Welcome everyone to my new blog home! I wanted a site dedicated solely to books, and I had created this blog last year when I started a few challenges, but I never did anything with it. I’m still trying to learn my way around WordPress, which seems to have some advantages, but also some limitations. I hope you’ll bear with me while I learn.
February was somewhat productive. At least, I managed to finish my first challenge book, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. That excited me so much that I decided to sign up for an additional challenge, Orbis Terrarum, where I must read ten books from ten different countries by December. This seems manageable, and as I’ve visited so many book blogs, I realize how lacking I am in terms of reading literature from countries other than the U.S. and England. This is my chance to improve myself, and also play catch-up on some books on my TBR list. Here’s what I’ve chosen:
1. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (Australia). I’ve heard so many good things about this book, it was the first one I picked. I may end up buying it, because the library says it’s “indefinitely” on wait.
2. 100 Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Columbia). This classic has been on my list to read forever. No time like the present.
3. The Savage Detective – Roberto Bolano (Chile). My first choice would be 2666, but that might be a tiny bit ambitious, with the other challenges. Might as well take it slow.
4. The Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys (Dominica). A new classic.
5. One of three choices for Canada (It has authors besides Alice Munro! Can you believe it?), but I haven’t decided which: Kamouraska – Anne Hébert, which I read about on Shelf Love; The Road Past Altamont – by Gabrielle Roy, which I also read about on Shelf Love; or The Little Country – Charles DeLint, which was recommended by Eva at A Striped Armchair. These are all available at the library, so if you have an opinion on any of these, I’d love to hear.
6. Red Mandarin Dress: An Inspector Chen Novel – Qiu Xiaolong (China). The way I see it, if I am going to branch out, then I am really going to branch out. A mystery novel by a Chinese author is way outside my usual reading picks.
7. Snow – Orhan Pamuk (Turkey). I’ve wanted to read this since it came out. Again, no time like the present.
8. Out Stealing Horses – Per Petterson (Norway). This was on so many “Best of 2008” lists, I had to add it to my TBR. Also on hold indefinitely at the library. My backup for this is The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson (Sweden).
9. Something, I haven’t decided what (not an actual title, but wouldn’t it be a good one?) – Kenzaburo Oe (Japan). I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this author, I thought it was time to actually read something he’s written. Lots of choices at the library.
10. Sea of Poppies – Amitav Ghosh (India). Kiss a cloud had a wonderful review of this, but really, the book jacket was the first thing to catch my eye. Shallow, I know.
An another note, my friend told me today about a new (to me) book site: Better World Books. They carry new, used, and rare books, as well as textbooks, and they have free shipping in the U.S., as well as a “carbon-free” option for shipping, but that’s not all:
In addition to selling new titles, Better World Books supports book drives and collects used books and textbooks through a network of over 1,600 college campuses and partnerships with nearly 1,000 libraries nationwide. So far, the company has converted more than 11 million donated books into $4.5 million in funding for literacy and education. In the process, we’ve also diverted more than 6,000 tons of books from landfills.
Because we believe that most every book has lasting value and the potential to help change the world, we see our job as helping to find new homes for unwanted books. Thus far, we’ve donated nearly one million books to partner programs around the world. Our four primary literacy partners are Books for Africa, Room to Read, Worldfund, the National Center for Family Literacy, and Invisible Children. Good company, no doubt.
Every book purchased from Better World Books contributes to individual literacy throughout the world and the promise of a better life. Clearly, we can’t do this work without our customers. That’s why we’re so passionate about trying to offer the best price, selection, customer service, and overall shopping experience.
A wonderful cause, and to top it off, they have a bargain bin, where you can buy 5 books for $15! Yes, I caved. I broke my no-buy rule and bought the following titles, all used:
The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
The Country Life – Rachel Cusk
Divine Sarah – Adam Braver
The Dark Room – Rachel Sieffert
Aiding and Abetting – Muriel Spark
So I won’t feel too naughty about this purchase, I will most likely be giving these away after posting thoughts, so stay tuned! It may take me awhile, what with all these challenges, but I plan to get rhough all of these…
And finally, I really want to join Matthew this month as he reads Gone with The Wind. This month is my ten year anniversary in Atlanta, and I’ve never read the book, so I can’t think of a better way to celebrate. Is anyone else planning to read along?
Have a wonderful week everybody!