May 7, 2007

Reading Across Borders Challenge

Kate at Kate's Book Blog is hosting a Reading Across Borders Challenge. She says, I plan to read at least ten books by writers from other parts of the world and to ensure that at least half of those ten books are works translated into English from other languages.

Now, this challenge started in January, so I'm more than a little late in joining, but it lasts until the end of the year, so there's time still. And plus, even if I don't manage to read 10 books and complete the challenge, I shall have an enormous amount of fun trying. And another thing - this challenge is a great excuse to read books that have been untouched in my shelves for years.

So, here is my list. It contains more than 10 books, but that's so I can choose later on according to what I feel like reading at the moment.

  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (Germany) - because I've seen this book reviewed for the "Once Upon a Time" challenge quite a few times, and everyone makes it sound so wonderful I just have to read it.
  • If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino (Italy) - because I loved everything I've read by Calvino, and this one - stories taking place within stories - sounds just like my kind of thing.
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombia) - because this book has been eyeing me menacingly from the shelf for months now, and I know that I have absolutely no excuse for not having read it yet.
  • City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende (Chile) - because it's another one I've hard for month, and the premise of the story sounds deliciously mythical: a fifteen-year-old accompanies his grandmother in an expedition to the Amazonian jungle to try and find a legendary beast.
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (Japan) - because I love what I know of his work, and many people have told me this is his best.
  • The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersson by Selma Lagerlöf (Sweden) - there was a cartoon series based on this when I was little; does anyone else remember it? My memories of it are very vague, but I bought this book a few years ago, and I think it's a story I'd like to revisit.
  • Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina) - because I like what I know of his work, and because I'm fond of South American literature, and because his use of fantastic elements is well-known.
  • The Adventures of Pinnochio by Carlo Collodi (Italy) - because I like knowing the original story behind well-known popular culture icons, such as Pinnochio. And because it's yet another book I've owned for years but have yet to read.
  • The Accidental by Ali Smith (Scotland) - because I haven't actually read that many Scottish authors. And because I LOVE her short stories, so it's about time I try her novels.
  • The Fish Can Sing by Halldor Laxness (Iceland) - because I'm sort of obsessed with Iceland, and, other than the Sagas, I am not very familiar with its literature. And because the other day I was flipping through a magazine, and there was an article about him that caught my eye. It mentioned his use of magic realism, and what more can I ask for?
  • The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson (Jamaica) - because I love the West Indies, and because I've caught a few of her short stories in anthologies and I loved them.
  • Miguel Street by V. S. Naipaul (Trinidad and Tobago) - because my boyfriend recommend this one to me over a year ago, but my library didn't have it and I never got around to ordering it. But I did read a non-fiction book by Naipaul about the process of writing in which he described how it was to write this book, and I found it fascinating.
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (India) - because this one caught my eye years ago, but I never got around to reading it
  • Rainbow by Banana Yoshimoto (Japan) - because she's been recommended to me a few times.
  • Obasan by Joy Kogawa (Canada/Japan) - my boyfriend says I have to read this one. It's the story of a family of Japanese immigrants in Canada during WW2. A very moving and powerful book, according to him.


  1. What a fascinating Challenge! I loved God of Small Things, even though the first time I started it I couldn't see staying with it. If you get it at the right time, I suspect you'll like it as much as I did.

  2. I think I'll like it too; it's one of those books I've keep hearing wonders about, and I've been curious about it for years.

    It's a great challenge, isn't it? I only wish I had discovered it sooner. I may not complete it, but I think trying is going to be a lot of fun.


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