As a reminder, I am aiming to read a book from or set in each country the Department of State recognizes, which is 195 countries!
I'm still trucking on this challenge and it is now very safe to say that since we're in 2020, this challenge is going to extend into 2020. The beauty about these reading challenges is that because it's something I chose to do on my own, it's okay if it takes longer than a year. I am still really enjoying this challenge and it has definitely opened my eyes in a few ways:
- Oh, man, do we have a long way to go when it comes to diverse books. It has been so difficult to find books set in certain countries as anything in English translation seems to be hyper-focused in certain areas of the world (U.S. or Europe).
- It has made me mad that I don't know more languages! I can't tell you how many times I've read a synopsis of a book that seems super promising only to realize that the book hasn't been published in English, the only language that I can read well. I can understand Spanish but a whole book would be quite the slog.
- I'm not sure if I'm going to explain this well but I had an ugly realization about myself that I was getting frustrated by the amount of stories I was finding that were set in a certain country but about people from somewhere else. It forced me to take a step back and really think about what I was trying to accomplish with this challenge in the first place, which is simply to understand the world we live in just a little better and reading stories set in some place where the characters are not from is definitely a part of understanding the world a bit better. See, this is the thing I love about books: they can force you to examine your own perspective and biases in surprising ways - so good!
I read books from this many countries in December:
I have read 134 books for this challenge so far.