Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver marks the 30th book I have read for my book-from-every-country project, so it’s time for a summary post. When I hit 20 countries, I said I wanted to focus on reading books from some of the smaller and ‘harder’ countries. I did read a book from St. Kitts and Nevis, the smallest country in the Americas in both population and land area, as well as several other Caribbean island nations. Of course, I also read a book for the United States. I’m glad to have that one out of the way though. There were just too many options and too much temptation to try to find the ‘perfect’ book. The books I’ve picked for other countries are mostly just semi-random selections, whatever I came across that caught my attention. Why should the United States be any different?
The most memorable books in this batch were The Bone People by Keri Hulme (New Zealand) and The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (Malaysia). The Bone People was the most intense reading experience I have had in a long time. At some points I loved it, at one point I was in tears, but by the end I was angry and disappointed. The Garden of Evening Mists was my favorite of this set, for its beauty, for its grappling with the challenges of healing and forgiveness, and for introducing me to a land I knew nothing about. Although it had some flaws in the writing, The Circle of Karma (Bhutan) was effective in really immersing me in a very different culture.
In addition to having read from 30 countries, it has now been a year since I started this blog. Over the past year, the combination of my reading project and blogging about it has significantly changed how I read. For one thing, I’m much more deliberate about the books I read. While I still sometimes pick books up randomly, I more often seek out particular books that I have read about. I also spend more time thinking about the books I read in anticipation of writing about them. At the same time, I find myself getting a bit tired of writing up a post about each book. I’d like to find a way to mix things up a little bit and have more fun with it.
Where am I headed next? Right now I’m reading The Antelope Strategy, a non-fiction book about the survivors and the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide trying to figure out how to live together again.. After that, I’m not quite sure. I’ve built up quite a list of possible books by now, many of which I am excited to read. It’s high time I read something from South America. It might also be a good idea to get started on some of those Pacific Islands.