Monday, September 01, 2014

Travel the World in Books Readathon Kickoff

Recently Tanya of Mom's Small Victories, Becca of Lost in Books and I got together and created The Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge. Our goal is to travel the world from the comfort of own homes and learn about different cultures through books. In addition to expanding our horizons, we would like to show publishers that #WeNeedDiverseBooks to promote cultural understanding and diversity in our reading. 

For my travel the world in books challenge I plan to read 50 nonfiction books that take place in 50 different countries other than my own over the next five years. My ultimate goal would be to create a list of nonfiction books similar to this one Flavorwire posted recommending one book for each of America's 50 states.

To complement the travel the world in books challenge, we are hosting the:

Travel the World in Books Readathon which begins today and goes through September 14th.

The readathon requirements are simple; read book(s) set in another country or by author(s) from another country. Read for your own pleasure or learning, read with your kids or both. You can sign up here.

We have a lot of fun activities planned including author interviews, book giveaways, mini-challenges, Facebook and Twitter chats. Note I will be co-hosting the twitter chat Wednesday, September 10, 2014 9-10pm EST Use the #TraveltheWorldinBooksRAT hashtag.  Here is the complete readathon event schedule.

My goal for the readathon is to read and write one book review - I doubt I will find time to finish more than one. The books I’ve selected for the readathon are:

Scott Anderson's Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East:
I read a review in early summer stating this book would help readers understand the origins of the current state of the modern Middle east. Considering everything that is happening there I thought this would make a great first read for the Travel the World in Books challenge.  Unfortunately, it has been a slow read. I've been reading this one since July and still have 200 pages to go.  Hopefully I can finish it during the readathon.

Frances Mayes book Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy:
Life coach Ann Daly describes this book as a Do-Over memoir. More specifically, it’s a “woman’s midlife-Do-Over!-in-a-home-and-garden memoir.” Since this book takes place in Italy I chose it for my second read.  I doubt this one will make it onto my epic nonfiction reading list for Italy, but it is an enjoyable read and will probably be the one book I finish and review for the readathon.

Jenny Nordberg's book The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan:
I signed up to read this one for the From Left to Write Book Club's September read.  This looks like a great nonfiction read for Afghanistan.  Since book club posts are due mid-September, I will be spending a good chunk of the readathon reading this one.

I also have on hand Krista Bremer's book My Accidental Jihadwhich covers her own life do-over and travels to Libya and Susan Jane Gilman's memoir Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven about her backpacking trip to China in 1986. I doubt I will find time to get to either of these during the readathon, but hopefully I can finish them in September.

Have you read a great nonfiction book that will help me discover another country?  I'm always looking for additional recommendations for my challenge.

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  1. Great choices! I wanted to read Lawrence of Arabia but it came in from the library at the same time as another book and I didn't get to it before someone else claimed it. Of course! Love to know how it is!

  2. Sorry Lawrence of Arabia is a slow go. Hope it picks up for you so you can move on. My Accidental Jihad is one I would like to read and Under the Tuscan Sun as well. I hear it's quite different than the movie and I do love the movie. I read At Least You're in Tuscany which was a fun memoir similar to Under the Tuscan Sun and in it she talks about how the Tuscans were not happy with the Under the Tuscan Sun movie adaptation. :) I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World. It was eye opening and he went around the world trying to find out what brought happiness to each culture. The results were quite surprising. I listened to it on audio on my commute to work, more than a year ago.

  3. I love that you are doing nonfiction. I read a lot of nonfiction too and that seems to not be well represented in book blogs.

  4. Whoa, girl you have got some heavy reading there and in the end you will have a new view of a different part of the world! It's always great to broaden our horizons and learn something new!

  5. What an interesting reading list! Right now I am reading All the Light We Cannot See, which takes place in Germany and France.

  6. I do not have any suggestions for you, but wanted to pop in and lend my support as I think this is an awesome idea. I tend to read for pleasure and relaxation....which means I shy away from books that deal with hard topics and actual events. I am more of a "dreamy reader," but am still very interested in the stories of our world.Looking forward to your book review.

  7. Anonymous6:43 PM

    What a wonderful idea! As Director of Diversity for my organization, I applaud your effort and participation in this project. Wishing you all the best on your journey through the written word. I'd like to also recommend you read Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West. It's fascinating!