Weekly Geeks 2009-26: Globe Trotting

This week's Weekly Geeks asks you to tell us about your globe trotting via books. Are you a global reader? How many countries have you "visited" in your reading? What are your favorite places or cultures to read about? Can you recommend particularly good books about certain regions, countries or continents? How do you find out about books from other countries? What countries would you like to read that you haven't yet?

This was my own WG topic, so I guess I'd better get a post up about it! I've enjoyed reading books from other countries/cultures for a number of years but haven't been conscientious about it until the last couple of years, since I've been on Library Thing. There I find lots of interesting discussions about books from around the world, ones I probably wouldn't have heard of otherwise. One of the forums on LT is Reading Globally - I get a lot of good book recommendations there.

So, where have I been? I tend to read a lot of Asian lit, particularly Chinese and Japanese authors. There's a spareness about the writing that I love. Gail Tsukyama is one of my favorite Japanese writers.

South America is another favorite place to visit - Isabelle Allende, from Chile, is one of my very favorite authors and I will read anything she writes!

I've read quite a few books by African writers lately -- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote the Orange Prize winner Half of a Yellow Sun, which is a stunning book about the Biafran civil war, of which I was completely ignorant.

Most of the books I read from other countries are heavy on cultural and/or political themes, so as well as reading some fresh new writing, I also learn a great deal about other places in the world. It feels expansive and is a much easier way for me to learn about a place than reading history books. And since I know I won't be traveling to most of these places, I get to "visit" them via writers who've lived the experience.

Where have I been? This map gives you a fairly good idea:

55 countries, or 24% of the total. I can see I need to fill in a lot of blanks in Africa, the Middle East and, surprisingly, Europe - Austria, The Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, and many of the eastern European countries. I have a few on my list - do you have some recommendations for me? Venezuela -- Morocco -- Romania -- Croatia -- Kuwait -- Saudi Arabia?

Visit Weekly Geeks to find out where in the world other readers have been.


Lezlie said...

You've got a lot of territory covered there!


raidergirl3 said...

oh, oh, oh! For Morocco, try This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun. It reminded me of The Lizard Cage as it's in a solitary prison, with the same type of government. Not as much of a story plot-wise, as The Lizard Cage, but the spirituality and just something, make them complimentary.