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ATW in 80 Books World Challenge > Ruth Frequent Flyer 2018

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message 1: by Ruth (last edited Oct 31, 2018 02:32PM) (new)

Ruth | 422 comments
Ruth Frequent Flyer 2018
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com


I'm going to go out for 80 different countries this year and beginning in England with Ian McEwan's novel Saturday which takes place in London on Saturday 15th February 2003 when the anti war protest was taking place (I was one of the protestors!).

Destinations visited: 83 Regions: 9

Europe
31 countries
England, Wales, Greece (Mykonos), Iceland, Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, France, Gibraltar, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Channel Islands (Guernsey), Finland, Canary Islands (Lanzarote), Republic of Ireland, Belarus, Scotland, Faroe Islands, Russia, Ukraine, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Northern Ireland, Austria, Czech Republic, Kosovo, Latvia

Latin America, 6 countries
Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Colombia

North America 3 countries
Mexico, USA (Nevada), Canada (Ontario)

The Caribbean 3 countries
Cuba, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands

Africa 16 countries
Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt, Côte D'Ivoire, Libya, Niger, Algeria, Rwanda, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Kenya, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Mali, Western Sahara

Oceania 4 countries
Tuvalu, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

The Middle East 8 countries
Yemen, Iraq, Israel, Iran, Palestine, Turkey, Syria, Oman

Asia 11 countries
Japan, Vietnam, Pakistan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, China, Malaysia, India, Afghanistan, Singapore

Antarctica 1!


message 2: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 3014 comments That must have been exciting, Ruth.


message 3: by Vicky (new)

Vicky Hunt (reason2believehim) | 243 comments Yeah, something to remember I'm sure. Good luck and Happy New books Ruth!


message 4: by Ruth (last edited Jan 02, 2018 08:20AM) (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Thanks Rosemarie and Vicky. I've just finished Saturday and indeed the march is very present in the story and causes an incident that leads to an exciting part 4 of this novel. As the novel is set over just one day (with few flashbacks to give context) there are long descriptions, some of which enthralled me (description of the protagonist's mother who suffers from dementia) but others I found tedious (a squash match between two very competitive men) or beyond me (details of a neurosurgical operation). However a good read, as I would expect from Ian McEwan. Now embarking on a journey to the Wales of Dylan Thomas's youth with Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog.

Countries visited: 1 (England)
Regions visited: 1
Books read: 1


message 5: by Ruth (last edited Jan 10, 2018 09:52AM) (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Wales: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog

Both books so far have been big on description. Dylan Thomas's 10 short stories paint a picture of provincial Wales seen through the eyes of an adolescent, first as a school boy and later as the cub reporter on a local paper.

Countries visited: 2
Regions visited: 1
Books read: 2


message 6: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Chile: La casa de los espíritus Isabel Allende's novel had lingered on my "to read" list for far too long. Glad I finally read it, I found it very powerful.

Countries visited: 3
Regions visited: 2
Books read: 3


message 7: by Mome_Rath (new)

Mome_Rath | 1313 comments Great book!


message 8: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new)

Diane | 12845 comments Ruth wrote: "Chile: La casa de los espíritus Isabel Allende's novel had lingered on my "to read" list for far too long. Glad I finally read it, I found it very powerful.

Countries visited: 3
Regi..."


One of my favorites!


message 9: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

I knew that any read following La casa de los espíritus might be disappointing but this book was a fast and intriguing read. It begins in an unnamed city in conflict which might be in Syria or Afghanistan but is universal. The protagonists move via the Greek island of Mykonos and London to the west coast of the USA and finally find themselves back in the original city. There are brief interludes, just short asides from the main narrative, in other places such as Amsterdam or Morocco. It has made me add a bookshelf marked "Migration/displacement" and to want to reread The Tortilla Curtain and find other books looking at migration and the experience of adapting to life in a different culture. I also have The Translator on my TBR list.

I've decided to use this as my (albeit) brief visit to Greece for this year's challenge.

Countries visited: 4
Regions visited: 2
Books read: 4


message 10: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Mexico: Signs Preceding the End of the World byYuri Herrera very skilfully translated by Lisa Dillman (for which she won an award http://news.emory.edu/stories/2016/06...), the novel has a very interesting translators note as an afterword explaining the challenges involved in getting the register of the language right.

Countries visited: 5
Regions visited: 3
Books read: 5


message 11: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Sudan: The Translator by Leila Aboulela. The first part of the novel is set in Scotland but with lots of flashbacks to the protagonist's earlier life in Sudan and the second part takes place in Khartoum.

Countries visited: 6
Regions visited: 4
Books read: 6


message 12: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Tuvalu: The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares. Like many things in this novella it may or may not have been an island in what's now Tuvalu!

Countries visited: 7
Regions visited: 5
Books read: 7


message 13: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Iceland: The Blue Fox (Skugga-Baldur) by Sjón and skilfully translated into English by Victoria Cribb

Countries visited: 8
Regions visited: 5
Books read: 8


message 14: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Italy: In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein by Fiona Sampson, this is a very interesting account of the life of Mary Shelley published on the 200th anniversary of the publication of her most famous work Frankenstein. Mary and Percy spent time in Italy. She both enjoyed being in Italy, away from the disapproving English society of the early 19th century, but it was here she suffered the loss of two of her children and the death of Percy Shelley. I'm hoping to read Frankenstein again this year, it's a long time since I first read it. This biography is well worth reading and BBC Radio 4 broadcast extracts as their book of the week last week. For those who can access the BBC radio i-player it's available for the next 29 days: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09mwfjd

Countries visited: 9
Regions visited: 5
Books read: 9


message 15: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new)

Diane | 12845 comments Ruth wrote: "Italy: In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein by Fiona Sampson, this is a very interesting account of the life of Mary Shelley published on the 2..."

Sounds very interesting.


message 16: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Diane wrote: "Ruth wrote: "Italy: In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein by Fiona Sampson, this is a very interesting account of the life of Mary Shelley publi..."

She was just a teenager when she first wrote Frankenstein and after being widowed she made her living from writing, this biography was very readable.


message 17: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Hungary: Embers by Sándor Márai
Another good read, originally published in 1942 although this English translation by Carol Brown Janeway (who also translated The Reader) was not published until the beginning of this century, it was made from the German translation, not from the original Hungarian A gyertyák csonkig égnek.

Countries visited: 10
Regions visited: 5
Books read: 10


message 18: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Nigeria: Taduno's Song,
Debut novel by Odafe Atogun, narrated very simply but which draws you in. It deals with love, friendship, the power of music, potential betrayal and making difficult choices. The tension builds right to the end. A good follow up to Embers which has similar themes in a very different context.

Countries visited: 11
Regions visited: 5
Books read: 11


message 19: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Yemen: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday

Satirical, funny, poignant but we don't get to Yemen until page 202 but when we do there are some marvellous descriptive passages. I've not seen the film but hope to now I've read the book. Sadly Yemen is in the midst of violent conflict.

Countries visited: 12
Regions visited: 6
Books read: 12


message 20: by Ruth (last edited Jan 29, 2018 02:06PM) (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Croatia: El pintor de batallas (Available in an English translation as The Painter of Battles)

Arturo Pérez-Reverte was a war correspondent and he draws heavily on that experience in this book. Although the encounter that is central to this novel takes place in Spain, it occurs because of an incident that took place during the massacre of Vukovar in 1991 when the "painter of battles" of the title, as a war photographer, takes a photo of the Croatian soldier with tragic consequences. This is a hard book to read, dealing with the (im)morality of the war and the extent to which any observer is complicit in the violence.

Countries visited: 13
Regions visited: 6
Books read: 13


message 21: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Japan: The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

A road trip with a difference, mainly narrated by a cat who is a pretty good judge of character. This was gentle and poignant. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel

Countries visited: 14
Regions visited: 7
Books read: 14


message 22: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Iraq: Gilgamesh: A New English Version

A very readable version of the very ancient Epic of Gilgamesh set in Uruk, Mesopotamia, (today's Iraq). There is a long introduction which I'm glad I didn't read until I'd read the work itself.

Countries visited: 15
Regions visited: 7
Books read: 15


message 23: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Spain: Veinte años y un día by Jorge Semprún

Part novel, part fictionalised memoir, jumping around chronologically from the 1930s to the 1980s. The plot initially drew me in but there are so many backstories and digressions that I eventually found it confusing and slightly pretentious. Has been translated into a number of languages but not English.

Countries visited: 16
Regions visited: 7
Books read: 16


message 24: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Portugal: The High Mountains of Portugal

I very nearly gave up on this as I wasn't at all engaged by part one (a protagonist who walks backwards and lots of description of an early motorcar just weren't my thing!) but I stuck with it and it got more interesting in parts 2 & 3, still strange - the comparison between the gospels and the mysteries of Agatha Christie and a Canadian senator who moves to Portugal with a chimpanzee. It was much harder to suspend my disbelief with this novel than with Life of Pi, however I found part three the most satisfying part of the novel, the story comes alive as the understanding between ape and human grows and I enjoyed the description of village life in Tras-os-Montes. The ending was sudden and resolved very little. Quite a lot of the dialogue is just in Portuguese, so good to refresh my memory (as I'm hoping to read Dom Casmurro in the original Portuguese soon).

Countries visited: 17
Regions visited: 7
Books read: 17


message 25: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 3014 comments Ruth, I read Dom Casmurro last year, very slowly in Portuguese. It has short chapters, which makes it easier to read. It also has a very unreliable narrator. It will be interesting to hear what you think of him. I hope you enjoy it.


message 26: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Rosemarie wrote: "Ruth, I read Dom Casmurro last year, very slowly in Portuguese. It has short chapters, which makes it easier to read. It also has a very unreliable narrator. It will be interesting to hear what you..."

Short chapters are good! I'll be reading on my kindle which makes looking up words so much easier.


message 27: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments France: The Reader on the 6.27

Enjoyable quick read, good tale for those who love to read. There's some tension in the first section of the book, not going to give any spoilers - but a feel good read.

Countries visited: 18
Regions visited: 7
Books read: 18


message 28: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Vietnam: The Sympathizer

A very harrowing read.

Countries visited: 19
Regions visited: 7
Books read: 19


message 29: by Ruth (last edited Feb 17, 2018 05:02AM) (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Gibraltar: Luna Benamor

I read a Spanish edition with this short novel set in Gibraltar and which included some short stories and a few short articles/essays. Blasco Ibáñez was a very successful author of his time, I read La barraca back in school as part of my 'A'level Spanish course and I'd not read anything by him since. Big on description, he conjures up a vivid (if superficial) picture of life in 19th century Gibraltar, the love story seemed for me a device to describe the local colour.

Destinations visited: 20
Regions visited: 7
Books read: 20


message 30: by Ruth (last edited Feb 17, 2018 05:01AM) (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Cuba: Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure

This was a charity shop bargain, I couldn't resist a large hardback with text by Michael Palin travelling the world in 1999 the wake of Papa Hemingway (for the BBC of course!) with high quality photographs for £2.99. Of the countries he visits (USA, Italy, France, Spain, Kenya, Uganda, Cuba and ending up back in the USA) I've gone with Cuba which is where Hemingway spent the longest (1940-1958) and also takes me to my 8th region this year, the Caribbean.

Destinations visited: 21
Regions visited: 8
Books read: 21


message 31: by Mome_Rath (new)

Mome_Rath | 1313 comments Michael Palin's hardcover books of his travels are amazing. I love the pictures, stories, and his wonderful sense of humor. That said, Hemingway Adventure is the only one of his I don't own, so I'll have to keep an eye out for it myself.


message 32: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Brazil: Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis

Many years ago back in university I read O Alienista and having enjoyed it I always meant to read more by Machado de Assis, but I waited far too long to read Dom Casmurro and it was definitely worth the wait. I managed to read it in the original Portuguese.

Destinations visited: 22
Regions visited: 8
Books read: 22


message 33: by Mome_Rath (new)

Mome_Rath | 1313 comments In the original Portuguese? That's fantastic! Glad you enjoyed the book.


message 34: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Mome_Rath wrote: "In the original Portuguese? That's fantastic! Glad you enjoyed the book." I took Portuguese language and literature as part of my university course years ago but haven't really ever used it so it's got rather rusty. Dom Casmurro was a great read, but might have to read the English translation as there were lots of words I couldn't find on the Portuguese-English dictionary on my Kindle! Reminded me of being a child and coming across words I didn't know but reading on regardless if the story was engrossing!


message 35: by Mome_Rath (new)

Mome_Rath | 1313 comments That's the way with languages, isn't it? I'm sure this exercise in soldiering through has helped your Portuguese get stronger!


message 36: by Ruth (last edited Feb 24, 2018 09:03AM) (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Switzerland: Frankenstein

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote this while still a teenager. Quite a few digressions, a fair bit of travelogue and there are two very conflicting impressions given of "the creation/monster" .

Destinations visited: 23
Regions visited: 8
Books read: 23


message 37: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Revisited Brazil with O Alienista

Destinations visited: 23
Regions visited: 8
Books read: 24


message 38: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Pakistan: I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Inspiring memoir by Malala Yousafzai

Destinations visited: 24
Regions visited: 8
Books read: 25


message 39: by Ruth (last edited Feb 27, 2018 02:16AM) (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Germany: Portuguese Irregular Verbs

I've enjoyed Alexander McCall Smith's series The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency set in Botswana but this left me cold, a bit like a joke that I don't get when others do. I won't be reading the other two in this series.

Destinations visited: 25
Regions visited: 8
Books read: 26


message 40: by Ruth (last edited Feb 27, 2018 05:47AM) (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Australia: Alone on a Wide Wide Sea

“Stories make you think and dream: books make you want to ask questions” Michael Morpurgo

I read this because I found it hidden away behind other books in my son’s bookcase while I was searching for something else, I started reading and then just couldn’t stop. Michael Morpurgo lives in Devon and I hadn’t read anything by him until he was the guest speaker at my son’s school prize giving back in the early 2000s when he fascinated the children and the adults alike by telling us how he had got his ideas for his 1999 novel Kensuke's Kingdom. Since then I've read and been swept up by several of his books.

A "children's book" but not childish. It deals with the issue of forced child migration from the UK to Australia in the 1940s/50s, adjusting to life as an adult without family support and finally a thrilling adventure as a young woman sails single-handedly from Hobart to the UK.

Destinations visited: 26
Regions visited: 8
Books read: 27


message 41: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Antarctica: The Birthday Boys

The weather has definitely helped me get into the right frame of mind for Beryl Bainbridge's re-creation of Scott's fated expedition.

Destinations visited: 27
Regions visited: 9
Books read: 28


message 42: by Ruth (last edited Mar 03, 2018 11:48AM) (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Egypt: Woman at Point Zero

Originally published in 1973 with an English translation a few years later this novel based on a real life encounter must have shocked Egyptian society.

Destinations visited: 28
Regions visited: 9
Books read: 29


message 43: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Sweden: A Man Called Ove

Destinations visited: 29
Regions visited: 9
Books read: 30


message 44: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Côte d'Ivoire: Chocolate Nations: Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa

Journalist Órla Ryan's 2011 investigation into the role of cocoa in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, the top two cocoa producing countries in the world.

Destinations visited: 30
Regions visited: 9
Books read: 31


message 45: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments USA (Nevada): The Heart Goes Last

I chose the USA as the denouement happens in Las Vegas although the town of Consilience, where the majority of the book is set, isn't identified as in the USA or Canada. I'll never be able to buy any child a blue teddy bear after reading this!

Destinations visited: 31
Regions visited: 9
Books read: 32


message 46: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Armenia: Nobody's Child

The middle book of Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch's trilogy and I'll need to read Daughter of War as the ending leaves lots of unresolved issues.

Destinations visited: 32
Regions visited: 9
Books read: 33


message 47: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Revisited Switzerland and the USA with Sabor a chocolate

Destinations visited: 32
Regions visited: 9
Books read: 34


message 48: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Israel: The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín

Destinations visited: 33
Regions visited: 9
Books read: 35


message 49: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Libya: The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between

I read Hisham Matar's account of his search to find out what happened to his father (who had been kidnapped by the Egyptian security services and returned clandestinely to Gaddafi's Libya) after abandoning a biography of the Norwegian polar explorer Amundsen. I don't give up on books very often but I found the style really dreary and so Hisham Matar's rich prose was a real contrast. I learned a lot about Libya's history and the agony of not knowing what happened to a loved one.

Destinations visited: 34
Regions visited: 9
Books read: 36


message 50: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 422 comments Channel Islands (Guernsey): The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Destinations visited: 35
Regions visited: 9
Books read: 37


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