Posted by: biblioglobal | November 9, 2018

Books from 130 countries

Thanks to the delay in getting my 120 books post out, this one is following quickly. It was a great bunch of books that left me feeling re-motivated for reading more.

As more of the remaining countries are “difficult” ones, I’m reading some books that I wouldn’t otherwise have picked out. In particular, Words of the Lagoon was a description of traditional fishing practices in Palau. Fishing is not a favorite topic of mine. (As an example, John McPhee is one of my favorite authors. He can write about shipping logistics and it’s fascinating. But even he is boring when he writes about fish.) So I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Words of the Lagoon. It was a great lens for gaining an appreciation of the amount of cultural knowledge people traditionally had about natural history and also for the creativity involved in surviving on remote islands with very limited resources. The number of fishing methods is incredible- net, spear, poison, hook, corralling. I wasn’t really sure whether to believe the one about fishing with spiderwebs dangled from a kite. But there’s a BBC video of it on YouTube, so I guess it must be true!

 

 

Another favorite from this group was Baba Yaga Laid an Egg by Dubravka Ugresic. I was surprised to look at the title page and see that the book had been translated from Croatian by three different translators. When I read the book though, it made perfect sense because the book is divided into three separate sections that interact in interesting ways. After reading the book, I got to see Ugresic speak at a local bookstore, which was wonderful. It was also neat to see how many other people were excited to come see her. I didn’t get in the book purchasing line right away and I ended up getting the very last book of hers that they had in stock.

Here’s the list from this set:

121 The Dark Child Camara Laye Guinea
122 Out Stealing Horses Per Petterson Norway
123 In Sorcery’s Shadow Paul Stoller Niger
124 Words of the Lagoon R.E. Johannes Palau
125 Night Birds and Other Stories Khet Mar Myanmar
126 Baba Yaga Laid an Egg Dubravka Ugresic Croatia
127 Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter Mario Vargas Llosa Peru
128 Sundays in August Patrick Modiano France
129 The Sly Company of People who Care Rahul Bhattacharya Guyana
130 The Blue Sky Galsan Tschinag Mongolia

 

I’ve decided that it’s time to make a switch in my reading plan. Thus far, I’ve read somewhat haphazardly depending on what books came my way. I’ve made some effort to include some smaller countries and to spread my reading across different continents. But inevitably, the list of remaining countries has disproportionately more countries with fewer available books. I had decided not to rush forward on reading books for some of these countries under the premise that new books might become available over time. And in some cases they have! But, in order to avoid a clump of the most hard-to-find-a-book-for countries at the end of the project, I’ve decided to switch my efforts towards reading the remaining countries in alphabetical order. I’ll still read books out of order when something catches my attention, but for the books I’m seeking out, I’m going to go in order. It turns out I had covered all the ‘A’ countries, so I’ve finished a book from the Bahamas and am now reading my book for Bahrain. Next up is Barbados. Actually there are several books that I’m interested in reading from Barbados, and I’m having a hard time deciding: Sugar in the Blood by Andrea Stuart which is a history of Barbados focused on the author’s family history of both her black and her white ancestors. Pig Tails ‘n Breadfruit by Austin Clark is a memoir focused on traditional Barbados food. The Star Side of Bird Hill is a coming-of-age novel about two sisters who move from Brooklyn to Barbados. So many good choices!

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Responses

  1. I’m loving hearing about the books you find, I’m going to have to look into Baba Yaga. If you ever want someone to join you at book/author events, let me know!!

    • Ooh, I will definitely take you up on that!


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