For 2018, rather than select my own challenges, 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:
1. 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.
2. Books must actually take place within the country.
3. 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.
4. 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).
5. 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.
1. England: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry *** (review)
2. Scotland: The Weatherhouse by Nan Shepherd ** (review)
3. Wales: Dew on the Grass by Eiluned Lewis **** (review)
4. Ireland: The Lost Land by Eavan Boland ****
5. France: Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart *****
6. Spain: The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu ** (review)
7. Portugal: 35 Sonnets by Fernando Pessoa ***
8. Belgium: Resistance by Anita Shreve ***
9. Netherlands: Why the Dutch are Different by Ben Coates **