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The Well-Seasoned Reader Challenge

December 19, 2008

wellseasonedreaderHosted by Melissa, for this challenge I’ll read three books in three months. The rules are straightforward, and I really like the inspiration:

The purpose, this winter, is to take yourself someplace out of the ordinary, to go on a literary trip, whether that be challenging your expectations, discovering a new place, or enjoying the experience of reading about good food, places, and people.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to spend the whole challenge in Burma (now Myanmar), a country I’m not likely to visit any time soon (murderous juntas not being known for their hospitality).

I shall be reading:
From the Land of Green Ghosts by Pascal Khoo Thwe, his memoir of growing up in Burma. This one represents an author who is a different ethnicity than me.

Burmese Days by George Orwell, a novel about an English timber merchant set in 1930, when Burma was still part of the British Empire. This one represents a place name in the title.

Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin, a modern account of the state by an American journalist fluent in Burmese. This one is a travelogue!

Finally, since there were also a couple food categories that I didn’t include in my book choices, I’ve decided to go ahead and make a Burmese meal (based on recipes I’ve found on the internet).

It’ll include Thanatsone (Mixed Vegetable Salad, a vegetarian curry based on the recipe for Ametha Net Shwephayone Thee Hin (Beef and Pumpkin Curry), and Ohn Htamin (Coconut Rice).

So I’m looking forward to getting to know Burma better, both past and present, from both outsider and insider perspectives.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. December 19, 2008 9:56 am

    It sounds cool, but my reading list is already set for the next 10 years.

    A fun choice might be Mars, although the food and people might not be so great. How about Heaven? Or, even better, how about Schenectady?

    Happy Holidays!

  2. December 19, 2008 12:43 pm

    I did one of my projects this semester on George Orwell — we talked about Burmese Days a bit, but never read it. I’ll be curious to see your comparison of the books!

  3. December 19, 2008 2:55 pm

    This sounds like a neat challenge. And what a great idea to cook a corresponding meal. Good luck – Happy Reading and Eating!

  4. December 19, 2008 6:22 pm

    This sounds fun. If it involves eating, you have my interest!

  5. December 19, 2008 10:25 pm

    Chartroose, lol: I think of reading lists as aspirational more than anything! :) Love your travel suggestions.

    Kim, very neat…I love Orwell’s essays and was impressed by 1984 (we read it for a class on the Sociology of War for the section on totalitarian governments…and the professor who assigned it was from Russia and grew up in the USSR), so I’m excited to try out some more of him!

    Charley, I thought it was a great idea too!

    Ted, lol-we’ll see how the cooking goes. :D

  6. December 21, 2008 9:22 am

    I’m doing this one, too, and I’m really excited! I can’t wait to see the recipes everyone uses. :)

  7. December 21, 2008 1:54 pm

    Jessi, yay for fellow challengees! :D I can’t wait to see all the different recipes either.

  8. December 21, 2008 3:08 pm

    Eva, that sounds absolutely wonderful. I like your reading choices, and the idea of cooking along with is fabulous. Looking forward to your blog posts about both! :)


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