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Orbis Terrarum 2009

February 20, 2009

orbis_terrarum_mapI’m very glad that the Orbis Terrarum challenge is back, this time with its own blog! While the premise remains the same-travelling through lit-the rules have changed a little. It runs ten months this year (March-Dec.) and requires readers to choose ten books by ten different authors from ten different countries. Last time, I went east around the world, so in planning my itinerary this time, I decided to go west.

Thus, my first trip will be a long haul to China, where I’ll look at its modern culture via The Noodle Maker by Ma Jian.

Next, I’ll head south to Indonesia, where I’ll learn about the effects of colonialism in Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s This Earth of Mankind, set in the early twentieth century.

Then I’ll head southwest down to New Zealand, where The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera will teach me about Maori culture and beliefs.

Once I’m in New Zealand, I might as well pop over west to Australia withPeter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda , a historical novel about love and religion and the Outback.

Keeping south of the Tropic of Capricorn, I’ll head further west and further in time to WWII South Africa where The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay will look at a British boy’s experiences at an Afrikaner boarding school.

Finally, I’ll be flying way up to Morocco and The Sand Child by Tahar Ben Jelloun, spending time with a girl who’s raised as a boy by a man desperate for a son.

Next, I’ll go east to Palestine via Lebanese author Elias Khoury’s Gate of the Sun, which looks at Palestinian history since Israel’s formation in a 1,001 Nights manner.

Continuing my tour around the Mediterranean, I’ll next go to Italy for the thriller I’m Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti.

Then west to Portugal and Jose Maria Eca de Queiros’ nineteenth-century classic The Maias.

Finally, on my last stop before home, I’ll visit my neighbour to the north via the award-winning Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay.

Whew! It promises to be a fun trip. :) Anyone else planning a world adventure via this challenge?

(There’s also going to be a short story mini-challenge at some point, and I’m eyeing the following collections: Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan (Africa-Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Gabon), Love in a Fallen City by Eileen Chang (China), Tales From Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan (Australia), Miguel Street by V.S. Naipul (Trinidad), and Laughable Loves by Milan Kundera (Czech Republic)).

23 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2009 9:22 am

    Sounds exciting!

  2. February 20, 2009 11:10 am

    how do you do all this?! You astound me!

  3. J.S. Peyton permalink
    February 20, 2009 11:15 am

    This sounds like a really fun challenge! If I wasn’t already committed to more challenges than I could handle I’d get in on this myself. I love armchair traveling! I’m putting this challenge on my 2010 list.

    Your mention of “The Whale Rider” reminded me that I wanted to see the movie a long time ago and never got around to it (it is based on the book, isn’t it?).

    Happy reading!

  4. February 20, 2009 11:27 am

    The Whale Rider film is based on the book, I have that book unread too.
    I’m taking part, I’m going to try and visit a good variety of Continents, trying to see how I can link one book to the next – I may link through a theme, or decade or perhaps if a books character goes from one country to another chose that way to decide. I haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to start yet. But I definately want to start in Europe as I barely ever read books from there.

  5. February 20, 2009 11:29 am

    I’ve decided where to start – that was a quick turn around – I’m going to start in Spain just after the civil war with The Hive by Camilo Jose Cela.

  6. February 20, 2009 12:17 pm

    I’ve joined this challenge as well but am not sure on my first book yet. Possibly The White Tiger which just came in from the library…I’ll have to wait and see :)

  7. February 20, 2009 1:00 pm

    This looks very fun. I need to put my list together. In your post, a few titles are missing.

  8. February 20, 2009 2:20 pm

    What a cool challenge!! I, too, loved the movie version of The Whale Rider–and had no idea it was based on a novel. And I’ve actually read two of the books on your list: Oscar and Lucinda and The Sand Child. I’m really excited to hear/read what you think of them, particularly The Sand Child. Have fun–and enjoy!

  9. February 20, 2009 3:36 pm

    I’m always amazed by how much you read.

  10. February 20, 2009 6:27 pm

    I joined in this challenge last year (it was actually the first challenge I joined after starting my blog) and I loved it. I’m just not sure I have any reading room left for challenges this year – I over stretched myself last year in the challenge department and don’t want to do the same thing again this year! Will love to hear how it all goes though.
    I read Oscar and Lucinda back in my uni days and remember enjoying it then.

  11. February 20, 2009 8:56 pm

    Anyone interested in visiting China via Brothers by Yu Hua might be interested in my weekend giveaway.

    http://nonsuchbook.typepad.com/nonsuch_book/2009/02/reading-in-translation-brothers-giveaway.html

    Thanks for letting me share!

  12. February 20, 2009 9:54 pm

    I decided to join this reading challenge (along with the Caribbean Challenge and have my tentative list up here:

    http://compost-hedgie.blogspot.com/2009/02/orbis-terrarum-challenge-2009.html

  13. February 21, 2009 6:05 am

    Diary of an Eccentric, I’m excited! :)

    Jessica, right now I’m super-sick and often can’t leave the house. Soooo, I don’t have much to do other than read. :/

    J.S. Peyton, yep-the movie is based on the book! I haven’t seen the movie, though.

    Katrina, the linking seems like a fun way to approach it! And your first book sounds interesting. :)

    Samantha, so you’re the spontaneous challenge type! Good for you. :)

    BeastMomma, thanks for pointing that out; for some reason the editing got wonky and moved a couple of them around, lol. I’ve fixed it!

    DS, I’m glad you’ve read a couple of the books and seem to like them!

    Janet, see my comment to Jessica. ;)

    Karen, awesome-I’m excited about Oscar and Lucinda!

    Frances, thanks for the giveaway link. :)

    Hedgie, awesome!

  14. February 21, 2009 9:10 am

    I’ve signed up for this, too, but still unable to work out my itinerary. Yours is awesome. :)

  15. February 21, 2009 10:27 am

    I think I will do this challenge next year. I simply cannot commit to it this year, but it sounds like an awesome challenge. I am interested in a lot of the books you mentioned and I am sure it is going to be a fun and interesting journey you are set out to :)

  16. February 21, 2009 2:02 pm

    Unfortunately I’m taking a pass on the challenge this time. Hope you have fun “traveling the world”! I have Late Nights On Air on my stacks and ready to go for another challenge too – we’ll have to compare notes :)

  17. February 21, 2009 6:41 pm

    Your list looks incredible! What a great idea for a challenge — and ten books is a do-able goal. Have fun!

  18. February 22, 2009 3:14 pm

    Claire, I can’t wait to see yours-I bet it’ll be awesome too!

    Louise, hope you can join in next year! :)

    Iliana, yay! I love reading non-super-popular books that other bloggers are reading too. :)

    Rose City Reader, thanks!

  19. February 23, 2009 4:33 am

    Oh crap…I can just see my wish list growing as you start reviewing all these books! Oooooh, and those look like some wonderful short story collections, too!!!

  20. tuulenhaiven permalink
    February 24, 2009 1:29 pm

    Ooo, this looks amazing. I’m signing up directly. :)

  21. February 24, 2009 9:11 pm

    Debi, lol. That’s ok-we all do it to each other! ;)

    Tuulenhaiven, awesome-can’t wait to see your list!

  22. March 4, 2009 1:16 pm

    Welcome to this year’s challenge :) I am glad you will be reading around with us.

    I just posted a mr. linky where we’ll all add our reviews as we go (a new one each month) that way we can keep up with what everyone is doing.

    Again, welcome!

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