I’ve been looking for a massive reading challenge to undertake. A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to read a book from every country, which in itself is pretty daunting, as there are 195 officially recognized countries in the world.
I’m taking it a little further though.
One of the personality traits that I love about myself is my need for complete understanding of a topic. It started when I was a kid, and I became obsessed with reading and memorizing my grandparent’s issues of National Geographic. (To this day, I still collect issues of National Geographic!) When I’d research a topic for school, I wouldn’t just stop once the paper was done – I wanted to understand how everything worked, how a place or thing came into being, and… just everything!
Due to that trait, my reading challenge is this: Every month, I will pick one of the 195 countries to focus on. I’ll read books and comic books and poetry created in that country. I want to learn about that location’s mythology, folklore, culture, food, and everything else I can find. Obviously, I can’t learn everything about a country in a single month, but it’s definitely enough time to learn plenty of new things.
For the first month of this challenge, I chose China for a variety of reasons.
First, my boyfriend, Ian, is an art history major with a particular fondness for classical Chinese history, art, and literature. We had the pleasure of visiting the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA when they had a visiting exhibition of China’s famous Terra Cotta Soldiers from Emperor Qin’s tomb. Sometime this month, Ian is going to contribute a few guest posts, which I can’t wait to share with you guys.
Second, China is one of the world’s earliest civilizations and the foundation of so many great achievements in human history. In fact, some of the most well-known inventions in ancient China are known as the Four Great Inventions: the compass, gunpowder, papermaking, and printing. I’m particularly thankful for their contributions to printing, considering how much I love books and the history of bookmaking.
Third, China is absolutely massive. It’s the most populous country in the world, and one of the largest in terms of landmass. China has so much to offer in terms of landscape, culture, philosophy, music, literature, and so, so, so much more.
During the month of November, you’re going to be seeing regular posts that focus on Chinese culture and literature. I’ve already started reading one of the four classic Chinese novels, Outlaws of the Marsh, and my library is probably a tiny bit annoyed with me for literally requesting everything they had on China.
One thing I want to mention is that I will still be reading non-Chinese books during the month of November, as I have a ton of new releases and ARCs and my massive TBR list to work on.
I hope you enjoy this new series that will be featured on Read Yourself Happy. If you know of any Chinese books I should check out, please leave those recommendations in the comments.
In December, I’m going to read and learn about Norway, so I’m also taking recommendations for books written in and about Norway.
Feel free to participate and share your thoughts! #readtheworld