You made me read it, and Around the World update

In my last Make me read it poll, blog readers selected Sweet Bean Paste as the book I should read next, out of several that I’d recommended to the library. And I enjoyed it, but I find that I do not have much to say about it. It was a heartfelt little tale about prejudice and loneliness and unexpected connections. I’m really curious now to taste dorayaki, the sweet bean pastries that provide the link between the characters, as well as opportunities for learning and transformation.

This was also a book that I could count for my Read All Around the World project, and I thought I’d look back at how it’s been going this year. I was quite impressed to see that I can count at least 18 books toward this project, and I’ve been on some amazing journeys! You may notice that I have included some areas or regions that are not technically independent countries, like Texas and Biafra. Both of these were independent or fought for their independence for a short time, and the books are about that history, so it seems reasonable to list them separately.

I also have counted more than one book from the same country, as it’s always interesting to gain different perspectives on the same place.. My project is less about checking off names on an official list and more about learning as much as possible about different regions of the world. In that, I have been remarkably successful this year.

Have you read any of these, or would you like to? Have you read any outstanding books from or about other parts of the world this year?

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17 thoughts on “You made me read it, and Around the World update

  1. No, I’ve not read any of these, Lory, though I did recently read a children’s classic by a Japanese author. In fact, as far as Reading Around the World goes I have in fact read books from a dozen countries, mostly Western Europe and all the Scandinavian countries but also one by a Chinese author as well as the Japanese title. I could post an update later in the year and see if I’ve got round any more!

    1. I may try to do the Scandinavian challenge next year, my reading has been rather lacking in that area. (Except for the Norway one this time.)

  2. If you have a branch of Wasabi near you, they usually have dorayaki, both chocolate and red bean paste ones. I’ve been in Texas myself, also Scotland and Wales, Japan, North Korea, Nigeria, the Caribbean and Hong Kong, this year in total!

    1. Hm, looks like Wasabi is in Basel and Geneva at least – I will try to check it out whenever I make it to the big city.

  3. Congratulations on your challenge. There are many new to me authors on your list. Kawaguchi’s creations are too whimsical for my taste, but I absolutely loved Sweet Bean Paste. There is still so much discrimination directed at people who are perceived as “other” or “diseased” in Japan, and I admire books that try to shed light on the issue and change people’s perspectives.

    I have also recently added three other books by Erich Maria Remarque to read. I wonder how they would compare to All Quiet on the Western Front. I was surprised to learn he was such a prolific writer.

    1. I was very interesting to read something else by Remarque upon finishing All Quiet, but then I got sidetracked. I still hope to get back to him. Such a powerful book, I do also wonder how his other works compare.

  4. An impressive list of countries that you’ve passed through this year! I loved Cloudstreet and also Girl with a Louding Voice. I haven’t added that many new countries to my own world of literature this year sadly but have spent a very long time in Australia!

    1. It’s good to read a lot from one country as well. One book can’t represent all there is to be found there.

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