SimonB wrote:Just about to start with the goodreads.com's 52 books around the world challenge for 2012, my aim is to read books from 52 authors each from a different country during the year. Should be fun I hope
Just browsing this thread as looking for some reading ideas and saw this - did a similar thing myself (although without the geography) in 2008 when I started a new job and decided to read a book a week as had a good length commute. Managed it for about 65 weeks before I moved and started cycling to work as well as doing some OU study but although it was a bit of an effort I can thoroughly recommend it. It becomes a habit after a while and I had forgotten what a great joy regular reading is as hadn't done it since school really. Makes you think a lot and drags you out of the daily grind. Also you can bang on endlessly about it and in that spirit I'd recommend the following out of the 65:
Nostromo - Joseph Conrad. Brilliantly written and very richly textured story about corruptibility and ambition. Controversial perhaps but Conrad really is (in my opinion) the greatest English novelist or at least one of the top handful and he was a Polish Ukrainian.
Steppenwolf - Herman Hesse. Strange, fantastical sort of book about a man who is bored by and thinks he is better than the world around him but has his preconceptions shattered.
Riddley Walker (which I decided to read after its good press on here and it didn't disappoint) - Russel Hoban
Last Post - Max Arthur. Series of biographies based on Interviews with the last (then) surviving veterans of the First World War. Interesting if only as a glimpse of a world that has long gone.
Metropole - Ferenc Kazinthy. Very strange hungarian novel where the hero is trapped in this kafka-esque world where he doesn't understand anything and is desperate to escape.
The Castle - Kafka. One man's struggle against a malign and indifferent power. Quite hard work but the continual cycle of the hero blithely thinking everything is going brilliantly and having his hopes raised only to have them cruelly dashed somehow strikes a chord.....
The Classical World - Robin Lane Fox. Pretty accessible quick tour through Ancient Greece and Rome.
The Damned United - David Peace. For obvious reasons.
The Daily Telegraph Book of Airman's Obituaries. Some amazing lives - my favourite being a guy called Thomson (I think) who was an engineer on a Lancaster bomber. An engine was hit and caught fire so (as I'm sure any of us would do......) in the middle of the night at a few thousand feet whilst being shot at by a Nazi night fighter, he climbed out of the plane onto the wing with a parachute and a fire extinguisher to put the fire out. Perhaps surprisingly, it didn't go well.
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath. Almost all the books I read were by men and a good chunk were novels about dystopian futures so read this to restore some balance. Didn't expect much but actually enjoyed it.
Morvern Callar - Alan Warner. Odd story about a girl with a humdrum life who escapes it through some bizarre means!
Complicity - Iain Banks. Gripping.
We - Yevgeny Zemyatin. I always thought 1984 was brilliant until I read this and realised Orwell had ripped large chunks of it off although 1984's still a great book.
The Road - Cormack McCarthy. Couldn't understand how a book by the Archbishop of Westminster was a bestseller but then realised it was by the guy that wrote no country for old men. As dystopian futures go, this one's pretty bleak but it's all about the love between father and son and strangely compelling.
The Man in the High Castle - Philip K Dick. Novel about an alternate universe where the Nazis won and the Japanese rule America. Pretty much anything by Philip K Dick is worth reading though.
Scoop - Evelyn Waugh. Quite amusing piss take of newspaper men.
Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano. A look at the mafia in Napoli (and Aberdeen??!).
Hmm, looking at that again, it's not the cheeriest list but there are quite a few authors from different countries at least!