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Reading Across Borders Challenge Wrap-Up

May 13, 2007

The Reading Across Borders Challenge was designed by Kate at Kate’s Book Blog, but it was unhosted. The idea was to choose books from countries you don’t usually read from, and preferably books that had been translated. I completed ten books for the challenge, but there were some substitutions:
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie(Nigeria) for No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe (same country)
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami(Japan) for Kafka on the Shore (same author)
Naomi by Junichiro Tanizaki(Japan) for Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz (library lost latter)

The others I completed as planned…
Waiting by Ha Jin(China)
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez(Colombia)
Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz(Egypt)
The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk(Turkey)
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert(France)
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro(Japan)
House of Spirits by Isabel Allende (I never reviewed it, even though I enjoyed it)

The best book: A tie between The Remains of the Day and Palace Walk. Remains was just stunning. Palace Walk really brought me in to a completely different culture and worldview, which was awesome.
What book could I have done without? Waiting by Ha Jin; you can see my review for why.
Any new authors? Tons! Ishiguro, Jin, Pamuk, Tanizaki, Adichie, and Murakami.
Books I did not finish: none, although it was a very close call with The Black Book.
What did I learn from this challenge? That I really love international literature, and that I should make more of an effort to seek it out. I learned about Nigeria’s civil war, which I didn’t know about at all, as well as more insight into Nasser-era Egypt.

(Note: thanks to Nyssaneala for the questions!)

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