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Readers of the World, I Need Your Help!

October 20, 2010

Okay, readers, I need your help.

World Party Reading Challenge Button

I’ve joined the World Party Reading Challenge, hosted by Packabook, who took over from Fizzy Thoughts. I’m really excited to read more world literature! But first…I have to find it.

The challenge site offers suggestions for each month, which is a wonderful resource. Or, I could always turn to trusty old Google. But I really like having people who know and love a book tell me, “Hey, this one would be perfect!”

The challenge is to read one book each month from the assigned country. Books can be fiction or non-, print or audio. I’d especially love to read books not only set in the specified country (as the challenge requires), but also by an author from that country. Here is the list of countries by month:

  • October 2010: Afghanistan – I’ve got this one covered with A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • November 2010: Turkey
  • December 2010: Greece
  • January 2011: Iran – I’m thinking Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, unless someone has (a) reasons why I shouldn’t, or (b) other, awesomer recommendations
  • February 2011: England
  • March 2011: Ireland
  • April 2011: Jamaica
  • May 2011: Pakistan
  • June 2011: Russia
  • July 2011: Spain
  • August 2011: Thailand
  • September 2011: India – I have some ideas, but would love suggestions too!

Do you have a favorite book set in (and possibly by an author from) any of these countries? Or maybe one you’ve heard great things about and are dying to read? I would love to know about it! Feel free to gush in the comments, or even leave a link to your review, if you’ve written one. Thank you!

33 Comments
  1. October 20, 2010 7:15 am

    For Russia: Notes from the House of the Dead by Dostoyevsky or Dead Souls by Gogol’
    For Turkey: The Black Book by Orhan Parmuk
    For Ireland, a bit of light reading with Maggie O’Farrell’s The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
    For India: Red Earth and Pouring Rain by Vikram Chandra

    Can’t think of much for the other countries off the top of my head :)

    • Erin permalink*
      October 20, 2010 9:02 pm

      Oh my, how did I not think of Orhan Pamuk?? Thanks for the great list!

  2. October 20, 2010 11:23 am

    Pakistan: In Other Rooms, Other Wonders – Daniyal Mueenuddin
    India: Oh, I have so many – Shobhan Bantwal, Shilpi Somaya Gowda, and Thrity Umrigar are authors that immediately come to mind
    England: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
    Turkey: Anything by Orhan Pamuk (haven’t read him, but he is at the top of my list)

    I hope these are helpful!

    • October 20, 2010 3:45 pm

      Oh, I’ve been meaning to read The Little Stranger. I listened to an interview with Waters, and she was fascinating.

      • Erin permalink*
        October 20, 2010 9:06 pm

        I keep hearing great things about it. I’m going to have to double up on books for some of these countries, I think. So many great suggestions!

    • Erin permalink*
      October 20, 2010 9:03 pm

      Thank you for the suggestions! I’ve been wanting to read In Other Rooms, Other Wonders anyway, so that will be perfect! Great list for India, too. I’m just starting to discover some wonderful Indian authors and always welcome recommendations for more!

  3. October 20, 2010 12:03 pm

    The Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji, or the Persepolis graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi, would be great for Iran month. I’m doing a series on Russian books next month so maybe stop by for some suggestions and reviews? There are so many! I love your project and can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    • Erin permalink*
      October 20, 2010 9:04 pm

      I will definitely stop by for Russian recommendations next month! I’ve read Persepolis (loved it), but not The Rooftops of Tehran. Thanks!

  4. October 20, 2010 12:04 pm

    Oh, and for Ireland- Venetia Kelly’s Travelling Show by Frank Delaney is a mustread!

  5. Jess permalink
    October 20, 2010 1:34 pm

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society would cover England, I think. It’s a wonderful book.

    • Erin permalink*
      October 20, 2010 9:04 pm

      Oh, that would be perfect! I read it when it first came out, but I could definitely reread it. Such a delightful book.

  6. October 20, 2010 3:27 pm

    If you can choose historical fiction, I’d recommend Elizabeth Chadwick for England. And on the other end of the spectrum if you’re interested in chick-lit at all, Lisa Jewell. Russia (I didn’t enjoy this but others have) Sashenka by Simon Montefiore (who I think is Russian American).

    • October 20, 2010 3:51 pm

      The Dream Life of Sukhanov by Olga Grushin is another fabulous read by a Russian-American :)

    • Erin permalink*
      October 20, 2010 9:05 pm

      I don’t think I’m forbidden from historical fiction, though I’m not sure! I take chick-lit on a case-by-case basis, and I’ve not read Lisa Jewell, so maybe I’ll look into her books. Thank you!

  7. October 20, 2010 4:24 pm

    I don’t have a suggestion for those countries, but I just have to say, to whoever runs this next year… pick some African countries! Like Nigeria. SO MUCH incredible lit from Nigeria.

    Oh, what’s that you say? I have an obsession with Nigerian lit? Why yes I do – but it’s all so good!

    Heh

    • Erin permalink*
      October 20, 2010 9:08 pm

      I’m with you. If you’d like to give me a few Nigerian recommendations, I will add Nigeria to my own personal challenge list. Nothing wrong with a Nigerian lit obsession :-)

      • October 20, 2010 9:32 pm

        You asked for it ;) Be prepared for a long email list!! hehehe

        • Erin permalink*
          October 20, 2010 9:33 pm

          I’m looking forward to it! Thanks!!

          • October 21, 2010 4:41 am

            OK – Don’t have our African pages up at Packabook yet, that’s why they are not on the list this year – but they will be.

            Have only read ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ and ‘Purple Hibiscus’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie so far – but my goodness, I couldn’t recommend them more.

            I know there are plenty more books set in Nigeria to get into….so looking forward to those suggestions as well.

            Suzi

          • Erin permalink*
            October 21, 2010 11:38 am

            Got it! That makes sense. Amy sent me an amazing list, which I’m betting she’ll let me pass along to you, if you’d like it!

  8. October 20, 2010 8:19 pm

    I don’t have any suggestions but just wanted to say I’ll be reading A Thousand Splendid Suns (finally!!) this month too!

    • Erin permalink*
      October 20, 2010 9:08 pm

      Awesome! I’ll watch for your thoughts :-)

  9. October 20, 2010 8:26 pm

    For Ireland, I would suggest any of the Tana French books … and she is Irish too.

    As far as Russia, I could tell you NOT to read The Brothers Karamazov. I recently read it and found it horribly painful.

    Good luck!

    • Erin permalink*
      October 20, 2010 9:09 pm

      Hmm, I do need to read something by Tana French. I’m scared her books will be too creepy, so I’ve avoided them thus far.

      Thanks for the Karamazov warning! Anti-recommendations are sometimes as helpful as recommendations :-)

  10. October 20, 2010 10:14 pm

    All the Chickens Come Home to Roost is a memoir by Rachael Manjia Brown, I think that’s her name, where she spends time at an ashram in India as a child. That could be a good book for India, although she’s not a native Indian author.

    That’s the only recommendation that comes off the top of my head, but I’ll keep thinking.

    • Erin permalink*
      October 20, 2010 10:17 pm

      Oh, that sounds interesting! Thanks for the suggestion, and for the continued thinking :-)

  11. October 20, 2010 10:42 pm

    I’d second “Rooftops of Tehran” for Iran and highly recommend “The Space Between Us” by Thrity Umrigar for India.

    • Erin permalink*
      October 21, 2010 11:39 am

      I read one of Umrigar’s other books and really didn’t like it, but I’ve heard uniformly good things about The Space Between Us. Maybe I’ll give hear another shot. Thanks!

  12. October 22, 2010 2:38 am

    Yes indeed – would love Amy’s list if she’s happy to share…..
    Suzi

  13. October 24, 2010 5:13 pm

    I vote for Septembers of Shiraz for Iran.

    Elif Shafak is a Turkish author that I like, although not all of her books are set in Turkey. Pamuk’s Istanbul is great, although I still haven’t finished it!

    There is a Europa book set in Greece, although for the life of me I can’t remember the title. North of Ithaka, by Eleni Gage, is a travel memoir set in Greece…an American returns to her family’s village in Greece and rebuilds the family home.

    • Erin permalink*
      October 24, 2010 5:48 pm

      I’m leaning toward Pamuk for Turkey. I have My Name is Red and The Black Book, so I’ll probably pick up one of those. Though Istanbul and Snow are both on my TBR list (and have been FOREVER)!

      Thanks for the Greece recommendations — I don’t have many of those yet. North of Ithaka sounds really good. I love travel memoirs!

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