“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Augustine of Hippo
If you are a reader … this is going to be fabulous. Oh. And most of it was generated by a couple of tween/teen <young adult> people who love to read.
So often we have our favorite authors and many of those ‘favorite’ are driven by either where you live or by popular media.
I hesitate to call it a ‘reading rut’ but if you are not careful … you will see that over time your bookshelves with start having a slightly homogenous feel to it.
I say that because that means we often miss out on some fabulous reading out of the mainstream.
That is why I believe this is fabulous.
I came across this “list of books from around the world’ on the tumblr site ‘about books and dreams’ which connected me to two different lists I wanted to share.
Suffice it to say … there are a shitload of books listed here and you could spend a lifetime finding & reading all of them.
But … well … what a lifetime, huh?
- The original list …Read The World – The Peirene 100 Essential Classics From Around The Globe.
A truly challenging, eclectic and inspiring list compiled entirely by Peirene Press readers:
And then I saw a commenter … a young adult … kind of ‘diss’ the list in that snarky young way that young people can pull off <and I loved it>:
The thought was actually creating a list which is a reflection … a true reflection … of the world population.
What a fabulous idea <and lots of work>.
I do not know who ‘eastiseverywhere’ is … but job well done.
I recently got ticked off over a “Read the World” list that was still really centred on Western books.
Then I started thinking: what if there were a reading list of 100 books that reflected the actual demographics of the world population of 7.152 billion people right now?
19 books from China;
17 from India;
4 from the US;
3 from Indonesia, Brazil and Pakistan;
2 from Nigeria, Bangladesh, Japan and Mexico, and 1 each from the Philippines, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Egypt, Germany, Iran, Turkey, DRC, Thailand, France, UK, Italy, Burma, South Africa, South Korea, Colombia, Spain, Ukraine, Tanzania, Kenya, Argentina, Algeria, Poland, Sudan, Uganda, Canada, Iraq, Morocco, Peru, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nepal, Afghanistan, Yemen, North Korea, Ghana, Mozambique, Australia and Taiwan.
50 books are by men.
49 are by women.
1 is a work of divine revelation.
Authors (roughly) reflect the ethnic makeup of their nations – e.g. the South African author is Black, not white; the Malaysian author is Malay, not Chinese; one of the PRC authors is non-Han Chinese; one of the American authors is non-white.
I’ve tried to represent a range of historical periods and the most acclaimed writers in each section.
Writers presented are those widely available in English – this is why Ding Ling, Zhang Yueran and Akka Mahadevi weren’t featured: because it’s really hard to find their work in English.
Also, a writer is only of a nationality if s/he’s got/had citizenship of the area at some point – i.e. Jhumpa Lahiri is American, not Indian.
Sure, I know this list is problematic – smaller countries, like those of the Caribbean and Oceania, are kind of wiped out. But I’m open to change this. So send in your suggestions for changes if you’ve got them!
And remember: if you’re gonna read the world, you might as well do it RIGHT.
Here is the Full list of Books:
<note 1 from Bruce: of course I would edit the list to match up with my likes & dislikes … for example … for Spain I would include Arturo Perez Revarte … for Russia … well … I could include several others … but you get it … you can edit and add & subtract … but the point is you get exposed to books from around the world>.
<note 2 from Bruce: this list also becomes more difficult if you maintain representation of the world … for example … France with its extensive list of great literature is limited to one book because of its relative size in the midst of the larger world>
<note 3 from Bruce: please forgive me for any formatting issues or readability issues … this post was frickin’ difficult to build and format … I would have tortured someone at wordpress if I could ever find someone to wring their proverbial neck … >
On with the list ……
The Analects of Confucius
The Tao Te Ching of Lao Zi
The Art of War by Sun Zi
The Poems of Li Qingzhao
The Journey to the West by Wu Cheng En
Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Shi Naian
Selected Stories of Lu Xun
Rickshaw Boy by Lao She
The Dyer’s Daughter by Xiao Hong
Love in a Fallen City by Eileen Chang
Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian
The Republic of Wine by Mo Yan
The Girl Who Played Go by Shan Sa
Red Azalea by Anchee Min
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow by Wang Anyi
Daughter of the River by Hong Ying
Wild Swans by Jung Chang
The Good Women of China by Xinran
The Ramayana of Valmiki
The Mahabharata by Vyasa
The Dhammapada of Buddha
The Kural of Tiruvalluvar
The Story of My Experiments With Truth by Mohandas K. Gandhi
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor
Five Point Someone: What Not to Do at IIT by Chetan Bhagat
A River Sutra by Gita Mehta
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Breast Stories by Mahasweta Devi
Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai
Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Spouse: The Truth About Marriage by Shobhaa De
Moving On by Shashi Deshpande
The Poems of Emily Dickinson
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Letters from A Javanese Princess by Raden Adjeng Kartini
This Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer
Saman by Ayu Utami
Dom Casmurro by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
Dona Flor and her Two Husbands by Jorge Amado
The Hours of the Star by Clarice Lispector
Songs of Blood and Sword by Fatima Bhutto
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif
Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamande Ngozi Adichie
Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore
The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Poems of Anna Akhmatova
The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco
When Heaven and Earth Changed Places by Le Ly Hayslip
Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste
Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
The Congo: From Leopold to Kabila: A People’s History by Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja
Letters from Thailand by Botan
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Aeneid by Virgil
Letters from Burma by Aung San Suu Kyi
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Please Look After Mother by Kyung Sook Shin
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Life of St Teresa of Avila by Herself
The White Guard by Mikail Bulgakhov
Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah
Devil on the Cross by Ngugi wa’Thiongo
The Topless Tower by Silvina Ocampo
Fantasia: An Algerian Calvacade by Assia Djebar
The Poems of Wislawa Szymborska
Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih
Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol by Okot p’Bitek
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
The Poems of Rabia Basri
Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami
The Time of the Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa
The Dancer from Khiva by Bibish
Kampung Boy by Lat
Doña Inés vs. Oblivion by Ana Teresa Torres
The End of the World by Sushma Joshi
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali
Eyes of the Tailless Animals by Soon Ok Lee
Changes by Ama Ata Adoo
Neighbours: A Story of a Murder by Lília Momplé
Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
Notes of a Desolate Man by Chu Ti’en-Wen
And to be fair to the about books and dreams tumblr author … she added her own list:
- I’ll start adding some titles here (trying to stick to novels) and you can send me yours in a message.
The Sea of Fertility series by Yukio Mishima, Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto.
Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo, Battles in the Desert by José Emilio Pacheco, Les Exilés de la Mémoire (Los Rojos de Ultramar) by Jordi Soler, The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz, Confabulario by Juan José Arreola, Popol Vuh, The Underdogs by Mariano Azuela, The Nine Guardians (Balún Canán) by Rosario Castellanos, Tear This Heart Out by Ángeles Mastretta.
Perfume by Patrick Süskind, Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse, The Tin Drum by Günter Grass (born in Poland).
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (born in Morocco).
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (born in Cuba).
Delirium by Laura Restrepo, Recipes for Sad Women by Héctor Abad Faciolince.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Tell Me Who I Am by Julia Navarro, See How Much I Love You by Luis Leante, Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones.
The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges, Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar, The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato.
Dear Life by Alice Munro, In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honoré (born in Scotland), Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen.
Red April by Santiago Roncagliolo.
Slowness by Milan Kundera, Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke.
The Nimrod Flipout by Etgar Keret.
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The African Trilogy by Chinua Achebe.
Wild Thorns by Sahar Khalifeh
Blindness by José Saramago, The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa.
Memory of Fire series by Eduardo Galeano, The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories by Horacio Quiroga, The Truce by Mario Benedetti.
And then because the blog owner is Brazilian … she asks … can I add more Brazilian literature?
- Agua Viva, Near to the Wild Heart, and The Passion of G. H by Clarice Lispector
- The Posthumos Memoir of Bras Cubas by Machado de Assis
- Winning the Game and High Art by Rubem Fonseca
- They Were Many Horses by Luiz Ruffato
- Blood-drenched Beard by Daniel Galera
If you can’t find something new to read off of this list … well … you are hopeless.