At the start of the New Year, Ann made a resolution to read a book from every country in the world, written by a national writer. She wanted to complete the task by the end of the coming year. She made a catalogue of the countries, the members of the United Nations. When her list came to one hundred and ninety-six items, she realized it would be practically impossible to find a book from each of these countries.
The first idea was to check the local bookshop but they only had a small range of books. So, Ann decided to ask the world’s readers for help. She created a blog called “A Year of Reading the World” and asked all the readers to suggest her titles of books from their country available in English. The responses came very fast.
Ann was greatly surprised to find out how many people wanted to share their ideas and opinions about books. Some of them posted her the books. Others spent hours looking for references and resources for her. In addition, two writers from Turkmenistan and Panama sent her unpublished English versions of their novels.
But, even with such a great team of helpers, finding foreign books translated into English was not easy. The biggest problem was the small states in Africa. They had very few written books, and instead had mostly manuscripts or even traditional performances by local storytellers. But Ann did not give up and managed to get some absolutely brilliant literary samples from the African continent.
In addition to language problems, politics disturbed her plans too. In 2011 the new country of South Sudan was founded in Africa. Ann began panicking as the half-a-year-old country had produced no books since its creation! The only chance of getting a literary sample from this country was to fly there and find a storyteller. Fortunately, a local Internet contact put Ann in touch with a Sudanese writer, who sent her a precious copy of their book.
Ann spent the whole year collecting the books, reading them and writing her blog. According to her plan, she had to read a new book in two days. As she had a job, this was not easy to do. She had to sit up at night reading until her eyes became tired.
But it was worth it! During the year of her imaginary literary journey, Ann discovered a lot about the people of the world, their lives and mentalities. She has changed her perception of the world and made lots of new friends. In her blog, Ann confessed that it had been the most interesting year of her life.