Pretty, ain’t it?
While I am going to continue adding new countries to the list for a while, at least until I feel like there’s no good way to get books from the countries that are left without rather inconveniently learning new languages, we are basically done with this for 2021, as anything else I finish reading this year isn’t going to change the tallies any. I ended up reading books this year from all 50 states, plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico, along with 48 different countries, with Antarctica counted as a country for the purposes of the list. There are a few countries represented on my TBR shelf that I haven’t gotten to yet: Zimbabwe, Turkey, Egypt and Indonesia, and I have a book from a Cambodian author that I haven’t reread in forever that I’ll read this month as well. And come to think of it I have a compendium of Iraqi science fiction that I never finished, too, that I could go back to. So that’ll be 54 countries before I buy anything new. I’ve read books from just barely under 75% of the world’s surface, which doesn’t seem too bad for a year’s work.
Other countries I definitely want to read books from but haven’t found any yet: Pakistan, Mongolia, Israel, Finland, somewhere in Central America, and I feel like I could probably hit a couple more countries in Europe without working too hard. There’s a book on my Amazon wishlist from a Yemeni author that I’ll probably grab at some point too. After that, who knows. But I won’t be feeling like I’m done with this for a little while yet.
In the meantime: Leaving aside the US, the top countries I read from this year probably won’t be too surprising: the UK (6, mostly from England), Malaysia (3,) Canada (3), Australia (2), China (2, with one more to come since I have a Ken Liu book on the shelf), and South Korea (2, but both by the same guy). States represented more than once include Texas (7), California (5), New York (5), Maryland (3), Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin (all 2). Texas is the highest because Rachel Caine is from there, but that’s still four different authors. The largest places I read books from are pretty obvious from the map, but the smallest is Washington DC (68 square miles), Rhode Island (1214 square miles) and Trinidad and Tobago at 1981 square miles.
All in all, I’m … mostly glad I did this? Like, filling in the map was really neat, and going looking for new books to read from a specific place was fun, but one knock-on effect that I didn’t really reckon on was that I started deliberately avoiding reading multiple books from people or places that didn’t “count” so that I could drive the numbers up. I’ll post my unread shelf like usual on the 31st, but one thing you’ll notice if you look at it and you know my tastes in reading (and if you’ve made it this far in this post, you probably do) is that I have several books from authors I really like patiently waiting for me to get to them, because I’ve been prioritizing books I could color in a spot on the map with. I only read one book in December– and only one of the last fifteen books I’ve read– that didn’t “count,” and in the meantime there’s a damn Dandelion Dynasty book on my shelf waiting for me to get to it, along with a couple of other hotly anticipated sequels and another TJ Klune book that isn’t part of a series. So I’m not doing this again once I’m done with it, and I’ll update the site one more time once I feel like I’m done, but we’re not going to be organizing our reading by geography again anytime soon.