As a follow up to this week’s Musing Mondays, I figured this would be a good time to check on how I’m doing on the reading challenges I adopted for the year. So far, more than so good. I’m actually one book shy of completing all three. Here’s the tally so far:
Notable Books Challenge — read six books from “notable book lists” from a variety of sources.
Books read: This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, Drew Gilpin Faust; The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America, David Hajdu; Dangerous Laughter: Thirteen Stories, Steven Millhauser; A Free Life, Ha Jin; and Breath, Tim Winton
Favorite: Dangerous Laughter.
Lost in Translation Reading Challenge — read six books in translation over the course of the year. (On this one, I kind of “overachieved.”)
Books reviewed: Yalo, Elias Khoury (Arabic); Every Man Dies Alone, Hans Fallada (German); Detective Story, Imre Kertész (Hungarian); The Unit, Ninni Holmqvist (Swedish); and God’s Mercy, Kerstin Ekman (Swedish).
Books read but not reviewed: Amerika: The Missing Person, Franz Kafka (German); The Drinker, Hans Fallada (German); Tranquility, Attila Bartis (Hungarian); and, The Thief and the Dogs, Naguib Mahfouz (Arabic).
Favorite: Every Man Dies Alone.
World Citizen Challenge — read five books about foreign countries from among three of the following categories: politics, economics, history, culture or anthropology/sociology, worldwide issues, and memoirs/autobiographies.
Books read: Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abd el-Kader, John W. Kiser (history); Yalo, Elias Khory (worldwide issues – torture); Kidnapped: And Other Dispatches, Alan Johnston (memoirs); “Socialism Is Great!”: A Worker’s Memoir of the New China, Lijia Zhang; (memoirs) and, To Live or to Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years in Pakistan, Nicholas Schmidle (politics/worldwide issues/memoir).
Favorite: To Live or to Perish Forever
Perhaps I need to spend the Fourth looking for a new reading challenge or two.
In a very real sense, … people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read.
S. I. Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action