#Readaroundtheworld: March update

You want me to nerd out about my little reading project, right? Sure you do. We’re roughly 1/4 of the way through 2021 already somehow, and I’ve read books from 15 US states and 17 countries so far, putting me on track to successfully read books from all 50 states and 68 different countries over the course of the year. Now, realistically, this first three months has been pursuing low-hanging fruit, and I’ve already read multiple books from several different states as well as the UK, and I have at least one other book by a Nigerian on my shelf waiting for me, so as the year goes on it’s going to get more and more difficult to find books that “count” for the series. I’m sure I’ll be able to get the US done one way or another, but the fact is books from Canada and Russia and Australia and the UK weren’t exactly hard to find, and I’m at the point already where I’m picking a country and Googling “Authors from XXX” to find books. There’s several easy ones left (and I have several books on my unread shelf that will fill in some spaces) but these first few months were definitely going to be the fastest ones.

I have been keeping track of the square mileage this has covered, because of course I am, and thus far, excluding the water, 21,418,356 square miles are filled in, which is 37.24% of the world’s surface. This will also be increasing much more slowly, as I’ve got Australia, Canada, Brazil and Russia done already. I’ll be filling in Antarctica and China next month, which are the biggest two chunks left, and after that it’s all smaller countries. Russia was 11.5% of the world’s surface all by itself, so I’m not going to be getting any more big jumps like that.

(How do I plan to fill in Antarctica’s 5.483 million square miles when no one lives there? I’ve decided Ernest Shackleton counts. My game, my rules.)

This has been a fun project so far, although for the most part my international “discovery” authors haven’t really set my world on fire yet, and a lot of the books I’ve really enjoyed this year from authors outside the US have been people I’m already familiar with. There’s also been a touch of strategic rereading going on; I filled in Italy by picking up The Name of the Rose for the first time in forever, and I’ll probably reread A Confederacy of Dunces at some point this year to take care of Louisiana. I might go back to Dumas to get France filled in. But for the most part it’s going to be authors I’m not familiar with, since that’s sort of the point of the entire exercise.

Remember, if you look at the top of the sidebar on the right there, you can follow along with me as I’m doing this if you’re so inclined. I should be done with Requiem Moon in a couple of days, and my next book after that will be another Rachel Caine, so I figured this was a good time to do an update.

#52booksbywomenofcolor, October update

Technically, this could be my final update if I wanted to– my goal for the year was to read 52 books by women of color, and while I’m not finished with A Song Below Water, it’s been chosen as the 52nd book and it won’t take to the end of the month to finish it. But there’s still two months in 2020 (God help us all), and five authors– S.L. Huang, N.K. Jemisin, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and Rin Chupeco– were represented twice. There’s also a new book by S.L. Huang on my unread shelf right now. So I figure the new goal is 57 books by 52 women. And after that I might go ahead and get started on 2021’s goal of reading books from as many different countries as I can.

I reviewed a bunch of these, but if there’s anything you’re curious about, feel free to ask. Also, here’s the rest of the list:

On reading projects

I got curious the other day about how much geographical diversity my “52 books by women of color” project was representing. If I play a little fast and loose with immigrants (I have arbitrarily decided second-generation American immigrants count, especially if the author’s books reflect the culture of her home country*) the countries represented by authors I’ve either already read or have ordered books from are represented above. I was a little surprised to discover I hit four countries in Africa before Australia joined the list, and the lack of representation in Europe outside of the UK is at least a little surprising, but there it is. Since it’s still September and I’ll finish book 45 on the list today or tomorrow, I’m probably going to expand it to 52 different authors rather than 52 books, and I’m going to see how many different countries I can hit with the rest of those authors.

Next year’s project, I think, is going to see how many books I can read from authors from different countries– no target number, necessarily, but trying to fill in that map as much as I can. It’ll be interesting to see how much I can fill the map in.

That said, if anybody wants to call out some authors who I might be interested in to round out this current project, please feel free– in particular, female-identifying authors of color from mainland Europe, China, Brazil, Afghanistan or the Middle East would be great.

(*) This sort of boiled down to how they chose to identify themselves in biographies, and I’m not digging very hard. Nghi Vo, for example, was born in Peoria and doesn’t say anything about her family or ancestry in any of her bios that I looked at, so she’s American, despite her books having a very strong Southeast Asian flavor to them. If her bio had referred to her as, say, “Chinese-American” (and I have no idea where her people are from, to be clear) I’d have counted her for China. Or, for another example, Ilhan Omar was born in Somalia, so that counts even though she lives in America now.

#52booksbywomenofcolor, August update

I’m 3/4 of the way to my goal with only 2/3 of the year gone, so it’s possible I may be able to convert this from 52 books to 52 authors by the end; school starting and eye surgery have slowed me down a bit, but that should still be doable. At any rate, here’s the most recent batch, some of which I reviewed and some I didn’t; feel free to ask questions if you have them.

#52booksbywomenofcolor: June update

I’ve officially started my 26th book, which is the halfway point, still with three weeks left in June, so I’m a bit ahead of schedule. I’m continuing to post these to Instagram as I read them (follow me!) but I figure quarterly updates on the blog are OK too. Let me know if there’s anything that I didn’t officially review that you want to know more about.


5:00 PM, Wednesday June 10: 1,994,834 confirmed cases, so we may still hit 2 million today, and 112,647 Americans dead.