Thursday, February 26, 2009

Orbis Terrarum Challenge 2009

I've mentioned before that I'm trying not to join in many challenges that require me to read a lot of books, like more than six, as I often don't do very well with them. But there are a couple of exceptions, and this is one of them. I love the idea of this challenge because reading more international literature is something that I always hope to do more of anyway. So, I'm going to join in the Orbis Terrarum Challenge again this year. It runs from March 1st to December 31st, 2009 and the goal of the challenge is essentially to read 10 books by 10 different authors, from 10 different countries.

Here are some of the countries I hope to 'visit' this year:
Japan - Not surprising considering my own Reading Japan Project. I have quite a few Japanese authors to choose from and I hope to read a few of them this year.
Portugal - I'd really like to read Blindness by José Saramago this year.
Turkey - I've been meaning to read Orhan Pamuk for the last couple of years but still haven't got around to doing so. Hopefully this will be the year.
Nigeria - I've had Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in my TBR stacks for quite some time too and I'd love to finally read it this year.
Italy - Perhaps I'm Not Scared by Niccolò Ammaniti, or something by Alessandro Baricco.
Sweden - I've only read the first book in Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series and would like to continue on to the next one. I also have The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson that I'm looking forward to reading.
Iran - Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi is one of the graphic novels I hope to read this year.
Russia - Will this be the year that I finally read Lolita?
Ukraine - Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky is another one I've been meaning to read, pretty much since it came out, but haven't yet got around to.
Brazil - I didn't love The Alchemist but I have another book or two by Coelho around here that I should probably get around to reading.
Belgium - I'd also like to read another book by Amélie Nothomb this year. The one I have on hand is The Character of Rain.

Plus I know I also have some books that would represent India, Iceland, Norway, China, Germany and a couple others, so we'll see where my reading takes me over the next 10 months.

Throughout the year I will naturally also be reading books from Canada, the UK and the US but I'm going to try again this year to not include them in my quest for 10 different countries, instead focusing on books in translation. Unless of course it's the end of December and I just can't make up the numbers otherwise, like I had to do last year.

There are also several mini-challenges to accompany the main reading challenge. Since I love foreign films I'm going to try to complete the Orbis Terrarum Film Mini-Challenge, which asks us to watch 10 films from 10 different countries by 10 different directors. I'm not sure how successful I'll be since the only way for me to see foreign films here is to buy the DVDs (Japanese subtitles aren't much help to me!), but I do already have a fair handful so I'm going to give it a shot.
Do you have any favourite foreign films? I'd love to hear your recommendations.


  1. Hi Nat :)
    I joined this Challenge also, i chose the foreign language one. We'll see this year how I do. I am trying to reach 3-4 books a month at this point.

  2. So glad you joined in again! I hope this year is even better :)

    I love films from Spain, and I really liked: El Bola, Bodas de Sangre and Esquilache.

    Have a great day!

  3. I kind if want to join this again...I had so much fun last year. But I should avoid overdoing it with challenges. You picked some great sounding books! I really want to read Purple Hibiscus in particular.

  4. Blindness is actually a really great book! I'm almost done with it - a few pages to go - and I can't wait to read Seeing.

  5. I've sort of given up on reading challenges as I always get distracted before finishing them, but I agree--I want to read more international fiction, too. Several of the books on your list are on my book piles, too. I recently bought I'm Not Scared and have the Nemirovsky, which I Am going to read this year.

  6. I wanted to join this one but I'm trying to keep things under control. Ha.

    I hope you do read Purple Hibiscus - great story.

    I definitely want to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I keep seeing that everywhere.

    Oh and on foreign films two of my all time faves are Goodbye, Lenin! and Il Postino.

  7. Sylvie - I envy you, I wish I could read easily in another language. As long as you're enjoying the books you're reading, it doesn't matter how many you read each month. But I'm always hoping to read more too, so I know what you mean.

    bethany - I hope this year is even better too! Thanks for hosting it again. And I'll look up the films you mentioned. Thanks.

    Nymeth - I want to read more international fiction this year anyway so the challenge fits into that, but I so know what you mean about not overdoing it.

    saveophelia - I look forward to your review of Blindness. Do you think you'll watch the film?

    Danielle - Yes I fully intend to finally read Suite Francaise this year as well. I've had I'm Not Scared for awhile too and I recently listened to an interview with the author about his newest book, so it's high on the list.

    Iliana - LOL. All the challenges are so tempting! I hope I finally read Purple Hibiscus this year. And I love those films too! H watched Goodbye Lenin for the first time last year, and he really liked it too.

  8. Tanabata, you have a great set of reading ideas there! I'm hoping to read your Portugal and Turkey author possibilities later in the year myself. Three films I'd recommend are "High and Low" (Kurosawa, Japan), "Cria cuervos" (Saura, Spain) and the movie version of "I'm Not Scared" (forgot the director, Italy)...but the list could go on and on.

  9. Richard - Thanks for the film suggestions. I hadn't heard of that one by Kurosawa, or the Spanish one so I'll check them out. And I'll probably try to watch 'I'm Not Scared' after I read the book. I was browsing DVDs on Amazon today adding more to my wishlist.


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