Friday, April 03, 2009

Global Voices Book Challenge


The folks at Global Voices Online are hosting an incredible reading challenge..."Read Your Way Around The World".



The challenge rules are as follows:

1) Read a book during April from a country whose literature you have never read anything of before.

2) Write a blog post about it during the week of April 23.

3) Tag your posts with #gvbook09 so we can find your posts.


I'd like to invite you to take the challenge with me! Just leave me a line letting me know which books you intend to read and I'll make sure I visit and comment on your blogs when the reviews are up.

This challenge is particularly exciting because it encourages you to pick a book from a country you have never read anything of before! I've been thinking about exploring Indonesia, but I can't find a suitable title. If Indonesia doesn't work out I'll probably go with Mexico (at the moment I am thinking of "Mexican High" by Liza Monroy) or maybe something from Turkey...any recommendations?




31 comments:

Id it is said...

Great idea! Spring Break starts today so I'll pick up a book from the library this weekend!
Good initiative Lotus!

M said...

No idea on Mexico or Indonesia, to be honest, but as for Turkey, I've heard positive things about the author Orham Pamuk. (Haven't actually had a chance to read any of his books yet, though three are currently residing on my TBR list: Istanbul: Memories and the City, My Name Is Red, and Snow). Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006, the first Turkish citizen to be such a recipient. There has also been some controversy in Turkey regarding him and his works - though I'm not really familiar as to what actually occurred.

M. said...

Hello, my first time here - I'm intrigued by this global reading challenge. I think I'll join (and not just because I'm a fellow Ontarian! ;-) )

Myrthe said...

I am joining as well, I'll read Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth about China. It is the only book I already own about a culture or country that I haven't read anything about. Well, not in the last decade anyway....

Orhan Pamuk is an excellent writer, though his novels are no easy read. I actually prefer his essays and non-fiction. Another book about Turkey that I highly recommend is Elif Shafak's The Bastard of Istanbul. There's a review on my blog (find it through the Books read in 2008 page)

The controversy surrounding Pamuk (and also Shafak for that matter) in Turkey is that they both acknowledged the Armenian Genocide in the early 20th century. The Turkish state denies it constituted a genocide (though there are plenty of facts to prove otherwise), and acknowledging the Armenian Genocide is pretty much a crime in Turkey. Both authors have been on trial for their remarks about the Armenian Genocide.

Butternut Squash said...

I looked and looked for you but I couldn't find it. There is a book written by the last Renee of Sarawak. I read it 20 years ago while I was back packing around Asia. It was an autobiography of this adventurous woman at the end of the era of head hunters in Indonesia. If you could find it, I'm sure you would enjoy it.

Madeleine said...

This is a great idea I like a lot. I whish this challenge would run longer, I have commited myself to reviewing to many ARC books due in April :(

I will keep this idea in mind, I have read books from all over the world, so I am going to really look for a country I haven't visited yet.

Have a great week-end Angelique

Lotus Reads said...

Hello Everyone!

Thanks to those that can participate and "hope to see you next time" to those that can't...

I am particularly grateful to those of you that offered me some reading suggestions...I have two of Pamuk's books on my shelf here, "Snow" and "Istanbul". I have tried delving into "Istanbul" several times but cannot seem to get into it, not sure why! It is disappointing because Istanbul remains one of my favorite cities in the world and I really wanted to read Pamuk's reflections of this city of his birth.

Auntie, aka cagny said...

Hello Lotus,
What a cool idea! I will bring this to the attention of some other bloggers I know.
I just started to read In the Land of Invisible Women (Saudi Arabia), which I first read about HERE on your fab blog. My book club members are reading it too, and they are very excited!

varske said...

I would definitely go with Orhan Pamuk for Turkey. For me "Snow" is the best by far, of the one's I've read so far.

Laura said...

Wonderful idea and great intiative, Lotus!
I already enjoyed the book you mentioned - MEXICAN HIGH by Liza Monroy. What a vivid eye opener into the world of Mexico city elite youth at an international high school. Monroy's descriptive prose make the rich-textured Mexican culture, politics, corruption come alive. The gap between weath and poverty, indigenous Mexicans and those of European descent. Fascinating, well-crafted, fast page turner...a great book!

Id it is said...

"Virgin's Guide to Mexico" is one novel I read; it's not a scintillating or a profound read, but it goes by fast though I would any day read 'Snow' or 'Bastard of Istanbul' over it!

Right now I found myself a read out of Cuba that has an intriguing storyline so I might go with this one.

Lotus Reads said...

@M ~ Welcome fellow-Ontarian! :) Let me know as soon as you pick a book!

@Myrthe ~ That's a great pick! I read "The Good Earth" for the second time a few months ago and it was every bit rewarding as the first. A true classic!

@Butternut Squash ~ Aw, thank you for looking for me! I know, it's really hard coming up with anything from Indonesia. As a last ditch resort I wrote to a book seller in Jakarta for titles...he will be getting back to me one of these days. Thanks for the info on the last renee of Sarawak...I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for that one!

Lotus Reads said...

@Madeleine ~ Yes, you can pick up the challenge up whenever you like! Enjoy reading the ARC's and please let us know when you chance upon a "must-read"! Thanks!

@Cagny~ You know, "Invisible Women" could be your challenge read! Would work really well because it's set in Saudi Arabia, a place not too many of us get to read about. Hope you enjoy the read Cagny and thanks so much for letting me know!

@Varske ~ I will tackle 'Snow' one day, I know I will....not sure I'm going to pick it for this challenge however because I really feel like reading something light. I do value your input though, so please keep writing and letting me know what you think.

Lotus Reads said...

@Laura ~ I think I am going with "Mexican High"! I had the book sitting here, but couldn't tell if it was going to be a good read or not...I was happy to see you've read it and that you recommend it, thanks girlfriend! :)

@Id ~ I've read a few books on Cuba, so I'm very intrigued to see which title you've picked. I am going to make a note of "Virgin of Mexico", thanks! One of these days I'll get to "Snow" and "The Bastard of Istanbul", but for this challenge I've decided to keep it light, so I'm going with "Mexican High".

Id it is said...

It's "Ruins" by Achy Obejas.

On a different note, what/who do you attribute your passion for reading to? Not to a teacher I guess? :)

Lotus Reads said...

Hey Id!

Can't wait to see what you think of "Ruins"!

haha, sad, but true, I wish I could have included one of them in my list of role models, but it didn't happen. I don't blame them...I get the feeling many chose teaching as a career, not vocation. My daughters have some very good teachers so I know there are many good teachers out there! Are you a teacher? Professor?

I have always loved to read...I think I can attribute that to my curiosity about everything, but especially people and places. Books just seemed to take me places I couldn't go to on my own.

How about you?

Jen said...

Thanks for mentioning this challenge! I have decided to partake and am thinking about reading something Cuban. (Perhaps something by Arenas - I've always wanted to read his stuff.) Nice work on your blog!

Anali said...

This sounds like a really fun challenge! I'm not sure that I'll be able to do it, but it will be interesting to see what everyone reads.

Lotus Reads said...

@Jen ~ Excellent! I so look forward to hearing your thoughts on Arenas' writing. Cuba is a fascinating country...would really like to visit some day.

@Anali ~ Thanks for stopping by! It's a good idea to make a note of what everyone picks for the challenge...it will give you a wealth of reading suggestions for the future.

Id it is said...

"Books just seemed to take me places I couldn't go to on my own." What an interesting take! No wonder the books you read/post on always have unique settings! A wanderer who dares must have some inherent curiosity and who would you say fueled this curiosity?...not a teacher I guess? :)

Lotus, I am in academia and I accept that it is a field that is wanting, but, one teacher can make all the difference where love of reading is concerned...

Marie said...

love the challenge! and I even have something that qualifies on my tbr-soon pile- a book that takes place in iceland. great motivation for me to read it! :-)

ravenousreader said...

This is a great challenge, and I'll join in. I'm thinking of choosing something of Isable Allende, since I've never read her books and she writes about Latin American countries which I've not read about.

Lotus Reads said...

@Id ~ Ahh, OK, I see what you're getting at! :) It's not like I don't wish to credit a teacher for my love of reading, it's just that I simply don't recall any of them making that kind of impression on me, but you know, it is quite possible that they did so ever so subtly that I didn't even realize the effect they were having on me! :)

Lotus Reads said...

@Marie ~ Wow, Iceland! That's a new one for me too! I don't think I've read anything set in that country. I so look forward to reading your book review!!!

@Ravenous ~ Allende is a great choice! She is such a lyrical writer and yes, she writes about LA countries, mostly Chile...you're in for a treat!

gs said...

hi lr
i asked a friend of mine who travelled to london a fortnight back to get me "china witness" by xinran. he has obliged me and now i propose to read it and write a review soon.

Lotus Reads said...

Excellent choice gs! I read her first ever book (I forget the title) and she is simply amazing! I cannot wait to find out what you think of her current one.

Brown Paper said...

Hey Anjali,
This sounds super! I've been away from blogging for a long time and this sounds like the perfect way to get back into the swing of things. I am planning to read Paradise Reclaimed by Halldor Laxness--a Nobel prize winning Icelandic writer. Thanks for motivating me to read this book!

Lotus Reads said...

@Brown Paper ~ I have missed you, glad you're back! "Paradise Reclaimed" sounds like a terrific read...cannot wait to read your review!

gs said...

hi lr
"the good women of china" and "sky burial" are her earlier books. i have started reading her latest and is unputdownable! keep your antennas up for the review.

Sowjanya said...

Hey Lotus,
Oops..!! saw the challenge almost on the last week on it...
Pretty late...Never mind
Reading Challenge...never taken it...so i'm giving it a try by reading Istanbul:Memories and the city by Orhan Phamuk.

Thanks for the post

Lotus Reads said...

@gs ~ Ahh, yes, I remember "Sky Burial" so well! One of those books that will stay with you forever! gs, I simply cannot wait to see what her next book is all about...I am so glad you have chosen it as your challenge book, thank you!

@Sowjanya ~ Welcome!!! You have time, don't worry. You all week starting the 23rd of April to post your review...and even if you're late, not to worry. :) You have chosen a book that I am desperate to read but just haven't been able to get into. I wait with bated breath to hear your thoughts on it! Thanks Sowjanya!