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    • Michelle

      Important Announcement!   07/28/2018

      Dear BCF members,   This forum has been running now for many years, and over that time we have seen many changes. Generalised forums are nowhere near as popular as they once were, and they have been very much taken over by blogs, vlogs and social media discussions. Running a forum well takes money, and a lot of care and attention, as there is so much which goes on behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly.   With all of this in mind, and after discussion within the current moderator team, the decision has been made to close this forum in its current format. I know that this will disappoint a lot of our long term members, but I want to reassure you that it's not a decision which has been taken lightly.    The remaining moderator team have agreed that we do not want to lose everything which is special about our home, and so we are starting a brand new facebook group, so that people can stay in touch, and discussions can continue. We can use it for free and should be easier for us to run (it won't need to be updated or hosted). We know not everyone has FaceBook, but we hope that those of you who are interested will join the group. We will share the link, and send invites as soon as we are ready to go. Added: We may as well get this going, find us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/195289821332924/   The forum will close to new registrations, but will remain open for some time, to allow people to collect up any information, reading lists etc they need to, and to ensure they have contact details for those they wish to stay in touch with.    The whole team feel sad to say goodbye, but we also feel that it's perhaps time and that it feels like the right choice. We hope we can stay in touch with all of you through our new FaceBook group.   I personally want to thank everyone who has helped me moderate the forum, both in the past and the present, and I also want to thank every single person who has visited, and shared their love of books.. I'm so proud of everything we've achieved, and the home we built.   Please visit the new section in the Lounge section to discuss this further, ask questions etc.
Talisman

June's Around the World Book Challenge

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Thanks for that information MrCat, which I have no doubt is well intentioned. We all do this challenge differently - some insist that the books they read have to be written by someone who was born in that country while for some it is enough that the book be set in a certain country. This is the way that I am choosing to do this challenge and I have found it works very well for me. The reasoning I use for this is that although you may be born in a certain place, it does not mean that you will stay there (Herta Muller being a case in point). I have a friend for example who although born in Canada has spent most of her adult life in Spain, where she is married to a Spaniard, has a business and gave birth to her two children. Spain is therefore much more home to her than her native Canada. My next door neighbour, although born in the US has lived here since the age of 16 (she is now in her 70's). Despite the fact that she has never taken out British citizenship, she nevertheless considers herself  much more British than American. By the same token, I work with people from all over the world - including Romania, who although not native to this country now consider it to be their home. Everyone does this challenge in their own way, and as long as it works for them, it's all good. :smile:

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 while for some it is enough that the book be set in a certain country. This is the way that I am choosing to do this challenge and I have found it works very well for me.

 

That's the basis of the English Counties Challenge, and the US States Challenge that I've set up for myself (yet to get going on that one properly).  TBH, I think it's the more interesting way to do it too, but that may be because of my Geography background (more interested in place!).

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That's how I'm treating it too, as long as there's a bit of a "flavour" of the county, rather than it just happens to be the location for the book.

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I have found personally that this works far better than the idea that the author has to be born in that country, as like I said, with migration the way it is, people do not necessary stay in their country of birth. As both of you have said, it does give you a flavour of the country as well. It also means that if you really can't find a book from certain countries (and it can be difficult with a lot of the smaller ones), you can read travelogues.

 

I have finished a few more books this month from various interesting countries, some harder to find than others.

 

The first was a book of Lithuanian women's short stories - No Men, No Cry by Ligne Barauskaite. Some of these were better than others, and I found it quite frustrating that of the better ones, none of the books that they are excerpted from are not available as English translations. Some of them really are very good. 

 

The second book, from Cameroon was Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue. There seems to be a bit of buzz around this book at the moment and I can see why. Set in the US, it tells the tale of a couple from this small West African country trying to make a new life for themselves in the US. This for me was an interesting take on the so-called American dream and how tough things are for those at the bottom of the pile. I won't ruin it by saying too much, except to say that for me, this is a book well worth reading.     

  

The book I am reading at the moment is from El Salvador in Central America. The title is Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya. This is a short book of around 160 pages and tells the tale of a man who is proof reading a manuscript to do with atrocities against the Native population. I am about halfway through it at the moment so will report back once I have finished it as to what I felt about it.       

Edited by Talisman

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I have completed a few more countries over the last few weeks:

 

The Golden Shower: Or What Men Want by Luka Novak for Slovenia

Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs by Abdulaziz Al Farsi for Oman

The Earth Hums in B Flat Major by Mari Strachan for Wales

Beloved Land: Stories, Struggles and Secrets by Gordon Peake for Timor Leste

 

At the moment I am reading a beautiful book from St Pierre et Miquelon, a country that is really hard to find books from - The Sea Around Them by Gordon G Gautreau         

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I have managed a few more countries in the last few weeks:

 

By the Night the Mountain Burns by Juan Tomas Avila Laurel for Equatorial Guinea

Impossible Journey by Michael Asher for Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan and Egypt  

 

Most of these countries had been covered already, but it is always good of course to read more books. I was particularly pleased to find the latter book which covers Mauritania and Chad, both of which are very difficult to find books from. 

Edited by Talisman

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I have managed to get through a few more countries these past 6 months, but forgot to write them on here:

 

Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou for Zaire

The Scroll of Seduction by Gioconda Belli for Nicaragua

The Jive Talker by Samson Kambalu for Malawi

A Tunisian Tale by Hassouna Mosbani for Tunisia  

 

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A few more countries (and books) to add to the list:

 

The Girl Who Beat Isis by Farida Khalaf for Iraq

3096 Days by Natascha Kampuch for Austria

A Lullaby for No One`s Vuk by Ksenija Popovich for Montenegro (strongly recommend this one)

Vouces: Short Stories from the Seychelles Islands by Glynn Burridge for Seychelles

The Good People by Hannah Kent for Ireland

The Doves Necklace by Raja Alem for Saudi Arabia  

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I have continued to make great progress on the challenge during 2018 and have now completed an astonishing 170 countries with just 61 left to go.

 

During the last year I have managed to find some books from really out of the way places that I did not think I would manage which is great. Most of these were travelogues but it all counts as you learn about the country featured which is what matters.

 

I have then this year completed another 22 countries which are in roughly alphabetical order:

 

Azerbaijan, Bermuda, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Chad, East Timor, Falkland Islands, The Gambia, Georgia, Latvia. Malawi, Mauritania, Montenegro, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, St Pierre et Miquelon, The Seychelles, Slovenia, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, Tunisia, Wales, Zaire

 

I have also managed other books from countries already covered:

 

Australia, Austria, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, England, Equatorial Guinea, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Iceland, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sudan, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States  

Edited by Talisman

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2018 is off to a flying start with 2 new countries already:

 

Caribbee by Thomas Hoover for Barbados and

Pu'ukani's Song by Hannah Steenbock for North Marianna Islands, a country that proved extremely difficult to find a book from. This one is a short story about a whale and how he uses his song to help the other whales in his pod. Very nice it was too and one of the shortest books I have read at just 36 pages. It only took half an hour to read!

 

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I have managed to complete a few more countries in recent weeks:

 

Jamila by Chingiz Aitmatov for Kyrgyzstan 

From Dunes to Dior by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar for Qatar

 

I only have about 60 countries left now. 

 

Edited by Talisman

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I’ve just seen someone mention a book they’d read that is coming out next month which is set in Venezuela, written by a French author whose mother was Venezuelan, and I noticed you didn’t have a book for that country yet so thought I’d let you know about it.  The book is called Black Sugar by Miguel Bonnefoy, and from the cover and the blurb it looks quite intriguing - I might read it myself! :) 

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Thanks for that - I will look it up and see if its on Kindle.   

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On 12/02/2018 at 5:45 PM, Talisman said:

I have managed to complete a few more countries in recent weeks:

 

Jamila by Chingiz Aitmatov for Kyrgyzstan 

From Dunes to Dior by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar 

 

I only have about 60 countries left now. 

Is from Dunes to Dior about India 🇮🇳? 

 

 

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The author is Indian, but the book is set in Qatar. I must have forgotten to write that. 

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I have amended that post accordingly. Thanks for pointing it out. I would have thought it was about India too given the authors name. I am delighted to find actually that her husband is from Laos, a country that is really hard to find books from, and she has written one about there too. It has gone on my wish list.     

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I have read some more great books in recent months and managed to get through even more countries. A lot of these had been on my wish list for a while. 

 

The Opposite of Hate by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar for Laos

Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry for French Polynesia

The Cypriot by Andreas Koumi for Cyprus (a really good read)

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid for Pakistan (very thought provoking) 

A Question of Power by Bessie Head for Botswana

Weep Not, Child by Ngugi wa Thiong'o for Kenya

 

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I have completed a few more countries in the last month:

 

The Moon is Following Me by Cecil Browne for St Vincent

The Five Wonders of the Danube by Zoran zivkovic for Serbia

From Tajikstan to the Moon by Robert Frimtzis for Moldova

Beauty on Earth by Charles Ferdinand Ramuz for Switzerland  

 

Next up is Macedonia. 

 

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A few more countries to add to the list:

 

Damages: BK Bazhe (Macedonia)

The Tunnel: Ernesto Sabato (Argentina)

Best European Fiction 2014: Various (Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, England, Wales)

USSR: Diary of a Peresroika Kid: Vladimir Kozlov (Belarus)

The Orchid House: Phyllis Shand Allfrey (Dominica)

My Year on a South Sea Island: Kathy Giuffre (Cook Islands)   

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