Challenge Wrap Up #2 – The 12 Country Challenge

28Jul09

I don’t have a fancy map for this, I’m afraid, but I have completed my self-assigned twelve country challenge. And, I’m pretty sure I’m going to hit the 15 country mark, so, a pat on the back, from me to me.

So, without much further ado, here’s my final list (if I do read more, I’ll add it on!) :

  1. Orhan Pamuk – The White Castle (Turkey)
  2. Mohsin Hamid – Moth Smoke (Pakistan)
  3. Rohinton Mistry – Such A Long Journey (India)
  4. Haruki Murakami – Norwegian Wood (Japan)
  5. Gyorgy Dragoman – The White King (Hungary)
  6. Milan Kundera – The Book of Laughter & Forgetting (Czechoslovakia)
  7. Bernhard Schlink – Homecoming (Germany)
  8. Ann Holm – I Am David (Denmark)
  9. Carlos Ruiz Zafón – The Shadow of the Wind (Spain)
  10. Gabriel Garcia Marquez – News Of A Kidnapping (Columbia)
  11. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Half of a Yellow Sun (Nigeria)
  12. Lloyd Jones – The Book Of Fame (New Zealand)
My top three reads are:
  1. Gabriel Garcia Marquez – News Of A Kidnapping (Columbia)
  2. Haruki Murakami – Norwegian Wood (Japan)
  3. Carlos Ruiz Zafón – The Shadow of the Wind (Spain)

I know some of you would have put Half Of A Yellow Sun on it, and I almost did. However, I think The Shadow of the Wind just edges ahead of it by less than a quarter of an inch. It was a really tough call.

And the ones I didn’t really enjoy:

  1. Bernhard Schlink – Homecoming (Germany)
  2. Lloyd Jones – The Book Of Fame (New Zealand)

The one thing that stands out in my reading, for this challenge is, there are two Nobel Prize winners (Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Orhan Pamuk), and it is rumored that Milan Kundera was considered for it as well. Other than that, there are no ‘famous’ prize winners (books, not authors) in the above list!

Have you read any of the above books? Which ones did you like?

Also, can you recommend any other “international” books that you think is a must read? I got some suggestions in the Weekly Geeks from a couple of weeks back, so, thanks to everyone who threw recommendations my way there.

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5 Responses to “Challenge Wrap Up #2 – The 12 Country Challenge”

  1. 1 Sarah

    Gosh, that is an impressive array of far spread titles. I enjoyed Norwegian Wood earlier in the year, but haven’t encountered any of the others. I like the idea of a meaningful challenge, which this one most certainly is. Am tempted to have a go sometime…

    Have you read The Book Thief? A young adult type novel but, I think, a must read. (Australian author)

    The Yacoubian Hotel, from Egypt, by Alaa Al Aswany. Jury’s still out on whether I liked it or not!

    USA? Too easy! France is easy too, but I recently tried Maupassant’s short stories, and am quite taken with them.

    • I loved The Book Thief. Didn’t realize it was by an Aussie writer though. It was fantastic, and really well-written.

      Haven’t read the others, but I’d be quite tempted to try Maupassant’s short stories.

      I was avoiding USA and UK as I thought it would be too easy. Excluded Ireland as well – not quite sure why!

      You should give it a try – it’s actually really fun, and like you said, it’s “meaningful”. :)

  2. Oh, I LOVE books about other cultures. And you have given me some new ones to look into! I am reading Norwegian Wood right now. I am just over halfway through. I like it so far! It is my first Murakami book and I know there will be more. I love his writing style and his descriptions, so vivid. I just got Pamuk’s novel Snow, but have not read it yet. I have not heard of The White Castle, so I need to look into it, too!

    • I loved Norwegian Wood. It was the first Murakami I read it as well, and I found it amazing, albeit quite depressing. Since, I’ve only read “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”, but will hopefully get a chance to read Kafka On The Shore fairly soon.

      Do let me know what you think of Snow. I’ve heard conflicting reviews, so, I do want to read it (I already have “My Name Is Red” on my To-Be-Read Shelf though.


  1. 1 The Twelve Countries Challenge – Complete! « Sarah’s Books

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