Reading the World Challenge

Hello, friends! I’m here today to announce a big dream: I want to read the world. I plan to read a book from every country in the world, and record my progress here. I believe that, as a teacher, I need to read widely and often, and be able to introduce students to works and worldviews they haven’t experienced yet. What could better equip me for this mission than having a world full of books in my heart? Onward to Reading the World!

 

Reading the World Challenge - Read my growing list of titles and recommendations as I try to read a book from every country in the world. (blog post at teachnouvelle.com)

 

This all started for me when I read Tamika Gibson’s Dreams Beyond the Shore and learned much more about Trinidad and Tobago than I ever knew I didn’t know. This really revealed a major blindspot in my life as a reader, and I set out to find a fix.

 

It turns out, this is not a new idea. Check out this TED Talk by Ann Morgan, a UK author who undertook the challenge in 2012.

 

 

It’s going to be difficult, but worth it. I read English, French, German, and Spanish, so I hope to be able to cover a lot of ground that way. Still, there’s a lot out there that hasn’t been translated.

 

This is going to be my cornerstone post for this project. As I answer some hard questions, I’ll link to those answers here. As I read and review books, I’ll add the links here. As people leave me recommendations, I’ll add them here.

 

The “Rules”

Use a very generous list of countries. The biggest reason for this is that I’ve lived in Puerto Rico and worked with Kurds, and both of these people deserve to have their own literature amplified. The first is a territory and the second is a stateless nation, but they both need to be on the list.

 

Prioritize authors “from” the country. I’m going to let authors self-identify on this one, because anything else is just me applying my American judgement, and that defeats the whole purpose of reading the world. There are a lot of reasons a person may not live in their native land, or reasons they may cling to the national identity of their parents. I’ve worked with Afghan kids born in refugee camps – are they not Afghan?

 

Prioritize fiction set in the country, or non-fiction about national issues. I’ll probably also read some poetry, because I love it.

 

Prioritize marginalized voices.

 

Prioritize classroom application potential. I’m reading for myself, but I’m also reading for my students. I want to be able to put books in their hands, so I’m going to review from my teachery perspective as always.

 

Reading the World List

Read
Recommended
Stand-in*

 

Afghanistan

A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini)

Albania

Chronicle in Stone (José Eduardo Aqualusa)

Algeria

Memory in the Flesh (Ahlam Mosteghanemi)

American Samoa

Andorra

Angola

Anguilla

Antigua & Barbuda

Annie John (Jamaica Kincaid)

Argentina

The Motorcycle Diaries (Che Guevara), Ficciones (Jorge Luis Borges)

Armenia

Aruba

Australia

Graffiti Moon* (Cath Crowley)

Austria

The Story of the Trapp Family Singers (Maria Von Trapp)

Azerbaijan

Bahamas, The

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Barbados

Belarus

Belgium

Belize

Benin

Bermuda

Bhutan

Bolivia

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Zlata’s Diary* (Zlata Filipovic)

Botswana

When Rain Clouds Gather (Bessie Head)

Brazil

British Virgin Is.

Brunei

Bulgaria

Burkina Faso

Burundi

Cambodia

Cameroon

Canada

The Handmaid’s Tale* (Margaret Atwood)

Cape Verde

Cayman Islands

Central African Rep.

Chad

Chile

Cuidad de las Bestias* (Isabel Allende), Twenty Love Poems (Pablo Neruda)

China

Empress Orchid (Anchee Min)

Colombia

A Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel García Marquéz)

Comoros

Congo, Dem. Rep.

Congo, Repub. of the

Cook Islands

Costa Rica

Cote d’Ivoire

Croatia

Cuba

The Surrender Tree (Margarita Engle)

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Djibouti

Dominica

Dominican Republic

East Timor

Ecuador

Egypt

L’Enfant Multiple* (Andrée Chedid)

El Salvador

Equatorial Guinea

Eritrea

Estonia

Ethiopia

Cutting for Stone (Abraham Verghese)

Faroe Islands

Fiji

Finland

France

(Tons here already — I’ll dig up titles)

French Guiana

French Polynesia

Gabon

Gambia, The

Gaza Strip

Georgia

Germany

Die Fliessende Koeningen* (Kai Meyer), Tintenherz* (Cornelia Fünke), Die Blechtrommel (Günter Grass)

Ghana

Gibraltar

Greece

Greenland

Grenada

Guadeloupe

Guam

Guatemala

I, Rigoberta Menchu (Rigoberta Menchu)

Guernsey

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Guyana

Haiti

Honduras

Hong Kong

Hungary

Iceland

India

The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy)

Indonesia

Iran

Persepolis* (Marjane Satrapi), Reading Lolita in Tehran (Azar Nafisi)

Iraq

Thura’s Diary (Thura Al-Windawi)

Ireland

The Accident Season* (Moira Fowley Doyle)

Isle of Man

Israel

Italy

Invisible Cities (Italo Calvino)

Jamaica

Everything, Everything(Nicola Yoon)

Japan

The Housekeeper and the Professor (Yōko Ogawa)

Jersey

Jordan

Kazakhstan

Kenya

Kiribati

(Kurdistan)

Kuwait

Kyrgyzstan

Laos

Latvia

The Golden Horse (Rainis), Soviet Milk (Nora Ikstena)

Lebanon

Lesotho

Liberia

Libya

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Between Shades of Gray** (Ruta Sepatys)

Luxembourg

Macau

Macedonia

Madagascar

Malawi

Malaysia

Maldives

Mali

Malta

Marshall Islands

Martinique

Mauritania

Mauritius

Mayotte

Mexico

The Hummingbird’s Daughter (Louis Alberto Urrea)

Micronesia, Fed. St.

Moldova

Monaco

Mongolia

Montserrat

Morocco

Mozambique

Myanmar

Namibia

Nauru

Nepal

Netherlands

Netherlands Antilles

New Caledonia

New Zealand

Nicaragua

Niger

Nigeria

Under the Udala Trees (Chinelo Okparanta)

N. Mariana Islands

North Korea

Norway

Growth of the Soil (Knut Hamsun)

Oman

Pakistan

I Am Malala

Palau

Palestine

(Mahmoud Darwish), (Suheir Hamad)

Panama

Papua New Guinea

Paraguay

Peru

Philippines

Poland

Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories (Isaac Bashevis Singer), A Treatise on Poetry (Czeslaw Milosz)

Portugal

The Cave (José Saramago)

Puerto Rico

War Against All Puerto Ricans** (Nelson Antonio Denis)

Qatar

Reunion

Romania

Night* (Elie Weisel), It Was Today (Andrei Codrescu)

Russia

A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch* (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)

Rwanda

Saint Helena

Saint Kitts & Nevis

Saint Lucia

St Pierre & Miquelon

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Samoa

San Marino

Sao Tome & Principe

Saudi Arabia

Senegal

Serbia

Seychelles

Sierra Leone

Singapore

Slovakia

Slovenia

Solomon Islands

Somalia

South Africa

When the Sea is Rising Red* (Cat Hellisen), Cry, the Beloved Country* (Alan Paton)

South Korea

The Vegetarian (Han Kang)

Spain

The Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafón)

Sri Lanka

Sudan

Suriname

Swaziland

Sweden

A Man Called Ove (Frederick Backman)

Switzerland

Syria

Taiwan

Tajikistan

Tanzania

Thailand

Togo

Tonga

Trinidad & Tobago

Dreams Beyond the Shore* (Tamika Gibson)

Tunisia

Turkey

Turkmenistan

Turks & Caicos Is

Tuvalu

Uganda

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom

(I’ll find a title to drop here, but you know… like everything ever.)

United States

(Also everything ever)

Uruguay

Uzbekistan

Vanuatu

Venezuela

Vietnam

Inside Out and Back Again* (Thanhha Lai)

Virgin Islands

Wallis and Futuna

West Bank

Western Sahara

Yemen

Zambia

Zimbabwe

 

*These are books finished before the beginning of the challenge in November 2017. I’ll loop back around to these at the end, perhaps.

**These are books that don’t meet the requirement of an author self-identifying as a national. I’ll continue to look, and add to these as needed.

 

Reading the World Challenge - Here's a master list of titles and recommendations as I read a book from every country in the world. (blog post from teachnouvelle.com)

Want to Help with Reading the World?

If you’d like to donate a book, you can find my Amazon wishlist here. I will pass all donations along to a classroom library or another person Reading the World, and you can let me know your preferences. 🙂 I’d also love to organize a snail-mail book exchange or book loan with you, and you can reach out via email to nouvelle.ela@gmail.com

That’s it! I’d love to hear from you! Please leave me your recommendations in comments. 🙂

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