Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Reading Across Boundaries

I came very close to resolving not to get caught up in any reading challenges this year other than the two I'd already committed to, not because I don't like them, but because too many can make even a good thing feel like a chore.

But Kate's Reading Across Boundaries Challenge is too intriguing to ignore.

The idea, of course, is to read more books (Kate's gunning for ten) from the areas of the world that you'd ordinarily ignore, particularly in translation.

I have several either underway or on the schedule for the next couple of months, but some others that I have on hand and that I'm going to attempt to give some priority to this year are:

A Tale of Love and Darkness. Amos Oz (Israel)

World Light. Halldor Laxness (Iceland)

The House of the Spirits. Isabel Allende (Chile)

Kristin Lavransdatter. Sigrid Undset (Scandinavia)

Istanbul. Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)

Half of a Yellow Sun. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)

Wind Up Bird Chronicle. Haruki Murakami (Japan)

Palace Walk. Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt)

Snow Country. Yasunari Kawabata (Japan)


  1. I have had Lavransdatter beside my bed for ten years, pick it up, look and it and think, Another time. I wonder what you will think of it.

  2. Snow Country was very strange, and disquieting.

  3. The Wind Up Bird Chronicles is one of my favorites!

  4. I like Kawabata and Murakami a lot, and the others I'm interested in learning more about. Perhaps I should look at Allende for my version of Kate's challenge.

  5. I keep telling myself No More Challenges. And then I make a list. Oh well. This time around I was vague and said ten over the course of the year! I really want to read Kristin Lavransdattar this year, too--if I can ever finish W&P! I loved House of Spirits--that is one of her best works I think! I should reread it. Everytime I look at someone's list I add a few more books to mine!

  6. Oh this Reading Across the Borders challenge is very tempting. I could even be sneaky and use most of the books my foreign authors book group is reading this year to join in. Hmmm. Anyway, I loved House of Spirits and Palace Walk. Hope you enjoy those.

  7. I do like this challenge because it lasts all year. And I want to read every book on the list RIGHT NOW. By the time I finish current reads, though, there will be an entirely different list I want to read immediately. . .

  8. I might have to copy your Mahfouz title for my own list since I am lacking Africa and I've never read anything from Egypt before.

    I hope you enjoy The House of Spirits. i found it quirky and sad with lots of good writing about writing in it

  9. I highly recommend Mahfouz. I read his trilogy and it was very impressive !

  10. Good list. I'd like to read more Pamuk myself. I hope you will enjoy Mahfouz.

  11. I think you will enjoy World Light. I read it last year after enjoying Halldor Laxness' Independent People. I think he deserved his Nobel Prize. He brought to life a very different culture. I look forward to your comments on Adichie and Kawabata. I have been considering those as well.

  12. Ooh, House of Spirits is so good! Allende's Aphrodite is one of my favorites. Interesting challenge.

  13. Wow. The Undset alone is quite a monumental challenge, I dare say even larger than Proust.


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