One of the things I love about December is that it gives me the space to reflect on my reading life over the past year, and whether I did passably well on some of the reading challenges I imposed on myself. Increasingly, I feel this urge to really broaden my “reading horizons” and to diversify my reading list. Over the past years, I have fallen deeply in love with international/translated literature, so much so that I devoted 2020 to featuring said titles here at GatheringBooks.
I have a #ReadIntl2020 page where I keep track of and document the books that I have been sharing here throughout our quarterly reading themes this year. Take note, though, that this does not include all the books I read this year – I will reserve that for My Year in Reading post. Here are the numbers for my Year of International Literature (2020):
And since I love tables, here is a further breakdown of the top five countries (based on author/illustrator’s country) I visited this year through books:
What the figures reveal to me is that despite my concerted attempts to read internationally, 60 out of the 109 books I featured this year still come from the United States and Canada. To be fair, though, the books are mostly written/illustrated by people of color, which still fits into my overall goal of reading diversely.
This actually makes me wonder: What would my reading life be like if I do not impose this kind of reading challenge for myself?
If I were to examine further across translated languages, here are the figures:
As can be seen in the table above, majority of the books featured this year are still in English (neither translated nor bilingual) – but as I pointed above, most are written/illustrated by people of color. I am glad to see that Arabic and Spanish languages are in the top 2 and 3 spot respectively. It is also interesting to see that I’ve featured quite a few translated European titles (French/German).
More than ever, I am committed to reading more international titles, more women authors/illustrators, more people of colour. Hopefully, our upcoming 2021 reading challenge would push me towards that direction more purposefully and strategically.