This week’s Weekly Geeks asks you to tell us about your globe trotting via books. Are you a global reader? How many countries have you “visited” in your reading? What are your favorite places or cultures to read about? Can you recommend particularly good books about certain regions, countries or continents? How do you find out about books from other countries? What countries would you like to read that you haven’t yet?
Use your own criteria about what you consider to be “visiting” — whether a book is written about the country or by a native or resident of the country.
Feel free to tell us about any actual world traveling you’ve done in addition to your literary travels.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve read more Victorian/English literature than anything else. From the Bronte sisters to Philippa Gregory to Shakespeare and back, I seem to always haunt the British isles in my reading choices. However, some of my favorite books move beyond the United Kingdom and branch out into different worlds. One of my favorite books of all-time is Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. My book club has forced me to read beyond the English boundaries as we explored India in A Passage to India, Midnight’s Children, and The Far Pavilions. We’ve also visited China in The Painted Veil and Croatia in The Bridge on the Drina. These are not books I would have picked up on my own, but I feel that I understand those regions a bit better having read them.
Having lived in Germany, I do tend to gravitate towards books that take place there as well. The Reader, Maus, Stones from the River, Goethe’s Faust, and even Mein Kampf (although I haven’t finished that one – forgetting the actual subject matter, Hitler was an atrocious writer) all grace my personal library. And of course, you can’t forget my fascination with vampires. Both Dracula and the modern The Historian have taken me across Europe and into Transylvania, which I do want to visit one day.
In general, while there are section of the globe I do not necessarily want to visit one day, I do feel that reading about them has expanded my knowledge. I’ve also learned over the years to not limit myself to one genre or one region of literature. There is a wealth of great works out there that beg to be discovered and explored if only we put aside our reservations and concerns. A reader can always learn something from a book, no matter if he or she actually likes the work in the end or not. At least, this is how I approach world literature!