One of my resolutions for 2007 is to expand my reading horizons by dipping into the literature of countries and regions into which I have rarely ventured and, relatedly, by reading more works in translation. Others in the litblogosphere have expressed similar intentions so I’m proposing a challenge that I’m dubbing the Reading Across Borders Challenge. The precise contours of this challenge must be tailored to the individual participants. But the idea is to determine which countries or regions tend to dominate your reading and to commit to reading a number of books over the course of 2007 which take you beyond those countries or regions. In the last couple of years, my reading has been dominated by books originally written in English by authors from Canada, the U.S., and the UK. For my Reading Across Borders Challenge, 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.
I’m off to a good start, having recently begun reading Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler (Italy), and with Bruno Schulz’s Street of Crocodiles (Poland) lined up to read for the next Slaves of Golconda discussion. There are also plenty of other books already on my TBR pile or on my wish list that fit the bill including:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun (Nigeria);
The Collected Stories of Isaac Babel (Russia);
Gregoire Bouillier’s The Mystery Guest (France);
Mircea Cartarescu’s Nostalgia (Romania);
Vikram Chandra's, Sacred Games (India);
Eileen Chang’s Love in a Fallen City (China);
Upamanyu Chaterjee’s English, August (India);
Daniel Kehlmann’s Measuring the World (Austria);
Henning Mankell’s The Dogs of Riga (Sweden);
Javier Marias’ Fever and Spear (Spain);
Guillermo Martinez’s, Oxford Murders (Argentina);
Ferenc Molnar’s The Paul Street Boys (Hungary);
Haruki Murakami’s The Elephant Vanishes (Japan); and,
Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red (Turkey).
I’d be very grateful for other recommendations though. Indeed, many titles on the above list were brought to my attention through enthusiastic mentions by fellow litbloggers.
Let me know if you plan to join me in this challenge and, if so, what shape your Reading Across Borders Challenge will take.