#Readaroundtheworld: June update

Looks a little different from last time, doesn’t it?

The Project is continuing apace, and since I doubt I’m going to finish reading the book I’m working on right now by the end of the month, I may as well go ahead and do this update now. The numbers are always kept up-to-date on the spreadsheet to the right there– because nothing good can exist without a spreadsheet, but let’s take a halfway-through-2021 (no, seriously, we are) snapshot of the numbers:

  • Twenty-nine separate countries, counting Antarctica as a country (I read a book by Ernest Shackleton; it counts because I say so)
  • Twenty-eight different US states, which includes Washington DC, again because I say so
  • Which accounts for 33,628,900 square miles, or 58.47% of the Earth’s land surface.

This means that technically I’m on pace– slightly ahead, in fact– to complete all 50 states by the end of the year, but it’s definitely getting more difficult across the board. I was at 17 countries and 15 states at the end of March, so you’ll notice neither of those numbers have doubled; I’ve pretty well plucked all the low-hanging fruit by now, and while there’s a few new countries represented on my Unread Shelf right now I don’t think there are any new states. More authors than I would have guessed live in Texas, and while there’s at least a couple of easy states left (I can always read a Stephen King book to get Maine, and, well, I live in Indiana) most of what’s left are going to have to be states that I specifically Google “authors from XXX” to find something to read.

I’m also starting to run low on countries where it’s easy to find authors whose work has been translated into English. This, in turn, leads to me ordering books that it’s less likely that I’m going to enjoy, simply because a lot of the time I’m just grabbing what I can find, and while there have definitely been some exceptions, I’m not finding that I’m discovering a huge number of hidden gems with this particular project the way I might have wanted to. I’m also backlogging books that “don’t count,” and probably 3/4 of my Unread Shelf right now is books that are repeat states or repeat countries. I got a lot of new places done in June, but July is going to have to be a month with not a lot of progress.

That said, filling in the map is still super fun. Ultimately I am going to finish this, because I’m that guy, it just remains to be seen how much of a slog those last few states create. I’m hoping for 40 countries right now, which actually ought to be manageable since I’ll be at 32 or so just with the books I’m due to read right now. And I’ve still got a solid six weeks of summer left, when my reading rate shoots way up. We’ll update again in September, but you can always check the links to the right if you’re curious.

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Luther M. Siler

Teacher, writer of words, and local curmudgeon. Enthusiastically profane. Occasionally hostile.

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