reading my way through every country in the world…

Challenge Rules

Number of countries

I will be reading one book per each country in the world As there is no definitive list of the number of countries in the world, I have chosen to follow the Lonely Planet’s The Travel Book list of 230 countries. Some of the places on the list are not “officially” recognised as countries e.g. Antarctica, England, Palestine etc. Where that is the case, I will acknowledge this in the post.

Choice of country

I will be choosing each country visited by simply opening Lonely Planet’s The Travel Book at any random page and the country on that page will be the next one I read about. If I have already read a book set in that country for this challenge then I will simply open the book again until I reach a country I haven’t yet read about.

Choice of book

  1. I will be reading works of fiction, non-fiction, memoirs and poetry as I am very interested in seeing the extent to which different literary forms reflect on and educate about their country of setting. There will be no particular order or quota for each of these literary forms. The only exception is that despite the fact that I love a good Bill Bryson or Peter Mayle as the next person, I won’t be reading any travelogues as that is just too easy!
  2. The majority of the book’s plot has to take place in the particular country being “visited”.
  3. It will be preferable that the book’s author also comes from the particular country but this is not essential.

Blog entries for each book read/country visited

My entry for each country visited will have the following layout:

1. Chosen Book

Title, author, publisher, date of publication; any major literary prizes it has won.

2. Ratings

I will provide a rating (out of five) of the book’s general readability and of its armchair travel value.

3. Review

A detailed critical review of the book particularly focusing on the extent to which it offers some insight into the country in which it is set. Within this review, I will follow up and research one or two interesting cultural aspects in each book e.g. a particular custom, practice, cuisine, tradition, real life place visited or person mentioned or language quirk.

5. Itinerary

A brief list of the important places visited within the book e.g. cities etc. will be provided when relevant or useful.

6. Glossary

As I often find myself hunting down obscure African words or French phrases when I am reading and then marking them in the book, when this occurs I will also provide a glossary of foreign words and phrases.

7. More on ….(country)

I will briefly identify the country’s capital, size, currency, population, language and primary religions and provide a small map.

8. Delay your stay…

I will also provide lists of  other fiction and non-fiction books set in the specific country for further or alternative reading. These will be updated as I come across other examples.

A celebration of world literature

This blog will not only be a record of my challenge, however, but a celebration of world literature in general and in between postings about the various books I will be reading I will be writing about topics concerning world lit in general.

4 Responses to “Challenge Rules”

  1. michelle Lee says:

    how awesome alex. Its such a great idea. I can’t wait to see what you end up reading/travelling :)

    good stuff :) xx

  2. Alex says:

    Thanks Mich! Brilliant to have you on board, look forward to sharing further discussions about the books/places!xx

  3. Catherine says:

    Just found you via Dead White Guys Lit, and I thought I’d tell you that I think this is one of the coolest blog ideas I’ve seen in a while. I wish I’d thought of it! Can’t wait to see where you go!

  4. Alex says:

    Thanks very much Catherine! I am certainly enjoying myself and learning so much about the countries I am visiting through the books which was definitely one of the main reasons I wanted to do this. Just checked out your blog and I have to reciprocate the praise for a fab idea – I can’t wait to see which mags you choose to follow as I am a bit of a mag tragic myself…maybe I should send you one from Australia for something a bit different! As you can see my next post will be about Palestine and I have just finished reading the most amazing book. Can;t wait to tell all! Looking forward to further chats…

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