It isn't that Reading the World is an uninteresting book; it is simply not at all what I was expecting. I would go as far to say that it is more involved with the translation and publishing processes, than with reading the end results. I did read Reading the World through to its conclusion, but did not find it a very engaging book. All in all, the ideas which went toward the book were far better than its execution, which seems a great shame. I have, perhaps fittingly, left my copy in one of those sweet little free libraries in France.
Jan 09, Shelleyrae at Book'd Out rated it liked it Shelves: In Ann Morgan, a freelance writer, editor and blogger, set herself the goal of reading one book from every country in the world, sharing her reviews through her blog, AYearofReadingtheWorld. The World Between Two Covers is in small part the story of her reading adventures, but is more fully an academic examination of the challenges she faced in sourcing world literature. Her first task was to determine exactly what defines a country, apparently there is some dispute, though she eventua In Ann Morgan, a freelance writer, editor and blogger, set herself the goal of reading one book from every country in the world, sharing her reviews through her blog, AYearofReadingtheWorld.
Her first task was to determine exactly what defines a country, apparently there is some dispute, though she eventually settled on a list of The World Between Two Covers examines these issues both within a global context, and within the framework of Morgan's personal challenge. We can only fail. So we have a choice: This book has inspired me to dig a little deeper than I have previously in selecting books for the challenge.
Jun 13, Tripfiction rated it really liked it. What a task that turned out to be! As her researches got underway in , the remit gradually became expansive, and at times unwieldy, with many futile and frustrating dead ends. Even the basic premise of identifying the countries that she was going to feature was far from simple: But what of Taiwan making it , or indeed Palestine or Kosovo and what of Kurdistan? Creating the definitive country list was no simple matter.
Indeed, would she use the yardstick defined by UN recognition or was it to be something different? The very first book that was flagged for the author was Cloudstreet by Tim Winton set in Perth, Australia , which features is a really excellent choice. But that was only the start of her biblioglobic adventure the word bibliogobe exists according to the author, the adjective I made up! This is a scholarly exploration of the publishing industry, geography and what is meant by indigineity. It often meanders into philosophical musings on the plight of authors, and specifically the huge hurdles encountered by non Anglophone writers.
If English is not your first language, how do you get your books out there amongst the reading public? Translated works, she cites, according to a survey by Literature Across Frontiers, amounted to 4. That is a minuscule proportion of the published oeuvre.
How did she come to set herself this challenge, you may wonder? Ayatollah Khomeini imposed a Fatwa on Salman Rushdie and when Ann eventually found a copy of The Satanic Verses at the tender age of 11, she avidly sat down to read it; but discovered she was way in over her head. It nevertheless sowed a seed for championing the written word, which she goes on to explore in this book.
Freedom to write and be published is integral to her core thinking and belief. The obstacles to finding the definitive reading list were legion. She cites China as clamping down on free expression, thus limiting the books available to her. Finding something suitable for North Korea, where censorship is, of course, fundamental to the preservation of the regime, was a journey in itself. Or finding herself confronted with the intricacies of the Ghorkaland question a proposed state in India in the Darjeeling Hills — another facet of Weltpolitik to consider….
She also addresses the issue of translation and the incredible task of the translator to capture and then convey any given text with a deftness that comes only with experience. Overall, credits to translators are few and far between, which is a real oversight we interviewed three top translators in a previous blogpost and you can access their stories here.
Ploughing through odd books is a mammoth task, and not only did she focus on her own task but she digresses into what it means to be self published, the vagaries of the publishing industry and the phenomenon that is the internet today and what effect that has across the book board.
Jan 05, Biblio Files takingadayoff rated it it was amazing. Blogger Ann Morgan spent a year reading books from nearly every nation, plus one books in all. This is the story of why she did it, how she accomplished it, and many questions and thoughts that arose in the course of the project. I was surprised that the book was not very much about the individual books she read, but that was fine with me, since I was more interested in the logistics How did she find get books from North Korea?
How did she decide what constitutes a country?
‘Thought Provoking Spaces’ in Far-Flung Gardens
What was the q Blogger Ann Morgan spent a year reading books from nearly every nation, plus one books in all. What was the quality of the translation into English? If you want to know about the books as she read them, they're still on her blog. But the book cover and marketing led me to believe that this would be more about the books themselves, so I'm not surprised that some readers are disappointed. It's a monumental undertaking to try to cram into a single year. Just reading the books would have taken longer than that, I would have thought, and the time it took to find possible candidates, track them down and acquire them was another full time job.
Add to that the regular blog posts and responses to interested followers, and it's quite an impressive accomplishment. Morgan is a thinking reader and she examines such topics as censorship, the influence of English on the rest of the world, the internet's effect on focused reading, the nature of translation and the responsibilities of translators.
She also talks about libraries, bookshops, her bookshelves, and reading on the subway. She even talks about the books themselves from time to time, but I suspect that out of any collection of two hundred books, only about a quarter to a third of them will be worthwhile and that there will be quite a few stinkers in the batch. Morgan doesn't suggest anything like this though, so don't go looking for caustic reviews in The World Between Two Covers.
She sticks to the positive aspects and to the larger issues that they suggest. I've been enjoying this recent boom of books about reading. This is Morgan's first book and I'm looking forward to more from her. It was about a year ago, when I was led to a site where I discovered a lady who was reading a book from every country.
It was her reading project for the year and I was most intrigued by the concept. I then knew that I had to read the book of how it all began when it came out. It is obviously not as simple as this. There is more to the entire process and revelation which this b It was about a year ago, when I was led to a site where I discovered a lady who was reading a book from every country. There is more to the entire process and revelation which this book is all about.
I am a big fan of books about books and that also blends in cultures of various places, which Morgan manages to do beautifully in this book. I agree that initially I did have a problem getting into it, given the tone and structure, but once you do, it is an effortless read at least for some I am sure.
If you are expecting reviews of every book she read, then you should check out her site, ayearofreadingtheworld. Books about books and the experience of reading just goes to show that there is so much hope for the world. I say that because I genuinely believe in the redemptive power of books and each book that Morgan picked up led her to questioning, working it all over again and reading books which she otherwise would not have.
I urge all book lovers to get hold of this one and read it. It will make you more mindful of the literature that exists in the world, which is not ridden only by American or British literature, but a whole lot more. I must confess it took me a while to get into this book and appreciate its premise. I mistakenly thought Ann Morgan was going to be directly commenting on or reviewing the books she had read in her international challenge. This she has done but on her blog page.
Here she reflects more on the process and the politico-sociological challenges raised and challenges her readers to move away from white Eurocentric or America- centric viewpoints and seek out authentic world voices. Morgan has been on I must confess it took me a while to get into this book and appreciate its premise. Morgan has been on an amazing journey and doubtless enabled some unknown authors to find new readership that can only be good for them and their country.
A handful of the books she encountered she found to be disturbing because of the extreme prejudice they promoted but overall it seems like most voices were inspirational. The book certainly inspired me to broaden my reading. I consider myself to read pretty widely and certainly have a number of favourite international authors but Ann's achievement is pretty impressive.
Of the odd books Morgan listed at the end I was pleased to find I had actually already read 4, or 5 if I count vol 1 of the Arabian Nights! I am mostly an armchair traveller but Morgan's study also touches on research that is able to offer some sort of proof that reading itself, so long as one takes in a varied diet, is one of the most effective ways to literally broaden the mind and break down prejudice. Oct 07, Lisa marked it as unable-to-finish. I'm not sure who the audience for this book is - but probably not readers like me who like reading memoirs about books.
It is more of a Ph. D thesis on the world of reading and seems to largely exclude her personal experience with particular books. There is a nice list of books she has read from around the world at the end - but it isn't even annotated. Just a list of titles and authors. View all 3 comments. Jul 27, Judy rated it really liked it Shelves: I have an essay I wrote about it that lives on my profile page. I have had different reading plans in my life of reading so when I heard about Ann Morgan's project to read a book from every country of the world in one year, I had to find out more.
The blow by blow accounts of her project can be found on her blog: A Year of Reading the World at http: The World Between Two Covers is a collection of essays about the entire experience in which she relates her reasons for the project, the difficulties she encountered, all kinds of cool nerdy info on translated literature, and the changes she went through due to her reading. She includes a list of what she read and that has now become yet another reading plan for me. Feb 24, Roxanne rated it really liked it Shelves: I loved this project when I first heard about it: Ann Morgan set out to read a book from every country in the world within one year.
Her blog chronicles lessons from these books and I really enjoyed the premise and process of the project.
The book itself is less about those books that she read and more about the process of such a project and the various considerations around it. Fellow dorky book lovers will enjoy this. Apr 22, Rowan rated it it was amazing Shelves: I've been working on a books of the world project myself albeit at an excruciatingly slow pace and really enjoyed this. I think the low ratings come from readers who expected a rundown of the books she read - which is already available on her blog and would just be repetitive.
Instead, she ties the books she read together through chapters that explore, among other things, biases in translation, the challenge of finding books in countries with oral traditions, and why reading novels 4. Instead, she ties the books she read together through chapters that explore, among other things, biases in translation, the challenge of finding books in countries with oral traditions, and why reading novels makes people more empathetic. The academic style occasionally reads a bit awkwardly, like a college thesis, but the content is important.
I know what I'll be reading in October. Sep 20, Jennifer rated it really liked it Shelves: Instead, while the books she read do make cameo appearances throughout the text as well as being listed in an appendix, Morgan offers us something a great deal more interesting than simple regurgitation, telling us the story around the stories and the surprising logistical how does one get books from North Korea?
Jun 29, Michelle rated it really liked it Shelves: When I first picked up this book I was excited about the concept of reading texts from all across the world. I could already envision myself with sails cast traveling figuratively to unknown lands. I expected When I first picked up this book I was excited about the concept of reading texts from all across the world. I supposed it might be a foray into ethnic studies reminiscent of my cultural anthropology classes in college. Ah but alas — One should never judge a book by its cover.
What a found between these two covers pun intended was a thorough research endeavor in which Morgan painstakingly sought out, found, and was gifted texts from around the world. Indeed some texts had not yet been translated into English and others not even published. Over the course of 12 chapters she outlines why we are not as globally minded as we might think we are and the obstacles that stand in the way of authors and readers alike trying to connect across cultures.
Feb 04, Emilie rated it did not like it. It was nice to publish the list of all the books read during the year; Although almost nothing had to do with her quest to read around the world, at least the text was well researched, and; Some aspects were indeed interesting, even though it was not what I read the book for. It became apparent throughout the book that maybe reading books from every country in the world in one year was not doable. Sure, she did it, but what did she actually accomplish doing it? If she had any time to reflect on her decisions with the book and the nations she choose it did not come across AT ALL.
How can you begin a project like this and believe you can do it completely without involving politics — using the UN as a reference to recognized countries? And not including Palestine and almost not doing it because well the countries have already been decided and then switching it with Kosovo because that is less of an independent nation than Palestine if you think about it…? Instead just extend the project and read both! Or even pause and ask yourself what other regions to include.
But seriously, that it took until someone mention Palestine for her to realized this is political?
The time limit of the project. There was no mention on how this will change the way she reads in the future; will she continue finding books from other countries or go back to British and American white authors? Will she start reading them? Plus, this is a complex task because it is subject to a lot of interpretation, why not take your time instead of rushing through it?
For a novel trying to be inclusive, it felt really exclusive and ignorant. Take for instance WeNeedDiverseBooks who try to get more diverse voices published and in to the actual industry. There was also a lack of gender analysis that includes more than two genders of course! Choosing examples of homomisia when talking about culture shocks. Oh, and how classist, egocentric, and ignorant is this: Not the cultured ones, surely?
First, comparing book translators to war translators gave such a poor taste in my mouth. I was so close to giving up the book here. There will most likely be a discussion somewhere about the translation. Plus, there are more people than the translator who knows both languages. Accessibility was never once mentioned when it comes to translation. Finally, surveying the road ahead, sorry but if there was any chance for the book to redeem itself the last chapter totally blew it. Talking about the internet as this thing storing information? Internet is made for so many accessible things!
Such a weak ending. Dec 05, Melissa rated it it was amazing Shelves: Y'all are going to get really tired of me talking about this book between now and May, when it comes out in the US. A very well-written examination of why the Anglophone specifically UK, and US by extension reading population and publishing arm reads little world literature, particularly in translation, and the roadblocks one encounters when trying to find and read literature and, by extension, purchase legally by authors from, say, Burkina Faso or Nepal or Kuwait or Monaco or Lichtenstein.
A huge list of books to read can be derived from Ann's work both in the actual books she read in and the books she references in mulling over her experience. Which they merrily sent out to me because galleys had just become available. So many thanks to Liveright for the galley Jun 10, Jennifer rated it really liked it. Morgan could have recapped her blog or expanded her comments on the year of reading but she has done a great deal of thinking and research to write this insightful and unique book. She explores bigger issues of nationality, identity, translation, globalization and others through the lens of her reading experience.
It would have been so easy for her to tick through her list and write a book that patted herself on the back for her effort but that would have been somewhat circular and done no more Morgan could have recapped her blog or expanded her comments on the year of reading but she has done a great deal of thinking and research to write this insightful and unique book. It would have been so easy for her to tick through her list and write a book that patted herself on the back for her effort but that would have been somewhat circular and done no more than inspire others to do more list checking.
She does so much more here. This is one of the few books I remember about the experience of reading and what drives us to read.
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I was impressed by how much work she put into writing and researching this book; she has done so much more than read some books. Jun 13, Deb Readerbuzz Nance rated it liked it Shelves: Ann Morgan explores all the philosophical reasons behind why she decided to read a book from each country of the world And the books she chose and read was pretty much confined to a list of twenty pages in the back. I came to this book having been familiar with the blog which inspired it.
I will be honest and say that I was expecting a different book entirely, one that might talk about the books in more detail. Instead this was a more analytical look at world literature and the future of the printed word in a modern globalisation world.
Author details | Scottish Book Trust
Very interesting, but not what I was looking for. This is not a book about the books the author read in the year -it's about the trials and tribulations of finding books in translation. We do not want to read books which are only Western in style. It is about expanding one's cultural reading - something I aim to do over the next year. Mar 06, Laura marked it as never-finished. Though I think the premise of the book is excellent, I couldn't force myself to find it readable.
It isn't poorly written, but it was more academic than I was in the mood to read. Mar 02, Dawn rated it really liked it Shelves: What a truly interesting book. Published as, "A Year of Reading the World," in the UK, Ann Morgan writes a compelling treatise that begins when she realizes how ethnocentric and genre specific her reading had become.
It is quite by chance that Morgan discovers herself to be a "literary x What a truly interesting book. It is quite by chance that Morgan discovers herself to be a "literary xenophobe," content with a steady diet of western European novels. Woolf - I've read them all. But, sometimes I find myself getting bored with the literary fare on the best seller lists. The titles all sound the same and the book covers certainly look like each other. I know I am being mined and pigeon-holed by Amazon, and I don't like that either. When I'm feeling like this, I often end up reading some off-beat thing found at the second-hand book store, or referenced in something I read somewhere and that I have to order on line.
Or I will read books that give me access to neighborhoods, people or ideas that are really going to shake things up, like Nathan McCall, whose "Makes Me Wanna to Holler" made this reader wanna holler. McCalls' story is one disturbing read that I shan't ever forget but is the basis of my interest in race and culture in America.
There were reviews critical because the reviewer thought the book should be about the books Morgan read. I started off in this spot too. And I spent the first chapter or two wondering when she would get to the point. By chapter 3, I began peeking ahead at the succeeding chapter titles to get a hint, and then finally realized that this book isn't about the books she read the list is at the back of the book in case you want to skip ahead so much as it's about the journey she took while reading the books, the decisions she had to make to get started, the way she navigated the journey, and lots of other interesting things that she came to understand along the way.
Once I got on board with this, I really began to enjoy myself. Morgan ponders why we read what we read. It's sort of like that very British attitude that was commonplace in the 20th century - everyone's a foreigner, except the British. The British packed teabags, the English language, and rose bushes to make little Englands all over the globe. I am reminded of Jill Ker Conway who describes in her book, The Road from Coorain, how her mother lovingly tended to an English rose garden in the scorching hot Australian Outback and that "home" was England, not Australia.
Morgan suggests that Imperialism is now an economic Imperialism and is the reason why so much of what is published is in English. He filmed his adventures for a popular BBC television series, called Zoo Quest , which ran from to , and from the second series onwards, he wrote a book to accompany each expedition. An excerpt from Zoo Quest in Paraguay , offering a lighthearted look at airfreighting armadillos out of South America, opens a new book called Beastly Journeys: Subsequent writings span about years, from Robert Louis Stevenson and his donkey in southern France, to ultramarathon runner Dion Leonard and Gobi, the feisty stray dog who became his running mate in the Gobi Desert the pair now live in Scotland.
Other companion creatures include llamas, cats, elephants, parrots and tear-jerking YouTube sensation Christian the Harrods-bought lion. Beastly Journeys can be previewed and bought at Amazon. A Boeing service via Tokyo was started in October , and non-stop flights began in About a decade ago, Northwest Airlines merged with Delta, which has been operating non-stop flights between Hong Kong and Seattle since , although that service will end in early October, leaving the Emerald City disconnected from Hong Kong for about six months. Best-known for upmarket voyages around Southeast Asia, the company plans to extend its reach upriver as far as Varanasi, and along the Brahmaputra, next year, and out to sea towards the Andaman Islands in Detailed itineraries for the India cruises can be found at www.
This package includes flights with Cathay Pacific, and will be available until March. For full details and reservations, visit www. Topic Travel news and advice.
David Attenborough at