Weekly Geeks 14 – Reading Globally

This week’s theme for Weekly Geeks 14-2010 is Reading Globally.

I have signed up for the Easy Level of Dorte’s 2010 Global Reading Challenge but have yet to give it serious attention.   I just may be on Challenge overload but it’s still fun.    I thought I would use this week to check on my reading to date and where it’s been taking me around the world – if it has!

I’ve read 21 books so far this year.   I do think I have been reading a nice variety of style and topic but in terms of location, I seem to be entrenched within the US and UK.

US – 11
England – 4
Ireland (Dublin) – 1
Spain – 1
Fantasy World – 3 (Herland setting being identified as South America)

Of the books set in the United States, the states represented seem to be the most populous ones:   3 in California, 2 in Florida, 1 in Texas.   Three books are impossible to pin down to one location and two could be said to be New England, but I suppose Wordy Shipmates could be Massachusetts.   I would hazard a guess that Oryx & Crake is New York but it could be Massachusetts?  Could be Canada, too – we don’t get many clues other than Harvard being underwater.

My most ‘worldly’ book would have to be Waiting for Columbus;   set in Spain with the author being Canadian.

Of the twenty authors represented, only eight are not from the US.    I read only one translated book:   from Swedish, Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti.

I’m balanced at 11:10 on the Female to Male author ratio.   But regarding ethnic diversity, my reading is NOT.     Looks like I need to get busy on incorporating more diversity and start traveling around the world and meeting new people – here, there and everywhere.     Still overall, I do think my reading choices have been atypical, nonclassifiable – – not same-same;   not representative of one genre or category.     And I thank book blogging for that.

My current reading of Woman by Natalie Angier has me exploring the inside of the female body but I would still have to say it is US-centered, though she does talk about health comparisons in other countries and the historical aspects of how the knowledge was built.   The strange conclusions of the Greeks and the odd bias’ of the Victorian age (European?) physicians are fascinating.

So what do I pick up next?    I was sort of hoping to tackle Watership Down next.     It’s about…. rabbits?!    and I have no idea if they are US rabbits or fantasy-world rabbits.   Or perhaps I should peruse my tbr shelf and pick one of these:

Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns (Afghanistan)

Nadine Gordimer’s A Sport of Nature (South Africa)

Anita Diamant’s Day After Night (Israel, US author)

Jose Saramago’s  Blindness (Portugal?)

I’m thinking that A Thousand Splendid Suns will be the best option on the diversity/non-US location scale.    Would you agree?


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30 thoughts on “Weekly Geeks 14 – Reading Globally

  1. I’ve read the Kite Runner by Hoseini and really liked it. I’ve yet to read A Thousand Splendid Suns, but I do agree that it sounds like the best pick for Global Reading.

    I have to admit that I didn’t really look into reading globally or more diverse before blogging, but I’m starting to pay more attention to it & I’m really loving it thus far. I’m afraid to look at the books I’ve read thus far though, I guess I might be a bit EU/US centered as well.

    1. That was supposed to say Hosseini. I probably made many more spelling mistakes, but I have the lame excuse of not being a native Engligh speaker.

  2. One of the things that I love most about the online book community is the diversity that it has brought to my reading. While I only started blogging in January I was on LibraryThing for about a year and a half before that and started focusing more on global literature through people and forums there. While I was nervous at first, I found that almost all of my top books last year were books and authors that I probably would never have picked up on my own. I hope that you get as much out of your challenge as I am!

    From your list I would recommend A Thousand Splendid Suns, which I enjoyed but was sad to read, and also A Sport of Nature, which I haven’t read.

    1. I know! I didn’t even know who Neil Gaiman was before blogging. Which reminds me, I really need to read something else by him… And Nadine Gordimer! I am looking forward to reading more from her as well.

      1. Agreed – I also need to read more Neil Gaiman, and anything by Nadine Gordimer! Some of my favorites, in case you want to ‘travel’ more, are Assia Djebar (Algerian), Dubravka Ugresic (Croatian), Elsa Osorio (Argentinian), and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigerian).

  3. Watership Down is about UK rabbits :-). It’s been such a long time (20 years?) since I’ve read that one, but I loved it when I did! I think I even re-read it at one point.

    I’ve read both of Hosseini’s books; and they are definitely very good.

    I have Saramago’s “Blindness” still sitting in my TBR, so not sure of its’ setting.

    Enjoy your reading!

  4. Yup, Watership Down is British rabbits. You will be able to tell when you read it because they call each other “old chap”. Or maybe rabbits worldwide do that – who knows?

  5. You are probably right about Hosseini, but I think I would go for Nadine Gordimer. I have not read any of her novels, but her short stories are great.

    I can see I have an advantage as Danish is such a small language area. I have only reviewed 11 Danish novels (a 5th place, I think, after USA, Britain, Norway and Sweden)

  6. What a cool challenge. I try to read more “globally” but somehow I always feel like I never venture out of the U.S. or U.K.

    Have fun with the challenge!

  7. I never pay attention to how many male vs. female authors or U.S. vs. other-country settings, but I probably should. The book I just finished was actually set all over the freaking globe (The Lunatic Express), so at least I’m getting out of the U.S. on occasion, reading-wise. I need to work on reading more books set in different locations, though.

    1. Oh,I don’t know if you *should* pay attention to M vs F if it’s not important to you. I think we all need to respect each other’s reading choices. I just find it fascinating to see if I get into a rut or not. And I do like to exposed to more of the world and viewpoints. However, I also don’t necessarily believe that only reading women authors expose on to the same kinds of books. There can be a danger in that thinking, too.

  8. Blindness is one powerful book that eh, I haven’t reviewed 🙂 Hope you spend some quality time with that. Uh, just try not to read it when you’re wishing for a short, snappy, fun read 🙂

  9. I certainly found A Thousand Splendid Suns even darker than The Kite Runner. It was very difficult for me to read. I thought it was like Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, but it told a little more about her life before she was forced into virtual slavery just to make the slavery feel that much worse.

    1. I just realized ATSS was also suggested for the Women Unbound Challenge. LOVE IT when I can count one books for multiple spots on the challenge board.

    1. I know – I think it might already be pushed to June I have so many books vying for my attention. We’ll see. I need to learn to read faster.

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