Midyear Reading Challenge report

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 Kert├ęsz (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

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