Reading ALL Around the World: A Long-Term Club

*Deep breath*  OK, are you ready for a completely insane idea?  This is not a challenge; this is a long project.  Here we go....

There are nearly 200 countries on our planet; let's see if we can read books from all of them!  Or, since that's a large commitment, pick 50, 100, or whatever, as long as you have a minimum of 50.

I've been wishing for a while for some sort of project that involves reading something from every country, but this is a tricky prospect, since it is not always easy to find books from some countries.  Clearly this isn't something that will fit into a year-long challenge -- not for most of us!  So Esther of Chapter Adventures and I got together and thought a more long-term, open-ended project would be a good plan.  Esther designed this brilliant image!

The basic rules: 
    • Pick 50+ countries or go for the gold with all of them! The number depends on you.
    • Sign up at the project page here.
    • Read either fiction by a writer living in/from the country, OR a non-fiction book about it, such as memoir, history, culture, language.
    • There are no time constraints. You can decide on a timeline, but don't worry if you don't make it. If you're going for the full list, I'd recommend five years at least to complete it.
    • Keep track of your reading. Maybe fill in a list or build a Google map of all your books and countries. Maintain it at your blog and post about the books you read.
    • When you reach your goal, celebrate!
      The longer version of the rules, together with the signup widget, is here at the Reading All Around the World page.


      Ann Morgan did this in something like a year. Many of her stories about how people from countries with limited choices - in English, or period - helped her find texts are highly interesting. And then she turned the blog into a book.
      Jean said…
      Yeah, I read her book about six months ago! No way could I possibly do that in a year. She had to read for about 4 hours a day. But I thought maybe a long-term project would be more practical. Come join, you know you want to :)
      I can't do any challenges this year, but it is tempting. Tempting enough that I got out the spreadsheet and checked. In the last five years I read books from 42 countries, including some that no longer exist. Pretty close to 50.
      Anonymous said…
      I am working on reading all of the countries that the UN recognize. It is not as easy as it sounds. Many of them do not have books published in English, and some of the ones that are from the 1920's or later. If interested my blog is
      Lory said…
      I would really like to do something like this. I just got a copy of Book Lust on the Go, which has some appealing lists of books from and about various countries. As long as it's not a challenge... :)
      Jean said…
      Nope, not a challenge! Join any time, no pressure, make your own timeline and then blow right by it. :D
      Anonymous said…
      You're always so ambitious, Jean! I checked my stats spreadsheet and discovered that I read books by authors from 30 different countries last year -- which is a lot and I am pleased about it, but I'm not confident I can nearly-double that in 2017 to get to 50. I'll keep an eye on it though -- hopefully your sign-up page will guide me to many blogs with many excellent recommendations for international fiction!
      Jean said…
      You don't have to! Take 3 years to read 50 if you want. I don't care. :) It's not a year-long challenge, remember? :D
      Rachel said…
      Interesting that you came up with this just now, I was just wishing there were such a club (like the Classics Club, except for international books). I just found a list from Book Riot of books that look excellent, and was thinking of reading them all. Here's my post: I was going to do the list in 5 years, but have since decided that the list isn't exhaustive enough. Doesn't even include Bosnia, for which I have two books.

      I'm making a more exhaustive list of countries now, and will work from that list as well as finding other ideas from my own shelves, etc.

      Will you have a Twitter account that will re-tweet reviews so that we can keep track of what other people are posting like the Classics Club does? That would be excellent. And let me know if you need any help organizing this project. Like monitoring a Twitter account or whatever.

      Kristen M. said…
      If I join this project, I think I'll get myself one of those cool scratch-off world maps that are supposed to be for travel! You've got me thinking ...
      Jean said…
      Hibernators Library, yay! It's a good idea to have a Twitter account; I like that. I'll get on it.

      Kristen, I am not familiar with this scratch-off map thing but now I want one. Link?
      I'll have to think about this one seriously. I've been wanting to do something similar for a while, but with a slightly different twist. It might work to sign up for this though, with the additional advantage of encouragement from fellow readers.
      Jean said…
      I'm curious as to what your twist is! Would love to have you join. :)
      Okay, I'm officially in! My twist: choose countries based on people I've met--sort of a 6 degrees of separation thing, only in this case at most 2 degrees. I think this will be fun.
      Jean said…
      Oh, that is such a fun idea! I love it. :) I hope you'll post something about the people you're thinking of along with the books!
      Cleo said…
      I'm not ignoring this. I just am overwhelmed with keeping up at the moment, but I will join in eventually and have already hopped on the boat mentally (even if my boat sinks). I'll get a post up in the future, I promise!
      Jean said…
      No worries, this is not a timed test. ;) It will be great to have you!

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