I set myself rather a lot of reading challenges to meet during 2017 – Reading the World, where I showcase a novel in translation each Saturday; a Reading France project; a Reading Scotland project; several named authors to slot in; and reads for two book clubs, as well as books for studying. This was, I admit, rather ambitious of me, as I am currently studying full-time. Regardless, I think I did rather well with the challenges, although I did not quite finish them all. This was, in part, due to time constraints, as well as not being able to find specific books easily. Putting myself on a couple of book buying bans throughout the year also didn’t help with my acquisitions, despite my rather large library network’s catalogue.
For 2018 then, I thought I would do something a little different. I have been a member of the Around the World in 80 Books group on Goodreads for years, with both my original and second accounts on the website. Oddly, I have never joined in with the challenges on there before. Whilst I’ll probably still be a silent member of the group, I want to take part in their original 80 Books challenge. The rules are as follows:
The object of this challenge is to read books that take place in 80 different countries of the world, of your choosing, starting with your home country. During your journey you would have to visit countries within the following 8 regions: North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania/Australia. You are welcome to visit Antarctica during your travels, but this is not required since there are few books from here.
Books must actually take place within the country.
Some books contain more than one location. It is not required that the entire book take place exclusively in that one country. However, a significant portion of the book must be set in the country to get credit. Also, in the case where a book takes place in more than one location, the reader may only take credit for one country.
There are close to 200 recognized countries in the world. However, for the sake of the challenge, you will not be held to using only independent nations. It is perfectly acceptable to using territories, constituent countries, islands, and independent states (not US states).
Re-reads are perfectly acceptable, as are audio books. Books may be in any language.
There are two different ‘modes’ of travel for the reader within this challenge. The first is the ‘Trekker’, where one has to use transport and routes available to Jules Verne; the second is the Frequent Flier, in which you are allowed to travel around the world via any routes you like. Whilst the Trekker sounds like a fascinating way of going about it, I’m after a bit of an easier challenge, so I have plumped for the second. It will allow me to sneak books into my challenge as I come across them.
I am going to try and read as widely as is possible whilst taking on this challenge, and will plump for non-fiction and fiction works, as well as books in translation as often as I can. I am thinking of extending my ‘Reading the World’ posts of this year, but not focusing solely upon translated literature; rather, I will focus upon those books which I am reading, set in different countries and territories. I will also be selecting books set within countries which I am travelling to during 2018 as much as is possible.
What do you think? Have you ever taken part in this challenge, or one like it? Are there any books which you would like to recommend? Which countries are you a keen armchair traveller to?