A few months ago, Iphigene and I had a conversation about the subject that she is teaching: 21st Century Literature from Around the World among Grade 12 students in Southville International School. I thought that it would be good to go back to hosting a reading challenge this 2018 along this theme. Plus, I was a tad inspired after borrowing this book from the library:
Ann Morgan challenged herself by reading around the globe in 2012 and even managed to read from 196 independent countries (plus one extra). To know more about her literary journey, check out her blog.
I read snippets from her book above to provide me with some ideas on how we can go about launching this reading theme, especially as it does tackle issues such as how do we know from which country a book is from? Do we base it on author’s ethnicity or nationality or place where the author/illustrator is based in now? How about issues of cultural authenticity? How about books that have not been translated? Do we stick to those that have been translated into English? There were a few significant quotes that I wanted to share here that convinced me that this is still a path worth taking despite the many muddled issues regarding “reading the world”:
The truth is, we as individuals will never be wise enough or cultured enough or fast enough or long-lived enough to read the world as deeply and thoroughly as it deserves – and we never have been. We can only fail. So we have a choice: we can stick with what we know, or we can embrace the impossibility of reading world literature properly and jump right in… (p. 24)
Hence, we have come up with a set of guidelines for this reading challenge that will make it easier for people to just jump right in and get out of our comfort zones and just read read read.
Choose from among the following reading goals:
1. Literary Hitchhiker – 25-40 countries
2. Literary Vagabond – 41-60 countries
3. Literary Explorer – 61-80 countries
4. Literary Adventurer – 81-99 countries
5. Literary Globetrotter – 100 countries and above
We understand the limitations of gaining access to books from many countries. Hence, we suggest that you try to be as realistic as possible in terms of your reading goals.
Here are a few other guidelines to take note of:
1. You can choose published stories from any genre: picturebooks, middle grade, young adult, adult novels, non-fiction, graphic novels/comics, short stories (even individual short stories if that would work), poems, poetry collection, plays, etc.
2. How to know from which country the book/story is from: (a) You could base it on the author/illustrator’s ethnicity and/or nationality, (b) choose one of the major primary settings indicated in the story, (c) the story is published in that particular country.
3. Books do not necessarily have to be published in English – it could be in other languages, or literary works translated into English from their original language. You could also use the Translate Photo App that I shared here.
4. You don’t need to have a blog to participate. You can use your Goodreads, Instagram, Facebook page (or post), Litsy – so long as you share your book reviews/ book insights through your various social media.
5. First things first: Write a post on your blog/social media indicating that you are joining this reading challenge and what your reading goals are (see above – commit to being a Literary Hitchhiker all the way up to being a Literary Globetrotter) AND share the link in our linky below. Do make use of our widgets:
6. You will have to LINK UP your posts to our quarterly sign-up pages (forthcoming in 2018). This will make you eligible for book prizes – winners to be announced by end of March 2018, end of June, end of September, end of December.
Here are the book prizes for January – June 2018, with special shout-out and huge thanks to Pansing Books – you are the absolute best:
January 2018: Why Did You Lie? by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Iceland)
February 2018: Black and Blue by Ian Rankin (Scotland)
April 2018: Lola Offline by Nicola Doherty (France)
May 2018: White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht (Korea)
June 2018: The Girl’s Guide To Summer by Sarah Mlynowski (United States)
July 2018: The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon (Australia)
August 2018: The Concubine’s Child by Carol Jones (Malaysia)
September 2018: Death Notice by Zhou HaoHui (China)
October 2018: Ponti by Sharlene Teo (Singapore)
November 2018: The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie (India)
December 2018: The Mouse Deer Kingdom by Chiew-Siah Tei (20th Century Malaya).
7. You can link up as many reviews as you wish, even if they are coming from the same country. This would allow you to keep track of whether you tend to read stories only from one country by end of 2018. That is significant information/documentation by end of the year.
Use the hashtag: #LitWorld2018GB
8. If your link-ups are connected to GatheringBooks’ quarterly reading themes in 2018, it will increase the chances of your getting a book prize.
9. This reading challenge is open internationally and will run from 01 January 2018 – 30 December 2018.
10. Click below to be taken to the linky once you have your announcement blog post indicating that you are joining the Literary Voyage Around the World Reading Challenge.
Suggested Format: Your Name (Name of Your Blog) – Reading Goal, e.g. Myra (GatheringBooks) – Explorer.