Join 3,435 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


A year of reading the world...
July 16, 2013 5:34 PM   Subscribe

Writer Ann Morgan set herself a challenge – to read a book from every country in the world in one year. She describes the experience and what she learned. Here is her blog
posted by dfm500 (26 comments total) 65 users marked this as a favorite

 
What an incredible project - I can only imagine how hard it must have been to get some of those translations. I would probably pay a good sum of money for an e-book collection of those books.
posted by rebent at 5:49 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's super impressive! Of the few books she read that I've read, her reviews are spot on. This is a great resource for people who want an entry point into the literature of countries who have had few books translated into English. This bit here especially made my heart grow a size or two:
And when it came to the tiny island nation of Sao Tome & Principe, I would have been stuck without a team of volunteers in Europe and the US who translated a book of short stories by Santomean writer Olinda Beja just so that I could have something to read.
posted by Kattullus at 5:52 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


What did she read from the Vatican?
posted by cjorgensen at 6:53 PM on July 16, 2013


Kickass!

Vatican City Luigi Marinello & The Millenari Shroud of Secrecy or Gone with the Wind in the Vatican

Ok, I could never read this many books in a year if that was my only job.

This is neat!
posted by cjorgensen at 6:56 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


What did she read from the Vatican?

Vatican City Luigi Marinello & The Millenari Shroud of Secrecy or Gone with the Wind in the Vatican
posted by Brent Parker at 6:56 PM on July 16, 2013


Wow. This is a much more worthwhile project than writing about, for example, how somebody reduced their garbage in NYC for a year. I've read maybe a couple of dozen foreign writers over the last couple of decades, but that ain't much. BTW, and let's keep it a secret, because I'm kinda illiterate, as Holden Caulfield said, but I'm reading Austen and Wodehouse for the first time this summer. England is not so foreign to me, but Old England is.
posted by kozad at 8:00 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is fantastic, thanks. Just reading a half dozen or so of her write-ups has already made my head expand.
posted by mediareport at 9:00 PM on July 16, 2013


It would be cool to do this with movies
posted by Greener Backyards at 10:05 PM on July 16, 2013


This is an excellent project, I can tell it'll be a fantastic source of suggestions for new reading material.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:23 PM on July 16, 2013


Apparently "BBC Worldwide" isn't, y'know, worldwide...
BBC Worldwide (International Site)

We're sorry but this site is not accessible from the UK as it is part of our international service and is not funded by the licence fee.
So can every country in the world access it except the UK? *puzzled*
posted by Gordafarin at 12:45 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently "BBC Worldwide" isn't, y'know, worldwide...

I am not sure where online you got that rebuff from the Beeb.

That said, BBC Worldwide isn't a TV channel.

BBC Worldwide is a "the commercial arm of the BBC..."

It's not a TV channel itself, but it does operate TV channels (and websites) including BBC America, BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyles, etc.

You know, pay-per-view channels. Ones which may or may not be available where you happen to live on planet Earth.

And it also, among other things, flogs programmes made by the BBC and other producers (like, shudder, Top Gear) to other content providers abroad.
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:58 AM on July 17, 2013


I get that message when I try to visit the main link. It's blocked in the UK. Is the article available anywhere else?
posted by Gordafarin at 4:54 AM on July 17, 2013


The article has been reproduced at the site of "Bangladesh's first exclusive online financial newspaper".
posted by rory at 5:07 AM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why this is happening to you.

What happens when you try to access bbc.co.uk?

What happens when you try to access bbc.com
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:09 AM on July 17, 2013


Mister Bijou - same is happening to me, and has before. Here's what I see when I try and access the main post link (that is, this one). The links bbc.co.uk and bbc.com both link to the BBC homepage as expected - .com redirects to .co.uk. Is this not what you see?
posted by spielzebub at 5:29 AM on July 17, 2013


The links bbc.co.uk and bbc.com both link to the BBC homepage as expected - .com redirects to .co.uk. Is this not what you see?

Yes, that's what I see.

Suggest you ask the BBC.

Go to the BBC homepage (using either of those addresses) and then scroll down to the very bottom of that page. In the final dark grey bar at the bottom, click on "Contact the BBC". Scroll down on that page to "Comment or contribute". Click on that. Then go to: "Type of Contact" and select "Web Technical Fault".

Or, go to Bangladesh link above.

Good luck.
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:51 AM on July 17, 2013


From her blog: "This contains all the valid recommendations I’ve had. I’m choosing one book for each nation. Country names become links to posts when I tick them off."

The list.

posted by Mister Bijou at 6:10 AM on July 17, 2013


Mister Bijou, this is an issue only for people trying to access the link from the UK. If you live in HK as your profile says, it is to be expected you wouldn't have any trouble.

Anyway, cool project. I wonder how big the books were if she had to read one every 1.87 days. Short stories and such must have helped although it sounds like a lot of time was spent on procuring the books themselves.
posted by ersatz at 7:28 AM on July 17, 2013


Mister Bijou, this is an issue only for people trying to access the link from the UK.

Yeah, I appreciate that. But it's mighty puzzling, innit?

Hence my suggestion to contact the Beeb and let it know there is a problem for UK-based Internet users.

And, yes, I agree with you; it is a cool project. Although I too wonder how she managed to read so many books in the time allotted.
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:04 AM on July 17, 2013


(Thanks for the mirror, Rory)

I hope her list of books read is accessible somewhere. I would pay thick, healthy wodges of money to have them compiled in an ebook, to work my way around the world on the commute.

I'm reading Austen and Wodehouse for the first time this summer. England is not so foreign to me, but Old England is.

I too have just started on the English classics after a lifetime of pointedly ignoring them. Even as a native, even when they refer to place names I've visited and lived around, all these books feel like a half remembered dream of an alien place.

Many of the old buildings are still here, and some of the fields and hills too, but it's like being the next play up in a theatre having to re-use someone else's sets. Steeped in postcolonial modernity, I would find it easier to talk to someone from the other side of the planet than someone from Austen's dimension.
posted by forgetful snow at 8:08 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love projects like this and wish I'd heard it about it last year when it started so I could follow along.

One year I read using anniversaries as a choosing mechanism -- so books that had a 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th... 100th etc. anniversary that year. It was a functionally randomizing approach, so there was a lot of interesting stuff that I wouldn't normally have encountered. But still very anglospherical. :)

I can see myself diving into her list very soon.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:39 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait wait wait - wasn't there a post on the green a year or two ago by someone looking for country by country book recommendations to do just this?
posted by deludingmyself at 1:32 PM on July 17, 2013


Solving my own question time - I'm blurring these 3 together in my memory, I think:

- 2011: "I'd like to read a book about each country's history, ideally one offering as comprehensive of a timeline as possible."
- 2010: "I want to read a book written by an author from every African country, about life in his / her country."
- 2007: "I plan to read a novel from every country. Which books are most worthwhile, both as a means to gain the truest insight into the soul of each land, and also from a literary standpoint?"

Cool project. Now I want to go check and see how her list compares to Metafilter's suggestions.
posted by deludingmyself at 1:38 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why is Neil Gaiman's American Gods listed under United States?
posted by crossoverman at 7:57 PM on July 17, 2013


Why is Neil Gaiman's American Gods listed under United States?

Explanation (and comments) here.
posted by Mister Bijou at 12:23 AM on July 18, 2013


On the bbc.com thing: BBC Worldwide is the BBC's commercial arm selling BBC stuff to the rest of the world. Pages at bbc.com are blocked to visitors from the UK, using the same geolocation techniques that enable websites to display your local weather wherever you're visiting from. When we click on a specific page at bbc.com we get that error message; when we visit the top level of the site we're redirected to bbc.co.uk. One reason I've seen advanced is that bbc.com pages carry ads, which is contra BBC regulations within the UK.
posted by rory at 1:41 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older Every Grunt from Home Improvement (SLYT, 14:37)....  |  Joel Schroeder, with the help ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments