Dec 3, 2011

Around the World Challenge

I am so excited to announce that I will be participating in the
2012 Around the World in 12 Books Challenge hosted by Giraffe Days

Sadly, this does not mean I will be physically traveling around the world in 2012. Maybe some other year that will happen. Instead, I will be literarially (yes, I made up that word) globe-trotting, by reading a book from a different country each month.

Here is the month/country breakdown:

JANUARY: South Africa - Spud by John van de Ruit  - review
FEBRUARY: Bangladesh - Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins
MARCH: Guatemala - Rites: A Guatemalan Boyhood by Victor Perera
APRIL: Tanzania - Great Sky Woman by Steven Barnes
MAY: Cuba - The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez
JUNE: Germany - The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
JULY: Iran - The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sis and/or Maman's Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan
AUGUST: Mexico - Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
SEPTEMBER: Philippines - Invented Eden: The Elusive, Disputed History of the Tasaday by Robin Hemley 
OCTOBER: Denmark - hoping either Christian Moerk or Jussi Adler-Olsen releases a new book in English by October 2012.
NOVEMBER: Peru - Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams
DECEMBER: Iceland - The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J.R.R. Tolkien

Here are the guidelines:

1. Books must be set in the country. (For help, try this website.)
2. Books should be by an author of that country, if you can find/get hold of one.
3. Books must be fiction or memoir. Children’s books count too.
4. Books can count towards other challenges.

Questions to consider while reading/reviewing:

  • What did you learn about the country’s culture, history etc. from reading this book? Any new insights, any shifts in your perception, or did it align with what you knew/understood already?
  • How did land, geography, flora and fauna feature in the book? Did it have a distinct feel that helped you visualise and made you feel like you were there, or was the story more focused on plot?
  • Did the story make you want to visit/revisit the country, or explore it in a new way if you live there already; did it make you want to read more stories set in the country?
I will be blogging about the books I read for this challenge throughout the year, and encourage you to sign up at Giraffe Days so you can be a part of this, too.

For January, I have chosen to read Spud by John van de Ruit. This is a teen novel that, despite having sold as a bookseller in the past, I've never actually read yet have always wanted to. Perfect opportunity! Here is the publisher description:

It's 1990. Apartheid is crumbling. Nelson Mandela has just been released from prison. And Spud Milton--thirteen-year-old, prepubescent choirboy extraordinaire--is about to start his first year at an elite boys-only boarding school in South Africa. Cursed with embarrassingly dysfunctional parents, a senile granny named Wombat, and a wild obsession for Julia Roberts, Spud has his hands full trying to adapt to his new home.

Armed with only his wits and his diary, Spud takes readers of all ages on a rowdy boarding school romp full of illegal midnight swims, raging hormones, and catastrophic holidays that will leave the entire family in total hysterics and thirsty for more.


  1. I love boarding school books! I'll be curious to know whether you like this one or not.

    For this challenge, did you get to pick the countries? or are they pre-assigned? I might have to think about participating in this challenge.

  2. The countries are pre-assigned, but I've decided I like that. Otherwise, I might try to take the easy way out and then it won't be a challenge. There are many countries I've never thought of reading a book about or from, and I'm excited to explore the possibilities. I hope you decide to do this, too! Also because then I can pick your brain for suggestions. :)

  3. I had no idea Spud was set in South Africa! I've seen it in Chapters several times and dithered over it - I'm looking forward to your review and maybe adding it to my wishlist!


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