receive suggestions, especially regarding the Balkans, Central America, and island nations. Fiction, poetry, non-fiction or scientific publications (if about an exciting topic like astronomy or archaeology), nothing is ruled out.
So, if you want to know where I’m standing with this little undertaking, have a look at the Finished Reading 2016 page. So far, I’ve covered Canada, Wales, Finnland, Hungary, USA and Poland. I’m currently reading England, India and Peru. On the pile are the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey, Australia, Scotland, Russia and Germany.
Let me know your ideas, they are very welcome!