WorldBookProject – From Africa to South America to Asia to Oceania to Europe

190 books I’ve read so far in my quest to read a book from each country and dependency. Out of about 257, just in case you’re interested. Of these, 83 were written by women and 11 had mixed authorship and for one, I have no idea who wrote it. Many thanks to the people who provided me with the books mentioned here: my parents, my friend Astrid and my Twitter-pal Julia. I can recommend all of them, although especially the second story in the Gatti might be better on stage. They are plays, after all.

182 Venezuela: Tagebuch einer jungen Dame, die sich langweilt by Teresa de la Parra *****

183 Micronesia: My Urohs by Emelihter Kihleng ****

184 Montenegro: Der Sohn by Andrej Nikolaidis ****

185 The Gambia: The Sun Will Soon Shine by Sally Sadie Singhateh ****

186 Azerbaidschan: Steinträume by Akram Aylisli ****

187 Monaco: Das imaginäre Leben des Straßenkehrers Auguste G. & Die Schlacht der Sieben Tage und der Sieben Nächte by Armand Gatti ***

188 Kurdistan & Germany: Die Sommer by Ronya Othmann *****

189 Greenland: Nuuk #ohneFilter by Niviaq Korneliussen *****

190 Benin: Autobiography of the Lower Eastside by Rashidah Ismaili *****

WorldBookProject – Grenada and Scotland

The world’s in a bit of a commotion these days but that’s no reason not to read the world. It can actually be a good time to take a breath, lean back and enjoy a really good book. Here are two of them.

176 Grenada: Merle Collins – Angel

I learned a lot about the history of Grenada told through the lenses of three generations of women. As I said before, reading in a local dialect is something I’m not so keen on, but here the use of different types of language added to the depth of the characters. The mum being worried about her kids’ education and fighting for it was my favourite.

177 Scotland: Jane Alexander – A User’s Guide to Make-Believe

In times of worries about data protection and privacy, this dystopian story comes as both a stark warning and gripping read alike. It was a book well worth waiting a few years for – including the unexpected way of creating a virtual reality and the gutsy main character.

 

WorldBookProject – Antarctica, Macao

This time, we’re visiting two very different places. Macao was sponsored by my parents and Antarctica by the brilliant volunteers of Project Gutenberg. Thanks all!

174 Macao: The Bewitching Braid by Henrique de Senna Fernandes

I’m generally not a fan of love stories, and as far as this book is concerned, the development of plot was fairly predictable. But I enjoyed how the writer created the atmosphere in the different parts of the city. I had a craving for wonton soup and jiaozi several times during my reading experience.

175 Antarctica: The Worst Journey in the World: Antarctic 1910 – 1913 by Apsley Cherry-Garrard

This book was an odd one. A lot of it was excerpts from people’s diaries, like Scott, Shackelton or the author’s own and a huge part of that was ‘it was cold, it was windy, it was cold and windy’ (paraphrasing only slightly), the repetition of which made for rather dull reading. Having said that, I enjoyed the parts about the Adelie and Emperor penguins and thought the final chapter really touching (when they found their dead companions just a few miles from the next depot). The analysis of why so much had gone wrong was full of insights into the dangers of a polar journey and the necessity of planning for as many eventualities as possible.

The next places (hopefully): Kazakhstan (yes, still reading) and probably Grenada.

WorldBookProject – Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan

You hadn’t thought I’d given up on reading the world now, had you? Yes, it is going slower than in the first two years, but I’m ploughing on and keep making great discoveries. Some stats: the current count overall is 167 out of 257 books, and 71 of these were written by female authors, 11 by a mixed team and one book didn’t name an author.

165 Saudi Arabia: Daring to Drive: My Life as an Accidental Activist in a Kingdom of Men by Manal Al-Sharif

This book is an autobiography written by someone who hasn’t much experience of the craft, but her story makes more than up for it. If you thought that the KSA was kind of a hellhole for women, here several new circles of hell are added to the equation.

166 Taiwan: Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin

While listening to the audiobook version of this story I found it somewhat tricky to follow the many characters. I think it might have been better to read the printed version. Content-wise, I felt with the Crocodiles of the story. It’s good to see that Taiwan has now legalised same-sex marriage.

167 Kenya: Devil on the Cross by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Revolution! This book is a call to arms and takes a broad aim: colonialism, sexual predation, big money, tribalism, corruption, religion and the list isn’t finished. It’s not exactly subtle in its stance but not without a sense of humour. The denouement came as a surprise to me and the heroine of the story … , well, read for yourself.

And what’s coming next? I’m in the middle of Bahrain, Antarctica and Kazakhstan and just got a big present from my parents including Uzbekistan, Paraguay and Equatorial Guinea. Thank you 🙂 .