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Old 10-10-2013, 12:59 PM   #46
Yapyap
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I suspect people in the majority of countries that Westerners & others tend to refer to as "Eastern Europe" really, really don't like to be referred to as such. It's very much a political term, and one that - even if the speaker doesn't mean it like that - carries certain undertones, which many of us don't like to be reminded of and don't appreciate.

Geographically, the only "Eastern European" country, really, is Russia - everything else that tends to be lumped into "Eastern Europe" is geographically Northern, Central or Southern/South-Eastern Europe. (I think the actual geographic centre of Europe might actually be somewhere in Lithuania - either there or Belarus/Poland.)

And the cultural and historical differences between the countries of "Eastern Europe" are vast - much more so than the differences between Northern European countries, or Southern European countries, or Central European countries. So this adds an extra layer of complexity to lumping together all the countries who were unfortunate enough to be either occupied by the Soviet Union or behind the Iron Curtain in general.

It's not the people of "Eastern Europe" who usually get a say about how various areas of Europe is talked about, though...

Anyway, this is getting rather off-topic, but I do wish you luck in your virtual journey around the world! It sounds like a great idea, and one I might consider some day in the future - for now I'm too set in what kind of books I want to read.
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Old 10-10-2013, 01:35 PM   #47
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Sounds like you should make sure Alice Munro is on your list for Canada if she isn't already. It sounds like she normally writes short stories, so it wouldn't even need to be a long detour/delay, just a quick rest stop or something.
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:08 PM   #48
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What a great thread, HomeInMyShoes! Yapyap's posts have been particularly enlightening. You both have inspired my 2014 challenge that I am only beginning to work out. I want to read a book from each European country along with making a study of each country. This year I've read many books from Scandinavian countries and several Irish books. I've read all but one of Karin Fossum's books. Purge by Sofi Oksanen takes place mostly in Estonia, a book that I especially valued.

I've read probably as many English books as American in my life, but it is time to expand. Without an ereader and MR, my reading life would have remained limited.

Edit: My seven grandchildren and great-granddaughter are all readers and I often recommend books to them and buy any that they want to read. Individuals can have influence in increasing awareness within our own sphere.

Last edited by BelleZora; 10-10-2013 at 04:49 PM. Reason: added last paragraph
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Old 10-10-2013, 05:46 PM   #49
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I totally don't mean anything by categorizing nations. I'm using the arbitrary regions from a couple of sources to verify that I'm at least sort of covering a reasonable diversity of the globe knowing full well that the only reasonable option would be to read a book from every country that at least has something translated into English. I don't read fast enough to get through the 170+ titles that would probably be. So almost 2/3 countries are getting axed which is sad, but necessary for a yearly challenge for me. So far, I'm coming up blank for Western Africa. It all seems to be in French and not translated.

I've never read Munro. I've looked at titles by her before, but I'm leaning towards Thomson Highway (Rez Sisters) or John Steffler (the Grey Islands) for Canada.
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:44 AM   #50
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Have you come across this Goodreads group?
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show...ld-in-52-books

It seems to have quite a few threads with various book suggestions from different countries. Might be helpful for places where you get stuck?
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:59 AM   #51
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Thanks, Yapyap. I just joined that group.
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Old 10-11-2013, 10:07 AM   #52
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Thanks for the link Yapyap. I found the master reading lists Master Lists for countries. That will definitely be a nice cheat sheet for difficult countries. I'm trying not to specifically look for other lists and having my search be more serendipitous for the most part now. I did find this blog while looking for authors from Lichtenstein. I've only referred to it a couple of times in my search now and found things I had already found.

Another great resource I found was Fantastic Fiction Countries which has lists of authors. The nice one about that one is almost all of the authors are translated meaning very few dead ends when looking.

Oddly enough I'm now at 52 countries with six left to fill in and it would actually cover all of wikipedia's and the UN regions outside of the nesias. I need titles for six countries and I've also got a couple of few troublesome ones for availability. Thankfully I'm not trying this pre-internet days.

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Old 10-13-2013, 05:53 AM   #53
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Out of curiosity, just had a quick scan through the "master list" you linked to and I seems that it's books about the countries rather than necessarily by authors of said countries - for example Swallows of Kabul, listed under Afghanistan, was written by Yasmina Khadra (real name: Mohammed Moulessehoul) who's Algerian - and listed as such for What the Day Owes the Night.

I seem to have skipped a shelf when I went through my books! so also missed Tan Twan Eng for Malaysia.

Which countries are your still missing?

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Old 10-13-2013, 10:52 AM   #54
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How about Ben Okri for Western Africa?
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:42 AM   #55
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@ HIMS: I've already noticed that translations from Polish into whatever language aren't plenty, even among classics already being in the PD.
If you ever read something by Joseph Conrad it counts towards Polish, although he wrote in English himself.

@ caleb:

re Aussie authors: have you read Trudi Canavans stuff?
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Old 10-15-2013, 12:12 PM   #56
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Thanks for the tip Freeshadow. Conrad is the one Polish author I've read something by.

I've only read seven Australian books, I will put Trudi in the potential list when researching what I want to read, although Bookpossum did give us a spectacular list to choose from already so I think I'm set for Australia with little work needed.

Thanks for the recommendation of Ben Okri. If I make it to Nigeria it's a definite option. Right now, I haven't gotten too far into Africa. Nigeria could be a way in and across, but I'd need to alter my route quite a bit. My travel restrictions are definitely making this more difficult, but I like a challenge.

And to answer what I am missing:
Mexico. I want to read Where the Air is Clear by Carlos Fuentes, but my library doesn't have it.
Cuba.
Belize. Zee Edgell's Beka Lamb is what I want to read, but it's unavailable from my library. I think I'm willing to buy this one.
Guatemala. The Beggar's Knife by Rodrigo Rey Rosa looks to be another I would have to purchase.
Bolivia. I'm struggling with this one and I might drop the country. I was thinking of Edmundo Paz Soldan perhaps.
Venezuela. Romula Gallegos doesn't appear to be available at my library.
Vietnam. The only one I've found interesting me so far is someone who only lived in Vietnam nutil they were ten and now they live in the US. That said, Lihn Dihn's books look very interesting.
Uzbekistan. I really want to read The Railway by Hamid Ismailov, but it's going to have to be a purchase.
Bulgaria. I saw Natural Novel by Georgi Gospodonov and thought I just had to read it to add to the pile of metafiction.
Senegal. Sembene Ousmane's God's Bits of Wood looks like a good choice, but would need to be a purchase.
Lithuania.
Norway. There's just too much crime fiction to sift through and I've already read My Life as A Dog. I suppose I could read an Ibsen play.
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Old 10-15-2013, 12:53 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freeshadow View Post
@ caleb:

re Aussie authors: have you read Trudi Canavans stuff?
No I haven't - although to be honest, I don't think the books are going to grab me. There are some other Australian writers I'd probably put higher on the list.

Actually, I've had a book on my shelves that I promised myself I'd read this year and I - um - well - haven't.

The Fall of Ossard by Colin Taber.

Maybe I'll still find time this year to slip it into my reading schedule.
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Old 10-15-2013, 04:14 PM   #58
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I found Lithuania. Available in an e-book!
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:06 PM   #59
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For Cuba, how about Havana Blue by Leonardo Padura? It's a police procedural that gives a good feel for contemporary life in Cuba.

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Old 10-15-2013, 05:42 PM   #60
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Thanks for the Havana Blue suggestion, Issybird. This is the last day of Kobo's BookRiot50 coupon so I picked it up for $5.05. Can't pass up a police procedural in an interesting location.
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