I haven't taken on a book challenge before for several reasons. As one would expect, I tend to be easily distracted in my reading habits, as in other areas of life. There is very little planning in my book purchasing, I read a review on a blog or in the newspaper, I see an attractive cover in a shop, catch a glimpse of someone's choice on a train or follow a friend's recommendation and the piles of books waiting to be read grow.
Another reason for resisting is that I hate to fail at anything. How awful to be the first person to be drummed out of the book challenge community! Imagine if RD had to carry a badge of shame!
It is with some trepidation, therefore, that I am here, publicly declaring my intention to commit myself to joining the ORBIS TERRARUM (whole world) Book Challenge. I saw the details on logophile's blog and decided that it didn't look as restrictive as some of the other book challenges around. Just choose 9 books, written by 9 authors from 9 different countries and read them in 9 months. I discovered that I could take on the challenge with books I already have in my TBR pile, a great incentive in itself. So here is my initial choice, although the very kind hosts of the challenge allow one to change the books during the course of the year.
I have been intending to read more of Irene Nemirovsky's work since finishing Suite Francaise so I'm looking forward to taking David Golder off the shelf. I suppose I could count that as Russia or France, since Irene was born in Kiev but fled to Paris during the Revolution. France claims her as their own.
Next I'm off to Portugal to read Jose Saramago's Blindness, which has been on my shelf for a couple of years waiting for me to pluck up the courage to dive into a book with 'a studied absence of punctuation and ... inconsistency of tenses'.
I shall probably need something a little lighter after that so I'll go to Australia to re-read (I hope that is allowed!) My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin. Then, in no particular order, to Africa for Sade Adeniran's Imagine This; to Afghanistan with A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and to South America with some short stories from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, this copy of Innocent Erendira has been lurking on the shelf for a very long time.
A Lost Lady by American writer Willa Cather is on my bedside table at the moment. I can't understand how I have missed this as I have read most of her books and this is described as her finest. I don't normally comment on my 'serious' reading but I might be pushed for time towards the end of the challenge and a little trip to Ancient Rome could save the day so I'll keep Seneca's On the shortness of life handy.
My final choice was to have been Dava Sobel's The Planets because a look up at the night sky seemed to be a good way to end a literary trip around the world. However, Dava Sobel is another American writer, so I have to make a change before I even begin. I have gone for another one of those books that has been sitting on the shelf for a very long time and deserves to be read at last. To India, then, with Anita Desai's In Custody.
I'm going to hit the 'publish post' button quickly, before I lose my nerve about the challenge!