Thursday, December 31, 2009

21 Cultures Challenge

Dates: January 1st through December 31st of 2009

Host: Lost in Books

For Details: Click here.

The Challenge (put simply): Read 21 books about 21 different cultures, modern or traditional. Books can be fictional, but must not be about a fictional culture.

My list of possibles:

*The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost (Tarawa)

*Getting Stoned with Savages by J. Maarten Troost (Fiji and Vanuatu)

*The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma by Thant Myint-U (Burma)

*The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly (Thailand)

*Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang (China)

*Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (China)

*Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino (Japan)

*Legend of Chun Hyang by CLAMP (Korea)

*A Taste of Earth and Other Legends of Vietnam by Thich Nhat Hanh (Vietnam)

*The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan)

*In the Land of Invisible Women by Qanta A. Ahmed, MD (Saudi Arabia)

*The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Iran)

*I’jaam by Sinan Antoon (Iraq)

*A Bottle in the Gaza Sea by Valerie Zenatti (Israel/Gaza)

*The Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt)

*Antipode by Heather E. Heying (Madagascar)

*Blood Diamonds by Greg Campbell (Sierra Leone)

*They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky by Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng, and Benjamin Ajak with Judy A. Bernstein (Sudan)

*House of Stone: The True Story of a Family Divided in War-Torn Zimbabwe by Christina Lamb (Zimbabwe)

*ZenZele by J. Nozipo Maraire (Zimbabwe)

*Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)

*Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (Kenya)

*A Sunday by the Pool in Kigali by Gil Courtemanche (Rwanda)

*King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild (Congo region)

*No More Strangers Now interviews by Tim McKee (South Africa)

*Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Sweden)

*Winterwood by Patrick McCabe (Ireland)

*The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman (England)

*The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (England)

*The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (Germany)

*Fax from Sarajevo by Joe Kubert (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

*The Jaguar Smile by Salman Rushdie (Nicaragua)

*The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (Chile)

*A Nation of Enemies: Chile Under Pinochet by Pamela Constable and Arturo Valenzuela (Chile)

*The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Dominican Republic)

*Tell My Horse by Zora Neale Hurston (Haiti and Jamaica)

*Almost Heaven by Martin Fletcher (rural U.S.)

*The Crucible by Arthur Miller (Puritan New England)

*Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden (Cree of northern Ontario, Canada)

*Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson (Haisla of British Columbia, Canada)

*Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee by Dean Cycon (many indigenous cultures around the world)


Trish said...

Reading your list really makes me want to join this challenge. Still kind of rebelling right now, though. :)

Have you read The Poisonwood Bible? It's longish, but a great fictional account of The Congo from 1950-80 or so told from a preacher's four daughters (they are American). I'd also recommend Half of a Yellow Sun, but I see you have Achebe for Nigeria already (great book).

Yikes--now I'm looking at my shelves to see what would fit. Enabler!! :P

Debi said...

Enable away, Trish!!! Seriously, I'm looking for as many suggestions as I can get! (I like to have lots of options, so I don't feel pressured to read any one particular book...something in me just rebels at that.) Thank you!

Trish said...

I was thinking about you and this challenge during my commute this morning, and if it weren't 21 books I'd join along. Bethany is hosting a similar challenge, so I've been trying to come up with my list for that as well...I've been thinking Cry, The Beloved Country (South Africa) and Suite Francaise (France--WWII). I'll let you know if I think of any others. :P

Have you read House of the Spirits (Chile) by Allende? A little epic-ish, but contains some magical realism.

I'm in a world of trouble...geez!! I love making these darn lists... (Oh, and I was calling YOU an enabler...). :)

Care said...

I’jaam - Sinan Antoon for Iraq! (it's short, too)
The Reader for Germany ?

Rebecca said...

Thanks for joining me in the challenge, Debi! Your list of books is having me scanning Amazon to see what they are about!

I agree with Trish that The Poisonwood Bible is a wonderful book. It is actually one of my favorites. It is mostly about how the family is trying to fit into this culture that seems to be a planet away from what they are accustomed to and how the father is trying to turn the culture into what he can understand. It is also about how, much to their surprise, the Congo changes them more than they change the Congo.

And 21 books may seem overwhelming, but of course you can overlap the books with any other challenges you are on. I am not one to make a challenge into something that is nearly impossible to complete. The point is to make reading as fun as possible, as if we weren't all addicted to it already, right!

I look forward to your reviews. I saw you listed The Kite Runner. I just finished A Thousand Splendid Suns and reviewed it. AMAZING book. :)

Debi said...

Face it...we're ALL enablers! :)
Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm going to have to look into them and see what I can get from my library. I've never heard of a couple of them. I actually almost put Half of a Yellow Sun on my list, but didn't since I'd already ordered Things Fall Apart. Might just add it though. Options are good. And I'll definitely add House of the Spirits whether our library has it or not, because I've really been wanting to read something by her but haven't known where to start.

Oooh, thanks! Never heard of either of I'm very excited! And short is good. :)

No, thank you for hosting such a cool challenge!!! Looks like I'm going to have to add The Poisonwood Bible, huh? Too many votes for it. Not sure why, but that's been a book I've always been afraid to attempt.

Rebecca said...

I think I may add a couple of your books to my own list for the challenge! They sound really interesting.

And The Poisonwood Bible, to me, is worth the attempt. I did not find it hard to read at all. It draws you in.

Rebecca :) said...

I just added Away from You by Melanie Finn for the challenge. I found the book while researching for my Take Me Away post for Haiti. Then I was in a bookstore's "giant book sale" yesterday and found it for $2! Can you believe it? I can't wait to read it.

Rebecca :) said...

Oh, and I picked up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that you recommended to me a while back. I got it on audio from the library. So far I'm a little confused but I am starting to see how the 2 stories will merge (I am on Chapter 2 were Lisbeth's story starts).